Don’t be a Scrub Podcast Episode 8: Skullator

Hi guys, Spider Muttons Productions © 2010 is back with the eighth episode of the Don’t be a Scrub Podcast. This is the first of our last two Shadowloo Showdown interviews, and our focus in these two interviews will be our out-of-state visitors. Our aim here is to let our two guests talk about their local fighting game scenes and let more people know about their communities, not just Sydney/Melbourne in Australia.

Our guest today is Skullator, a top Chun Li player from New Zealand who made the trip over here to Melbourne for Shadowloo Showdown. Be sure to check out the New Zealand fighting game community over at NZism.

In this interview Skullator talks to Igor about his thoughts on Shadowloo Showdown, SSF4, the international guests, AE, the wonderful New Zealand community and Andre Agassi. The outro this time features “penpal”by Anamanaguchi and I hope you guys enjoy it!

Don’t be a Scrub Podcast Episode 8: Skullator

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Don’t be a Scrub Podcast Episode 8 Intro

Spidercarnage: Hi everyone! This is episode 8 of the Don’t be a Scrub Podcast. My name is Spidercarnage aka Verbosemute on Xbox Live. My interviewing partner is Mutton, aka muttonhead01 on PSN.

We’re going to be doing a bit of an intro for episode 8. So these past couple of weeks…we’ve been away for a little while, after the big three Shadowloo Showdown interviews. And we’re continuing with that today. With Mr Skull..

Muttonhead: Skullator.

So Mutton, we’ve had a few weeks off. So what have you been up to?

What have I been up to? I have been…urgh. Haven’t been doing that much.

Being a bum. Typing up all those transcripts.

Watching West Coast Warzone. How did you find West Coast Warzone?

West Coast Warzone was really good. I really enjoyed it. Actually for the first big tournament of the year, I was actually very impressed. It was quite fun.

Although I would say that the team…Double Elimination team tournament?

Urgh takes too fucking long. Way too long man! They were playing that team thing forever!

Although I was very surprised at the singles as well. I mean, two Abels. And Ricky Ortiz.

Yeah. I’m really happy to see Juicebox get top three. Because I’m a big fan of Juicebox and his podcast…shoutout to your podcast, when is it coming back?

Yeah he’s been doing a lot of Yang stuff. Yang and Yun as well.

Oh yeah, yeah.

The other thing…there was a couple of good highlights. JSmaster…the infamous finger from…

From Filipino Champ. Yep. Doing what he does best.

Spreading the love...From stevehwang.com

Updated with a fantastic video from crosscountertv (I love Combofiend’s face):

(Laughs.) I must really say, Chi-Rithy, really impressed with his Chun Li. Really, really good Chun Li.

And I really like Eric Hai’s Ryu as well. I think Team Canada really put on a show. Even though they didn’t place…did anyone place from Team Canada?

No, I don’t think so.

But they all did really well.

There’s Air, are we counting Air?

Oh yeah Air. Is Air Canadian?

Well when he was doing commentary on the stream, he said that he was from Canada, so I think he’s more Canadian now.

He’s Canadian/Hong Kong/Japanese.

Heh yeah.

Well, shoutouts to Air. The Last Ryu Standing. (Laughs.)

Ah I don’t know. There’s quite a few. Tokido’s been putting up a fair bit of Ryu footage as well. So.

Yeah… I’m just joking.

The next couple of weeks…the Street Fighter scene in Australia seems to be kicking off again.

Chris’ Club House is back on.

Yeah. The scene in Melbourne has changed quite a lot with the release of Arcade Edition.

Yeah, exactly. The last Chris’ Club House still had a fairly good turnout. It was good. And I’m pretty sure that this week should be…

This week should be pretty good.

That’s always good. And the Sydney Good Games Tournaments seem to be starting up again from what I read in IRC. We had a few things on which was good. It’s also good to take some time off after Shadowloo Showdown…it was quite busy so. And I think I guess we’ll have to start planning for OHN and EVO.

I have to say that I finally understand why after a major tournament…I always want to see the videos right away, I want to see the recaps right away. But I finally understand after a tournament…you’re just so tired, you can’t do anything else, you just want to sleep man.

Yeah definitely.

Yeah. So what was your favourite part of West Coast Warzone?

Well…I think my favourite would definitely be the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Moneymatch.

Neo vs. Clockwork.

Yeah, definitely. That was…I can’t play Marvel for shit. But I really just enjoy watching high level Marvel play.

I enjoyed it too even though I don’t know anything about Marvel.

I know the general basics and the strategy whatnot. I can’t play the game. I just don’t have the execution or the reflexes for it.

Watching that, that was just absolutely insane.

By the way, shoutouts to Iplaywinner for the stream. Okay, it’s actually far beyond their control. There was nothing they could do about it. But they’ve been copping a fair bit of shit for it. I think people just need to really back off. It’s really beyond their control. I’ve watched almost every Iplaywinner stream and it’s always been high quality.

It always been really good.

The other things we had in our community; we had an announcement a few weeks back. The first player to be sponsored in Australia, Toxy.

Not the first player…

Sorry, the first SSF4 player.

To be sponsored, yeah. By Traveling Circus, the same guys who sponsor Tokido!

And Tokido also gave him a shoutout and congratulated him and welcomed him to the team on his blog. It was good.

Yeah! It’s great news for Australia that one of us is finally sponsored by…

Looking forward to him actually travelling more overseas and see how much he is gonna level his game by playing all the US players. Because I think…he was already good in the US at the last EVO.

He beat Shizza (in a MM) and he did fairly well in moneymatches. But I think if he gets to play there  a lot more consistently, he’ll get even better. And then we can all wave bye-bye to Toxy. Because there’s no way we can ever catch to him!

Maybe Toxy will move to Socal just like Justin Wong. He’ll live in Marn’s house and James Chen’s house. And he’ll become a Kobe fan!

Fuck Kobe.

(Laughs.) I love your Lakers hatred.

So Spider, will you buy a Toxy T-shirt?

Been thinking about it, actually. I don’t know why. I already have enough T-shirts! (Laughs.)

If they had Toxy underwear, I’d buy some. Y’know.

I mean, Dave does good work. I would say that Dave is the famous guy from Australia in the Street Fighter scene right now. Boss Logic. Yeah.

