It's approximately 2:00 in the morning and I need to get some rest for the tournament in 10 hours.
Street Fighter IV isn't my favorite fighting game, nor is it the one I'm best at, despite the hours of practice put in in the two weeks since deciding to attend At The Buzzer's 3rd SFIV event. The $20 entrance fee is rather steep, especially considering I have very little chance of placing in the top 3, but seeing how sparse the local scene is, I'm willing to drop the cash to compete in something resembling a community. Apparently the last one only had about 30 entrants.
After months of playing, sporadic bursts of intense interest in one game or another, I am finally putting myself out into the greater world of competitive Street Fighter. It will prove interesting; in the time since I started this blog, while I feel I have improved my game considerably, I have become no less of a scrub. My brain still freezes under pressure, my execution breaks down with my life bar and I tend to get punished hard for attempted aggression. On a scale of one to ten, one being someone who just picked up the game and ten being Justin Wong, I wouldn't put myself any higher than a three, and even that feels generous.
Despite my moderate success online, I cannot muster any confidence; the steep entrance fee will surely put off any random Flowchart Ken, likely only leaving all those 3500 Battle Point Bisons that inevitably humble me on PSN.
With such dim prospects, one may wonder why I am competing at all, instead of just going and playing casuals. While this sounds somewhat appealing, and almost certainly less embarrassing, the fact is that if I don't even try to level my game up, I will remain a scrub forever. I need to break out of my comfort zone, expose myself to loss and humiliation, in order to level up.
At the last Wednesday Night Fights, Alex Valle, fielding a call from a viewer, said that the same ten people are winning tournaments around the country and that this needs to change. SFIV has done a great job at getting new people to play fighting games, but what the community really can't survive without are new players who are willing to go beyond the flowchart. I want to be one of those players, to help the games I love prosper and to prove that not all scrubs are hopeless.