Hi guys, Spider Muttons Productions © 2010 is back with the first part of our OHN two part special. Our guest is none other than Cross Counter’s Xian!
We were lucky to have him down for OHN in Sydney and also to nab him for an interview. And he did extremely well for himself, winning AE and KOFXIII singles.
We talk to him about a multitude of topics, OHN, the Singapore fighting game scene, Cross Counter Asia, his new sponsorship by Team Desperation Move, his fighting game history and his long journey to become the international class player that he is.
Also, I had a blast at OHN, big thanks to the organisers and staff who did a great job with everything!
- OHNX Full Results
- Stream Archive
- Official OHN Photography Panda Photography
- Kotaka AU article: The OzHadou Nationals: Hype, Street Fighter, And A Boy Named Arnold
- Melbourne invades OHN! Photos by Shadowloo
Alright, that’s it. As always, you can listen to the podcast below or read the transcript of the entire thing if you prefer. Enjoy the interview guys!
Edit: I had Raymus and Jovian’s chinese names wrong. Their correct names are Shen Yuan and Shen Chan respectively, and have been changed accordingly in the transcript. Big thanks to Farpenoodle for the heads up.
For Direct Download, right click this link and “save as”
Spidercarnage: Hello everyone, we are here at OHNX on Saturday night. And we have a very special guest with us, our international guest, our only one I believe. He’s also one half of Cross Counter Asia, and of course I am talking about Xian.
Muttons: How you doing Xian.
Xian: Yeah, I am doing well.
M: How you finding Sydney and OHN so far?
X: So far so good. They have been bringing me to a lot of places. And treating me really well.
M: Has James taught you anything about grooming…
X: Yeah! Straightener. He taught how to use a hair straightener. And I tried to straighten my hair. Yeah!
1: M: Awesome. So yeah, let’s talk about the arcade scene in Singapore. You’ve told me a little bit about this before, but how many arcades do you guys have in Singapore?
X: Hmm…It’s definitely at least more than ten. I will not exaggerate the amount, it’s definitely more than twenty. But that includes you know…
M: All the little arcades…
X: Those… random arcades that have Street Fighter or fighting games, that have some toy games. But if say Street Fighter IV? At least thirteen outlets. With SFIV: AE 2012.
X: At least thirteen, yeah.
M: That’s impressive. Because when I went back to Singapore in December I went to Bugis, like the main arcade [in Singapore], I went to Ang Mo Kio, and all these little towns.
And they had basically arcades in every little center right? So.
M: Since you have so many arcades and so many arcade players, how come you guys have a comparatively smaller tournament scene?
X: Um, because people don’t really join the tournaments. And most people are playing for casuals, just playing for fun. For other reasons, maybe I don’t know! Yeah.
M: Okay, and how’s the Marvel scene over in Singapore like?
X: It’s horrible. It’s getting worse and worse. I don’t know why. But a lot of players are quitting. Like Air-con man, he’s not playing anymore.
He’s one of the best players in MvC3. But he jumped to Street Fighter!
S: Oh really?
X: Yeah, yeah, he jumped to Street Fighter AE!
M: Ah. It’s an opposite jump, like…
X: Yeah, yeah! Opposite jump. So…our current best player is called R-chusan, one of the guys that is…
He’s pretty top in Marvel, in MVC3 but now he climbed to the top and probably is the best here.
M: I thought…you guys have good internet right? Do you get good connections with Japan, or Korea or?
X: It depends on where we are. Now we’re having a café in Park Lane, it’s called Tough Cookie Café and it’s opened by Cameraman.
X: And the internet connection is really good. So we get to play online with Japanese [players] and stuff for Marvel and Street Fighter.
But very unfortunately KOF is still too laggy.
S: Oh really?
X: Yeah, it’s still too laggy to play. Maybe they fixed the netcode but I’m not sure.
M: So what about Soul Calibur. How is that taking up in Singapore?
X: Mm. We have a great scene with all the old players, but it’s still lesser…compared with Marvel.
So that means it’s still not very good.
Yeah. But with all the other good players around like Raymus (Shen Yuan), Jovian (Shen Chan), we have a few good players around over there. Who has went overseas before.
And Raymus beat Kayane before as well. In one of the tournaments in France. He’s the best player in Singapore, probably. Recognise.
M: I guess it’s not so popular because…I guess Singapore is an arcade country right?
S: And Soul Calibur hasn’t been in an arcade for a while.
X: Yeah. Lack of a lot of people- a lot of characters, matchup knowledge. He tried to play more characters. But when you have a small scene there’s nothing you can do about it. But top players have to do a bit more.
2: M: Okay. Can you tell us a bit more about the center in Park Lane, and Kevin’s role in all of this?
X: Kevin’s opening the shop, and I am just helping him to man the shop. So customers come and I will just come and play the games with them, and stuff. So my job is basically a normal…worker? But I just get to play games with people who want to play with me.
It’s a very easy job.
M: So how do people pay for this?
They pay for hours or?
X: It’s just two dollars per hour. Per person.
M: Two dollars per hour? Oh!
S: Damn! That is cheap!
M: …That is good!
S: And you get to play against a top player!
M: And do you have to bring sticks or?
X: No, sticks all are provided!
X: It’s per person. So two person; it’s four dollars.
M: I see, I see. Wow. How many setups do you guys have in there?
X: We have about ten. We’re thinking about putting more setups, but it really depends on the crowd.
M: Okay cool. Speaking of Kevin, I was a little confused before because I went to check out the Singapore sites they have like Round1, and they had sgfighter?
Can you tell us a little bit more about what is the difference between the two and?
X: Round1 hosts its tournaments as well, and sgfighter hosts it’s own tournaments. So it’s different. It’s just like in America you see Alex Valle and another organisation. It’s just different people holding tournaments. But we are both part of Singapore.
M: So Battle Medley Singapore is run by…Round1 right?
X: Yeah, the one that they invited Momochi down.
M: So the recent one when Momochi came down again that was organized by…
X: By Round1.
M: Round1 again. Okay that’s cool.
And I guess sgfighter which is based around Kevin is now based in Park Lane in the centre right?
Which is called what again, sorry?