Oh yeah, definitely.

Hell, I use his Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Dormammu as my fucking Windows background.

Dormammu?

Yeah.

Oh. I would’ve…picked a chick. But.

I got enough of that.

I love that Dormammu thing. It’s so good!

By Boss Logic

Ah, alright. Okay.

Toxy, put out an underwear series, y’ know. A singlet. Boxers. I’d wear that shit.

With a toxic sign over the front. My crotch area.

I’d probably will actually get one eventually.

So yo, next topic. What we’re talking about? That’s probably it right?

Toxy’s sponsorship was pretty big. I’m really glad he got it. I’m hoping that he gets to travel a lot more. And I think he’ll learn a lot more, if he does get to travel. And with that travelling a lot more will also come a lot more exposure of the Australian scene as well, which I think will be good. And from that, we’re also going to get…how can I put it.

He can also bring back some of the knowledge that he’s learned over there and apply it down here.

And we should also give props to Shadowloo for helping…

Oh yeah definitely. Getting the deal set up as well.

I think that’s just about going to wrap it up. This interview was taken at Shadowloo Showdown on Day 1. At the end of the day. And we interviewed Skullator, our New Zealand guest. We hope you enjoy the interview.

Skullator and Mago

Don’t be a Scrub Podcast Episode 8: Skullator

Spidercarnage: Alright, hello everyone. We’re just [done with] Day 1, end of Shadowloo Showdown. It’s sometime in the evening and I am here with one of our international guests.

He’s a New Zealander. Are you the only New Zealander here?

Skullator: There was one other. He was a Third Strike guy. I’m the only New Zealander [here] for Super Street Fighter 4.

And it’s Mr. Skullator. Did I pronounce that right?

Skullator. Well said.

Skullator. Sorry.

No no no, it’s almost…Skullator, Skulletor, Skullanator, whatever works. Whatever works.

The dude with the Skull in his name.

Alright cool.

1) How did you get into Street Fighter or Fighting games?

To be truthful, I guess I am the new school. In a sense that I was casual with a lot of games such as Third Strike, Marvel vs. Capcom 1 then 2. I was spectating online; streams, you know. Interesting streams for those sorts of games for a very long time. But I never took them seriously. I was very casual, in the sense that I just wasn’t very skilled.

But then, come Vanilla SF4 Japanese arcade release, I was so hype for a new fighting game to just begin when I was at a good age.

So immediately, as soon as it became possible online, you know, I was watching all the Vanilla arcade streams and all the previews of course before it was actually released and stuff. So I was getting hype for the game even before it was even available to me.

Then as soon as the Japanese players started putting out amazing videos, you know, you already have your favourite characters in your head before you even own a copy of the game or your country even has it.

So come SF4, I guess that was it for me. As soon as I bought that game, I already knew that I was gonna play it for the twenty years that say Super Turbo has already proved itself.

Because you can tell that SF4 is going to be a worthwhile timesink so to speak, y’know?

Yeah definitely. It seems to be…to me it seems like the new Super Turbo almost to a point. Where I think the game will live for quite a long time.

They’re doing such a good job of it as well. Them being Capcom, you know. Taking on board all the changes. You can just tell that they’re building it to last, so to speak.

Because SF4, you said it’s going to last for twenty years, or you think it’ll last for another twenty years. Do you think that games like SF X Tekken will eventually overshadow it as the main game that’s played on the stream, or the main event game?

I guess that is quite a concern of mine. Just in the sense that I am the guy who plays one fighting game you know. I’m not great at switching it up.

But I guess there’s two layers to that question in a sense. Am I hype for those games? Sure I am. Chun’s gonna be in SFxTekken you know. Two flavours of that game, I dunno but…

And MvC3 as well.

And MvC3, sure. And it’s, you know, a TvC clone and all these sorts of things and…

I am hype for these games. I really want to see the good in them. But the core of the question is; do I think it’s good?

…No. I really, really want to see Super as the main game for quite a while. I think that’s still entirely possible with these games coming through, in a sense that’s fundamentally built so well.

But I do get a little worried with these companies pushing out those amount of games…there’s a lot of money that goes into that sort of process. And I question the success of some of them, you know?

Like let’s say, one flavour of SFxTekken doesn’t go so well…that’s if Namco and Capcom are still pushing out their own ones. I think that would such a shame. In a sense that you know the company would then be salty about that game went and they’d take offense. And they wouldn’t make any more fighting games.

Like… I love it. I love it. And I really hope they do well. But who knows, really. How it’s all going to end up.

There is something that I was actually thinking about. There is always potential for oversaturation in the market. I mean, fighting games in general now…are becoming really, really popular.

But not just fighting games alone, video games are becoming quite hot.

I was speaking to Tokido a few days ago and he basically said the same thing. Video games are really in, and becoming more part of the pop culture, and just in general culture. Things like the Nintendo Wii. And a few of the other mainstream…the flash games, Farmville is huge.

It’s becoming more casual.

It’s becoming a lot more casual, yes. And when things usually become casual…things tend to usually…companies usually tend to print games out. Like the Guitar Hero series to me is one of the series where…Guitar Hero 1 and 2, especially Guitar Hero 2 was the one that really broke the mould. Guitar Hero 3 was huge. And then how many Guitar Hero games have they produced in the last two years? It’s insane.

It’s interesting that you should bring that up. Sure they’ve flooding Guitar Hero, you know. [I] absolutely agree.

And I mean, just in general terms, the casual thing? I’m a strong…non-fan let’s say of the whole casual, dumbing down thing. You know. Goldeneye. Best FPS (First Person Shooter) Modern Warfare 2. What is this?

I definitely see what you’re saying with that. But it’s funny that you should bring that up. Guitar Hero, in the sense that it’s a WCG game. And New Zealand has Mason (Massi4h) who is an Akuma player in their scene. And he is like, top 8 U.S.A. WCG. And sort of, first place [in] Oceania? WCG 2009 sort of thing?

He said to me; Guitar Hero 3- huge. Just like you said, it was the tournament standard so to speak. And a lot came out after it. And it was just garbage. Or something like that. I don’t know the reason why.

But then…

Because they’ve gotten a lot easier.

They’ve gotten a lot easier?

