Name: Bob Painter
Hometown: Okinawa, Japan but I grew up in San Diego and have lived here ever since.
Years playing sf2: Off and on since 1992
Main character: Honda
Other characters that you play at a high level: Zangief, T.Hawk
Tournament results: 1st place a.g.sf2 gathering (95?), Top eight B5 ST, Won SBO ST qualifiers in 2003.
Favorite fighting game: SSF2T
Other fighting games that you enjoy: King of Fighters ('95, '98), 3rd Strike, Tekken, SSF4
weapon of choice: SF4 TE Stick. Any Japanese stick works for me.
- Dan, Daigo, Kuni and Kuroppi at EVO 2009
papasi You recently posted what could possibly be the FIRST ST tournament in the world and you’re the first generation of sf2 players.
Do you want to share with us some of the history in that era (from where you start playing SF2)?
kuroppi It’s pretty amazing that the video could be the first ST tournament in the USA and even the world and thanks to Ganelon for doing the research on that. Since it was such a long time ago, I thought it took place a year or so after ST was released. I’ve gotten many messages thanking me for uploading the video and I’m glad people are enjoying it.
Anyway, wow. Where to start?
I started playing SFII at Yellow Brick Road arcade here in San Diego, with it’s two head-to-head machines, just like all the Japanese arcades had. All the best players played on those machines while the beginners and those who couldn’t hack it, went to go play on the standard machines.
Not too long after playing there, I met and became friends with the legendary Kuni Funada, who was attending college here at the time. And Yellow Brick Road held the famous, big SFII tournament, which was won by Tomo Ohira. I didn’t enter that tournament though. I was into Street Fighter then but I didn’t really start playing heavy until Champion Edition came out.
When SFII came out for the Super Nintendo, Kuni and I would spend countless nights playing until four or five in the morning. I can’t even imagine how many hours that added up to be and how many classes I missed because I overslept after those marathon sessions!
I think it was during SSF2 that I started with alt.games and soon after the #capcom IRC channel. This is where I first met virtually all of the OG players that we know today, like Seth Killian, James Chen, Julien Beasley, John Choi, Apoc, omni, the Cannons and the names can go on and on.
I think it was in 1995? that we organized an a.g.sf2 ST and SFA1 tournament. It was kind of the primitive version to what would become Battle by the Bay and eventually EVO. There were a few guys (I think Joel Frank and David Boudreau) who came all the way out from the East Coast to Vegas for the tournament. I think I even surprised myself by winning the ST tournament, pulling off the upset against Watson and beating Joel in the finals.
We really didn’t have any tournaments here in San Diego after ST came out, which was odd because ST was pretty popular here and we had weekly Hyper Fighting tournaments here with good turnouts. So I would frequently travel with Kuni and James Romedy up to tournaments in LA. They first introduced me to the World’s Finest Comic tournaments in Pico Rivera. All the top LA players would play there. But we went to other tournaments scattered all over LA, from UCLA to Little Tokyo. Anywhere that featured ST, since we were so starved for tournaments here in San Diego.
Going a little past the ST era, after Alpha came out, the ST scene here took a big hit. A group of us still played ST but just like before, we’d have to go up to LA for any tournaments or better competition and Southern Hills Golfland would become the hottest spot in Southern California, especially with Alex Valle making his mark on the Street Fighter world. Even though Alpha and later on SF3 would become the marquee game there, there was always OG’s and major competition on the ST machines there. It was so great just visiting there from time to time. It must have been heaven for the locals who lived near there and played there all the time!
1994/5/1 UCLA SSF2T Tournament - The first ST tournament in the world, featuring Jeff Schaefer & Mike Watson and a lot of other og players. Check Kuroppi?s channel for more.
papasi Your nickname sounds like Japanese, and you’re friends with Japanese players. Do you speak Japanese? Is there anything you want to say regarding Japan, its players, etc?
kuroppi Long story short: My nickname really has no meaning. Many moons ago when I got on alt.games.sf2 and #capcom on IRC I had to choose a handle so I just picked a name of a Japanese band I was listening to at the time called “Kuroyume”, which means “black dream”. I later shortened it to Kuro and then as a joke I changed it to “Kuroppi”, like the Sanrio character but people kind of liked it so it has stuck all these years.
I’m part Japanese. I’m not fluent but I can understand it pretty well. As for Japan, I was born there but moved here soon afterwards so I haven’t lived there like a number of Street Fighter players have but I’ve visited there several times in the past decade and I’ve had the chance to play against some great players there including Gian, Kurahasi, Otochun to name a few.
