Don’t be a Scrub Podcast Episode 4: Zan

Spider Muttons Productions © 2010 is back with the fourth episode of the Don’t be a Scrub Podcast. Continuing on with our community focus, this time we interview Couchwarrior’s Zan. We talk a lot about Couchwarriors, the Melbourne community, and fighting games in general.

Onyxx and Zan at CW Final Round

This time we decided to do the interview with both Igor and I at the same time. We started off slow, but towards the end I feel the three person dynamic really contributed to what felt a lot more like a real conversation rather than a straight question and answer segment.

Big thanks to Zan for taking the time to do this interview with us! And thanks to Dave/Bosslogic for another fantastic banner, and Spoony for being a big help with coming up with Zan-centric questions.

This time our outro features the song “Karma” by the Singaporean band the Sexies.

Featuring my brother David Siow on the bass guitar.

The Sexies on Reverbnation

The Sexies Myspace

This interview was conducted at Couchwarriors Final Round, 16/11/2010

Don’t be a Scrub Podcast Episode 4: Zan

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DBAS Podcast Ep. 4 96 kb/s version

Spider Carnage/Igor: Hi everyone. We’re here at the last Couchwarriors for the year, for 2010 that is.  Today we’re going to be interviewing one of the main Couchwarrior organisers. And it’s Zan. So Mutton’s going to be doing the interview. Take it away.

1. Muttonhead: Hi Zan. How long have you been playing fighting games and games in general?

Zan: Games in general all my life. I think most people here would say that. And fighting games since I’ve sort of moved to Melbourne for Uni.

Started out a little kid on the console, on the Nintendo and then switched to, you know during my teens, mostly shooters and stuff on PC like shooters back as a kid. And when I moved down here I was more… yeah let’s try something different. And fighters it was. And it pretty much stuck.

M: Cool. So what’s your favourite game of all time?

Favourite of all time. I don’t really have a favourite, per se. Because you know, it’s all [different]. It depends, like singleplayer’s something different, multiplayer’s [something different].

I really like Counterstrike at the time, it was good fun. That was back in 1.5 days that’s quite a while ago (laughs).

And um, favourite fighting game would be probably Guilty Gear, the latest one. For two reasons; it was the first fighter that I probably took to learning a bit seriously. Actually sitting down and learning combos, which is a bit basic, but is basically where you start. Especially with those sort of fighters that have a lot of… that’s how you make up your damage.

And the other reason is just because at least in Japan where they play at high level, the game is really hype. Really, really hype.

My favourite character was Faust. And you guys might know Nemo and RF who used to be Faust players before they moved onto SF4.

And just looking at the different styles, [you can see] that the game has so much personality. So many people, even just playing the same character, play differently.

M: So does that mean with the new Blazblue coming out, would you like to see a new Guilty Gear? Or you’re fine with [just having] the Blazblue series?

Blazblue is… Not a lot of people understand this, but the company that makes those games is quite small. And people say; they look at the new Blazblue characters and they’re a bit…uhh they’re a bit typical anime and the designs aren’t that cool.

I think they were taking a big gamble and they decided to play it safe for the Japanese audience. I would like a return to Guilty Gear, but I don’t think they’re gonna do the same thing, they’re gonna go, oh here’s Blazblue with Guilty Gear characters and we’ve just taken it a step further. That’s not gonna happen so. I don’t know. I don’t know.

I appreciate what they’re doing with the franchise; they’re sort of moving it forward and they’re making it simpler for people. BB isn’t as hype, but it’s a good game.

M: Why isn’t it as hype as Guilty Gear?

It’s hard to say. Maybe it hasn’t enough time to…age? I feel the same with the SF4 games as well.

M: Yeah I agree.

Speaking of it this way though, I’m really just talking about it from an audience perspective. Because I tend to watch more games than I actually play. I’m really trying to change that now that I have the spare time.

When you’re not really committed enough and you’ve got other things on your mind and other things you need to do, it’s so much easier just to pop on YouTube and [go] ah yeah that’s so awesome.

But yeah, I’m really trying to change it. At the moment.

2. You seem to be putting a lot more time into SSF4 recently, why the sudden change?

I was talking about this earlier; basically just saying all this time I’ve been playing these games since 2002, 2003…I started playing Third Strike and Guilty Gear and I never really put in the time or the effort to seek out players to get good at it.

I’d played enough to feel like l had a little bit of a grip on the character, sort of hit a brick wall and sort of leave it there you know? Enter a tournament, ah it’s not serious, it’s fine. You know. Oh I lost to this person, that’s understandable, that person puts in more time than me, all that sort of stuff.

And you know, I was happy with that for a while. I try to contribute to the community because I love it; I love Couchwarriors.

I love arcades, everything. It’s all good.

When people get better, people like Cactus and Spoony, especially. Watching them get better and doing really well is really cool.

And I want the community to get better, and rep over in the States and Japan, whatever, and that’s fucking awesome.

So yeah. That’s sort of where I’ve sat for a long time.

And now I just sort of…I feel like I lack perspective, and I feel I want to try and get on that sort of train of thought where people really want to train and get better.

M: So was there a specific incident that sparked this resurgence of…

I think it was really just Spoony.

M: Just Spoony?

Yeah. I mean, I used to live with him. For those who don’t know, Spoony is a Chun player…

M: Who just got top 8 today!

Yeah, he just got top 8 today! He hasn’t really done a whole lot before Street Fighter [4] came out. When I lived with him, when he was playing Vanilla, we spent so much time just sitting in the lounge room, practicing combos, links, playing online.

During that time, he could never really beat me. And I just had this scrubby-arse Blanka…all that sort of stuff. And then, it got to the end of that, and Super [came out]. And he’s really put a big effort in. And it’s now me chasing him, and it’s such an inspiration to have somebody who’s gone from…we’ve messed around and we played, to really taking it seriously. So I’m looking at him, and going, hey I can do that! I want to do that.

M: I see. So Spoony’s your inspiration. That’s cool!

Yeah, totally!

3. M: Explain to me the appeal of fighting games over other game genres. When it comes to fighting games, it doesn’t seem that casual gamers can pick it up and stay with it for a long time. Why do we stick with fighting game?

Um, I think there are a couple of mindsets that are really important, like I talked about earlier. There are people that play it, and they become the audience or the armchair guys, all that sort of stuff. The stream monsters.

Yeah they play it enough to be able to sort of appreciate it. And I think that’s really important. I was reading an interview or a little blog post of what Marn did a while ago. Saying you know, the scene would be so much better if all of you stream monsters came and made it bigger.

But the reality is that the stream monsters are the audience, they’re the ones that make it big eventually, if you want to get to e-sports level. That’s pretty much Starcraft works in Korea, you know.

Like everybody [gets into it], huge pop culture phenomenon, the Starcraft thing. And you know, 95% of people that have played it are probably not that great at it, but they understand what they are watching and they’re listening to the commentators, and they’re going okay, I’m following the flow of this game and this is exciting.

So there’s that side of it. That’s 95% of the players. But the real appeal…this is going to sound lame, but philosophically is…learning from each other?

Like, it’s a really competitive game. Genre. But it’s also a really intimate one. Because you’re playing one on one. Yeah okay, one on one, you can play other games one on one. But it’s like…in the early stages when you start, when you start playing somebody, it’s like you’re filling the holes in each other’s games. Like say, somebody does something that’s a habit; it’s really punishable or whatever. And you come across somebody that you haven’t seen before, and they punish it. Okay, you take that away from your game. Or you add something else in.

So you can’t get better at these games, and you can’t fully enjoy them, without coming across people that make you better at it. And that’s sort of it. For people that might play a few of their friends and don’t look into it and don’t study it further, they hit walls.

And then they lose the enjoyment of the game eventually, or they move onto something else. But people that really appreciate fighting games; it’s all about getting better and making other people better as well. Everybody feeds off each other, everybody sort of builds up each other.

And that’s a really cool thing.