X: It’s called Tough Cookie Gamer Café.
M: Do you guys have a bubble tea [shop] in the…
X: We have drinks, we sell drinks though no bubble tea!
There’s a lot of bubble tea around there.
S: Tough competition!
X: Yeah, yeah.
M: And you guys are right next to Bugis arcade right?
X: It’s not very far. It’s walkable distance. Five minute walk.
M: So tell us a bit more about how your training was like I guess before the rise of…Cross Counter Xian.
M: When you were in Europe right?
X: Yeah, yeah. Actually that first tournament I won was Dreamhack. I got second. Losing to Ryan Hart. And I won the qualifier in Singapore. So I get a free ticket over there. And that was the first time I travelled overseas as well.
And I only train in arcade. At the time there was no console gaming café. No Kevin. He’s still in America, he haven’t moved back to Singapore.
So we just train at arcade. And Bugis was the main place we trained. So everybody plays in the arcade and…yeah.
3: M: So back in those days how often would you go to the arcade and how often would you stay there for?
X: Mmm. It depends. Every time I’m free, I’ll just pop by the arcade.
It really depends.
M: Because man, I was there and it’s like fifty cents per play right?
X: Yeah, yeah.
M: So…(Laughs.) It’s…
X: …Really cheap.
M: In Melbourne when it came out it was like two dollars per play.
S: And now it’s a dollar a game. Which is still…
M: …Kind of expensive. With the Aussie dollar and all.
S: The thing is, it’s been a dollar a game since ’92.
M: That’s true.
S: So things haven’t changed that much if you count inflation into it!
M: So back in the day you would play in the arcade, do you have any mentors or people that would…teach you how to play?
When I started the game- Street Fighter? No.
But last time when I played Guilty Gear, I got a mentor.
And now, Soul Calibur? I got Raymus teaching me now.
So Street Fighter no. Because I don’t know most of the people in Street Fighter at the start when I started playing, so I have to pick up on my own.
But the rest of the games, Guilty Gear and Soul Calibur, yeah I did have a mentor.
S: Did you have a mentor in KOF?
X: Mmm…nah. KOF because I played since I was really young. Seven or eight. So I have a lot of years of experience playing games.
M: So you’ve been playing games since you were seven or eight, and KOF is your first game?
X: First game was kind of X-Men vs. Street Fighter or Third Strike. I just play in the arcade, you know when you are small, you’re just mashing around! Yeah.
My first competition- my first competition I joined was KOF 2000. And I started to get a bit more competitive. But I don’t even know if I was competitive in the past. I’m still ten years old!
S: This would also explain why you have such amazing execution.
Because KOF games have always required…
But the other side of you is that you seem really technical. You know a lot about all the technical aspects of the game. How do you…
Have you always been this way? Or since Street Fighter IV you’ve taught yourself…
X: Umm….I think because I think when you’ve played fighting games, the mechanics for all fighting games, basically for 2D [fighters] that I know, is not really very different. It’s a lot of similar concepts.
So by playing the game for so many years, fourteen years till now, the concept is generally the same. We understand it, but we don’t put it into words.
But nowadays you know, it’s more internet and stuff. And we start to read up on frame data and stuff. Then we use the knowledge that we already know, and apply it back into the game. So that’s how we can actually say that we know more about the game.
Because when we use our feeling to say about the game, it’s like…you cannot explain it. But now that is frame data and stuff, it’s more clear to explain to people.
M: An analogy I would use is that frame data is like music notation. You know, like a lot of musicians they play by ear but they can’t really like write out the note for you? But when you have C# and all that stuff then…it’s like frame data, now you can actually write out what you mean. Right?
X: Tripguard was one of the best examples. We know it since I was ten. I always tripguard people. But I never know this term until 2010…
M: Yeah, I know exactly what you mean.
So let’s talk about more about…you were training in Bugis and then…
When was the time that things started changing? When Kevin came back?
X: When Kevin came back, he hosted tournaments as well. So they started having more tournaments because two different organizations were holding tournaments.
M: That was like 2009, 2010?
X: 2010-2011. I think it’s about 2011. It’s pretty late.
So after that he started to suggest to go to different tournaments like EVO, he asked me to go to Shadowloo [Showdown] to get more exposure and stuff. And I thought like; because there’s not much Singapore qualifier anymore at the moment. So I thought like; hmmm I’m still young. I want to go overseas and travel. I really like travelling.
So that’s why I have a purpose there, you know.
So I started going. And I dropped the characters that I wanted to play. Like Akuma and Dhalsim. Because I wanted to win more, I wanted to perform better.
4: S: So speaking of dropping characters you went from…Yun in Arcade Edition. To Gen.
M: Why Gen?
S: Why Gen actually, of all characters?
X: Because I used to like Gen since Alpha 2. I think he looks really cool. And I felt that Gen is under-potential for AE. And there’s not many people using Gen. So by playing Gen, you get the advantage. Of people not knowing the matchup knowledge.
So even though there’s a lot of bad matchups for Gen, people don’t know the matchup, you can still get the advantage out of it.
And playing Yun is really unpopular! So. (Laughs.)
S: It has been for quite a number of years.
M: What’s the reaction in the arcade? Let’s say you play Yun. And then you win. So in Singapore what’s the reaction?
X: For me it’s fine. Because I don’t see…because people know I play other characters. And people don’t mind losing to me and stuff.
But I know other players that are playing Yun, who maybe are not as popular and stuff. People don’t really like it.
Yeah. People, [when you see] their face, you can realise it. Just that there’s no verbal [declaration] and stuff.
S: So what do you think is Gen’s worst matchup?
X: It’s actually Guile.
X: Yeah. Everybody kind of recognizes it as Guile and I do think it. But I think the worst for me, personally, I think is Akuma.
This is because I am more afraid of knockdown game. Mixup game. Because Gen’s options are not as good compared to Guile where you still have footsies games and jump-in game which I think I’m stronger in that area.
But defense part…
M: The vortex.
X: …The mix-up…yeah it’s a bit more scary for me.
M: I see. So yeah, Guile, Akuma, Viper. So what about Ibuki?
X: Yeah Ibuki…Seth…
M: All the vortex characters.