Yes. Believe it or not. Hard was not hard anymore. Hard was like medium. And then you had like expert, and then you had expert plus, I believe.

That’s definitely one way to kill your hardcore player base.

Oh yes, exactly. To bring us back to fighting games, we have now next year we have a lineup of MvC3. Tekken Tag 2. MK9.

And if we want these games…because Street Fighter…not Street Fighter, but fighting games in general are fairly hard to get into. And I think they should have a longer lifespan so people can actually discover everything. I don’t think you can just churn out a new game. This isn’t Call of Duty Black Ops, for example. You get a new Call of Duty game every six months to a year.

It’s…yeah. It’s one of those sorta things where I like to have two or three solid games. Or at least at have revisions to those games. Maybe Capcom did get it right, by having released Vanilla. Then a year and a bit later, Super.

Bit of a beta test.

Yeah. It’s like of a beta test. They’re sort of tweaking things a little. They added a few more characters. And now Arcade Edition I think might be the definitive version.

Hope so.

Box Hill Arcade. Skullator, Carnage and Akira.

I’m hoping it’s the definitive version. Then again, from what I’ve seen is; we had like World Warrior. Champion Edition. Turbo. That was the big one. Super. We had Super Turbo. And I think with Super Turbo there was two versions; Grandmaster’s challenge and actually ST. I know Grandmaster Challenge  or SFX was in Japan but it seems to me that they always go in threes.

Absolutely.

We had like X-men vs. Street Fighter. Marvel Superheroes versus Street Fighter. Marvel vs. Capcom 1. And then we got Marvel vs. Capcom 2. And they changed a few bits but you know Marvel vs. Capcom 1 was also very highly played.

So it seems to me that they go 3 and 4 to sort of get the right balance between the type of game [they want].

Good things take time.

Yeah exactly. They refine the process.

2) You main Chun in Vanilla and SSF4?

Yeah Chun’s the only one I ever picked, and taken seriously.

So why don’t you tell us a little about Chun, why you picked Chun…Because she wasn’t top tier in Vanilla.

She certainly wasn’t top-tier in Vanilla, no.

What it was, was when I was looking at these streams, you know. The first Chun to have any significance in the streaming world was Nuki. Ohnuki. Obvious Chun hero from many games before. But obviously, Third Strike.

Very successful Chun player in many other games. So I saw a lot of Ohnuki’s stuff among other greats, you know? Other good players who were good enough on these sorts of streams before the game had even hit console, you know?

Seeing them and seeing what they were doing. I was pretty much just assessing what characters I like the look of, you know?

And what it was for me was I saw…I had a basic understanding of charge motions and QCF before that sort of thing, right?

What did it for me was seeing Ohnuki land his first dash Hosenka or dash Ultra 1. On a stream. Before the game had even been console released. And that to me was just unreal.

In a sense that he’d developed…he was the first person to get dash Ultra in any of those sorts of characters right?

It just showed his level of skill, you know? There’s a skill cap with Chun Li was so high. In a sense that people were developing things due to charge leniency and dash timing and all that sort of stuff.

I really liked the skill cap that Nuki presented with things like dash Ultras and stuff. So I went straight for Chun as soon as she became available with New Zealand’s Vanilla arcade release which I think was about one month before Crown, Melbourne bought Vanilla arcade into the country.

That was Yifans Arcade, Auckland.

Great arcade, great scene. I think from there man, playing there and playing on console release and…just one character. You know, I think it’s that mentality. There are so many characters in the game. And the game changes depending on who you fight.

Fundamentally you’re playing a different game based on who your opponent picks.

The matchups to me are what governs the game.

So I’ve always thought from that point on when I just…Chun, Chun, Chun. Chun, Chun, Chun, Chun, Chun.

Every single game, Chun.

From that point on, I’ve sort of second guessed ever picking another character. Or even messing with another character. In a sense that I knew, my spacing would be off. My timing would break. Links would be more difficult to land if I ever jumped back to Chun. Where’d I do a stupid Ryu DP mash during a blockstring when I should’ve just been sitting there. So I think to me , it was just; play one character, one character, and then do well with that one character, you know?

It was easy for me to get to Chun and sticking with her…just seemed normal to me. In a sense that that was what I wanted to do.

So what do you think of the school where people like Justin Wong say that to be able to understand the game better you need to understand how certain characters play. So he sort of plays certain characters, or should I say, he learns news characters sort of to understand how to beat them with his main character.

Absolutely right. Absolutely right.

You got to wholeheartedly agree with having the knowledge of other characters, it’s so important, you know. Because the other character’s moveset governs spacing right?

How you play against Adon is very different to how you play against Boxer, you know?

Headbutt and ground Jaguar kick, very different moves.

So your normals as well, all have [different] priorities. It’s important for you to know which normal will stuff which special for every character. In a sense that they could do that move.

You have to be thinking. You should know your character by heart. Eventually. Of course you can’t get there straight away.

But you should know your character off by heart. And you should know which normal should stuff which special from the opponent. Or maybe, you know, you can’t stuff it. You have to backdash. It’s important to know that sort of stuff, and Justin is right in saying that…

Sure you do need to have that basic knowledge of all characters you know?

I’m not sure about playing them all, just in a sense that in a game with one frame links, I’m not sure that everyone can manage to know everyone’s one frame links. But that’s another level completely you know.

I definitely agree with what he was saying.

3) So why don’t you tell us a little bit about the New Zealand scene. The players, the areas, the rivalries, you know.

Well, before I say anything at all on the New Zealand scene I gotta start by saying I love it to bits, you know. If it wasn’t for the New Zealand scene, I would never have made it to my first tournament. If it wasn’t for making it to my first tournament I wouldn’t be here with you in Melbourne, Australia, you know?

So. I love it to bits, I love it to pieces, but it is very small. And with a small community comes an awful lot of problems and challenges which I see the Australian scene has already overcome.

Um, the main problem being…the division of the player base.

So we’ve got Auckland which is the main scene. That’s the main SF4 scene as well. Auckland has a lot of arcades and a lot of people and it’s very close together. So it’s a great city and CBD area. Similar to Melbourne with its ourskirts, it has like Manukau which are very close to the CBD. So that makes a fighting game infrastructure in my opinion. In a sense that all these people who are the best in their neighbourhood or whatever can just drive to the CBD, go to the arcades or come to the ranbats, these sorts of things.

