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.
This is a long read, and might not be that interesting to an outside player. It’s written from a personal point of view, so this is only things that I remember, from a Mississauga point of view.
MVC = Marvel vs Capcom.
Erin Mills = Erin Mills Town Center, and it’s arcade, the Games Skybox.
There’s tons of inconsistencies with timelines, but I really can’t remember too well.
SaugaSF Part 1: 2000 - 2001
Erin Mills in 2000. Summer days at the old arcade next to the theatre. Tons of people were always there, playing every game. MvC1 had a giant screen to itself, with a cabinet that required a projector, right next to the shooting games on that little raised platform. The arcade was always full because of the theatre right next to it, sadly the last time it would ever experience such a boom.
I would rarely visit the arcade, because I had no interest in most of the games. Me, James(Crayz Penguin) and CQ had been playing MSH vs SF and MVC1 at home for a while now, and we didn’t see a reason to pay to play at the arcade what we could play at home. We hadn’t even entered high school I think, so the mall was for mostly weekend visits.
Then one day, MvC2 showed up. Even though MVC1 had been around for a while, there was no “scene” as yet. Nonetheless, there was a usually a small crowd around the machine. People would drift in, watch it for a bit because it was flashy, then drift away. Since the game was brand new and unavailable on console, I was hooked. I can still remember my first game. Someone was using Gief and Guile, and then simply walked away from the machine. I picked up his game since we were the only ones around, and the three of us mashed out a few games.
Of course the game attracted a lot of random people, but there were some players who knew what they were doing. There were a couple of Amingos doing huge combos (HOLY CRAP, 12 HITS!!!), and a ton of Guile’s and Wolvies.
Soon after the release of MvC2, the theatre shut down, and the arcade quickly got moved to it’s new location. Even though the location was slightly worse because random people couldn’t see it just walking through the mall, it was in the prime spot to attract the people from John Fraser, the school right across the street. If you walked in from the school, the arcade was the first thing you would see.
Because of this, eventually the old school Sauga MVC2 crew formed… Clayton, Julian, Matt(not Ex_Matt), Yuhin, Richie, Dave x 2, Rich, Shan, Chris, Me, Kenan(he came a bit later), Salmon, and 100000 randoms from Fraser all trying to break the machine as fast as possible. I can’t remember if Ramy was there at that point, but who cares about him anyway.
Unknown to me at this point, there was also a separate crew of people who would come play on weekends, and sometimes the evenings. This would include people like Ex_Matt and Gerjay. These guys were the real nucleus of the “SRK” Sauga crew. Apparently Gerjay and Dogberry (Yes, Kevin played MARVEL! WOW!), used to show up every Sunday, and just dump a ton of quarters in the machine.
Julian and Matt were always using the newest shit… Pyslocke anti air assist, and Cyclops into AHVB, etc.
Clayton (the long haired goth guy) hated the new top tier. He stuck to his guns, and used to beat down scrubs with Hayato, Amingo etc., until one day he just couldn’t win any games, and walked away never to be seen again.
The change guys were also different… there was the old guy with hair, but there was also this tall youngish black guy. He used to be pretty decent at MVC2 too, but just rarely played. I’m guessing he was afraid the manager would see him, so he’d sneak a game in here and there.
I can brag that I was the first person to use Sentinel in Skybox… he was unlocked the game before my quarter was down, but for some reason the guy who was playing didn’t pick him. I picked Sentinel, and went down in trivial history.
I hated Sentintel. He was obviously low tier. He was slow, had insanely slow startup on all his moves, and useless supers. Much like Storm. Good thing I read Gamepro, and knew the real top tier. Juggernaut and Blackheart.
Shan was the first of the people who started breaking through the old school untouchables, and started playing the game closer to what we would see today. Cable with Ken anti air assist, jumping hard punch all day long, and when anyone got near, Ken anti air. (This was still pre-magneto btw…) Cable seriously pissed the old school players off. There was nothing really “cheap” as yet, but it was pretty clear that Cable was starting to dominate at this point. There was rarely a team without Cable in it, even for the scrubs.
Around this time, MVC1 was REALLY popular. Because there were a couple of people who just couldn’t be beat at MVC2, a lot of people just went to MVC1 as the next best thing. Calvin pretty much ran MVC1 with Chun. Strider was also very popular. Nobody used the secret chars yet.
