Keeping the fire alive. (A amateurs article.)

Hello, my name is Ryan Oliver Brandt and i love fighting video games and I am sure whomever is reading this right now does too.
But i can remember a time not so long ago, where i would have been embarresed to even think those words to my self. About a year and a half ago when i was in high school you couldnt play any game that didnt have some sort of assault rifle in it and NOT be called a nerd. I’ve loved video games my whole life but i just wanted to fit in with my friends, so i always played the games they were talking about.

It wasn’t until i saw a friend of mine wearing a Super Street Fighter 4 shirt at a break time that i was finally able to have a conversation in person about fighting games with a actual human being. I loved to talk about it for hours but after that year i hardly even saw that friend and with no one else to talk about the game i buried it in my chest and picked up the FPS’s once more.

It wasn’t for a while after that until the fire was re-lit. Me and some buddies just checked out some bands at a local spot and drove back to a friends house to kick back for a little while. It seems everyone talks about video games nowadays so it was no surprise that is what we were talking about. but something surprised me, One of my friends asked if any of us were going to pick up Marvel Vs. Capcom 3.
I was stunned.

Here was someone who i thought didn’t even know fighting games existed asking ME if i was going to pick it up. Of course i wanted to just give him a "Hell yea!’ but at the time i couldnt. It wasn’t that i was uninterested in the game, i knew i could fall in love with any fighter. It was more so the fact i was scared it was going to die down again. i got a couple of friends to play Street Fighter 4 with me for a little while, but no one took it seriously. I thought if i picked up the game it would be the same sad story of not having any friends to play with. But when the release day came around i just happened to have some extra cash in my pocket when i swung around wal-mart and couldnt resist if anything i was bound to have some nostalgic feelings and that alone was worth the 60$ price tag

I got home and picked a team of characters i loved, at the time i think it was Amaterasu, Dante and Wesker some of my favorite iconic video game characters. The first night i stayed up for eight hours in training mode alone just figuring the game out and loving every minute of it.

I’m not sure when exactly it was that i flipped to a Gamefaqs message board to find challengers, but it was right after the game released that i saw a topic with the title of, “Live stream going on now.” that i understood why MVC2 came known as ‘The Crack.’ of fighting games.I remembered watching Ricky Ortiz and Daigo fight it out on the EVO stream from the year before and how much i enjoyed it.
Boy was i in for a treat.

I wonder how many of the fighting gamers remember the first time they watched Wedsnday Night Fights. There was so many thoughts going through my head, as i listened to the commentary and mesmerized by the commentary. Everything seemed so perfect, but most of all it didnt even look like a competition, more like a convention.
Everyone there no matter if they lost or won had a smile n there face, everyone was having a good time just watching this new game and most of all talking about it. Even people who had never met looked like friends on my laptop screen.

I was just having such a good time watching everything that i wasn’t even paying attention to the games and that was the first time something happened on a stream that completely froze me. Justin Wong a name i was all too familiar with from past games was up on the stream. I watched his Wolverine and Akuma annihilate all competion up until the finals with my jaw wide open.
After the stream was over i couldnt even go to sleep, once more i stayed up all night playing Justin Wongs team and trying to find new things out for my own.

Finally the next day came around, i was still so hyped up from the night before. it was like the day after the super bowl and it was all i wanted to talk about. But once again i was completely alone to this, i told my friends about it but there barely seemed interested.

I was disheartened by this and i was sure i was going to completely drop everything again, ‘What was the point if there was no one to talk to about it?’ and i did, i played Call of Duty zombies with my friends all week and didnt even look at marvel… until Wedsnday came along. I couldnt resist watching everyone take a crack at Wong again i HAD to watch. There was no questions about it. And afterwards i couldnt think of anything but the game, so once again i played it.

This seemed to continue all through out this year, whenever there was a stream on i had to watch it, it came to the point where i didnt even care what fighting game it was anymore or who was playing. I loved every minute of it, and whenever i saw Viewers up to 6k i loved the feeling of so many people watching it with me in spirit.
Finally EVO came around this year and i lost a entire weekend of my life, i didnt eat, i didnt sleep and i wasnt even there. It clung to me like a virus i had to see everything that was going to happen at every moment.

And then… it was over. ending with the greatest top 8 of Street Fighter i had ever seen. But that was it, i played my games online a bit but there was no one really to spar with or a motivation to get better and then it hit me.

Every single commentator thanks the community and says without them they would be nothing. And then i thought about all the people i had watched for so long and how much they cared about everything that was happening inside and out of there community and that was when i discovered… how big of a hypocrite am i? I sit on my bed and watch these streams of people doing what i want to do and complain about not having anyone who cares enough to talk to? Why dont i get my gangly ass up and get over to WNF? why dont i go to a major, WHY THE HELL WASN’T I AT EVO THIS YEAR!?

Ive known about this website for a long time, and ive known just as long that EVERYONE who is on it cares about the fighting game community, but at the same time i wonder how many of them actually have people they can go to consistantly and talk like actual friends too each other about these games? how many people actually use the conversation option?

Well i want to know, how many people here truly care about this community, and if you do then unite as a community. TALK TO PEOPLE they need it just as much as you do. And on that note i want any and everyone able and willing to strengthen the community to add me and anyone else who replies on this board and just have a conversation with them like you would a friend in person.

Also i’d like to see people who read this reply to it with how you got your Fighting Game fire lit, and what you do to keep it lit. What is everyones stories?

(Thank you for everyone’s time, i am sure this was too long for most people to read anyway but thank you everyone who tried. Also if you can message me about my mediocre journalism with any pointers i would greatly appreciate it i know how mediocre i am. Thank you!)