So I think that’s one part of New Zealand which is strong, is the Auckland scene. Then unfortunately, we have places like Wellington which are just…amazing cities, you know?

It’s a student city in the sense that Wellington is a great place to live. There’s so much fun, so much happening. And they have one arcade. One arcade alone. And that arcade does not have Vanilla Street Fighter 4. It didn’t for the longest time, and now it has one of those knockoff cabs. Which you push start and it’s doesn’t skip the animation. You know, it’s got Cammy in it. It’s an obvious PC rip? Sitting in an arcade cab. It gives people the wrong impression, but also they can’t play Vanilla in the sense that it’s not the real thing. Not the genuine article at all.

So they’ve got Third Strike cabinets in that arcade. So what that’s done to it all is…Wellington’s favourite game and the small scene Wellington has, is built around Third Strike.

Interestingly enough, there was another New Zealander here today. And he was only here to spectate and support Third Strike. He played Third Strike as well. His name was Moose\ Ben and he was also here today coincidentally in Melbourne. And he found out about this event and he’s like, “Oh man. I gotta go.”

So that’s the Wellington scene, and just in recent times as well we’ve had the Christchurch scene develop from a guy called Cpt. Munta who is the director of 3 Green Bars.

By the way, shoutouts to 3 Green bars.

It’s awesome. We love it. (Laughs.)

I love it. I love watching it…just to see that we have somebody like there actually going out there and doing these sorts of things from our corner of our world.

And it’s interesting in the sense that it’s always been there but nobody has been following these obscure communities, let’s say. And that’s what really interesting to see because it’s all our hobbies. So shoutouts to Mark.

Yeah so he has pretty much singlehandedly created his own Christchurch scene. He used to come up to Auckland so let’s say 2009 Nationals, he would fly up to Auckland and that would be his only Street Fighter you know?

But in a small space of time, on the forums, he made topics, got people together, found out whoever had any minor interest in Street Fighter and invited them to mashups at his house!

So he set up events, got people together, and it’s just grown and grown. Because they did have an arcade down there with the PC knockoff cabs or whatever. But there was no hardcore [players], it was only casual.

So what he’s done is he’s taken, capitalised on any casual he could find and just escalated it into hardcore. In a sense that, one year gone, Christchurch has just got ranbats. Unfortunate, very separate ranbats to Auckland. Because you know, it’s a different island so to speak.

But they’ve just got their own ranbat series. And you can’t be more proud because he’s combining Christchurch with Dunedin Another neighbouring city. It’s a long drive, but they’ll get together once every 2-4 weeks and have a shared ranbat. So South Island is now covered in the Street Fighter 4 area, you know? So I guess that’s the small rundown of how the scene is divided in New Zealand.

The division brings problems and it brings all sorts of [the] same drama that you’d see here with the Melbourne-Sydney rivalries and all that.

The rivalries are good, you know, on certain levels. But they can also be detrimental and others [things]. Ultimately when you have a small community, the goal is to grow. And sometimes the drama can be taken at face value, and there might be a back story…

But if it’s only seen on the forum, like text only? It’s really detrimental to whoever may be viewing, registered or not.

Yeah, we just want to grow. And we are. So, you gotta look forward to…what is to come, you know?

So does New Zealand have like a Toxy- Humanbomb rivalry? From a player perspective?

Interestingly enough, no we don’t.

We don’t have a conflicting number one and number two player. We’ve got Simonfish Abel and Devilstar99- Zangief. Those two guys are like brothers in the sense that they play each other all the time within the arcade, and they’re good friends and…

It’s interesting for them because you know, they’re long-time arcade players. Our number 1 player coincidentally doesn’t even have console and the game, you know? Vanilla or Super.

He’s a long-term King of Fighter player for many, many, many years. And then comes to Street Fighter…and just translates it all, you know? In the sense that he’s taking the same skill set and just reapplying it over here. Those two are close and similar in that sense.

And the thing is within the top eight of New Zealand, the majority of them love each other. In a sense that it’s thanks to the seven other players that they could get to where they are with their matchup knowledge and what not.

Sure it’s different with the Internet and stuff now, but you really need to be playing on top of the downloading so.

Yeah we don’t really have a main rivalry like [Toxy and Humanbomb], but there is bitterness amongst the cliques, let’s say. And uh…pros and cons, pros and cons, I suppose.

4) So, because you main Chun Li, what would you say is Chun’s hardest matchup?

Well, let’s say with her right now in Super? Chun’s hardest matchup on the whole…she has a couple of 6-4s, no doubt. Unfortunately they are quite viable tournament picks as well?

So let’s say Viper, let’s say Gouki.

I would say definitively Chun’s hardest matchup is Akuma, or Gouki? In a sense that it’s very hard to read the Akuma player. You need to be constantly looking at the Akuma player; his spacing, his timing of his vortex options because they are so maybe. And all of Chun Li’s options can be stuffed, can be broken, gimmicked. There is no surefire option for Chun sitting within Akuma or Gouki’s vortex that will just cure every situation.

I’ve got it down to one thing which I can attempt every single let’s say, light kick demon flip on non-quick recover. However it is a hold up for two frames and then option select a move during that two frames. Just in case he hits the high [palm], you know? There’s a lot of guess work in something like that. And it’s not easy to do a hundred percent to begin with.

So that level of thought is really difficult. But that is still my favourite matchup in the game, is Chun vs. Akuma. Because the level of thought that is required from both players I might add, is immense.

Because the Akuma also has to be smart, for his options to beat EX Spinning Bird Kick.

So I really, really enjoy that matchup, but I would say that is definitely Chun’s hardest matchup.

So what would you say is your most hated matchup?

My most hated matchup? Well, that’s temperamental. (Laughs.)

I guess right now, my most hated matchup would be Adon.

Because I just got peaced out by Acedizl, one of Australia’s two Adon players.

Shoutouts to Ace. We play a fair bit on Xbox Live.

Shoutouts to Ace. I’m still salty about…just kidding.

But that was a great match…but personally I don’t really have a matchup that I hate. But right now it’s Adon, because I wasn’t ready for the different quick recover speed, the wakeup speed. And I just don’t get to play a lot of good Adons in my community. So he beat me the first three rounds. I beat him the next three rounds. And then the final round it came to you know, one throw damage each.