- At a small arcade in Tokyo during SBO week 2002. Julien Beasley, David Sirlin, Chris Li and the one and only Seth Killian
papasi How do you practice the game before you become good? Do you leverage PC emulation or console version to practice your execution? How many years does it take to compete at high level?
kuroppi Well, I learned back in the arcade days so you had to become good fast or else you were going to lose a lot of money! So it was trial by fire and you’d better learn quickly!
I never practice. What free time I have to play, I just like to play for fun these days.
I think it took me kind of a while before I considered myself playing at a high level. I didn’t really start playing a lot until late World-Warrior/Early Champion Edition and it was during Hyper Fighter that I started beating the best players here on a more regular basis.
But there were no Honda players around where I was so I had to figure everything out on my own, without a training mode, without YouTube tutorials and matches to study or the flow of information like we have now so it was a bit difficult. I see players raise their level of play so much faster now these days. It’s pretty amazing.
papasi E Honda is not a popular character. Why do you pick him as your main?
kuroppi Originally, I started using him in Champion Edition. I was (and still am) a big sumo fan so his character intrigued me. His type of gameplay really seemed to fit my style so I stuck with him and kept working to play him at the highest level that I could.
This may surprise people who know me but my favorite character to play is actually Ryu. People think just because so many people (especially beginners) use Shotos, that they’re easy to use. I think to play shotos at a very high level in ST is really underestimated because there are a number of (especially top tier) characters that give him a hard time. I actually use Ryu most of the time when I’m playing online these days. I always wanted to use him as a main or at a tournament level but I just have never been able to learn to play him at that level consistently.
papasi Do you use fierce Hundred Hand Slap? Are there any tricks to pull that off consistently?
kuroppi These old hands can’t do it very well anymore (and even back in my prime, I wasn’t that good at it) so I usually stick with the medium HHS. But there are times where the fierce HHS is better for closing distance.
So it’s kind of funny when people occasionally accuse me of using turbo because I screw up HHS a lot more than I should be with all the experience I have!
*Drunk Mago! Doing Hundred Hand Slap hands on kuroppi!
papasi Is shoto the most difficult matchup for Honda? Do you have any
strategy to share for this matchup?
kuroppi Yeah, don’t pick Honda!
But yes, I think shotos are Honda’s toughest matchups. Along with Dee Jay and Guile.
The most important thing against shotos is you have to use his jump neutral fierce to steer over projectiles. I see so many Hondas that just try to “buttslam” through fireballs and that’s just suicide. It’s tough to steer over fireballs especially when your opponent is great at mixing up the speeds. You’re going to get smacked with a lot of fireballs and land on a lot of fireballs but that can’t deter you.
Crouching jab is his best poke against shotos and using his HHS to pressure is also very important, especially doing a quick HHS that’s blocked, into a second one.
papasi Zangief seems to be a lot more popular than T Hawk. But in recent years the Japanese have been picking up on THawk. What do you like about Zangief? You mentioned that T Hawk’s play is too one dimensional?
kuroppi Yeah, what I meant with that comment was that from a game design perspective, I do not like the (though unintentional) option select loop trap that T-Hawk has because some characters really can’t get out of it so the risk/reward in that situation is problematic IMO.
I like Zangief because he fits my play style of working your way in and doing big damage. Cracking the turtle’s shell can be very challenging but so rewarding when you finally do!
Kuroppi (o Honda) vs djfrijoles (t hawk)
papasi Which character has the best design and why? Should o. sagat / claw / boxer be soft banned?
kuroppi Though he’s not the best in the game, I really think Ryu has the best design in ST. Of course, we all know about his zoning abilities so he can be played as a turtle but he can be so aggressive with juice kicks, his overhead, his dashing fierce punch, crossup HK or cancelling the short HK off of a normal for throw/SRK mixups or starting a new block string. And he has a great wakeup, great mobility with either forward or backward juice kicks and his normal moves are great but they also really make sense. They just feel so right.
My theory is that O Sagat/Claw/Boxer never got a soft ban here because of the way we ran tournaments compared to Japan. Since we could change characters and “counter pick”, people didn’t see this as a problem in the past. I’m not sure exactly why but I’ve noticed that over time, the scene here seemed to mirror the Japanese scene a bit, especially as we continued to evolve the gameplay to higher and higher levels. Later on, we saw less “counter picking” and more dedication to sticking with your character. I think most of the “soft ban” complaints that have arose recently is just a product of the online mentality that a lot of new school players have today because old school players never really complained loudly about that. IMO, these types of players don’t want to take their lumps and figure out how to beat the top tier characters and give up too easy and yell for a ban.
I will say this though, the game seems more fun and diverse without those three characters.
B5 ST - Bob Painter (e honda) vs. Pete Tally (o sagat, o ken)
B5 ST - Bob Painter (e honda) vs. Apoc (claw, boxer)