X: Yeah! All the vortex characters basically give problems to Gen.
S: Yeah, because he basically has no wake-up options.
X: Yeah. Wake-up options are bad.
M: What do you think of the evolution of SFIV? Like early in the game, the strongest characters were the burst damage characters right?
Sagat. One uppercut. 70%.
M: Or Ryu. I guess Akuma is the exception with the Demon. But it seems like now all the top tier characters are the vortex characters, right? Viper…Seth…umm…
X: Mm. I think I can understand because…those old characters who play Ryu and stuff.
Sagat who has no vortex.
They will still play the game. Because they’ve played for very long. And they can survive because there’s a lot of footsies and zoning games [that] they are very good [at]. But for newcomers from other games, they have to play vortex characters.
Because they don’t understand the game concept that well. So they play mix-up characters and [develop] their understanding as they are improving.
So games being this way; it’s better because I think more people will play it. And I think it’s good. Because the easier the game…the more people play it.
Even though…it’s scrubby and stuff…Like people think that it’s not…
But to attract more people to play it, you always have to do it this way.
M: I guess SFxTekken and Marvel are going down that direction.
And the best part of it is that everybody complains. And when people complain, it’s just like a rivalry thing.
So people aim to get better because of complaints and stuff.
When the game is too balanced? (makes chopping gesture.)Nah, you don’t get, you know…
M: The Salt factor.
X: You don’t get the hype. And when you’re good, the game is balanced, you will always win. You always see the same people winning…the game sooner or later will go down.
M: Like Marvel is really broken, but Justin Wong keeps winning. That sort of thing?
X: That proves how good he is! Yeah, yeah, that just proves how good he is!
How to make the random factors…to the minimum. It’s really amazing.
M: It’s really amazing right? Marvel’s so random but…how can Justin and Combofiend…they can…
X: Because they’re a [level] above the others. That’s the reason why.
But if they face an opponent of their same level or same level, they’re probably have problems. But that just shows they have an edge. Just by him playing some Iron Fist…he’s just going to prove…he really proved himself.
M: Yeah, he really proved himself.
So let’s talk a bit about…
5: Going back to the topic where you met Kevin and Kevin came back to Singapore, and around that time that’s when you came to Shadowloo Showdown right?
So the question I want to ask is how Cross Counter Asia come about?
Did you meet…were the seeds of Cross Counter Asia planted at Shadowloo Showdown or when you met Gootecks way earlier.
X: Actually I met Gootecks in 2009, I already know him; we were friends. But we didn’t have anything [planned]…he hadn’t started Cross Counter at that time as well.
But Cameraman was, who’s Kevin, he was on good terms with Gootecks and Mike Ross. So they were friends.
So after I beat Mago, then Cameraman had the idea of starting Cross Counter Asia with me and Zhi. He talked to Gootecks and Mike Ross, and I don’t know the content behind it, but in the end of day we just started it.
Zhi and Kevin. From Edmund Yeong Photography.
Because Cameraman has a lot of equipment. He really likes those filming stuff. He has all the high tier equipment. So we started trying filming the first episode, trying filming and stuff. And it got popular, and we just continuing doing [it.]
M: So speaking about Cross Counter Asia, what’s going with Zhi. Zhieep. Zhi right? That’s the [actual pronunciation].
X: Yeah Zhieep. I call him Zhi, but people call him Zhieep.
M: So he’s going to Taiwan or?
X: He’s actually studying in Taiwan. So he’s mainly based in Taiwan.
M: Ah okay.
X: But he’s born in America and…
M: Hence the accent right?
X: Yes. It’s pretty complicated. I don’t usually probe much into it, yeah.
M: So how are you guys going to continue the show without Zhi? Or are you going to find a new partner?
X: Zhi sometimes will come to Singapore because his family’s at Singapore.
M: Ah I see.
X: And sometimes we travel to tournaments coincidentally. Most of time; like EVO, Canada Cup.
And when GodsGarden [was on], he was there as well.
And so it’s easy to meet up.
M: Ah so, it’s wasn’t like you guys went together, it’s like a coincidence you were there at the same time at all these events.
X: We can try to arrange sometimes. Like oh, you’re going around that period? I’m going around that period. So we’ll try to meet up and stuff and start filming.
Cameraman is the most important guy because he knows all the…
X: Kevin. He knows all the equipment and stuff.
M: So Kevin was living in Seattle, so he moved his whole family back to Singapore, and he’s living in Singapore now?
X: Yeah. He’s now back in Singapore doing his things, but not really sure.
He’s moved back to Singapore.
6: M: Alright. Let’s talk about the history of fighting games in Singapore. You got Valle in SoCal. You got Eddie Lee on the East Coast.
Who are your historical players?
X: Umm. Wan Long? Wan Long. That’s what they call him.
He’s the best player basically from the past. And he played KOF, Alpha and has been champion in every year. Since 2000 he’s always been winning. And he’s kind of a legendary player. But he quits it.
Because when I was young, they call me “Xiao Wan Long” which means small…
M: “Small” Wan Long.
X: Smaller version. Yeah. And he’s the one guy I really respected the most. Because he’s doing really amazing things.
But it’s really a pity. He’s married and he has kids now. So he quit gaming. Yeah.
M: Does he still show up once in a while? And like play with you guys?
X: No, he doesn’t really play anymore.
M: I see. I guess it happens to almost everybody.
S: Yeah. Real world eventually takes over.
M: Yeah, pretty much.
M: So yeah! Related question: who’s the strongest player in Singapore?
X: Now, it’s probably Leslie.
M: Leslie, Sagat.
M: How can he be so strong when he’s in army right now right?
X: Yeah. But he’s all the while been very consistent. And usually…it’s Leslie that takes the tournament most of the time.
He’s the most consistent tournament player as well.
S: And second would be Gackt?
X: Yeah, it’s probably Gackt, Leslie. That wins most of the time.
M: We were talking about this a little earlier, and we were saying how Australia was a “Two God” scene. Like Bomb and Toxy.
But can you elaborate how Singapore…how you guys have like five or six different…
X: Yeah there’s a lot of…actually Gackt always doesn’t win tournaments. But he’s one of the best casual players.