M: Yeah I mean, I haven’t played a game before like a fighting game where I feel that I’m not playing the game, I’m playing the other person…you know what I mean?

Yeah. The other thing is…characters as well.

I think with the success of the original Street Fighter II with all the other characters, everybody is really individualistic. You can pick your character, you can pick your niche, and you can pick something that really suits you. And it’s a really big personality thing.

Like you know, you pick something really far out like Fuerte. That says something about you. You pick your solid Ryu, and you build from there. That says something.

M: Or my oily Hakan! Yeah.

Again, it’s all about contributing to a community. That’s right, you know, you need your resident Hakans.

I think it was Somniac who said after he came back from EVO, it’s like you got beaten by a really good Ibuki. We need this; we need [Ibuki players or a diverse range of character specialists]. So it’s all about community and contributing and…I’m all about community and contributing! So, it’s fucking awesome.

Fighting games are the best.

4. M: So what do you hate about SF4. What would be something you’d like to see in from Guilty Gear or Blazblue in SF4?

That’s a tough question. Because if I went and said; oh I don’t like one frame links or something like that, it’s unfair because the game is designed around a different set of principles.

Two things that really bug me… the one thing is the shortcuts. There are some things that you can’t do without it. I tried learning Gouken last year, and doing something simple like going from blocking to crouching medium punch into the short palm. I would always get a counter because going from back would trigger the…yeah.

There’s not that many characters that suffer too badly from that. But in some ways the shortcut thing doesn’t seem well thought out. It doesn’t universally apply to everybody well.

M: Yeah, some characters can use that really well, and for some characters it’s almost meaningless?


And for some characters like Hakan, it really screws up the game when you do a slide and you get SPD you know?

You can be…this happens with fireball [characters]…Rose is probably my first character that has a DP that I’ve taken really seriously. And you can do something like; oh I’ve walked forward a little bit and throw a fireball. And out comes…

M: The DP.

…one of the most useless moves in the game (laughs). And you’re like, ah shit.

And the other thing is negative edge. And that’s been in Street Fighter forever, and it’s unfair for me to say that it sucks. But it causes me a ton of problems. But I’m learning to hold multiple buttons down now so…it’s cool. I’m dealing with it right? We gotta deal with it.

5. M: Tell me about your history in Couchwarriors.

Okay, so Couchwarriors basically I started off living with Loki. We played a fair bit in Therapy at Latrobe Uni.

M: What’s Therapy?

Therapy is a little arcade. It’s a little pool place that had Third Strike. I started there because it had Guilty Gear, which is like Reload or Slash or whatever was new at the time.

M: Is it still there? Or it’s gone?

No, no. Actually, the arcade might still be there. I’m not too sure. I actually played a fair bit of SNK vs. Capcom there, scrubbing it out because it was like 50 cents for two games or whatever.

But yeah no we mostly played at home. And because we were learning basically from scratch, the whole arcade versus console thing didn’t really exist for us. We played whatever was most convenient.

We started out learning…well we started out trying to do a Gamespot (games club) day at Uni. And it was really exhausting, bringing equipment every week for everybody else. WoW came out, we got addicted, and we canned that. And at about the end of our WoW addiction we said, let’s try again.

M: WoW is the great equaliser.

Yeah. WoW was actually interesting because it makes you feel like that most gaming isn’t worthwhile. And you come back to fighting games and it’s like wow, I feel like I’m getting better at this game and it’s not in such an artificial way as WoW. Like where you cap out.

So I really appreciated that, and that’s where Guilty Gear sort of brought me back. But yeah, going back to Couchwarriors…yeah we decided; let’s do it monthly instead. We’ll still have it at Latrobe. And at that time I was on quite good terms with the Smash boarders. Yeah, played a bit of Melee, and they crushed me. And I’m like…yeah this is fun.

But yeah no, they were basically going from house to house. Just…quite a young mob as well so they couldn’t really drive around so much. And we’re like, okay. This is getting silly. Let’s put a venue together and let’s just get the two communities together. And so the community at the time was really just the Smashers and say, us and friends. Who were playing Guilty Gear and Third Strike. And we went from there, we did that one year. And in our first event, we got 50 people. Which was pretty fucking cool.

Sorry, I probably shouldn’t swear should I?

M: Nah it’s okay. After Heavy Weapons, no one can outswear [him in] an interview!

(Laughs) Fair enough! It’s okay, I’m only using swearing for emphasis, I think that’s a pretty cool principle to go by.

Anyway, um…

M: Was this at Abbotsford as well? The first Couchwarriors or?

No no no. This was at Latrobe, out at Bundoora. We were there for the whole first year. We decided then that we wanted to do an annual year, like a OHN-style thing. But it was all about getting the funds, and getting being prepared to do it.

Second year we moved into [a place] which is probably my favourite venue but there were real problems with it but…my favourite venue. Was the pub. What’s it called, the John Curtin in Lygon Street.

You guys listening to this; it’s a pretty friendly, really cheap pub. And the owner is really cool. So go there. It’s cool.

M: So you guys had it in a pub!

It was actually literally not in the pub itself, but upstairs in the band room.

M: Okay. That sounds awesome, because after the event is done, you can go onto Lygon Street and have [some] food.

Yeah exactly…

S: It’s Barfights before Barfights!

Yeah. The real problem with it though was that it was…because the band was using it on Saturday, it was a Sunday thing. And Sunday is a little less [desirable] because [you’ve] gotta go to work tomorrow. That’s no fun.

So unfortunately, we had to find somewhere else. And that’s how we ended up Abbotsford. Cao did a really good job actually, Cao being the organiser for Smash. Got all prepared, looked for a bunch of venues and found this. And they’ve been really good to us so we’ve been here two years now, really.

M: Yeah, I mean the first time I walked into this place like, this is a convent! And we’re playing Street Fighter in a convent! How is cool is that.

But it’s still one of the most spacious venues we’ve had, and it’s just a pity we can’t get it for the whole weekend so. ‘Cause we would have had our first BAM here I think. But having it in the city has served us well so that’s fine.

So yeah, that’s pretty much Couchwarriors. We’re doing it once every month, basically ten months or so for the year. We take a break over the summer, because summer obviously gets quite bad in a big venue sort of thing and everyone needs a break so they don’t burn out.

S: It’s okay, Deakin will be running.

Yeah, the Deakin [meetups] and I hope Chris’s Club House (CCH) is going as well. That’d be cool.

6.     M: So tell me a little bit about being a Couchwarriors organiser. How stressful it is, what do you like about being an organiser. Is there any kind of reward, or do you just feel that people are thankless or?

You do it because doing it feels like the reward itself.

M: Okay cool.

There is a slight control aspect to it. You feel like you get a say in the community even though you’re not a top player because you “contribute”. And I am a little guilty of that. But I’ll take that (laughs).

Um, but yeah it feels good to basically just get the community up and running. And I said, I want to see everyone succeed, and I want to see everybody make a name [for themselves] just as much as the top players do over at EVO, Japan, wherever. And to be a part of that is cool.

Bugs and Zan at EVO APAC. Melbourne's finest. From Shadowloo.

M: So what are some the challenges that you face as an organiser. Tell me some of the challenges you faced at BAM?

At BAM? Just in general, you’re always worried about how much money you’re gonna have. And how much money you’re gonna come out in the end. I don’t mind saying that both BAMs have been bit a risk financially. Especially the second one.

Because the venues in the city are obviously quite expensive. And there’s always that worry…and then you go and look at the venue, and I have this thing when I look at the venue and I’m like, okay this can work. And then I leave. And then it somehow changes in my mind over the months and it becomes smaller, and I’m like, oh where are we gonna put everybody…

And then I arrive on the Friday and I’m like, oh. This is bigger…

M: Then you remember.

It’s cool! So you naturally stress yourself out a little bit.