Umer introduced me to SRK around this point, but I didn’t realized the Regional forums existed, and that there were actually people from Sauga regularly posting. When I did find out a bit later, it was Azn Rich, Gerjay, Shan, Chris liu, Ex_Matt, Yuhin, and i’m sure others, but I can’t recall. I was pretty big on MVC2, but I was playing A3 on console a lot more, so I was more concerned about finding strats/combos for that in Fighting Game Discussion.
Gerjay started showing up in the late afternoon, I guess after his school was done. Not many people were there at this time, so I was his only competition. Magneto’s tempest combos were brand new(LET’S GO MIKE Z VIDEOS!), and we’d spent tons of games just trying it out. Gerjay eventually learnt it. Shan and Chris Liu also picked it up pretty fast. The old school heads for some reason didn’t pick up Magneto that quickly… they were already losing interest in the game, and probably just didn’t care enough.
At this point, Sauga had already hosted their first Toronto-Sauga gathering through SRK. I hadn’t found the regional forums at this time, so I had no idea it happened, so I can’t really say much about it. I do know it was the first tournament we actually changed the machines over to event mode, and it was the first tournament that spawned the Sauga-Toronto (admittedly one sided) rivalry, and years of genuine hate between the players of both cities.
But anyways, back to where I was. The scene was already beginning to change from random people playing, to a consistent set of good players. There were a lot of newer people, but they were all horrible. There was a noticeable difference between the “SRK’ers”, and the people who played normally.
Eventually, the old school MVC2 players graduated from Fraser, and just stopped caring. They’d show up once in a while, but never with the same drive.
The regulars on SRK still kept showing up, always playing competitively, and always hoping to learn the best “new strat” before anyone else did.
Part 2 soon: The new players, the introduction of the CVS series, and the start of console tournaments…
SaugaSF Part 2: 2001-2002
Once the older players retired, there were a whole bunch of new faces on the MvC2 machine. Nobody was really “dominant”, so all the new people weren’t discouraged from playing. Even though the good players were good, there was still a chance of them getting beaten by a worse player.
By now everyone had a general idea of tiers. When people were playing seriously, there were no more wolverines and the usual garbage, although Guile and Charlie still weren’t rare. Shan was pretty much top of the heap at this point. Nobody could figure out how to get past Cable/Ken. But he only played during lunch, and occasionally after school.
Then one day, we walked in, and saw a brand new fighting game: “Capcom Vs. Snk”! The first question obviously was, “What the fuck is SNK?”. This was before we realized that fighting game information really existed online, and we genuinely had no idea what SNK or The King Of Fighters were.
People really REALLY liked this game when it first came out. It was a throw back to the old school, for people who didn’t like MvC2’s insanity. People who wanted a slower paced game usually stuck to CvS1.
Everyone started playing the game. For some reason, I was already good at the game, and I could usually pull out a couple of wins. I got cocky, until this short Asian guy with glasses showed up one day, with his very very big Asian friend, and they basically made a fool out of everyone. Yes, Calvin, Ken’s, and Alex’s time had come. They would split games, and nobody would be able to get them off the machine except when people would get lucky with Ryu or Blanka. For those unfamiliar with CvS1, Ryu’s Shin Shoryuken and Blanka’s level 3 Ball super would take off around 75% life as a counter hit. This meant that at low level play, the game was usually a crapshoot.
Mind you, it didn’t really matter that there were dominating players, as everyone just wanted to play. There were long lines of quarters on each machine, even MvC1.
Soon, there were regular players, faces you could recognize everytime you went (outside of the regular crew we know now). You could always count on this tall guy with a baseball hat and big headphones standing and watching, but NEVER playing. We all assumed he was storing up valuable information and secret training, ready to be unleashed at some point. But no. He just stood there and watched, right up until Skybox closed down. I did have the honor of seeing him play once, but he was disappointingly mediocre. What a waste of a life.
Then this guy with longish hair and a bandanna would show up with his fat friend… and they actually gave Calvin a challenge. This was Afro Rich without an Afro, and Rade. They had the mechanics of the game down pretty well… Rade was pretty bad, but Rich had a solid game. They only played CvS1, and never touched Marvel. There was also this random brown girl who would play CvS1. She was actually pretty good at the game but she eventually disappeared. I spotted her again a few months later at Playdium, where she worked. Go figure.
Calvin would occasionally play MvC2… he’d do these godly combos with his execution, then lose to the scrubbiest tactics because he had no idea how to play. He soon gave up, and concentrated on CvS2. Ken and Alex did continued to play Marvel, and could win occasionally.