S: Ah I see.
X: He plays really well in a long set. And he’s even beaten Daigo in EVO in a moneymatch. When he runs a set he’s really good. Because he’s very aggressive but he reads people well.
Whereas Leslie is a very consistent tournament, defensive player. But there’s other players like Sherman, Dixon, Rodney, Tommy, you know…those players that are consistently at the top.
So every time a tournament happens, anybody may win it. Just that Leslie won the most time, and then me, then after that Gackt. And…yeah.
M: So Leslie is a Sagat player. Gackt is a Fei Long player. Dixon is a Balrog player and Sherman plays…
X: Sherman plays Dictator.
M: Dictator. Ah.
X: And Tommy they all play Chun Li.
So it’s amazing sometimes Chun Li will win it and stuff.
M: What about that kid? Umm. Elton?
M: Is he still playing?
X: Yeah he’s still playing. I think he’s about eleven or twelve now. Playing since [he was] eight. His dad brings him to the arcade and they both play together.
M: That’s awesome.
X: They’re a happy family, yeah.
M: That’s awesome.
M: Is he the “Xiao Xian” or something?
X: I don’t know about it… yeah.
M: Ah okay. Cool, cool, cool.
7: Alright. Let’s go on to a really important question. The first time I came to Australia right, instead of experiencing culture shock- I experienced eye shock.
More specifically, I experienced boob-to-eye shock.
So coming from Singapore, had you a similar experience in the land of the C-cups?
X: Err… not really.
M: Not really?
X: Because I’m not Zhi!
(Everybody cracks up.)
X: …Yeah I’m not as enthusiastic in such stuff [as Zhi], it’s not that I don’t, but it’s usually that I have girlfriends and I don’t…
M: Ah yeah you’ve been attached all the time right?
X: Ah yeah, now no longer, but I usually just…simple…
I’m more simple in this aspect.
M: You’re a man of honour.
S: Yeah, he’s not a dirty bastard like you and me.
M: Heheh. That’s cool.
Alright, so speaking of Cameraman- which I think is like the most awesome nickname ever. I remember there’s a guy called Yong Tau Foo as well right? And there’s Air Con Man…And…
Why do you guys have so many awesome local nicknames.
X: Actually I don’t know.
Like they always randomly nickname people. When they don’t know anybody, they just nickname him anything. So it turns out, before we know the name, we all call [him] by the nickname.
So as time goes by, everybody just calls him by the nickname. That’s how it goes.
M: So did you have a nickname when you…
X: Yes. Xiao Wan Long was my nickname. Small Wan Long.
M: So do you have any favourite nicknames. Like my favourite is Yong Tau Foo. By far!
That’s my favourite…do you have any like, favourite nicknames in Singapore?
X: Hmmm, no.
M: That you find pretty funny, or?
X: For nicknames… So far…
I’m not a fan of this.
M: Ah yeah, yeah.
8: S: Lemme ask you: so did you actually ever finish the KOF world record trial?
X: Ah! Haven’t finished it.
S: Ah so it’s still going?
X: Nahaha! Actually we were at the start; we were just like, we’re going to finish it. And then Zhi just gave the idea; okay we’re going to stream it and going to finish it.
And then we were doing it halfway, and we were; oh shit. Because that day we haven’t slept. And we were doing about half the trials and it was early in morning…oh my god.
We thought we were just going to finish it in a few hours. But it turned out [way longer]. So we gotta stop it. Everybody’s tired. We want to go back and sleep.
It’s morning nine am. We have been through the whole night, doing filming and stuff. So.
X: It’s a crazy idea by Zhi. But it just didn’t turned out…to be that difficult. It’s an accident.
M: So all the crazy ideas come from Zhi? Like the fusion-ha thing or?
X: Yeah Zhi really has a lot of creative ideas. It’s either just Zhi or Cameraman. And I usually just…I don’t have much suggestions. I’m not that creative compared to [those guys]. They usually have a lot of different ideas.
M: So yeah. You’ve been travelling around the globe. Can you talk a bit about the scene in South-East Asia? Like Malaysia. Have you been to any other places in South-East Asia? Thailand…
X: Yeah. Malaysia, Philippines.
That’s the two [countries] that I’ve been to before. I gotta say in the Philippines, they treat people really well. Even though it’s like a third world country, but when I go there? I feel like…
I feel like I’m Daigo in Sydney. (Laughs.)
That’s the way I feel. The way I’m being treated. People treat me as if I’m a fighting game god. It feels really good!
The way they…the hospitality’s really good. They bring me around.
M: Is the scene based on arcades or consoles?
X: Um. They have arcades but I don’t think the scene is…
I’m not really that sure about it so I can’t really comment.
M: What about Malaysia? Have you been going there?
X: Malaysia is…I went like 2010, just once for the tournament. It’s been changing a lot of things so I don’t really know what is happening there or not. I know now that they have arcades with Street Fighter.
Going there they seem to have only like one? I think that’s like better?
M: Okay. Do you know where the main…the base of Malaysia’s [FGC] is? Is it in KL? Or?
X: They have KL players, Penang players.
M: Ah I see.
X: Yeah. They are divided into two like Sydney and Melbourne.
M: And do you guys have like Malaysia vs. Singapore exhibitions?
X: Yeah sometimes we do. Just do casuals, for fun. Or like exhibitions like 8 vs. 8. Just for fun. Because the link connection is pretty good. So people have something to look forward to.
M: Speaking of an exhibition, didn’t you guys have a…Singapore vs. Melbourne exhibition?
X: Yeah, yeah!
M: I think they did it in Adelaide.
X: We lost badly! It’s good, it’s good. We kinda didn’t expect…The standard was pretty high, we didn’t expect it. Yeah.
M: That’s pretty diplomatic. I heard the explanation was that you guys weren’t used to the…horrendous Australian internet lag! (Laughs.)
X: Well, if it lags for us it lags for you as well.
M: Yeah but we’re used to it! Because our internet is…
S: Is rubbish.
What is this? Underwater…
X: But I believe when losing…no matter what you say, it’s always excuses. So I don’t really like to…yeah.
M: I see what you mean.