And in the reset I guessed wrong. So it was a great match. But I need some more Adon practice. So at the moment, Adon is my least favourite matchup. But hey. I look forward to my set with Gamerbee, in a sense that you know, that’ll be all the learning I need.

And after that I’m not going to dislike the Adon match anymore, I assume.

5) So what do you think of Chun’s changes in AE?

I’m a big fan of them. In a sense that I didn’t like a lot of the free things Chun was given in Super. See, it’s my opinion that Ultra 2 is a scrubby Ultra.

In a sense that I really liked the character specific juggles into Ultra 1 in the corner. And the um…just how difficult it was to set that up and land it correctly.

And now you’ve got Ultra 2…it’s quite free to land, you know? You get it from a crouching short. That was something I always despised. But she’s got it now, it’s a buff, it’s good right?

So anyway with Arcade Edition, a lot of her stuff has been toned down…not a lot I might add. It’s actually pretty minor nerfs for Chun.

She got a fair bit of buffs as well. Her normals got significantly better from Vanilla to Super.

Certain ones. Her standing hard kick was actually nerfed. One frame startup, one frame recovery. Hitbox [is the] same. But you really do not throw it out as much against Zangief, let’s say.

But her normals did get better, and down forward light kick was the real one.

In Vanilla it would only juggle in it’s anti-air situation if it was a counterhit. And air counterhits are a bit different. So you can still land things like down forward light kick to EX legs or three stomps in Vanilla. But it’s a guess in a sense that your opponent may or may not have got the counterhit property.

She was given an incredible hitbox for down forward light kick and some better airborne frame timing in Super. So that juggle was, in my opinion, the main improvement she got besides her pokes getting significantly better, you know.

So yeah. She’s got that, and there’s a question on how useful it will be in AE. The main one that I saw which was a problem was the different change in her level 1 focus property.

There’s an awkward situation with Chun where you’d have a focus war in the game and someone will release focus? Maybe level 1 or maybe level 2 but it’s not a level 3.

And then Chun will dash forward. And often the other person will release or something. And Chun will block it. She is safe because of an interesting property with her focus.

The direct translation of the change to the focus raises the point that that may no longer be there anymore. Or something else might change. I’m assuming it a little bit because it is Capcom. They could be trolling.

That to me is the scariest thing in a sense that I really enjoy that part of Chun’s game. On the whole though I like Chun’s AE edition changes. I didn’t like seeing her rise up the tier list and…bring it on, you know. Take away her down forward light kick, see if I care. I want it to go back to the way it was but it won’t so…

Just take the improvements and smile I suppose. I sat through Vanilla Sagat, I can sit through some Kikosho’s (Ultra2’s)! (Laughs.)

6) With the New Zealand scene because it’s a lot smaller, would you say that your players are a lot more technical, and they rely on a lot more on things like frame data? Because you don’t have as much character variety?

Yeah, yeah, interesting question. Um…I would say ultimately…that does happen. We are forced to get a lot more technical, I’d mainly say because New Zealand scene is not at [an] information spreading stage yet.

Oh really?

So I come to Australia, and I’m just blown away by the fact that you’d be playing someone and they’d be telling you exactly how to counter what they just did. That’s cool, but it’s very different in New Zealand because our tournaments are smaller, you know?

People will still withhold information or not pick their main in casuals because they’ve got their match coming up. And you can’t disagree with them in the sense that they want to do well at their tournament.

It’s very old-school.

It’s very old-school, you’re right. And uh…what happens though is say someone doesn’t want to pick El Fuerte against you in casuals or at all. You don’t know how to block Fuerte’s [mixups] and you aren’t ready for his gimmicks.

So you’re forced online to watch streams or look up strategies or frame data. These sorts of things. You’re forced to get technical on your own. If you can’t be playing every single day.

And you’re forced to find out your own stuff. You’re forced online, you need to look at the top players in the world on the steams, you need to go to a forum and ask how you should counter such and such a thing.

But yeah, I’d say that’s why New Zealand scene has to be more technical. Because I do think there are a lot of people who count frames and they have the iPod, iPhone apps which allow for you to just look up frames on the spot to see what punishes what and what not.

Yeah, I’d say it’s a lack of information and a lack of information spreading. And you know, a real tight knit arcade scene in one area like Box Hill Melbourne or any Japanese arcade… Because there are like four a block…a millions blocks within a kilometre! So, I’d say definitely that’s why we had to get more technical.

Why do you think that the information sharing doesn’t happen because people are not as close, or do you think it’s just because people like to win? I mean obviously, people want to win…but how can I put this… In Melbourne we do share a fair bit. It’s a little bit interesting because in Melbourne I find that a lot of people do share? And some people feel a little bit reserved and sometimes they don’t actually go out and ask the top players for advice. There is a bit of that. But predominantly yeah, we do share a fair bit.

So if I were to go up to say one of your top players and ask something. Would he turn me away, or would he just say go figure it out yourself? Or do you just don’t do it period.

Let’s say that’s a character specific question. It would depend on the player in the top 8. If you had that player’s respect and you asked a question, a very specific question, he’d probably answer ya if he knew.

Having said that, there are a lot of ego-type characters within the top 8. And I think that your question was a large one but you know, the things that may prevent people from sharing information could be just the size of the community. In the sense that it is smaller, but also comes down to a personality thing right?

If someone doesn’t want you to beat them, then they don’t have to tell you anything. And that’s fine. As you said, it’s the old-school mentality.

But um…yeah I’d say that’s why.

And there are people who will also, you know, you’ll ask them if you get the confidence. Because like you say, some people are more reserved. I think that’s a shy thing, you know. They may be a little bit timid. But if they have the confidence to come and ask, it’s not to say that no one is gonna say anything. There are people whose intentions are pure and they wanna help the little guys, the lowbies level up. So they can be top 8 next year.

Because that’s what it’s all about essentially. Levelling up your community so they can level you up later on.

Uh so I think with mainly with a divided community such as the player who comes from Tauranga every fortnight, which is me. It’s a two hour drive to get to Auckland, to get to my ranbats. And then also you know, the Third Strike players from Wellington who have to travel up to Auckland for nationals which is a seven hour drive or two hour flight. With their Third Strike versus the Auckland Third Strike which is far higher level in a sense that they have arcades they can play at with a larger player base.