But I should take this time to say no one does as much as Loki. Where I kind of sit passively by, and you know like chill and I try and make sure a lot of channels of communication are open between the different communities and…Like [I try to make sure] Smash gets what they need, because they’re a really isolated community who like to talk amongst themselves.

But Loki is the one with all of the little details. He remembers little stupid things like power boards and logistics, and are the venue happy with this. And…All of that little stuff that comes at the last minute.

Last BAM…I mean we got really good feedback [for] this BAM, the only complaint being that the venue was too hot was the most common thing. Which is fair enough. Hopefully we can remedy that for next year.

But when it came to all of the good stuff like scheduling and just running on time and all of that sort of stuff, it was all Loki. So props to Loki.

M: Loki said in his interview that he would the community to remain strong when he’s not there. But is that possible? Can Couchwarriors survive without Loki?

At the moment, losing him would be a big hit. It would be like…you’d go back several steps. And the level of organisation would become…everything would get quite wobbly. Who’s looking after this, what’s going on.

And you can’t really have just have one person step in. Because it’s skill set that he’s really grown over the last few years.

Um, and you know, we sort of complement each other. So I could just jump in, drop in, and say I’m going to organise this tournament, set all of this up, and make sure everybody is doing what they need to do. So we almost need somebody there to help build up the skill set.

And that’s why like I’m thankful for you guys running stuff, because you guys have an idea…

M: Igor (points at him).

Yeah, yeah. Even just people that are you know, guys are contributing and talking to everybody. That’s probably the…Couchwarriors for the first couple of years was really run by a group of friends. It’s really cool that people are coming in who we don’t know from somewhere else and are contributing.

So at the moment if we lost Loki, it’d be a big blow to the community, but hopefully over time we can sort of lessen the load a little bit and share it around.

I can’t even imagine how people like Ziggy and F.A.B. have been doing this for ten years and they’re finally moving on.

I think just recently this year or next year they’re like, okay we’re going to step down a little bit.

So props to those guys.

S: By the way, this is also one of the reasons why we’re interviewing Zan and Loki separately. Because you both guys do have different skill sets and I’d like to get the interview from different perspectives as well.


M: So do you guys need to start training an apprentice?

Heh. Apprentices.

M: Yeah. A young Padawan or…

We’ve always run by the principal that people will contribute what they can contribute. You can’t really make them [do stuff], it’s a volunteer thing, we don’t pay anybody. Like we had a big problem with getting the word around, and like our shitty website is just something that I knocked up lately.

So having Ali, and the TEC guys drop in and help with the graphics and stuff helps immensely. And it’s just a case of us getting lucky with who can do what. So yeah, we just need people who can do what Loki does and be passionate about it.

M: How does Loki do what he does? Does he remain so passionate, he’s married and he has a job…

Did you ask him? (Laughs)

S: Yes we did.

You did? What was his answer?

S: We’re interviewing you!

That’s true.

M: Okay, how do you do it?

I’m gonna be honest here. For the first few years, Couchwarriors was my “thing”. And when I say “thing”, it’s like this is what I’m doing when I’m not going out with my girlfriend or making time with…all that sort of stuff.

And so, it was a sort of…you could say creative outlet, except I’m not very creative. Yeah. And so I’d come, I’d do my stuff. Okay cool, and think about next month. That’s what I like doing.

And that’s part of the motivation. I’m single now, and that’s why I’m trying to build up my Street Fighter skills and experience the other side.

I’m sorry, what was the question?

I'm sorry for the shameless plug...

M: How do you maintain your passion for doing all this stuff?

I’ll admit I was a bit slack this year. But it’s always about once you actually get to the day and making sure it all runs well and seeing that everybody has a good time. It’s really about enjoying the community.

7. What do you think of the impact that SF4 has had on Couchwarriors?

It’s been phenomenal. What can I say, man.

I’ll tell you about our growth burst over our little history actually. So we started off with Melee Third Strike and Guilty Gear. And then Brawl came out in 2008, and that skyrocketed. And the community was like, bam, they were getting 50 people at their thing and new people all time. It went off the chain, and that was crazy. For then, you know, we had a smaller group of people.

So that kind of solidified into a core group for both games. So they’re doing their thing after that point. So we’re like, okay good.

Then, SF4 came out what last year, what was it? June last year? Something like that?

S:Yeah, 09.

Yeah. And we had a solid group of people that had been playing it in arcades and then there was an influx of new people as well. And we got a lot of people initially. But of course, there was also people that showed up and didn’t do too well, and they [go] oh they’re too dedicated. Maybe this isn’t for me. So that’s fine.

But yeah no, again it was phenomenal. It wasn’t the numbers that did it; it was the regular arcade crew who eventually, gradually came along.

S: The Box Hill gang.

Yeah, exactly. You know, having players of their calibre, and having Toxy and Naruga and basically everybody that typically plays these guys, has meant so much to us.

Because when we started Third Strike, the Third Strike doesn’t take PS2 too seriously, and we were really just having fun with it. For that to change in SF4 and to become the…I guess leading up to BAM which is like our annual fighting game thing, means a lot to us.

8. Where do you see CW in 3 to 5 years’ time?

With what we’re currently doing now, I don’t really foresee the monthly events getting much bigger. Hopefully we can raise enough money to make it a little more professional, we want to cater to players as best as we can. So if they have anything, we want feedback as well.

But the big focus now, for all communities involved not just Street Fighter, is to find ways to play outside of Couchwarriors.

Couchwarriors is once a month. Street Fighter’s doing it really well. To have a way that they can meet up, even if it’s with a few friends once a week or something like that. Or if they’re going to N2C in the city like I know Smash does.

Breaking it down into smaller groups and playing a lot, consistently, I think helps phenomenally. For everybody.

I’m saying phenomenally awfully a lot.

S: The way I sort of envision Couchwarriors, at least in my own view of the whole Melbourne community would be; Couchwarriors is basically the main ranbat, right? Which is once a month, first Saturday [of the month], everybody’s always here to sort off show off their stuff. And then we have Chris’s Club House every second and fourth Friday, and we have Deakin sort off as like the training [meetup] for the other three events a month where we sort of sit there and train, and sort off work up to Couchwarriors where you have your whole ranking system, battle points and so forth. So I think Couchwarriors has more of the; this is where you  how off your stuff. At least this is the way I think of the community.

Which is really interesting, because this time last year it was different. It was more like Couchwarriors is the casual place that you come to, because there’s such a broad range of skill in the players. And the serious thing was Box Hill, because that’s where all the hardcore players go. And the dynamic has changed obviously without having Arcade [Edition] yet. So it’ll be interesting to see whether that changes back to that with AE [coming out].

In general, we want to avoid saying, “This is the main one, this is the serious one.” Because each event has a different dynamic and they all contribute to the same thing which is the community, and everyone getting better.

Getting rid of the politics…talking to you in Sydney, I know you guys have it alright, so get rid of that shit. Just…everything is good. Just have as many events as possible without burning out, that’s the main thing.

M: Speaking of burning out, you know, Sydney has been doing weekly tournaments right? So you think that’s too much or?

They have it at GGS I think. As long as the organisers do it in a way that doesn’t lean too heavily on themselves, have it as many times as you want.

If it suits their schedule, if they can make it work and they get a lot of enjoyment out of it, and it’s not far out of their way, then fantastic.

M: Igor was mentioning earlier that the way things work now is that Couchwarriors is the ranbat. And then we have all our other weekly events. So you think that’s a good system, or the way Sydney does it, which is every week they have a tournament [is better.]

It really just depends of the logistics of it. And who can organise and all of that sort of stuff. If it works, it works. It’s all about consistency and just getting as many people as possible. So yeah.

9. So how do you feel about not having a broader console presence at CW as it was originally designed as a general console gaming event, not a fighting game event.

It was sort of like, you know, we want to be modular. We want to take communities in Melbourne and give them the proper venue from them to grow and become bigger. And our interest is fighting games, and we got the Smash crew in.