X: Because everybody has the same problem. Because it’s the same…
M: It lags for me, it lags for you.
X: Yeah, yeah.
S: Let me ask you, since you play so many fighting games, what is your favourite fighting game to play? And I don’t mean current, I mean overall.
X: Overall is King Of Fighters.
S: Any particular version?
X: No particular versions. Since I started playing, I really like it. Because it’s really fast, fast-paced and…
S: It’s a very layered game.
X: Yeah. It’s a lot of things to think [about] in a game. Sometimes you can don’t think as well. It’s not like Street Fighter where your brain is constantly thinking about something. In KOF, sometimes when you are tired and you’re fighting against a scrub…just rushdown and attack. And when you do the combos you have the satisfaction. Because it’s difficult.
But I kind of turn more to Street Fighter nowadays. Because Street Fighter has more people playing. And this is where the fun is. And KOF seems to have kind off dropped down a bit. In Singapore. So it turns out to be more about Street Fighter now.
S: So you also came third in KOF at SBO in 2010 I believe?
X: Yeah, 2010.
S: So how did that come about. Did you just decide to…
X: I won the qualifier in Singapore. So I went there, and I just played.
It’s good. It’s a good experience for me.
Because…I’ve been playing…
In Singapore there’s a pretty good KOF scene. We have really good players there. So I’m not… I’m happy I least got third over there.
S: So how would you compare the Singapore KOF scene to the Japanese KOF scene?
X: No idea how the scene there works. But it seems…
S: What about the level of play then?
X: Umm. I only played one game against every opponent I played against so I can’t really gauge how good they are.
How bad, how good, it’s really hard to gauge. Because it’s one game, SBO.
S: Yes, of course.
X: I don’t really like it.
S: A lot of people do dislike the one game single elimination Japanese format.
X: KOF is the most fair because it’s three characters. And…it’s really less random compared to the other games.
Because imagine Street Fighter.
It’s one game.
If Marvel is there it’s going to be more horrible! (Laughs.)
S: Single elimination Marvel!
M: The happiest of birthdays!
X: Even Justin won’t win it! I believe.
S: So was that just singles or teams?
X: Singles, just singles. Yeah.
9: M: All throughout this time you’ve been attached right? What is the secret of keeping a woman happy and you know, still being good at…
S: (restrains chuckle.)
M: How do you maintain both mistresses.
X: I am no longer attached. But…it’s nothing to do with games. It’s personality difference.
I felt that if you find the right girl…
Actually I am not a very good example. Having…doing not very well, I kind of fail at it.
And… I think it’s quite horrible, because it’s not because of games.
Usually people like me who keep traveling and playing games, the main problem was…
M: Time, right.
X: Was time. But for me it wasn’t the situation. It was other factors, which I think I failed. Kind of personality difference.
So I think…I’m not the best example.
M: So let’s say you meet a lady right? And I guess you’re getting to know her. Do you tell her about what you do? Like you play Street Fighter or…
X: I will never tell them. (Laughs.)
S: So it still has that secret shame.
X: Yes! Ashamed… because in Singapore…
Playing fighting games, you don’t make a living.
It’s a true fact that you know, a lot of countries is facing.
So by admitting this, you’re of kind of telling her;
…Just a little better than a gambler.
That’s all. Yeah. So.
M: Which is really important for Asian women to know that right?
X: Yeah, yeah.
But[the good part about telling her], is that she knows what you like. And if she is attracted to you, she’s gonna be a good [keeper.] Because she knows that you are jobless, that you do all these things for fun, and you like playing games.
But she likes you. That’s a good thing.
M: Yeah. That’s like amazing if…
X: But you don’t really find good girls like that anywhere in the world….Singapore.
10: S: So last year you went to Canada Cup. And I have to ask this question because…I think there is a slight rivalry now starting to happen between Australia and Canada?
Because we got blown up last year at EVO last year.
So when comparing Canada’s level of Street Fighter and Australia’s level of Street Fighter, today that you’ve experienced so far, whereabouts do you think they are, by comparison:
One, to Singapore.
And then one, to the rest of the world.
X: Mmm. Singapore I think has a better scene, in terms of Street Fighter. Because of the arcades.
Which is the main thing.
When compared to the world…it really depends on which country. Because if you compare to Malaysia and the Philippines, they have a lack of arcades as well.
Just like what Australia is facing.
And Australia is kind of worse…because you don’t even have an internet connection!
M: (Laughs.) Yeah.
X: Yeah. So that makes…
S: So we’re doubly crippled.
X: Yeah yeah yeah. So the general level is probably lower and the rest is…Canada, you can play online. You can play online with Americans at least.
So having this two handicaps, you can’t have a very huge mass of good average players. Because a lot of people don’t get to practice with online.
11: M: So you’ve been travelling a lot. What do you like to do when you travel? Do you like to eat, see the sights? What do you like to do when you travel other than play Street Fighter.
X: I really like to eat and go sight-seeing. But it really depends on what kind of sight-seeing. But it really depends on what kind of sight-seeing and who’re you with.
X: Yeah, yeah.
Eating is probably the best because…I like to eat.
That’s why I’m fat. (M’s note: What a liar.)
S: So what’s the strangest thing you’ve tasted or ate.
X: I usually avoid eating foods that I don’t eat. Because I’m kind of a carnivore. I don’t really eat veggies, cheese, I don’t eat a lot of stuff.
So I only eat things that I like, like lamb. And I just eat in different countries, different kind of food. But it’s still lamb. So it suits me.
M: So which is the most godlike food you’ve eaten. Like country?
X: Probably Japan.
M: Japan right? That’s what everybody says.
S: Everybody says that.
X: Because even the average there is so good. Any store you walk in, the food is good. So amazing.
They put in effort, I think. More effort.
S: I wonder if there’s a cultural thing.
M: Yeah. Japan…food.
S: I’ll find out in September.
M: Isn’t there this magical ramen shop that Tokido was talking about, that you go to and eat, and you level up [your SF game].
X: Yeah Itabashi brought me to the…he said the best ramen [shop].
And…we went there?
The next day I went there again.
The next day I went there again!
(Laughs.) It was so good!
We kept going back.