So yeah, I’d say that we will get to the stage that Melbourne is at, with the openness and information spreading. It’s gonna take time though.

Skull at SS. By Shadowloo.

We’re almost there at the moment in the sense that everyone’s just getting a lot closer you know and being more friendly in general and toning down the egos. Because the egos were very belligerent I’d say. With the emergence of a new community because Vanilla pretty much did rekindle the community within New Zealand on the whole, you know?

There were different sites and different forums before that for multiple games. But the egos emerged with the dawn of a new community let’s say. They’re toning it a bit now. In a sense that it’s not like that anymore you know?

People admit that Vanilla Sagat was broken and Vanilla Ryu was stupid…and reset hunting isn’t everything. But I’d say it’s improving. Onwards and upwards, yeah.

7) So you actually moneymatched one of Melbourne’s top Bison players…

I am still waiting on that match.

Oh, it hasn’t happened yet?

Yeah I believe moneymatches are soon or maybe nowish.

And that’s when we’re gonna do the Skullator vs. Somniac moneymatch.

(Note from Mutton: Somniac won the MM for $50, either 5-1 or 5-2, according to Somniac.)

Skullator and Somniac at Box HillAh I see. Because you’ve haven’t done it…you’ve seen Somniac play today, obviously. So what’s your gameplan going in?

Gameplan going in is probably hold down back a lot. Throw some fireballs, maybe force a few jumps. Guess teleport? Well, we’ll see how that goes.

I think maybe if I just slow down my entire game against Somniac perhaps he will be forced to make a few jumps or a few guesses that he wouldn’t have otherwise made. It will be interesting to see but I have a lot of Bison experience.

In the sense that I’ve been playing what I would call Australia’s best Bison player being Brodsta_AU or Brody. I’m used to the rush[down], I’m used to some really fast Bison play?

I think Somniac differs a lot in that aspect in the sense that it’s a bit slower, you know, it’s fine it’s playing to win. We’ll see how we go, but I’m very familiar with playing ranked players in the sense that I was rank 1 in my character for PSN recently?

It was, but it was detrimental to my game thought because I started autopiloting, flowcharting, and losing New Zealand events because of it. As soon I made that grind to rank 1 Chun Li on PSN, and I lost in a tournament, or didn’t win it or whatever?

I was done with Ranked [matches].

In a sense that I know it’s good for learning matchups, but uh…you really don’t want to playing Ranked all the time and adapting that into your game. Well I don’t anyway. Because it made my Chun incredibly stale. I’d go for the same crouch mid kick into Hazanshu all week. Wouldn’t adapt. Just reading from the flowchart.

And I dunno, I’m feeling confident in the sense that I’ve seen a lot of different Bison styles and uh…we’ll just see how it goes.

8 ) One question that Mutton always likes to ask is; where do you look on the screen when you play? Do you look at your character, do you look at the opponent?

It’s funny that you should ask that because I’ve never actually thought about what I do there, it’s weird. But you’re right in the sense that I don’t look at Chun Li at all. Because the centering of the screen can tell whereabouts your character is standing right?

I know where my character is standing from the corner of my eye, not the pupil. So I don’t look at Chun, really at all. I’m constantly looking at EX meter, and also life bar.

Just switch it up to check opponent’s EX meter and of course Ultra meters as well. But, keep your eye on the opponent, really. Because you know where your own character is gonna be, it’s more about what your opponent’s character is doing. You can feel the zoning without setting your pupil on Chun Li. So you just be ready for whatever they’re gonna do.

Think about what they’re gonna try. Because ultimately you should know the matchup that well ahead of time. Ultimately it would be nice to know every special move the other person could do and what sort of spacing it will give them. And maybe what their best option is when you do such and such a thing.

So you always gotta wanna be in the other person’s head in the sense that you’ve got to read players. I do find that it’s important to look at the opponent’s character as well.

Maybe this explains why I suck so much because I always look at my own character. But I look at my own character from the perspective of…I know where he is on the screen. Because Dee Jay is usually…his game is to zone and try to get the knockdown and to go into his vortex. In quotes.

I usually know that they’re either on their back, or they’re either gonna be in between that range where I need to sort of do something with them. So I actually prefer to keep my eye on where my character is. And I sort of keep them in the corner of my eye. Because I’m usually trying to zone, throw fireballs at them. So if they actually come into my perspective, then I usually try to select the right move or option to actually beat out whatever they’re coming in with.

So.

I can see what you’re saying there. I will say though when I had only played Chun for a year, I was doing exactly what you were doing with the character who’s only come out in Super, you know?

So the amount of time it took me to get to that stage with Chun was very long. And you’re picking a brand new character who I would say has a tough time with a lot of matchups?

Oh. Definitely.

So yeah, if you asked me twelve months earlier where I was looking, it was on Chun. Because I didn’t know her normals well enough, or I had to be looking for the setups. And you get there, you get there, but I definitely say…I wouldn’t say that’s why you’re losing or anything because that’s exactly what I was doing.

So, you said you were the highest ranked Chun on PSN.

I was, yeah.

Oh you were? Okay.

16k ranked 1, 500 point lead on the second and then no more (ranked) yeah.

9) So how do you find New Zealand online players and New Zealand’s Internet? Do you find that you can play against all the islands without any problems or?

Yeah, good question. Um. It is unfortunate in a sense that our…New Zealand is still at Telstra stage. In the sense that our dirt is monopolised by a company called Telecom. Or was, until two years ago.

So the loop (cabling) has been unbundled now, and there are a lot of other ISPs coming on board competitively like Vodafone, etcera etcera.

However, the problem there is if someone’s on Vodafone and then wants to start a game of let’s say Marvel vs Capcom 2 with someone on Telecom?

Forgetting UPNP (universal plug n play) Settings within the router, there can sometimes be ISP specific connection problems. And ultimately if you want to have the best gaming connection in New Zealand you have to go through Telecom. Because it is the dirt to your house. Not only are changes made quicker but there are other things which can affect the way your game connects and the way your game plays.

And it’s the saddest thing, but we do have a lot of problems in a sense that someone from the North Island can’t play someone from the South Island for two months. Then after two months goes by, no ISP changes, good, connecting again.