And it was sort of like; we asked the Halo guys to see what they want to do and all of that sort of stuff, and we had different groups come check us out in the first year, and I think they realised that we weren’t really for them. Because our format might not work.

Particularly with something like Halo or shooters or something like that you know, they need one console for every player sort of thing, which doesn’t work as well. Just a different dynamic. So I mean, I guess we’d still probably be open for collaborations with different gaming groups but we’re pretty much solidified as a fighting game event now. And that’s not gonna change.

M: So you’re fine with it just being fighting games for now? ‘Cause it’s pretty much…it’s a lot to handle already.

Yeah for sure. If a community came along, say they wanted to play I dunno…competitive Tetris players. Silly example but…

S: I dunno, Tetris DS is fairly competitive…

My ex-girlfriend nearly took out a championship at AVcon a couple years ago. It was fucking intense, it was awesome.

Zan at AVcon. From Shadowloo.

I’m only using it as an example because it’s portable gaming and it would be really easy to do. And a lot of people play it. So if someone wanted to start a community here, we wouldn’t turn around and say that’s not a fighting game, that wouldn’t work.

But we’re not really reaching out for other gaming groups either. Especially for our ranbats. Collaborating is good. But, yeah.

10.  M: Having said that, will there ever be a random game tournament at CW? Do you know what I’m talking about? Like you have a tournament where every round is like a different game?

I know that…I actually did something very similar to that in my first ever running of an event thing which was a Manifest gaming event. I got called in at the last minute, and I came up with some rubbish thing where you enter it and you go through different rounds and random games. And it was fun, don’t get me wrong.

It was perfect for that audience; it was basically sitting in a theatre and laughing your arse off. No one really knew what they were doing. But the spirit of Couchwarriors has gotten a lot more serious recently.

M: So you wouldn’t want to have that [at CW].

In the bar, I invested in a Rock Band kit, because I thought it would be fun for everybody and all that sort of stuff. Over time it was more…people would rather use the setup for playing. Because people come here to play fighting games.

S: Which year at Manifest, may I ask?

Oh actually, 2004? And Loki actually did the two events after. Two years after that. So he built up a lot of experience from the Manifest stuff.

M: Yeah. Because I was at Manifest this year, selling magazines. And I saw a lot of you guys from Couchwarriors at Manifest. So is there a strong connection between the anime clubs of Melbourne and the gaming clubs?

(Igor and Zan): Yes.

M: So tell me more about it. Since both of you guys [have a history with anime clubs].

This is why there is a Guilty Gear community. And it was only because of the first one where we held a Guilty Gear competition that we got players that weren’t out of our friend’s group. And built on it. So that’s cool for Guilty Gear.

I mean, this is where we got our organisational experience from before we started Couchwarriors. We had a vague liking of anime and we sort of got into those groups when we started Uni. But you know, eventually we’re like, we want to play more games and stuff and Manifest was like, we’re really just about anime.

So we were, oh fine. We’ll do our own thing. But yeah, if you want to say something…

S: I was going to say…it’s sort of interesting in Melbourne because a lot of the university anime clubs usually tend to have a lot of fighting game fans. Especially people who play like KOF, Street Fighter and so forth. Because I used to run the Geelong part of the Deakin anime club and we went up to Melbourne a couple of times and used to play a lot of 3S, a lot of KOF. When the Melbourne crew who were also involved in Manifest but then we broke ties. We don’t speak about the evil ones again.

It’s funny actually. Before we started Couchwarriors we actually had an event at Melbourne Uni. And we called it Fightcon 3000 or something ridiculous like that. And it was basically all of the anime clubs against each other in fighting games. It was cool. It was having crews really. We did Soul Caliber and we did Third Strike, Guilty Gear. Tekken was funny because Deakin were quite active in Tekken and then Melbourne Uni basically had no one except SAT (Akai Hikari) but you guys [might not know him]. He basically reverse OCVed them. Which they were quite bitter about.

M: So he did a Humanbomb to them.

Yeah exactly! I guess that’s the colloquialism now isn’t it.

M: He did a Humanbomb.

He did a Humanbomb.

M: Um damn. Damn Humanbomb. But anyway…so

11. M: Tell me a little bit about your perspective from wanting to get up there as a top player. All of us are at this [mediocre] level now.

Yeah, when people talk about it…like I mean, I listened to your podcast with Somniac, and especially listening to him [go] on about EVO and a bunch of other people talking about it…

Coming from the perspective of the armchair guy and you’re sitting there yelling at the screen, yelling at the commentators; ‘ah you’re idiots’. Oh ‘the coaches are doing the wrong’ thing. And you know…

S: Being the real Couch Warrior.

If I was there, I would have done that. Instead of this. I wouldn’t have lost, whatever. You know, harsh comments on YouTube.

Most people aren’t like this.

M: I think most people [commenting] on YouTube are (laughs).

My perspective of it is that I feel like I can contribute more to the community by being a better player. And it’s more of my interest as well. I always…I dunno I like to pick characters that aren’t used too much.

I know it’s a common thing. And I’m not particularly concerned about the tier unless they’re garbage. For example [SSF4] Makoto!

As long as they’re fun and I find them interesting and I feel like I really should be contributing more than just than [being] what do they call them? Pot monsters, I suppose.

I don’t want to be a Pot monster. I want to learn and grow with everybody else. And yeah, be a factor.

M: I’ve been one for two years so…

Part of it was Third Strike. Third Strike was kind of…I won’t say painful but it sucked [for me]. Like I wasn’t playing regularly enough, it was the first game that I really got into because me and Loki played it together. And I hit a wall. Third Strike Makoto, I hit this real wall, and I basically just gave the game up.

And what happens is you move onto another game. It’s just what all pot monsters do. You move onto another game or you get depressed or you take a break for a while. Or you just stop and watch YouTube, all that sort of stuff.

And I don’t want to do that anymore.

SF4 is a game that is…good enough. And the community is really, really good. So, there’s sort of everybody [on] different levels. There’s people that are up and coming. Muttons and Spoonys and you know, all that sort of thing. And there’s the good players. And you know.

It’s all about catching up with the good players, forcing them to come up with new shit as well.

12. M: You tend to pick up a new character every four months or so in the games you play such as SSF4 and BB. Why is that?

That’s probably a little bit rough, actually. When I find a character that I really like, or a game that I really like, I tend to stick with it.

In Guilty Gear, I nearly played Faust for the whole life of it. Yeah, I plateaued in that game but at the time the community was waning a bit so picking up a new character was a way to keeping interest [in the game]. But yeah with SF4 it was more just experimenting. I tried Blanka…erhhh Blanka. I played Blanka because I got [results] with Blanka. I never really liked Blanka. No one really likes Blanka unless they hate people. Which is fine. Trolling people is awesome to some people.

M: Well…I have a story about Blanka about one of my teammates for the team tournament at [BAM]. He was choosing his characters and I said, if you want to win, and not invest a lot [of time] in the game, pick…

Pick Blanka. Yeah. Blanka punishes you for all your inadequacies.

M: He didn’t really like Blanka as well, he wanted to play Sakura and Cammy…But those characters were kinda out of his league as a casual gamer.

Sure definitely.

S: Very execution-heavy characters.

I think we’re seeing a lot of that with characters like Bison in Super. Yeah, for sure.

But yeah, I was just experimenting and I was playing characters where I liked the design of them but I wasn’t investing enough to actually [master them]. I really like Sim. I’m really glad that Cactus is around, because we need a Sim in Melbourne.

M: So why don’t you play Sim.

I did start learning Sim. If there was no Makoto, I would’ve kept sticking to Sim. And somewhere along the line there I saw Rose, and I started to get an  idea of the way she played and I liked it. So I picked her.

And the orbs…are really cheap. So I stuck with it!

M: (Laughs) Okay, okay. So, you’ve talked about this a little bit just now that it’s really cool to see Spoony and Cactus doing well. Would you like to see a top 8 filled with Couchwarriors staff?


M: Yeah, like you and Loki and Spoony all make top 8.