S: So after a really bad loss and you’re feeling salty, what’s the best food to eat.
X: Mm. I used to be really competitive. When I first travelled, that’s the reason I picked Yun as well.
But as time goes by, I don’t feel that salty after a loss anymore.
Because right now, I’m enjoying what I’m doing. So I get sponsored by now, by DM, Desperation Move.
Yeah so, my main thing was, I don’t want to disappoint my sponsors. And…the competitive fighting spirit is gone…so the saltiness is not as…
I will train hard for tournaments and the loss is…
You will feel sad, definitely. You cannot control these kind of emotions. But not like the past where I will feel very salty and want to play more.
Now it’s better. Maybe when you get older…
M: Yeah older, like 21. (Xian is amazingly young.)
X: Because at the start, I just want to travel. Because I thought that keep winning will give me more chances to travel.
So right now I already got what I want. So I just want to maintain it.
Yeah. And getting into top…as long as my name is there, my company’s sponsor name is there and they are happy with my performance. I will just suit [myself] to their performance.
12: S: So you’re sponsored by Desperation Move. Can you tell us a little bit more about them? Because I’ve actually never heard of them.
S: I can imagine.
X: And foreign companies won’t…it’s really hard to sponsor in Singapore because it’s very expensive to fly somebody from Singapore to overseas.
And in terms of marketing, the risk/reward, it doesn’t benefit them much.
S: Of course.
It’s a similar problem with Australia. Because we’re so isolated, basically all our flights are almost basically double the price compared to anywhere else.
X: Yeah. So it doesn’t make sense for sponsors unless you really do something. I have been travelling on my own expenses for a lot of tournaments.
And it’s good that somebody appreciated it and decided to make me sustainable.
M: Mmm, that’s really important.
I guess is there a benefit that you guys are geographically close to Japan, and Korea…
X: Umm….no. The guy that sponsored me really has an interest in fighting games, he has playing fighting games for a long time. And he now has his own company and stuff. And he sees that I’m trying really hard and stuff, so he decided to give me a chance and sponsor me.
So after getting sponsored, I feel very happy and pick up more games.
S: Ah okay.
X: That’s the reason I started [playing] Soul Calibur V. Even though I’m a scrub!
For now. Since I’m now working in a console shop as well, just one week ago it started. So I think I will have a lot of practice in the future. So I will just try to do well.
M: Are you liking it in 3D games, like you know, you gotta press X, you gotta press a block button. So weird right?
X: I’m really used to 2D games. But you know, I just want to…
You get sponsored, you don’t have a choice. At least it’s still fighting games. So it’s still good.
But the best was that the sponsors want me to focus on Street Fighter and King of Fighters.
That’s what his main requirement [is.]
So I definitely want to win more SF and KOF tournaments so as to maintain my…
S: Of course.
X: So I can travel. Yeah.
S: Is Soul Calibur your first 3D game?
X: Yeah, it’s my first 3D game.
M: Who’re you playing in Soul Calibur V?
X: I’m playing Zwei? Z-W-E-I. ?
I definitely don’t know how to pronounce it.
M: I don’t know how to pronounce it either.
X: Yeah! Zwur.
S: Don’t look at me.
X: I just picked it up and Raymus is teaching me a bit. And I’m going to put more time into it so that when I go to EVO I’m prepared for it.
I’m putting more time into SF and KOF because this is what my sponsors want me [to do].
As for Marvel I’m playing a lot as well.
But…I cannot grab the concept…the consistent concept of the game.
I always get impatient.
S: But you did make top 32 at Marvel at EVO right?
X: Yeah sometimes I think it’s luck. For that EVO I really have to admit that it’s luck that brings me there. I got a good bracket. And some of the matchups, some of the players that I played, I have good matchup experience.
Because in Marvel I really got no confidence. Because we only play a certain set of characters in Singapore. All the same.
So as long as I play somebody who’s using a different team, I will probably stand a very high chance of losing.
S: Mm mm.
X: But I will put in more effort into it. Since now I can play online.
13: So I guess let’s talk a bit more about…OHN!
You qualified for top 8 in…winners right?
AE top 3. Xian, Robsux and Shang Tsung. From Panda Photography.
M: So who was in your pool?
X: Heavy Weapons. Pyro. Somniac.
M: Yep. So you beat Somniac and…
X: Heavy Weapons.
M: Heavy Weapons.
X: And there’s a Vega player…but I don’t when I met him, the fourth round?
Pretty solid as well. And I don’t remember other names in my pool.
M: So are you confident tomorrow? Predictions? Who do you think has a strong chance of winning OHN tomorrow?
M: Are you surprised to see Toxy in losers or?
X: I’m pretty surprised to see Toxy in losers. Because I know he has always consistently winning in Melbourne or in Australia. Like the best since Humanbomb left?
That’s from what I know.
M: He’s been playing a lot of Marvel though.
X: Yeah, yeah I think focused a bit too much on Marvel. So…
Because I play a lot of games as well. So I understand the….you’re not so good suddenly in certain games. And once you start to focus on other games you start to get…
M: So what’s the trick of being good [at multiple games]? How do you maintain your level? You just gotta put in more time, that’s the only answer right?
X: Mmm. I think it’s not more time. It’s like, you have to know which game is the most consistent. And which game you have the most basics at.
As for me, I don’t practice much KOF because I’ve been playing KOF for fourteen years.
M: I see.
X: And I know my basics, concepts, all these really well. In KOF.
But I know I’m the weakest…not to say Soul Calibur, my weakest was Marvel.
Because Marvel the game itself is more random.
And I need to break through the randomness. So it’s even more tough because I’m not that good in the game. So I have to work a lot more for Marvel. I’m trying to grab the concept of how to get…yeah.
M: So how would you describe your style? You said before that you feel you’re strong in footsies and spacing right?
And I’ve played you before- your footsies are really good. So how would you describe your style?
X: I kind of copied Momochi.
M: Momochi? Ah.
X: I really like Momochi a lot. Because I used to play Akuma. I look at his videos and I see a lot of amazing things [done] by him. Amazing reactions, baiting. And footsie skills.
Which…then I started…I learned a lot from him. So I keep watching his videos and I picked up most of the tricks from him. And I got my own tricks as time goes by and I play more opponents.
