The Friday Night Street Fight- At Digital Press Videogames

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This past Friday, September 21st, yours truly took a nice, short drive to Clifton to attend Digital Press’s “Friday Night Street Fight” a Fighter tournament hosted at their local, brick-and-mortar store. When one thinks of street fighting you often think of a bunch of brawlers duking it out in some Detroit back alley; well New Jersey isn’t Detroit. Fighters from towns near and far came to participate. I ran into players from a diverse age-range: from those who were in their teens to some who were scraping their mid-thirties. The event, and its $300 grand prize, attracted a diverse range of different creeds, racial backgrounds and a healthy gender mix to the competition.

As I stepped into the establishment, the sight of a large television screen greeted me. The game of choice for the evening? Super Street Fighter 4 – Arcade Edition.

As a person who has dabbled in fighting games for a number of years, I knew that the competition would be a fierce one. Street Fighter games have been considered the gold standard among the fighting game community and that many a fighting game enthusiast has cut their teeth on at least one of the many iterations of Street Fighter during the games 25-year existence.

As I walked around the store and the pre-event bustle, I noticed other stations set up for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and, in the back of the establishment, there were monitors set up for those who had lost out of the main bracket and were going to fight their way back in.

During the tournament I managed to get the chance to talk to different fighters who were prepping for their respective match, some used controllers while others used fightsticks.

Angel Cortez, 17 – a young, fresh-eyed competitor – spared me a few words before he entered his match. When asked of his experience he enthusiastically stated he was a former A-tier Super Smash Brothers tournament competitor who had fought against legends like “Mewtwo King”. I asked him why he had decided to partake in the tournament after his experience in other games. He answered simply, “I was inspired by Infiltration, [a player] who had won the Street Fighter IV AE bracket at this year’s EVO”. When I then asked him who he intended to choose as his main character  for his rounds he quickly replied “Adon. Ha ha. Don’t laugh!”

Patty-Event Coordinator/Competitor

Managing this event was Patty Caldas, the marketing director and event coordinator for Digital Press. I asked her how many competitors had entered the event. “We have 22 entries,” she briskly replied while looking over her papers. she then proceeded to tell me about what other games were going to be playable, but stressed that Super Street  Fighter 4 – AE was the main event. After this quick aside she threw herself back into her role as MC, calling for players on her megaphone.

Another staff member, Nicholas Goebel, who normally works behind the register and in mail-order shipping, was also getting involved. His new role for the night was as a commentator on the live internet stream of the bouts.

Nicholas G-running commentary.

Another player,  who had just come fresh off from a match, was Rob “Kyo” (31). He stated he had been playing fighting games “forever”. Starting with Super Street Fighter Turbo, Rob had jumped from one game to the next playing everything from King of Fighters to Virtual-Fighter: Final Showdown. His main character for the tournament was Evil Ryu, though he mentioned his love of Dan. I asked Rob what kind of tips he would like to share with aspiring fighting game enthusiasts. He had these words to share: “Learn the basics of the game, don’t mind the flash because if you don’t learn the basics then there’s no way you’ll ever be flashy.”

What made the competition so fierce, of course, were some of the more experienced fighting veterans-some whom have worked with legends like Justin Wong of EVO fame. The final round of the event the was when the two finalists, Chris G and K-Brad (and their respective fighters Sakura and Cammy), fought an intense string of matches. This ultimate round was to be marked on the best of five bouts, not an easy match to watch, and an even larger test of endurance to play. In the end, it was Chris G  and Sakura who came out the victors. While he celebrated his victory, I asked K-Brad ,the fighter who took second, for what advise he would give burgeoning fighting game players and he said, “Get rid of your pad/controllers, ban them from the house. Using a fight stick takes practice, and if you have a controller you can quickly access you’ll be inclined to grab that when you start losing.”

Myself with K-Brad -Lookin snazzy

Digital Press hosts monthly game tournaments and other events throughout the year.

BONUS CONTENT-

Guy with a parrot showed up…..

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