It’s kind of like…uh. It’ll be cool to go in and say yeah, I want to see all my friends crush all those other guys. But the truth is, you want to see people who put in the effort win.

Loki, as much as I love him, finds it really hard to find time to actually practice outside of coming to Couchwarriors. So while I want to see him do well, I wouldn’t just say, oh, you’re gonna beat Toxy or somebody…Yeah yeah I live out that fantasy in my head, but that’s too easy, whatever.

13. M: Yeah okay, cool. Why do you like slide moves so much?

(Extremely enthusiastically) Why do I like slide moves so much!

It’s so true! I love Rose’s slide. And part of Sim’s game; his slide…sliding instead of dashing with Sim is really quite awesome.

It’s cool, like coming from Guilty Gear actually, Guilty Gear has characters that have much more active frames in their moves than Street Fighter. It’s cool to be able to stick a long active framed move that actually pushes you forward. I think it’s part of scrub gameplay where it’s easy to sort of push out a blockstring, like Toxy was talking about it, and then you just push them out, and they were just holding down back and you’ve lost an opportunity where you were being aggressive. I mean that’s part of it. It’s part of scrub mentality.

Like Rose has things that get her back in. The slide is really cool because you have to distance it right. You have to distance everything with her right. And that’s part of what I find fundamentally cool with her. And that’s what I want to improve on. So yeah.

M: So would you ever pick a character that doesn’t have a slide? Gotta have a slide?

Makoto doesn’t have a slide.

M: Oh that’s true, yeah.

Makoto is…I almost feel like I have to get to a level where I have to be at a certain level to even bother trying with her. It’s almost [not] doing her justice really. Because she’s probably my favourite character in sort of the Street Fighter… mythos. I dunno.

S: Franchise.

Franchise. Yeah.

M: So Makoto’s your favourite character out of the entire Street Fighter franchise? Why is that? The design, or the story or?

Oh, Third Strike, it’s all about the character design. Don’t really…yeah Street Fighter who cares about the story.

I think I fell in love with her after watching a J video. J is a Japanese player. There’s one particular famous video where he basically perfects Kokujin, like almost double perfect.

And I didn’t understand what was going on at the time. Like I played Third Strike before at that point, hadn’t watched any videos. I had a scrubby friend who just pick the unblockable Super. Where she can’t block. [I just thought], what the hell is the point of this character?

And then I really started to see it. And she’s such a unique design in the way she spaces. A little bit of that, well, a lot of that is lost in SF4 unfortunately.

M: Yeah, that’s kind of a shame.

Mm. She’s just a really aggressive character and there’s room for a fair bit of creativity in there in Third Strike so.

M: Okay. Is there such a thing where you know where you first, your first glimmer of…I dunno like when some people watch Daigo play Ryu and that was the first time they went wow [about something in SF], and they kind of stick with Ryu for the rest of their life…

I guess with Makoto, because I’m such a stream monster, pot monster, whatever. The first video that ever really wowed for SF4 would’ve been the national championship between Iyo versus RF. Because I’ve never seen a Sim play that well before.

Most people, they want to see combos or something like that. But spacing, that particular fight where it came to Iyo being incredibly knowledgeable and shutting down a Sagat who was…he was RF who I have the utmost respect for this player of coming from another game where he [had] incredible knowledge of the game. Even though I didn’t understand Sagat as well as I did Faust back from Guilty Gear, [he’s] obviously a really good player. And just seeing him trying things like Kara uppercuts like half screen just to see if he could just break through. He just broke their mind and you could see it in their gameplay and that’s pretty much why I like Sim you know. What people consider the most boring fights are always the interesting to me it seems.

M: Personally one of the reasons I fell in love with Street Fighter was…I’m also a stream monster, I watch a ton of videos. And before the console version came out all I did was watch videos of Japanese arcades and things like that. And hearing about all these famous players and the legend of B3 and Alex Valle and Choi and SoCal and NorCal, all that was really a big factor of me falling in love with Street Fighter. And it’s kinda cool down here in Australia, you’ve watched Iyo and RF and all these…

I suppose you might call it the celebrity aspect…

M: Not the celebrity aspect, but the legendary aspect. The legends of the scene.

I mean, sports celebrities are always legends you know.

M: Yeah that’s true.

Yeah, everybody has a sort of favourite and it all comes down to that. And you see players and you want to emulate them and you respect them, all that sort of stuff. That’s something that the American scene has done really well with Street Fighter.

And you know, you watch EVO and then you see a player like Gamerbee come out of nowhere with that low-tier character it’s like, that’s what I want for Australia. We need our Gamerbee, you know. There’s a bit of that.

14. M: Who’s your favourite player in the world right now?

Probably Arturo.

M: Arturo? Your favourite player’s Arturo? Nice.

Yeah, yeah. It’s all about personality. I won’t even say that I respect his gameplay the most. I really like the way he plays. I love his Sim, I love his Rose. I think me picking up Rose is more to do with him than any other player I’ve seen play.

M: Oh okay. Not Luffy or anyone else?

No no. I have the utmost respect for Luffy, but that was back in… you know he made his name back in [vanilla] when she was dirt tier. Big respect to him…but at the same time I wasn’t really paying much attention [to the game]. So yeah. What can I say about Arturo.

He’s human as well? (Laughs.)

He really made his name when he beat Daigo in the EVO 2009 [moneymatch], he was the only one that beat Daigo properly.

M: Actually Ryan Hart beat him in a money match that year as well. It’s just that no one publicised it. Like, Arturo and Gootecks made a big deal about it, there was a thread on SRK and…

Well he carries a lot of hype with it. And he’s not even you know…he has a really human execution. He said it himself; if Arturo can do it, anybody can do it.

But he’s still an immensely good player and he’s just…I love it when he’s jumping on the stream and he’s talking shit as well and…He’s pretty well rounded in all aspects of a top player.

Did you see…uh when you think about the latest Season’s Beatings, you think of his fight versus Daigo. There was a fair bit of salt in that tournament, but seeing him get hit by the full screen super, and his hands went over his head and he’s like Holy Shit.

Utmost respect.

M: What did you think of James Chen doing his “Are you serious? Seriously??”

(Laughs.) I have to admit I actually work on the weekends, and I was really to say that I didn’t get to see the whole thing live. So I was actually reading NeoGaf at work because the stream was blocked.

All I’m seeing, is a full page of people repeating; are you serious? What’s happening? What’s happening?

And I’m reading it and I’m following all this hype…in text.

Which is partially really sad and partially (indecipherable). Yeah, this tournament is nuts.

M: What do you feel when like your friends call you and you’re like, “Oh I’m staying at home and watching this Street Fighter Stream.”

I wish I could! They call me up; what are you doing? And I’m like, oh I’m at work wishing I was home watching a Street Fighter stream.

I mean, everybody knows what I do well by now. Everybody knows…actually I will say this. People see me as sort of like the “games guy”. And when they see a game that they’re interested in, or they want to talk about games, and they’ll say to me; have you played this game? And I’ll go, no actually. They expect me to know stuff about games in general.

I play games, so they’ll go, how was the new Transformers game or something. It’s not a terrible stigma to have; they’re good-natured about it.

M: Have you felt this weird thing before that…I have friends who are gamers as well. And when I see them, they’re like, so are you STILL playing Street Fighter? And they go on to talk about Call of Duty and WoW and the games that mean something to them? And they can’t understand why I’d…

Why you’d still be playing that same game. There’s more games out there go and play them! No…Um..

M: They’re like, go play Starcraft 2…

S: There are games, and there are fighting games. And that’s the difference.

M: Yeah, but how do I understand it to people?

I’ve kind of been lucky in that…well I won’t say lucky but my friends have been from different groups have sort of been involved in things. Like say the old Manifest friends group and even going as far back as college, they got really into CS.