He’s really a very…
M: Surgical player right?
X: Impressive player to watch. So far…
M: He’s your favourite player?
X: Yeah. Besides Iyo, like, both of them… I really like Iyo as well. And Sako impressed me with his execution!
X: Yeah! It’s really impressive. You can’t really find a player with so good execution and yet such a good player at the same time.
M: Oh are you saying that it’s more common to find people with good execution but bad basics?
X: Umm, yeah. Not to say bad basics. But not at the top…Sako is at the top with really good skills in terms of everything, and yet, [he has] really fantastic execution.
M: Is that to say that execution isn’t really everything when it comes to the highest level?
X: Mmm no. But everybody at the highest level has…
M: Has execution.
X: Yeah. They at least have the standard execution to not drop combos. Even if it’s in tournament. Yeah.
S: I guess that’s the difference between a good player and a great player.
X: Yeah, you’re right. Execution is always…
S: Consistent. Consistent execution. And basically can execute under any situation. Pressure, non-pressure.
X: It’s most important because without execution, you can never stay at the top. But if you don’t have other things, like reaction, you don’t have mindgames, you don’t zoning, you don’t have footsies….
It can be covered by other areas. That’s how some players [get by].
But without execution I would say it’s impossible to stay at the top.
14: M: I think someone was telling me, you were talking about this about Melbourne’s style. Is that we have “fake”…like you say a lot of us don’t really play footsies, per se. We like, pretend that we’re playing footsies, and then we jump.
X: Yeah. Some of the players that I played. Yeah. But it was just…
M: A general observation?
X: Just…a few days ago I played a few players. When I stayed in the hotel room playing with Melbourne players. I realised actually they are thinking.
But what they are thinking, they have a general playstyle. Where they would like to “act” as if they are playing footsies with you. And then they suddenly jump at you.
And it caught me unaware a few times.
And I played another player and I start to adapt to it.
When I play another player as well, then I started realizing.
They’re using the same trick!
So everybody, a lot of people were using the same trick.
X: They’re always jumping in [trying to catch you unaware].
Maybe that’s the general playstyle. Every country has a general playstyle.
M: I see. Ah. So that’s Melbourne’s general playstyle?
So what’s Singapore’s playstyle?
X: Singapore is…doing a lot of uppercuts!
S & M: (Laughs.)
X: Yeah! (Laughs.) Yeah. Every country has it’s playstyle. Japan is safe.
M: Ah Japan is safe. And America is?
S: America is rushdown. Or lame.
S: Depending on the coast.
X: Yeah kind of. Every country has it’s playstyle.
Actually when a really good player stays at the top, he has every aspect.
Even the Melbourne playstyle? Top players do it as well.
Just that they mix it into their game, while…
They mix everything into their game. That’s a very good player.
Safe you know. Random uppercutting. Random jump ins. It’s all important aspects of the game.
M: Yep. Like random jump-ins…you still have to do it once in a while.
X: Yeah you have to do it once in a while.
M: Yeah it’s surprising that you would say that you got caught unaware [by Melbourne random jump-ins]. Because I thought that only happens to lousy players like myself.
Like playing footsies, and I can’t shake out of that mode. To…
X: It’s really hard to…when you’re focusing on footsies it’s really hard to concentrate on the air. And it kind of depends on the character as well.
I did a lot…I think a lot about this concept. Because I’m playing Gen. And I abuse this concept. Because Gen has a very short jump arc. And he has two different jump arcs.
So I always do that. I pretend that I’m playing footsies.
X: Yeah! I always do that as well. Half-kind of Melbourne style. And then I saw them doing this and…I know what they are doing!
M: Because you do it yourself.
X: Yeah! I do it myself as well.
M: Very interesting. Very, very interesting.
15: M: Do you wanna talk about the future plans of Cross Counter Asia and about Cameraman’s plan for Singapore?
X: Cross Counter Asia…I’m not really sure where the direction is going. Because I’m always not the one giving suggestions. I have to admit that I’m always taking part in it…but not really sure…
But the next game is probably SFxTekken. That we did interviews with Ono, and we played running sets with him and stuff.
S: You played running sets with Ono?
X: Yeah, he only came to Singapore like a few days ago. Like one week ago? About one week ago.
So he was elaborating about the game and stuff and we went to interview as a media [presence]. And the next game we’re probably going into is SFxTekken. Because it seems like it’s going to be one of the biggest games as well in EVO.
S: Do you have any thoughts on SFxTekken?
M: Do you like it or you think it’s…
X: I admit for the first time, I think the whole game was generally good. I believe it’s very user friendly. And I believe a lot of people will play it. And that’s what I really like.
Actually for me, I already have the game I really like. Which is King of Fighters.
But for KOF it’s impossible for [new] players to pick up.
It’s like kicking football, if you don’t have the stamina you cannot…
Even how good your dribbling skill [is] you cannot go into the field without stamina.
So with the tough execution and stuff…
S: KOF reminds me a lot of the older games where you have to put in years of practice, ideas, mindgames, of just playing in general. In order to be decent.
X: It’s not even at the top. Just to be decent…
S: Just to be good!
X: Yeah yeah, just to be good it takes so much effort.
So it’s impossible for new players to pick up. So people who just got into fighting game will never pick up KOF. Or they will just pick up, and drop it.
S: And honestly I think that’s one of the reasons, that was one of the reasons why Ono, when he created SFIV he said we want to go back to a basic level. Because 3S was so layered and it was such a hard game to pick up and play. So.
X: Just like I want to pick up 3s as well. It seems like its very fun. But I tried it and it’s like…I played a little bit and I know it’s impossible to reach the level because everybody is already at such a high level. Just like KOF. All the players that is good, has been playing for ten over years.
And if I go and play Third Strike now, I have over ten years of experience to catch up [with them].
So it doesn’t matter if you are smart or anything but sometimes its’ really…
M: Time is not on your side.
X: Yeah. And SFxTekken is really user friendly. That’s what I like. And Ono showed us a chart of the Turbo…during [SSFII] Turbo times, fighting games were at its peak. But during around 1995-2006 the chart got really low. And now it’s rising up again with SFIV. So people kind of know the direction to get more people to play fighting games.