Eventually, the person I’d end up playing the most often was Tylor. We’d go even most of the time, with me slightly ahead… until he discovered Blanka. If you think turtling is bad now, imagine facing a turtling player when you have limited knowledge of the game. He even managed to piss of Calvin a few times.
Big news one day; People from Toronto were coming down for a Sauga tournament!! This was the first “big” Sauga/Toronto tournament.
I can only remember off the top of my head, the people who came were: Flightwing, Ron(DeadlyRaveNeo/Sheng-Long), Shadow_fighta(DENNIS FUCKING KIM!), Geminite, jonstar, DarkDragon… and I can’t remember anyone else. Actually, i’m not even sure if Barry showed up. But I know there were a couple more Toronto guys .
Long story short, Sauga got dominated, ripped up, and absolutely destroyed in CvS1. Wing was so unimpressed, that he purposely lost his first match, and just had an easy time in losers until the finals. Wing never ages, and we thought he was around 12 years old; we had difficulty believing that he was the winner, and even more difficulty believing that he wasn’t 12 years old.
As a side-note, this was also the beginning of the long standing tradition where I beat Dennis Kim in every single tournament we both entered. Fucking scrub.
The tournament was a real eye opener. I honestly think that tourney was the turning point for Sauga. Nobody had any idea what solid play was, until we saw those guys. Bread and butter combos, zoning, baiting, spacing, punishing, we never really knew what the hell we were doing until now. We didn’t stop being scrubs, but we certainly moved past the “beyond terrible” level.
I think by now, Teddy had started showing up at the arcade. He was this quiet kid who never said a word, but would just stand by the jitz table watching MvC2. This was important because casuals/tournaments at Teddy’s house held the scene together for a long time.
Also, everyone in Sauga was pretty friendly. Yeah… Sauga without drama… fucking ridiculous.
Warm summer days had turned into cold winter nights, and we were still at it. I remember trekking through the snow (uphill both ways obviously) to the arcade on evenings and weekends so I could play with the “better” people. At lunchtime in school I would dominate all the scrubs, then get a humility lesson on the weekends as I played people who actually knew what they were doing.
The regular crew was me, Gerjay, Ex_Matt, Dogberry, Devotion, AzN_Strider, Spidey_Shan, Afro Rich, Rade, Calvin, Alex, Ken, Tylor, Khufu, and a few others. That’s just off the top of my head, so you can see there was always a constant stream of players.
That first tournament with Toronto sparked the “Tournament Phase” Sauga had. From what I can piece together, we held tournaments with increasing frequency. We went from holding one tournament, to monthlies, to weeklies, and then horrifically, to dailies. I’m pretty sure Sauga was 40% of the reason APEX failed, but that’s another story for another time.
A few days before CvS2’s console release, Devotion held Saugas first console tournament. Everyone was so happy because we knew how to work those bracket things. I dont remember too much from that tourney except Ex_Matt getting really angry at Shan winning MvC2 on his first time using the DC pad. Thats literally my only memory. Its a good memory.
A few weeks later we were playing CvS1 at Erin Mills when a delivery guy popped up with this giant blue cabinet. YES! CvS2 was finally at the arcade! That cabinet was awesome, and to date its one of the best looking arcade cabs Ive seen. It was all metal and blue, and would take an incomprehensible number of quarters from me over the years. This cabinet was also awesome because if you tossed a quarter really hard down the slot, it would count as two quarters. We didnt find out about this until much later, but still, freebox cabinet. I remember the first game played was between me and almost-had-his-Afro Rich. I tossed him around with Ratio 2 Ryu because we had secret practices on console, and he got angry and started swearing. Good times. Alex also punched Shan in the gut that night, but I have no idea why. I just feel that needs to be recorded into posterity for some reason.
Now that we had CvS2 and MvC2, we started holding weekly tournaments. Our talk about these tournaments on the SRK forums attracted the attention of three people from Scarborough. These three talked a whole lot of shit, even for SRK. They were the JS MASTER, TECHROCKTOOGOOD, and J||<O_ROCKER (or however he spelt that idiotic name). They talked an endless amount, and then finally made it down to Sauga. We had no idea what we were expecting, but we certainly didnt expect what we got. JS MASTER was this 5 foot asian kid with a bowl haircut who made FlightWing look obese. TechRockTooGood was the fobbiest person I have ever seen In my life. TechRocks jeans were so big, he could have easily wrapped two JS Masters around his legs, and nobody would have known. Jiko was this short brown kid. Jiko and JS are both taller than me now. Fuck them both.
