We have a lot of new faces in the GTASF nowadays. SFIV has brought what appears to be a second coming to the SF world. If there's one thing I've noticed from new kids is that they're interested in the history of the scene. I'm creating this thread for people who have been here from the competitive get go to lend their input and tell their stories. Share history and memories. Share drama, road trips, good and bad times. I only ask that players respect the thread and what's in it. If you're an idiot, I'll delete the post. With that being said, I'll start with the city I called home.
BRAMPTON (1991 - 1996)
I've been playing SF essentially since 1991. Street Fighter II first hit Brampton in a local Beckers (corner of Williams Parkway & Torbram). The convenience store made very little money but that cabinet was never without competition. I was 10 at the time and thought myself an OK player. I was not an OK player. That cabinet along with essentially all cabinets as they cropped up in Brampton between 1991 and 1998 were dominated by two players. Garrett Grant was a tall lanky black guy. He crushed everyone. It wasn't even close. The guy simply had a mind for SF. The #2 guy and from what I could tell Garrett's best friend was a kid named Jason Ciani. Some of the old heads out of Toronto will probably recognize the name. When he was 18 or 19 he moved from Brampton to Scarborough. The last time I saw Jason was at T3 and he was known by a fair amount of the TOSF VA/VF regulars. In any case these two ran the show.
Brampton's arcade scene was split up into two main arcades. They were Shoppers World and Bramalea City Centre. I can't speak much on Shoppers World. It was on the other side of the city and I was rarely in there. BCC, much like EMTC went through an arcade shift over the years. In the late 80's into early 90's it was on the ground floor and absolutely massive. It'd be comparable to the old Skybox (which I understand became Old Navy and we all know how big those stores are). Up until I quit gaming in arcades (1997) that arcade was intact. I don't know when it was moved to the upstairs location but even that location was huge. Anyone that was around back then could attest to how deep that arcade was. It looked small from the front but you'd walk back and it opened up with loads of spaces for cabinets and pool tables. Typically the newest fighting game was put front and centre to draw people in. A third spot within ghetto Brampton was the Pizza Pizza located at Central Parkway & Grenoble. That Pizza Pizza got everything first. It was typically ahead of the major arcades by weeks, if not months. There's something to be said about a pizza place run by Chinese guys who are all solid gamers. If you wanted comp on a Friday night you hit up that Pizza Pizza (you hit up BCC on Saturday afternoon). The place was probably 1/3 the size of a typical Pizza Pizza and it was lined with 3 or 4 of the newest cabs at any given point. You were basically crammed in there like a sardine can. If you wanted to play the best you were there though. You were uncomfortable and surrounded by thugs but you were a solid player if you were winning at all.
When I entered high school in 1994 the big games from what I can recall were Super Turbo, Killer Instinct, Mortal II and Samurai Shodown II. The Internet was pretty much still in its infancy but a few people would be able to pull move lists, combo lists and strats off of the early Newsgroups and Bulletin Board Systems. Of course if you had the Internet at all in your place that was impressive unto itself so people with this kind of information came few and far between. Text files are serious business for downloading on a 14.4 (that's 1.4kps to you guys who grew up on high speed). It was a good period to be a fighting gamer. I never developed any interest in Killer Instinct after people were breaking the game within weeks of release. Being 14 and infinite juggled by Cinder players was not my impression of a good time. If anything I'd consider myself a KI scrub. ST was the main game of interest for me. By today's standards I was terrible. In fact by today's standards everyone was terrible, including Garrett and Jason. I'll be honest in saying I'm pretty fuzzy on 1995 and 1996. I would assume most people were playing MKIII and Street Fighter Alpha. I wasn't a fan of either game. MK's having to press a button to block drove me nuts coming from the SF world and SFA moved far too slow for my liking. 1997 rolled around and SFA2 hit the scene. I played the hell out of that game until I couldn't hold my own against people using CC's and it was over.
(to be continued)