Which for me was fun, is Turbo, SFIV, SfxTekken. For me they have similar concepts.
It’s simple. Anybody can play.
M: So it’s not about your dexterity, but more about whether you can read your opponent.
X: Yeah, so smart people can play the game and pick it up and be good at it. And to me KOF is just like football. No matter how smart you are you cannot get into the game when you can’t do the combos.
When you can’t do reaction uppercut in low jump.
KOF when you play for ten over years so you do a low jump you can do an uppercut. It’s not every time but we can react to it. But to new players…
M: What the hell is that.
X: What the hell was that.
S: To a lot of new players even just the whole idea of having three jumps is very…
X: Yeah they can’t even do the jumps properly. So how smart you are doesn’t matter anymore. So it’s not a…I can’t say it’s not a good game. But…
M: But it’s hard to sell the game.
X: It’s hard to sell the game, yeah.
M: Well with so many games out are you worried about oversaturation? That maybe we have too many games out at the same time and we split the community…Do you prefer having one banner game like vanilla SFIV or like many different games or? Do you think that too many games can be a bad thing, or the more, the merrier.
X: Mmm, I don’t really the idea of too many games going on because…for me. I think for most people it doesn’t matter. For me I wanna concentrate on the games I play. So having more games is a tiring thing to do.
M: It’s tiring yea.
X: Yeah but I still want to make use of the time I have to travel. And maybe after that I will just…stop and go back to studies or something. So not having more games is really good.
16: M: Any last thoughts or shoutouts?
X: Definitely want to shout out to Cross Counter Asia because if not because of him, I won’t be here.
And definitely Cameraman. And most importantly now; sponsors!
All of them bring a part in where I am today. And without them maybe I will stop gaming already. I wouldn’t have travelled without Cameraman. I wouldn’t have continued playing without Cross Counter Asia and without Desperation Move for not supporting me, I probably wouldn’t travel that much. So shoutouts to them, definitely.
M: Are you coming back to Shadowloo Showdown?
X: I really hope to come back. And I will try to ask my sponsors to get me here. And gonna come back and…
M: Well all you need to do is win the Singapore qualifier, right?
X: Yeah! I think that’s really difficult. There’s actually two ways for me to get here. Which is the sponsors and the Singapore qualifiers.
And I really hope I can win the qualifier and come here instead of sponsors to come here.
M: I see, which is a lot harder.
X: Because I don’t want to request a lot from my sponsors. I will see how it goes at the moment and try to get it done because I really want to come back again.
Because…Australia…a lot of people are watching Cross Counter Asia.
Like when we see the analytics. We really want to show support to people who actually support me.
M: Ah so you guys see the stats and see that Australia is high.
X: Australia was like third. Singapore was like last!
That was…okay I don’t want to say
S: I was watching that world record stream at work. Nearly got in trouble.
Maybe I shouldn’t say this. Maybe you can edit it? I dunno…
M: But why? I mean you guys have probably have the second strongest arcade scene in the whole of the world right?
Why aren’t more Singaporeans paying attention to you guys?
X: Maybe because they see me every day they can call me every time…
X: So they don’t watch Cross Counter Asia. Analytics is like really low. And Australia is like third! That is so amazing. America is first but…
S: They have the population.
X: They have the population. Australia is very supportive of our show. So I’m really glad to…I really want to come back. That’s one of the reasons why I came to Sydney this time. Because I haven’t been to Sydney before.
M: It’s an amazing city right?
S: And we love having you here as well.
M: It’d be cool if two Singaporeans came over and…
S: Bodied everyone.
M: Bodied everyone heh.
S: I wanna see Leslie out here man.
M: Yeah, the Sagat…man.
X: Leslie’s the guy- I really hope he can come. If I can’t win it, I really hope Leslie will. I really supported Leslie. Because I think he’s so consistent as a tournament player. And he kind of proved it.
S: He blew everybody up at Canada Cup.
X: …At Canada Cup, yeah. So.
M: Yeah man. His performance. Man.
So when does he finish his army? Like soon?
X: Maybe about a year?
Although you shouldn’t shake his hand when he [beats] you.
Because he has sweaty palms.
M & S: (Laughs.)
X: After every time he wins it’s like I thought he was nervous or some shit.
And I like shake his hand…and damn!
Every time he was wet!
S & M: (Laughs)
X: So disgusting!
That’s just him.
M: Maybe his true power hasn’t been unlocked. Maybe when he gets out of army he’ll be like Shin Leslie or something.
X: Naa… heh I don’t know about it.
Before he entered NS he was already very good.
His mindset is…very [good] in tournament.
M: Would you say that’s the most important thing to have? Mindset?
X: Yeah because with the correct mind[set], execution and everything generally gets better.
Because if you cannot get in the right mind[set], which people say getting enough sleep will do. But it’s not only getting enough sleep. But some players go into their own world when playing a tournament match. They only started focusing when they are playing the second match or they lost the first game or something?
Things you do are very different if you are able to focus on every match, not to lose it, to treat it very important.
This is easy to say. But a lot of players can’t do it. Even I can’t do it.
Especially in Marvel!
I will…my mind will just go blank. And you know…rushdown for a moment, not thinking what I’m doing.
And that’s the really difficult part.
And I think Justin Wong is one player which really has this really well.
Mind really calm, so every character he plays no matter how he dies, he’s going to get so good comebacks and also because of that…
M: And you believe Leslie has that as well.
X: I believe Leslie has this aspect as well. Because I’ve seen him for very long in tournaments and he will never be nervous even when he’s down with a bit of life.
Maybe he’s nervous, but he always has a gameplan. And you can see the result, it’s very consistent. He always do the right stuff at the right time even when he’s low on health.
And when he’s high on health it’s even…
X: Yeah, yeah! He’s solid no matter his health bar, if it’s low or high. That’s what I like.
M: He’s so young, his future is really bright.
S: Well, I think that’s going to wrap things up.
Thank you very much.
X: No worries. Thank you very much for interviewing me.
M: And good luck for tomorrow!
X: Appreciate it.
M: Thanks Xian.