I know sometimes on this site I can appear a bit myopic. I put up a ton of Melbourne reports and media, but sometimes neglect what is happening in other states.
Well in my defence, I do live in Melbourne, so the easiest thing for me to write about is about what is happening around me.
I still don’t know too many people from the other states. And the only real chance I have to meet them are at the big tournaments, the BAMs and the Shadowloo Showdowns. Unfortunately I’m usually really busy at those tournaments! But I still get the occasional chance to sit down and talk to people.
The out-of-staters that I have met have all been very friendly to me. At the last Shadowloo Showdown, I got to talk extensively to people like Goodpart, Mooseking, Byebi, Ace, and many more. Other people I only got to exchange a few words with were players like Bomb, Robsux, Hebretto, but they all shook my hand and were really warm to me.
I sometimes forget there is more to Australian Street Fighter than Melbourne.
We’ve been extremely lucky to have the rise of SFIV coincide with the rise of Couchwarriors and Shadowloo over here, as well as having many members of the community step up big time, like CCH Chris, Igor, Bugsimus and GC Chris.
Our local scene has been growing and growing, and it’s been a hell of a ride.
But the other states all have so much to offer. I hear great things about the Marvel players in Queensland. I hear amazing things across the waters about the New Zealand scene. And most recently from Sydney I hear the discussions and rumbling about the upcoming OHN.
Now anyone is our scene knows there’s a huge rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne. Just like there is between the residents of Melbourne and Sydney as well.
There’s smack talk from both sides, internet dramas and flaming. Much like you would expect from any community.
Maybe because I have only been in the country for about nine years, I don’t really feel the true fire of the Melbourne-Sydney rivalry that a true Melburnian should. I do enjoy the rivalry however, and I definitely enjoy cheering on my friends during the wars in the top 8s and 5 on 5 exhibitions.
I think having a bit of a rivalry is definitely a good thing. Having the “bad guys” come from out of state to challenge the “home team” is a makes for a pretty easy narrative. I think the competition can help build cohesion and togetherness in the local players, and it makes for much more of a spectacle at the big tournaments.
I think competition can only help each scene get stronger, with each state trying to outdo each other.
See, I don’t ever want to see Sydney’s arcades do bad and close down, or the shutting down of the OHN series.
Even though I want Melbourne players to win, it wouldn’t make me happy at all to see the other communities in other states shrink. In the end, we’re all part of the Australian scene, and I want to see everyone get stronger together, to level up as a whole. (And not get bodied too much by the internationals.)
Why am I writing this?
It’s because I’ve been thinking about OHN.
Most probably right now I can’t afford to go to OHN. I’ve only just started working at my new job, and realistically when I have to balance work and financial commitments, and taking leave for Shadowloo Showdown, it seems that it would be really hard for me to go to OHN.
I actually came to this decision a few months ago.
But recently I’ve been thinking a bit about when I first came into the scene.
When I first came back from the army back to Melbourne in 2008 and just started exploring the world of Street Fighter, I wondered at the time if anyone in Australia was playing Street Fighter IV.
So I did a search online and found this match.
This was the first time I ever heard of Toxy or Humanbomb. I found myself marvelling at their play, thinking to myself that top Street Fighter players weren’t just limited to Daigo and the Americans, that they actually existed right here in Australia!
I had no idea where Toxy or Humanbomb were from, and ironically enough, I found myself rooting for Humanbomb over Toxy simply because he was playing Ryu, my character.
After that I found Ozhadou, and I started reading recaps about OHN. It was from there I discovered that it was held in Sydney, (damn), and in a university.
I was really fascinated reading those recaps about the nationals, looking through the photos, and trying to put faces to the names.
Bear in mind, at that time I did not even have a stick, and was a humongous scrub. The thought of even entering a tournament, much less travelling interstate to Sydney to enter the nationals, was something that I hadn’t even considered. To read about a massive tournament where everyone would lug their sticks and consoles to, and players from all the other states would come gather just seemed so exciting to me. I read the rules and wondered what double elimination was. I watched the videos and imagined the hype of being there in person.
After that, my curiosity about the Australian scene shifted to a higher gear, and I devoured every OHN recap I could find.
Later on, I started the long process of bettering myself as a Street Fighter player, and getting into the Melbourne scene.
As the months went on, my memories of reading those OHN recaps receded into my consciousness. I’m sure at the start of my journey, getting good enough to go to the nationals and compete would have been one of my dreams floating around the back of my head, dusted with stardust and expectations.
But as time went on, there was just so much shit to do! The Melbourne scene exploded, and there were tournaments everywhere, people to meet, articles to write. BAM and Shadowloo Showdown happened. OHN wasn’t even run last year.
I found myself getting more and more immersed in the scene, and those old OHN dreams faded slowly away…
But back to the present.
As I said, I’ve been thinking about OHN recently, and I suddenly found myself remembering those old dreams.
They came back to me really clearly, and I started remembering those nights sitting in front of my computer, looking for stuff on the internet, trying to satiate my thirst for Street Fighter lore. I remembered how the Sydney people would make Humanbomb jokes on the forums. I remembered how I dreamed about competing in Sydney.
Well now I actually have the chance to do it.
And I’m…walking away from it?
OHN is on a weekend. If push came to shove, I wouldn’t even have to take leave. I could fly off on Friday night, and fly back on Sunday night.
Now I’m still not any good at Street Fighter, and I will still probably go 0 and 2.
But at least if I went, I could finally fulfil the empty fantasies of a lonely scrub sitting in front of his computer way back in the year 2008…
OHN is on the 28th-29th of May.
99 York St, Sydney.