Most of my friends, even if they’re not hardcore gamers, they at least understand people that do it. So, when I tell people I only really play fighting games, but occasionally I’ll venture into good RPGs or something like that and have fun with it. But after a while they kind of get used to it. Oh okay he’s just different.

M: Okay. The strange thing that happens is that a lot of them, they’re not really enthusiastic about fighting games BUT they know who Daigo is.


M: Which is really strange right?

Everyone’s seen the EVO moment. I actually do a games course at Swinburne at the moment. Which is cool. [We] get to do all sorts of silly stuff.

So for my media subjects I did a speech about Street Fighter, really.

M: Okay, cool.

And I showed the Daigo clip in class. And people stood up! And they were like, I’ve seen this! My friend showed me this.

Or the males, anyway. Unfortunately there was only like four of them and the rest were girls. So.

Basically everybody who has played some fighting games and seen anything about it on YouTube has probably seen the Daigo moment.

And they understand that, and you kind of go, this sort of feeds into why I love these games.

M: Yeah when I saw that video I was more excited about the crowd’s reaction rather than…

It really is about the crowd’s reaction. You don’t even have to understand what’s going on. It’s just about the crowd going nuts. And yeah, you don’t really have to even appreciate the sort of what’s happening in the game.

M: Yeah, exactly.

S: There’s that aspect. But it’s also I think the man versus man idea. With most other multiplayer games you usually play in a team. It’s usually team based. This way it’s similar to tennis, where you have one guy versus one guy and it’s basically a show of skills. And you have nobody to blame but yourself when you lose or you win.

That’s a big appeal too, for certain.

S: Yeah I guess for example in Quake 3 they do have one versus one matches, but the predominant type is either team-based strategy and team-based maps rather than one versus one.

I think it contributes a lot to player personalities a lot more, [what] fighting games does. It lends itself so much more to an audience. You can see what both players are doing on the screen. And it’s more difficult to follow a first-person shooter. And they’re playing the same characters, I guess you could sort of say it that way, and they don’t have that sort of individual aspect to them [of] playing different characters.

M: It’s interesting that you just said that it’s harder to follow a [shooter]. But shooters are more popular than fighting games right? They competitions have more money and…

It’s all about the money for one, but it’s all about…there’s just so many more people that play shooters up until recently.

M: My question is; is it more important for a game to be more spectator-friendly or is it more important for it to have more people playing the game? You could say the way fighting games are designed that they draw a certain personality of people? And maybe that’s why fighting games will never be as big as shooters or strategy games because I dunno, because it just doesn’t appeal to a big demographic of people. So it might be spectator friendly, but I dunno. Does it matter as much as the number of people that play the games?

S: I think SSF4 or SF4 has sort of brought that back. Where you can be a spectator and you can still see and sort of understand things. With Third Strike because there are so many levels, it’s such a deep game, with parrying, supers and option selects and a whole bunch of other things. It’s just the…when you look at it, you don’t really understand how hard it is to parry a Super.

I actually don’t…I’m not sure that I agree that it’s a deeper game actually. I think with parry there’s a lot more option selects and there’s a lot more stuff going on that people might not necessarily see. But Third Strike has it’s very strange flow because of parry.

Flow can change, (snaps fingers) like that.

It’s more difficult for people to follow that don’t understand the game well. Like, I like to compare Soul Caliber to Street Fighter actually in this aspect.

Soul Caliber I think might actually be the most popular game as far as sales go for fighting games. I’m not 100% sure on that, but I think they might have sold more than Street Fighter, Soul Caliber 4 over Street Fighter 4.[Zan’s note: I might’ve actually been wrong about this]

In that respect, Soul Caliber 4 is like the netball of fighting games. It has the most people playing it casually, and that’s true of netball basically, that’s where the analogy comes from. But understanding the flow of the game for somebody who’s just a casual player watching a good player play, is really difficult.

You don’t understand properties of moves to the point where you are saying; why are they doing that? And you do a string or something, you don’t understand who’s at advantage or disadvantage of why they do things. With Tekken, it gets a little simpler because [of] the combos and off the ground stuff, and fights feel a lot more one-sided a lot of the time.

But anyway, coming back to Street Fighter, it’s so easy to see who is doing what. You only have to play the game, you only have to understand; I know what a dragon punch does. I know that this move is what they do, and that’s like a panic button or whatever you do.

And you understand how the game plays, and that’s how they get wrapped in the personalities and that’s how they get wrapped up in their favourite characters or whatever you like.

M: Okay. But I mean that’s my point; I agree with you that Street Fighter is such a spectacle to watch, but at the same time, you kind of need a stick to play. Whereas anybody who has a mouse and a computer can play a shooter.

I disagree with that, actually.

M: Okay, cool.

I think that you can play pad. All of the guys who have been playing Guilty Gear, most of them started with pad. It was actually me and Loki and those guys who brought sticks into Couchwarriors and brought that whole thing in.

M: Okay, let me rephrase that. To play a fighting game, you need a console or like a kind of investment. But with other games like Warcraft or a shooter, you just need a PC! Right? Everyone has a PC.

S: (Chuckles) Yeah, but the question is whether you have a PC that can actually run the game.

M: Okay fair enough.

I don’t know about popularity…

S: What will I probably say is that it is easier to master a shooter than it is a fighting game.

M: Really, you think so?

S: The basics of a shooter are a lot easier because you have to basically know movement, prediction and sort of zoning to a certain respect.

There’s no concept of something like training in a shooter.

S: There is but it’s not as deep as Street Fighter. Coming from a Quake 3, Team Fortress 2 background where I used to be in a lot [of time]. You have to know how to bunny hop properly. There are certain tactics like rocket jumping in certain places. For example in Quake 3 you can do like plasma wall running. They’re fairly difficult techniques to do but they’re nowhere near as hard as for example as doing Dee Jay’s EX Machine Gun Upper dash Ultra 2.

M: Are you saying that Street Fighter requires more time training by yourself?

S: It’s basically…Street Fighter is a very hard game to master. Unlike the…

You’re just talking about technically…

S: Technically. From a technical aspect, yes.

There’s more inputs [to learn].

S: And it’s not just that. In first person shooters, there are no matchups. I mean, there are to a certain extent, like say for Team Fortress2 where you have classes. But predominantly in first person shooters you don’t really have too many matchups like you do have in Street Fighter. Street Fighter takes a long  more to learn, and a lot more time investment in the long run just to get even mediocre at it.

M: Yeah I agree.

I actually, sorry just to butt in. But a really big factor to this is that single-player gets people into multi-player when it comes to…You’re not so much learning to play a game; obviously single-player is garbage for learning multi-player for a particular game, but you’re learning the control system? That’s the big thing.

You look at the latest rage is, well it’s been around for a while. But console FPS, games like Goldeneye and Halo that taught the control system before they started.

There’s no single player for fighting games; it doesn’t happen. You have to start with that passion, you have to start with the hunger to get better before you even know what you’re doing.

M: So you need a pre-investment. Okay, that makes sense.

15. S: So any last thoughts about CW?

As an organiser?

If anyone wants to contribute or has any feedback, please let us know. If you think that you have something to offer us or something that you want to do, let us know. And we’ll be back next year, probably end of February, early March.

S:February 12th! February 12th!

M: He wants a February ranbat.

Ah okay.

S: It’s my birthday.

(Mutton and Zan) Ahhhh!

Fair enough.

M: That means you (Igor) can run the CW on that day!

February 12th sounds like the hot time, you know. There’ll be a heatwave in Melbourne, and we’ll all be like; damn you Igor!

M: We’ll do it online. Online Couchwarriors.

S: With the Ali’s streaming and stuff I was thinking we could probably do an online tournament.

M: Yeah but all you bastards are on Xbox.

I actually want to talk about it now that you bring it up.

I hate (smacks the table) [the PS3/Xbox divide]. It was so much earlier in the days of PS2 domination because you could just [go] that’s the platform.

Unless you’re a Marvel player…who cares about Marvel. That’s like a Sydney Queensland thing. Screw those guys! I don’t care.