You and I both have enough technical understanding to maybe think about some reasons why that might be happening. But that’s besides the point. Since the Internet does divide the playerbase, you know?

Oh which console are you on? 360 versus PSN. And a lot of people in New Zealand are forced to do online play to either play casually or play competitively. And competitively doesn’t have to be ranked of course. It’s just endless with the best people you can find.

So we do rely on online to bring the community together quite often. Bring the islands together, bring the scenes together. And that’s how you make your friends you know. It was online. Because that’s first and foremost for an outside-Auckland player where you find Street Fighter players, you know?

A little bit different if you’re in, say, Auckland. Because there is a small Vanilla scene. You wouldn’t be forced online. Some of our top players don’t play online. But definitely, definitely [I] can feel that the ranked players and definitely the online players…they’re all there but everyone’s doing it, the majority are doing it. But we kind of need to be doing it in the sense that we don’t have the infrastructure yet to not have a separate online community.

You mean a separate offline community. Well I suppose you have the offline community, but like a separate online community.

Exactly, yeah. The offline one is divided and that’s the saddest thing, so. Yeah.

10) So would you say that there’s more 360 players or more PS3 players? Which one’s the more popular platform to play Street Fighter?

Initially, it was pretty 50-50 even split. Nowadays, easily Xbox 360. I’d say the game plays better on Xbox 360 and there are more skilled players New Zealand and Australia connectable…because yeah our connections to Australia are good.

Oh really?

Largely. I can get green bars with Melbourne players. But that’s a Telecom thing again. Other players struggle. So yeah.

So 360 is the dominant one.

360’s definitely the dominant one.

I think that mainly also thanks to Japan…because we when asked the same question to Tokido he also said the 360 is the dominant console in Japan. But just wondering why do you think that is? Do you think it’s because the game was developed on 360 or because the game feels faster? It is one frame faster, or two frames faster.

I think that’s a pretty easy one to answer. Looking at Tokido’s situation…Xbox 360 has no market share in Japan. We’re talking a pie graph of consoles, 1 percent green and 30% PS3. The hardware for Sony Playstation is very popular and very good in the sense that it does more than just Street Fighter. It’s the better console, in my opinion.

Definitely, I agree. It’s the superior console out of all the other ones.

It’s a portable media device without being a console, you know?

So the funny thing is though, Tokido was saying Xbox 360 is more popular. It’s not confusing in the sense that you’re right there is that one frame of hardware lag due to scaling issues and, yeah that’s just one minor thing but also I’d say the net code or online experience of Xbox 360 is superior in a sense that…little known fact about PS3 lobbie, you can have an endless lobby with mics. Two players talking, it’s good. Third person comes in and there is consistent lag, delays and interference. And it has very little to do with connection. Because everyone can talk in a 1 v 1 environment fine. But as soon the third person comes in or unplugs his mic, something like that happens, the voice capability fails.

In a sense that it’s like an old teamspeak server when everyone was talking at once. So Xbox online experience is superior, game experience..because unfortunately Street Fighter you need good hardware, you need the lag free monitors you need the sticks. You need everything. It’s a technical game. Xbox does it better. And maybe coincidentally Xbox Live is more popular, you know?

So it’s easier for New Zealanders to find better players, more skilled players, and also less laggy connections for some reason. With the same person, with the same ISPs on Xbox.

So it’s not hard to see why anyone would say that Xbox 360 is the superior SSF4 console.

So you have it on both consoles?

I have two PS3s and I have one Xbox 360 slim which has only one game, and that’s SSF4.

Same here. I don’t have two PS3s, I have one PS3, one 360. 360’s for Street Fighter alone.

I have one Lightning edition PS3 which is the white Final Fantasy one, and one 60 gig…jailbroken one I would say. (Laughs.) Yeah you got it, you got it. That’s interesting, that’s good.

11) So besides Street Fighter, what other video games do you play, if any?

I come from MMORPGs. Maybe five years ago I was big on them. But I found them to be too demanding, you know. Too much commitment, too much time required. It’s hard to your job and also play the MMORPG.

So…what other games do I play? I’ll be picking up a lot more fighters in the coming years with the saturation of the market like you say. With all the other ones, I’ll give them all a go.

But currently I wanted to get in Starcraft 2? Coincidentally there was a region locking issue and I couldn’t play with all my friends from overseas. So I’m not really playing that much Starcraft 2. Maybe I will. I’m sure I’ll play Diablo 3.

Oh definitely. That’s one I’m looking forward to as well.

Everything that Blizzard touches seems to turn to gold, in the sense that they are that good, you know?

WoW turned 6 like two months ago. Six years man, six years of WoW.

Six years. “Sux” years. That’s a solid effort.

I have never played it.

Well unfortunately I did for one year. That was all it took for me to realise that was a detriment, you know.

So yeah, I guess a couple other games but really don’t have much time for anything other than SSF4.

12) You have any other hobbies or interests that you do?

Absolutely man. IT is my hobby, IT is my job, my employment. I’m always upskilling in IT. IT is a hobby for me.

And on top of that, there’s tennis. I used to be big into tennis in high school. Not so much anymore. But I’ve played tennis my whole life.

Yeah, soccer not so much anymore. It’s not as fun.

Who’s your favourite tennis player?

Who’s my favourite tennis player.

Let’s say of the current ATP rankings, and then say of all time.

Hmm…I couldn’t even pick a favourite. When I’m watching them it’s so technical you know? I’ll like one person one day, and then the next day I won’t.

But all time, I can easily say Andre Agassi. In the sense that I met the guy when he was at his prime.

The Man. The Legend. The Mullet.

Wow.

Went on the same lift during one of the… I think it must have been the Australian Open. I was so young I might add, I can’t remember what the events was.

And I was on the same lift and I was wearing that hat. It’s a black hat with a coloured fish.

Oh yeah yeah yeah.

Yeah and he was wearing it. And he complimented me on my hat because he was wearing the exact same one. And I was like Oh!

So Andre Agassi has been imprinted into my life in a sense that he’s my tennis hero.

Wow. Wow. That’s so awesome.

I like tennis. It’s a fun game.

I used to play tennis when I was a bit younger. My parents tried to get me into it. But then I sort of grew up… a lot. And then I moved to basketball.

