Yesterday they crucified the best of us. In the process of striking at the sins of one man, they made him carry the cross on which the many groups which comprise the fighting game community were put on a public display of shame. Longinus was not there to draw blood from our chest. He had a replacement in the form of Jared Rea who was ascribed a role of whistle blower and leadership that is neither his to attempt nor there for the taking. But just as he lead with the lance forged of a one sided view on us, other websites mirrored his actions while chanting his words as articles were written and then rewritten exposing Aris’s actions on a reality tv webshow and ascribing them to the rest of us. We are nailed to a cross of racism and misogyny erected on wood carved from trees of yellow journalism. But as the spears continually struck at our body, they could never get quite at a vital point. All the same you tried to kill what this community has worked hard to create with the brutish strength of ignorance.
This community was in its deathbed until some very dedicated people decided to try and save it. What is it that they saved? They saved an environment that was rougher than most places. We aren’t rough around the edges, we are a forge in which people are thrown in and molded into fierce competitors. This forge has produced incredible stories, amazing rivalries, epic comebacks and feuds that poems could be written about. This is a community who’s original top players were white, half Chinese and half white, and of Japanese descent. In its outgrowth mid to late 90’s its top feud were between a man of Korean descent and one straight from Lima, Peru. We had heated rivalries between east and west, South California and North California. The chorus that sang the funeral mass to one of our top games were divided in two parts: between a man of Dominican decent in New York and a black guy from Los Angeles, and a Filipino man and a Mexican man both from California .
All the while the games which would become the eSports icons were developing, this community was pulling itself by the bootstraps. We are the libertarian dream of citizens saving themselves and what the idea of a melting pot could not achieve for the general American culture. While AMD, NVIDIA, IBM all care about the computers on which eSports are run, Seth Killian, before he was Capcom’s community manager, was busy trying to get key chains for us to play to win in tournaments. This entire time that we are hustling ourselves into a position of stability, the starcraft leagues are becoming huge, Dead or Alive somehow makes it onto a bigger stage and the rest of us are left with defibrillators strapped to our sides to ensure our passion for our games never flatlines.
The true heart of the fighting game community, not its common spectators or its one or two fans that remember who Blanka was, that one game with some guy named Sol, or this Soul Calibur game they once played on dreamcast, lies in our tournaments. If you are not experiencing the fighting game community at its gatherings or tournaments, it becomes unfair to say much about it in the first place. The events by which we are being judged happen on a reality Tv show. None of us are defending Aris’s behavior, but to say that we are holding ourselves back when we have been working forward since arcades day is a gross exaggeration.
We have been accused of a racism that is not there; We have been accused of misogyny that is no there. These chargers are levied at us after an Evo tournaments during which we had a transgendered person from Japan compete, our major photographer is transgendered, a female player from Japan was also flown to one of our major tournaments, a female player has a place on the Guiness World Records, and three years and some months after the Cannons, Mr. Wizard and Seth Killian (the people who run Evo) decided to throw a female only tournament to attract more female players. This was an Evo tournament in which are last two hopes for the U.S. winning were a Black man from Detroit and a Saudi Arabian immigrant. Yesterday was nothing more than a baseless attack at a community that cannot function with racism or misogyny because it has as many sexes as genders. This in a community where some of our top players are openly gay and nobody could really care less. The truth of the matter is that we were crucified yesterday by a man’s action much in the same way you could crucify the starcraft community for the one player who died in an internet café playing, decided that the punk community is a bunch of misogynistic pigs because Sid Vicious had a hand in the death of his girlfriend, or maybe all Mexican boxers are wife beaters since its most prominent champion, Julio Cesar Chavez, is well known for sparring with his wife without her consent. The actions of these individuals did not speak for their communities and neither do Aris’s actions.
Dj Wheat said he wanted to hear our good stories but we do not exactly publish those for the public because they aren’t there for public consumption. Did you know that we tried our hardest to help pay for one of our member’s funeral? Did you know that when one of our member’s apartment building went up in smoke and the family lost their life savings, we were there donating money to help restore them? Does the whole of the internet need to know that one of our members lost an eye modding a stick, was in economically precarious situation, and we pulled together to take care of him? Does it matter that these members in question are Mexican, Chinese and White respectively? Do you need to know that I housed and fed one of the members of the community for one night when he came to my city for a tournament; this being somebody I had never met and who needed a place to stay? We will take care of ours and our own as we have been for 12 years and hope to do for 12 more. But the more this incident gets pushed, the less all of the qualities which the community does have are brushed aside.
If you look at our cultural history you will understand why there have been 12 of intensity among us. Without passion and intensity this community could not function because that is what it needed to stay alive. This incident is an ugly mark. But you can go to youtube at any moment and see some of the best of us and some of the worst of us at times. Part of our history is on video, from our greatest achievements in tournaments and gameplay to the way that conflict resolution is handled; and all of it is done through playing games. The charges on which the best us of were crucified happened at our most bizarre. One of our members in a reality TV show, that was not controlled by the community, and that honestly not a lot of us watched. For the majority of us this is as much as a spectacle as it is for the outside observer.
If you want to crucify us, do so on all the things that we are and not of the actions of one man. Can you say we that we seem abrasive and angry from an outsider’s perspective? Yes. Can you say that we have made some people mad online who were not expecting to play those that take the game seriously? Yes. You could even throw charges at of us being somewhat unwelcoming in our own online communities. A lot of the growth that happened in this community was very sudden and caught many people by surprise. Because of a lot of this growth we have not properly introduced ourselves or created solid avenues on which the outside world can meet the lost tribe of competitive gaming. Our isolation was not intentional and a lot of the clashes with the outside world are cultural misunderstandings. But if you want to know what we are about, please come to our tournaments and learn. Visit our community with a clear mind because who we are as a group is as unique as all cultures are. We could not care less about any of your biological component so long as you come to learn and play. If you want to nail us to that cross, do not do so on the follies of one man in extraneous circumstances.