M: Say that a second time! Nah just kidding.

(Laughs) Ah, it’s recorded, it’s too late. Don’t need to say it.

But yeah it’s such a nightmare with PS3. We started out PS3 because that’s what we had, and half the organisers played Blazblue as well and we wanted to import that. It was easier for sticks.

And then there’s a preference for 360, and then when you go and play online, half the community’s on this side, half the community on that side. We’re a small community.

You watch Gootecks’ Cross Counter right, and you see them random into player matches and pfftt. List of stuff. You know.

Whereas with us it’s like, oh there’s a player. Let’s play.

S: On any given night mate you’d be lucky to get maybe 3, 4 endless [battles].

Right. Like I’d be playing in ranked for example. I’ve just started playing online so I’m getting up my ranked points, getting my rep up.

And yeah, I’ll find that I’ll be playing the same five people. Over three or four hours, something like that. No problem with that, but think how much cooler it was if the whole pool [of players] were in one [console].

M: Think how much cooler it would be if we could get a connection to Japan!

S: Come on broadband!

Come on NBN! Hurry up.

S: I was watching Godsgarden and they basically do next and they get an entire list of people playing every night! And they’re just doing Godsgarden online ranked.

M: It’s insane.

It is.

16. M: Does it annoy you how there aren’t any Lan or Gaming Centers which have consoles there to rock up and use like Sydney’s GoodGames?

Yeah it does actually. It grinds my gears!

M: (Laughs)All these questions come from Spoony so yeah…

Naw it’s alright, I understand. With the sizable like N2C, they should really should be catering [to that]. I went and talked to Adrenaline because they had the console setup.

This is the mob off Bourke Street. And they sort of converted to a store. And their attitude towards it was basically, ah well we have them in their own setups and you couldn’t really change controllers. And we shut at 6 and all that sort of stuff and they don’t see the point of it.

And you’re kinda like; well look at what we’re doing here [at CW]. Look at what we’re doing over… and we could be giving people business, and saving ourselves so much trouble bringing our own stuff.

M: Yeah exactly.

There is a real culture surrounding this.

But I will say this. Manabar is opening in Melbourne in…

M: Where is it?

It’s on the corner of Brunswick Street and Johnston Street? Something like that.

M: So it’s in Brunswick? it Brunswick? It’s Fitzroy actually. There’s no official date for it opening yet. But we’re really looking forward to it. Because I reckon we might be running a few events there. Nothing official yet, just saying.

And we’re really hoping that that venue works for us well. Because we really want to foster a sort of walk-in community. What you sort of miss in getting to things like CCH is that whole sort of walk-in aspect. You have to know beforehand.

So pulling people off the street, and even if there are people who don’t play who are regulars there as well get to know people. Then that helps so much.

That’s something that the N2Cs and the Lan cafe groups really should be doing.

M: Yeah. Because for anyone to rock up to CCH or Deakin they need to go to Ozhadou and find out it right? So there’s no way for us to get like random guys off the street. Like this guy could be the next Toxy and he’s walking on the street and he has no idea that we exist.

Or the convent you know. People stick their heads in, but they’re like Moms and stuff. Going to the little zoo across the road or whatever!

Not our demographic.

17.  M: Do you get salty when you lose in Street Fighter?


M: How do you deal with it. What do you eat to get rid of the saltiness?

What do I react? I actually think it’s a problem. Different people react differently. Everybody gets salty to an extent, but I at times either get depressed or sad or something crap like that.

Not real depression, but just like; oh damn. Oh well.

Or I just sort of go; it’s okay. That person is better than me.

And both attitudes I realise don’t really help much.

Any good player will tell you that you need to sit down and think about what you did wrong. What you can do better. Or maybe get angry or something like that. “I want to go and practice” or something.

So in this case yeah, I do it wrong. And I want to do it right.

18. M: Who’s your favourite commentator?


M: Arturo Sanchez?

I like Arturo as a player who can get on the mic as well, but he’s not a commentator.


My favourite commentator by far would be Rockefeller from the Third Strike videos.

M: Ohh yes.

Did you actually go and listen to any of it?

M:Yeah, yeah.

Okay cool. Um what can I say about him. He’s the guy that made me want to watch commentated games. Not just fighting games, general games.

Sometimes I get interested in things; like I went a while back and watched a game of DOTA commentary just to see what it was like.

And I watch more fuckin’ Starcraft 2 than I do actually play it.

But Rockefeller… he gave names to people. I know about Gootecks because of Rockefeller. I know about 5 Star and Arlieth. And all of the crew that played at Family Fun arcade.

And yeah he’s crass and unfortunately he wouldn’t work in a professional environment because of the content. But he just brings so much hype and personality to everything that he does.

There was a point there when we were…some of the Guilty Gear players were watching Third Strike stuff though they didn’t play it. And like that was getting them way out their zone just to listen to this person. Like wow, that’s fantastic but…

M: Just for Rockefeller.

Just for Rockefeller!

S: Dr Sub-Zero is awesome.

M: Yeah he is awesome. Have you guys watched the new Dogface show with Dr Sub-Zero?

I have! I’m not sure what’s going on there. He looks like he’s trying to recover from something. From a drug addiction or something. I don’t know man!

Rock is awesome, and I want to see him come back, but he looked like he was off his game there a little bit.

M: Oh okay. Maybe he was like…something’s going on at the same time.

Yeaahh. I don’t know.

M: Speaking of Rockefeller, what do you think of Dogface? The show?

Dogface is fantastic. I love his little “who would win out of this person and this person”, all that sort of stuff.

Like everybody, I wish he was a bit more regular. But yeah, he’s fantastic.

And the best thing that I love about Dogface is that he is one of the people that everybody knows about that knows us.

And when I say he knows us, he was an X-men versus Street Fighter player right?

M: He knows Toxy right?

And he’s in love with Toxy (Laughs). And because of that, I think he was one of the people that got really excited when he went out for EVO a couple of years ago.

S: 2008 or something.

Something like that. So yeah, he’s a big win in my book. He gets my thumbs up.

S: Plus he also mentioned Toxy in one of Gooteck’s earlier podcasts.

M: Yeah, yeah he did.

You know your history man!

M: And he made fun of Australia as well. Back to the Future just came out here.

Yeah, but I mean the Dogface show is kind of like what I would really like to see…what a podcast in Melbourne to be like. You know what I mean?

Like a video show with…but who do we have that has the personality of Dogface that can pull it off?

S: I reckon Heavy could do it.

M: Heavy Weapons?

I dunno, he might end up trolling!

S: Actually no, Heavy would be more like Dr Sub-Zero I reckon.

Yeah maybe.

S: Actually Julian could do it. Master Slorp.

M: Yeah? He could do a Dogface imitation?

S: He could do it. Oh yeah. He could do it.

Call out to the whole of Australia, we’re looking for you guys.

S: Yeah, we’re looking for the next Australian Dogface.

M: Yeah! I can’t do it, I can barely talk. But yeah okay…

19. M: Last thoughts?

Last thoughts? Level up, Australia. I am right there with you, I am in the bowels of mediocrity with the rest of you. Try to claw my way out, come with me (laughs).

M: Shoutouts?

Shoutouts to Loki for being there the whole way. He’s the guy…yeah fantastic. Shoutouts to all of the people that have helped out that aren’t really part of the community. Shoutouts to Jess. Shoutouts to Rhett (Onyxx) who has basically just started his journey in Street Fighter. He’s been with us the whole way, but he’s never really picked fighting games up. And he is competitive, he was in a MUHA Clan from the Counterstrike days, so he was really a hardcore gamer yeah.

Onyxx hard at work at BAM! From Shadowloo.

M: Nice. So he has the reflexes for Street Fighter.

Yeah hopefully. Shoutouts to Tim, Batasan for organising the money and generally organising all that shit. If it had been me I would have lost it the cash…and blown it on hookers or whatever all that sort of stuff.