But I still enjoy watching tennis a lot. And I did follow it for quite a number of years. I’d say that the Agassi-Sampras rivalry…ah man. I used to love watching that.

Absolutely.

I’d say to me Sampras just…because Sampras was a lot more consistent? And he basically had those…almost a decade and a half where he dominated.

While Agassi was more up and down, up and down, up and down. He was number 1 for a while and then he dropped to 300 something. And he’d go back up.

But then again, Agassi is the only player who did win all four Grand Slams in one year.

Exactly.

That sticks with him, you know?

Definitely.

But Sampras did hold the most won Grand Slams…until Federer took it over.

Ah…so the rivalry lives on! (Laughs.)

Yeah, exactly. I’d say Sampras will be my favourite a little bit more. But yeah, I have respect for Agassi. And you actually met him…ahh.

It’s pretty cool, pretty cool.

I love tennis in the sense that not only is it a physical game, it’s got the mindgames you know?

The strong or hard. The left or right. So I think maybe that’s…maybe something that’s stuck with me in Street Fighter you know? I like the mindgame side of tennis.

I definitely agree.

And you actually see like the people that are a little bit mentally weaker…Even the top tennis players. If they’re a little bit mentally weaker…who’s that Russian guy who rages a lot? What’s his name?

The rage is uglier than everything.

Yeah he tends to rage more. He won the Australian Open I think in 2007 against Lleyton Hewitt.

Yeah I know the guy, I know the guy. Cos I’ve seen him rage but I can’t remember his name.

Well, that guy.

Marat Safin.

Safin. He’s a really good player, he’s very technical. He has his huge serve, has his volleys and so forth.

But, he gets mentally frustrated very easily.

He does. He lets it affect his game I find.

Yeah. And swinging this back to Street Fighter, you can actually see the momentum of certain matches. When the mentally weaker players tend to break.

After a big Ultra miss or…

And actually I’ll say that in the final where Gamerbee  was playing against Tokido when Tokido did the air fireball. And Gamerbee did his Ultra, just after being Demoned, I might add. The Ultra didn’t go into full animation. That still didn’t actually mentally break him. Which shows that he is very, very mentally strong.

He was ready for any weird situation which may have been thrown at him. Be it a Demon or be it a bad Ultra.

Yeah, definitely. Yeah, mental strength is just as important as execution. And other things I think.

I’d almost say in almost the majority of any competitive…be it video games, sport…um.

Totally agree.

And even a bit of a follow on to that like you say with the frustration from tennis. I think you know also the people who are getting frustrated while losing, because there are so many unfortunately I find. People who will not learn from the loss.

Because I will come out and say losing is learning in Street Fighter. You’ve got to lose to actually improve. You got to lose a lot to actually improve. I think it’s the saddest thing when somebody will bash the buttons or actually get mad when they’re losing. Because really you should just be playing a game which is at face value- enjoyment, you know?

So yeah, you can definitely spot those who get frustrated and don’t improve. Maybe just quit the game rather than just play on and take what they can from their losses and what on.

Actually another thing that I find is very similar between Street Fighter and tennis is…similar to Street Fighter it’s you against the other person. Excluding doubles and team tournaments. It’s your skill against their skill. It’s one on one.

In other games like the team based games, it’s just not the same when it’s one on one. Two human beings going…And that’s why I think tennis [has something that] Street Fighter both [has]. Their mental strength is really important. Because there’s nobody else to blame, but yourself.

Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s a big thing. And also to bring it back to tennis one more time.

With the mental strength…let’s say one final tennis example.

You don’t have to have the strongest serve, you know. Because the stronger the other person plays and hit the ball, the easier your returns are. That’s bizarrely, Street Fighter relevant as well.

In a sense if you’re sitting back on your turtle. The other person’s being the aggressor. You’re doing the easy turtle. You’re not the stronger player…but you can capitalise on the other player’s offense or his confidence or his power, just like in tennis. So. It’s interesting. It’s a good Street Fighter game, is tennis.

Definitely.

Well that’s just about going to do it.

13) Any final thoughts, shoutouts?

Final thoughts, shoutouts, oh absolutely. Everybody in this country, thank you all for being just who you are. In the sense that you all help and nurture the New Zealand scene you know. Every single one of you that plays Xbox or PSN or organises things or does anything. Or holds an event as awesome as this.

You know, it all helps New Zealand. In a sense that we are a sister country, so to speak. And yeah, we wouldn’t be able…

You’re our small backwards inbred cousin.

Ahh! Thank you. (Laughs.)

Actually I’m not Australian so…

You don’t even need to play that card!

Hahaha.

We couldn’t even have gotten to the skill that we were at today if not for Australia. And we couldn’t have aspired to travel overseas if Aussie organisers weren’t organising Shadowloo Showdown you know?

We are so grateful to everybody in Australia.

I’ve got to give shoutouts to absolutely every single Australian. Ozhadou. Shadowloo. Sydney. Melbourne. Whatever. We do owe you guys a lot in that sense and maybe one day we’ll get there with events like this.

But um…

I’ll definitely travel out there. If you guys had a national.

Yeah. Nationals are always good. We had Heavy come over for our last one you know. Heavy, commentator you know?

He made the trip over. I think he really enjoyed himself. Shoutouts to everyone in Australia. Shoutouts to NZism because that’s important too. Fluxcore\ Alan created NZism in about 2007. It was before Street Fighter 4 anyway. He tried to bring every (fighting game) community together and that’s big job in a country that has no infrastructure.

Shoutouts to Fluxcore for doing NZism and shoutouts to everyone I know and love. The NZism community, you all know who you are.

Shoutouts to Gamerbee, Mago and Tokido. Because those guys are good!

Damn Straight.

Peace out man.

Thank you very much and we’ll catch you next time.


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

4 Responses to Don’t be a Scrub Podcast Episode 8: Skullator

  1. Jacob says:

    This interview was before the somniac money
    Match…what a shame

    • muttonhead says:

      I suppose I should put in the MM results as a footnote or something. Unfortunately I didn’t watch the MM so I don’t know the results. Can anybody who knows the win-loss results of the MM let me know so I can put it in?

  2. Somniac says:

    It was for 50 bucks and I won 5-1 (or might be 5-2 can’t remember)

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