Street Fighter Week continues! Though this story was sort of told in real time over the years, here’s a consolidated story of my rise (and fall) in the world of competitive Street Fighter!
There was a time when I thought the world of competitive Street Fighter didn’t extend beyond the bounds of local arcades. For a long time, I fancied myself as being savvy in Street Fighter II, as I could perform any of the game’s special moves on command and I could beat my friends. I didn’t think there was anything more to learn.
Boy, was I wrong.
In less than a week, I completed the main story found within Yoshi’s Crafted World. Immediately after, I made plans to loan my copy to my brother. Until I get the chance to give it to him, I’ve been running through all of the flip side levels while trying to collect enough flower to unlock the post-game content. This is a bit unusual for me, as I’m generally not the type of gamer that cares all that much for experiencing every last bit of content a game has to offer.
I did not enter the world of streaming in 2017 with visions of being the next Ninja. Already doing Let’s Play videos for my YouTube channel, I figured that if I was going to spend the time adding commentary to my videos in real time anyway, I might as well stream it. Could potentially hit two birds with one stone that way.
As I’ve built up my presence on Twitch, it’s been fascinating to follow the culture around streamers attempting to “make it big”, whatever that means to them. This includes thousands of resources on how to make game streaming your career, Reddit threads on users asking for advice on how to generate more money from their stream, a deluge of stories from streamers ready to call it quits after falling short of their expectations, and countless #roadtoaffiliate tweets. Heck, even I have sent a #roadtoaffiliate tweet or two.
Having hit Twitch Affiliate somewhat recently, it’s gotten me thinking about the possibility of making this a full-time gig. Others have made it happen, but is it something I could achieve if I really wanted to?
Improving at fighting games is one of the steepest mountains to climb in all of video games. You have to contend with complex special move inputs, combos, complex gameplay systems, difficulty that changes based on who you fight against, an online player base that will take turns stomping you into the ground, and no one to blame but yourself each time you lose. Furthermore, the path to improvement usually requires help from outside resources, such as guides, video tutorials, or coaching, as even the most robust in-game teaching tools won’t prepare you for everything you’ll face in the real world.
Though I put a ton of time and effort into training, I credit Street Fighter III: Third Strike legend and one of the FGC’s pioneers in content Gootecks for helping me grow as a player. Dating all the way back to his audio-only podcast from ages ago, his tips and advice really set me down the right path. Without his indirect guidance, I don’t think I ever would have gotten to the place where I am today.
When I got to a point where I felt like I had knowledge of my own to pass down, I started the Universal Fighting Game Guide. I wanted to pay it forward like Gootecks did for me. Feeling like there wasn’t enough information out there for beginner-to-intermediate level players, I wanted to write the kind of guides I was looking for to answer very specific questions I had. On top of that, I wanted to write guides that worked for a wide swath of fighting games, as so much knowledge is transferrable from game-to-game.
I was hoping that a handful of people would find my work useful. What I didn’t expect was the massive and ongoing success it has achieved.
During a recent Paper Mario stream, I received a really interesting comment in the chat from a recent follower.
This may seem mean, I hope you get to be a really big streamer, but I also hope you stay small so you can interact with us like this
I have never been on a stream like this with streamer interacting like this
First off, thank you Pokemaster457 for the high praise and support! Secondly, I totally understand what you mean when you say you want me to stay small.
My interest in professional wrestling comes in phases. In the early 90s, when I was an impressionable youngster who thought wrestling was real, I idolized the likes of Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and Bret Hart. I cried when Shawn Michaels kicked Marty Jannetty through the glass, officially ending The Rockers as a tag team. After a few year hiatus, I jumped back on board thanks to the one-two punch of fantastic AKI-made Nintendo 64 games and some of the best stories and action during the Monday Night Wars. I was even in attendance for Wrestlemania X8, where I screamed my lungs out as Hulk Hogan faced The Rock in one of the most legendary bouts of all time.
After ECW folded into the WWE in the 2000s, I took a long hiatus. Oddly, it was my wife who pulled me back in a few years ago, as she went through a phase where she was deeply invested in the Total Divas reality TV show. When the opportunity arose for us to see her favourite wrestlers perform at a local event, I’ve been “sort of” following the scene again ever since.
Almost 20 years after its original release, I finally played Paper Mario for the first time. Regarded by many as a classic, it slipped through the cracks for me due to the pettiest of reasons.
It wasn’t Super Mario RPG 2.
The biggest mistake I made with regards to streaming was that I didn’t have enough of a plan. When I started doing this, my goals were laser-focused around production quality. From improving the audio, to ensuring that the stream ran at a steady frame rate, to having the capabilities of hosting a video podcast with friends, I knew what those challenges were and I took active steps to squash them. Sometimes it would take many months for to fix specific issues, but the objectives, roadmap to achieve such objectives, and the benefits of completing them were clear in my head.
What I didn’t really think about were aspects such as viewership, followers, reaching Twitch Affiliate, or virtually any metric of success. I figured that I would start thinking about those after I established a production quality baseline. After all, it shouldn’t take that long to produce a good-enough stream, right? Ha! Between having to save up to buy new parts and figuring out how to use everything just enough to get by, that process took over a year to sort out.
Meanwhile, my channel was still running. Streaming three-to-four times a week, I was growing increasingly frustrated with multi-hour streams going by and zero people tuning in. As the channel grew in terms of followers, I still wasn’t sure what to make of that. It all came to blow up in my face when a dip in viewership caused me to miss out on Twitch Affiliate. Missing out sent me into a multi-month depressive slide. Without having taken the time to formalize my expectations, I was essentially getting mad at myself over nothing.
Though I should have done this before, now seems like a great time to actually get real and formalize my goals for streaming going forward. This is just a start, as I should constantly be evaluating/adding/removing/revising these goals as I go. I may not formally write down every iteration, but having something written down somewhere to hold myself accountable is a great first step.
Over the past few weeks, I have been on a serious Ariana Grande bender. Though I’ve been a fan of hers since she released the trap-pop bop “Everyday“, her new album Thank U, Next has been playing from front-to-back in my headphones almost non-stop.
As much as I love every song on that album, one cut on the LP particularly stands out. Track 2, titled “needy”, speaks to the very core of how I approach the subject of love word-for-word, as flawed as it might be.
I’ma scream and shout for what I love
Passionate but I don’t give no f****
I admit that I’m a lil’ messed up
But I can hide it when I’m all dressed up
I’m obsessive and I love too hard
Good at overthinking with my heart
How you even think it got this far?
– Ariana Grande, “needy”
Having listened to this song about 100 times in a month, it got me thinking about the medium of video games. Are there any video games that I’ve played that speak to me in that same way? That cut right down to the very core of who I am, warts and all?
On March 3rd, my wife and I attended Kitchener Comiccon. Taking place at Kitchener City Hall, this free convention was a cool event for the community. Here are a few pictures and highlights from our time at the show!