Shoutouts to Ziggy and F.A.B. for basically starting the whole thing. And Sydney. And yeah. Any organisers, anybody that stands up and says; I want to see the scene get better. Shoutouts to whoever organises a Queensland yearly/ annual.

Make it fucking happen guys, I want an excuse to come to Brisbane.

M: Nice.

S: Indeed.

Shoutouts to the AVcon crew. They’re basically a smaller community who is trying to make it as well. They’re doing their little weekly thing that’s sort of equivalent to Couchwarriors.

Avcon was really trying, I know there was some complaints this year. There’s flaws and stuff but they really want  break into the Street Fighter thing and make a name for Adelaide.

We’ll [can] bag Adelaide but they’re standing up. They beat plenty of Melbourne people, we showed with something like 15 Melbourne players and they ended up taking it [their tournament]. So props to you guys at AVcon.

S: Also, I think it’s one of Australia’s oldest anime festivals as well.

Nah. Not really.

The oldest one is actually Manifest or was it something before Manifest? I dunno.

S: Okay, let’s not count the Manifest barbeque days.

Heh. I dunno. AVcon is the coolest convention in Australia. I would say that. Just because the guys are rad. The quiz night was cool when it was smaller but you know, yeah. Rock on guys.

M: You guys gotta introduce me to all these things. I have no idea about the anime scene in Australia.

S: Oh, it’s pretty big.

I think that AVcon is the one that we go to every year. And it’s the only one that I feel like travelling for. Um, Adelaide as a city, yeah you know.

If you want to live there, it’s probably not as cool as Melbourne…sorry Adelaide guys.

M: Ouch.

But for a weekend, and you just walk around the city and all the restaurants are pretty much in one area and there’s a fucking 24-hour pancake place that I love. It rocks.

S: So what you’re telling us is; nice place to visit, horrible place to live?

I’ve never lived there, I can’t speak for…I shouldn’t say

M: Oh man. Oh wait wait,

20. M: How did you get the name Zan?

Ohh this is the lamest story! You had to ask me this.

M: I forgot, sorry.

No it’s okay. Back in my teenage years, I decided on Bloodshot to be my call thing for playing shooters. And I’d play it up in college, and I’d get really horribly drunk during serious games. And l changed my name to Eyesore or Blind.

And anyway, I’m basically like this is getting a bit silly. I think I named myself unintentionally after a really third-rate Marvel superhero or something and I found out later.


I was playing Final Fantasy 8, and I saw Zantetsuken. And I’m like; hey that’s a cool word. And I picked that. And then I shortened it to Zan because I’m like; okay that’s actually really unwieldy and geeky and lame.

And then everybody started calling me Zan, and by the time it felt like maybe I should change it to something else, it stuck.

And I think I showed up to OHN the first year and they would call out Z-un. And I’m like Zun?

And I’m like, oh it’s asian! I’m like, of course it’s asian. Fucking…damn. I don’t even recognise my own name.

S: I love it.

M: Isn’t it kind of disgusting when you pick your gamer name when you’re 16, and when you’re 25, you’re like damn. Why did I do that.

It’s even worse because I changed my name when I moved down to Melbourne and I still stuffed up!

But what are you gonna do. So yeah.

I think that Smash boards are the only place left where it actually says Zantetsuken and everything else I mentioned.

So this is going back as far as 2003 or something.

M: Very nice. Okay rantouts, things that you wanna complain…oh okay what do you say to a player when he comes up to you and says “This screen is lagging.” As a organiser, what do you say?

Oh. The laggy things are a nightmare. Shoutouts to all of you guys who have done your homework when it comes to laggy screens. And generally just making things as perfect as possible for arcade players who are understandably really fussy.

But for those who follow SRK’s HD-TV thread, I feel your pain. I followed it for something like two years and I did what I could in my own testing which was a little bit limited, unfortunately.

Because it’s really tough to do what you can do. Part of the reason that I bought Rock band was for the live test. No shit.

So when I’ve done my homework, and I feel like we’ve got to a point where we have great confidence and somebody turns around and they lose. And they complain, they like, oh something’s wrong with the screen lagging or I don’t like the stick.

The stick is…[I provide] a stick and people play them and they’re like ohh no. But I understand but if you don’t like it, if you don’t like people’s sticks, bring your own. That’s all I can say about that.

With the screens though, you don’t know. If people are gonna complain about it after they lose, it’s really not enough. I understand that people feel out of their element if they’re not used to playing the way they were. But it’s a hundred different factors. They could just be playing poorly or slightly differently conditioned.

And the whole PS3 versus Xbox was a real nightmare. ‘Cause people complained about it, and there was no proof for so long. And it eventually came out that Xbox is like one frame faster.

M: Yeah I Hate that.

S: I thought it was 2 frames?

I heard 2 as well. Yeah.

M: But I mean I would rather not know about it and just be blissfully ignorant and play with my execution. Now that I know about it, it’s like always in my head when I switch consoles.

It’s a psyche-out thing. That’s the big problem that I have about it. If people are telling themselves that they’re something wrong about the setup, they’re not concentrating on their game and they lose. It’s kind of the chicken and egg thing, you know?

M: Yeah exactly. I wish I didn’t know about it.

So, anybody out there who has any problems with the setups and stuff, we’re trying really hard. If you can do your homework and find out more…

S: I think the monitors are the…Benq G24 series? I think they’re basically almost lagless. I can honestly say. Because I play perfectly on a CRT and I switched to one of those monitors and my inputs are exactly the same and everything is working correctly.

And then we had I think on Ozhadou, was it Ero_Oyaji? He bought one of those, and he had no confidence in them whatsoever. So, you know, I’m not good enough a player to turn around and say; just deal with it because it’s your fault. [Zan’s note: Later realised that he actually he tried the E series, so I was wrong.]

It’s really…it’s all about legitimacy actually. Everyone talks about the EVO monitor as the monitor to get in the states. And the testing done for that wasn’t really…you know it was nothing special.

But it was the fact that it was one of the Cannon Brothers that did the testing that put the confidence in it. And they tested it with some good players, and everyone went okay, this is lagless.

The truth is, there are tons of monitors out there that are as good as that monitor. The Asus 236H I think it is? That’s how much I followed the [SRK thread], I know the model number of the thing.

And we can’t even buy the fucking thing here. It’s just all about confidence in the equipment and I’d like to see more of that. Part of it is the companies’ fault. I wish there was more investment in gaming. But unfortunately it seems to be mainly fighting game players or rhythm game players, who actually notice. And rhythm games can compensate.

S: But the reason why that is is because you need split-second reactions. We’re talking one to two frames reaction times.

I think in most of the game you don’t actually even notice. When you’re doing one frame links and stuff, it’s all about your muscle memory. You’re not even paying attention to the screen. But there are certain things that you rely on visual cues so much.

I can’t imagine how hard it is for Exis. Being a Blanka player, doing like the crouching short short into Ultra. Because the Ultra…you have to…it can’t be a timing thing. Well maybe it is for some people. But the timing window is so large that you have to rely on your eye. And I can’t imagine how hard that must be to do that one frame link. Because you cannot plink that link.

M: Well you could if you had the select button…nah. (Laughs) The slink.

(Laughs) I don’t think you can plink it anyway. Don’t get me wrong.

M: Okay cool. So other than that, any other rantouts you wanna make?


S: Things that annoy you.

Rants, rants, rants, rants, rants, rants, rants, rants. Uhhh…

I’m sure there are plenty of other things but nothing’s coming to mind at the moment.

M: Okay.

People who that don’t pay entry when they come to Couchwarriors?

I hate coming around and pestering people; hey have you paid?

M: Okay, okay. So anything else you want to ask [Igor]?

S: No, I’ve got nothing.

M: Thanks very much Zan.

Thank you.

Take a look at James Chen’s great article as a addendum to our interview:

This entry was posted in Don't be a Scrub Podcast, Interviews, Melbourne, Ultra SFIV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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