All three were decent, but JS was obviously the talent. I think TechRock went out 0-2, Jiko went a little further. Gerjay says the only reason JS didnt win Marvel was because Jonstar and DarkDragon were there too. Gerjay says a lot of things, so take that as you will. Well ok, he was right, since JS started coming alone to the weeklies, and won almost every time. Keep in mind JS was still very young at this time, so he had to take public transportation from STC to Mississauga. This involved about 15 buses, 2 trains, and a ride from his mom. Every weekend. That kid is batshit insane. Its probably also the reason one of JSs favourite sayings for a few years after that was DIE SAUGA!. But yeah, JS would come down every week and take our money. Sometimes from the floor.
Around this time, EMTC started getting a really random string of arcade machines. We had ST, 3S, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, some massive Guilty Gear machine nobody played, and at some point 2 CvS2 cabs. We were probably just a transit/holding point for the machines as they made their way around the various arcades, but at least we got some exposure to the other games.
The first week we had the Third Strike Cabinet, I decided to play some dude who was using Yang. Yang was totally mid-tier, might as well destroy him while I waited for my turn in Marvel. I put in my quarters, and about 30 seconds later I was dead.
I tried again…same result. Dude would rush me down, psychic guessed every single thing I was going to do, parried everything I did, and didn’t let me parry a single thing. I played him about 4 times straight before giving up.
Fuck you Pocari Sweat.
This is also the time EMTC became infamous for its shitty sticks. The sticks would break down a lot, sometimes to the point where we had to ask on SRK if the sticks were working before making it down there. Sticks would stop working, buttons would randomly stop working; all the usual problems of an arcade. The main issue was the ridiculously long response time it took to fix them. Sometimes the button would break again 5 minutes after the repairman left! Frustrating. This led us to start looking for other venues to play at. Ex_Matt opened his house a couple of times, but he lived nowhere close to EMTC, and we were all kids without cars. Luckily, Teddys house was right across the street
I’m going to leave out years because I’m too lazy.
When I lived near Fairview Mall, I wasn’t old enough to really go there on my own. Instead, I relied on the Becker’s across the street where I got to play WW and Rainbow for hours at a time. I was probably 9 or 10 and didn’t have much competition besides a few mates.
I’m not sure which came out first, SSF arcade or the SNES port of WW; but the former, I had to play at some shady pool hall in the same plaza where the Becker’s was located (which got rid of their arcade games). I used to gather up whatever change I had just to play.
Moved down to Scarborough…
Biking involved 2 places: Malvern Mall video store and some convenience store at Neilson and Sheppard. The video store was awesome because it had ST, MK2 and Darkstalkers. I believe the convenience store only had MK2.
Majority of time was spent on DS though because it was different and I guess, fresh. I liked ST, but the game was unforgiving. It didn’t help that you can get owned by the CPU on the 2nd stage.
Around the same time, I started making my way down to VA/VF (was still in elem. school!) and that opened my eyes to every other arcade game. Virtua Fighter, the sports & racing games, etc.
Eventually I started going to STC after school, and honest to God, that was probably the best arcade… just because it was in the food court (free refills at Arby’s!). Back then, arcade fighters were booming. Even though a lot of them were pure dogshit.
Wargods, KI, MK3, MvC, SF3, just to name a few. Time Crisis 2 was pretty big back then too.
I’m not sure how I met Geminite. I think I was on #416 and he was selling bootleg ps1 games haha. After awhile, we started playing CvS at STC on what almost felt like a daily basis. Aznbomber, Jonstar, Wing, Jason Ma, Dai Lo Lip, the security guard, crowbar… there were a lot of personalities and friends that came out of the whole STC scene.
I don’t have a clue how Jonstar got into it. Pretty sure it involved CvS1, and I think Wing popped up around the same time.
Blah blah blah.
Typical Friday was something like, go to STC, then VA/VF. Saturday was STC, then VA/VF. Over the years, we’d replace STC with Orbit + VA/VF/Metro.
edit - one day I’ll get around to doing something proper.
I gave up on fighting games after 1997. Alpha 2 had put me in a place where I didn’t care to play fighting games any longer. If I were to look at myself back then from today’s perspective I’d say I was a scrub that wasn’t willing to take his game to the next level. I elected to play games on PS1 and you know… go to college. I worked two jobs and attended college full time. In my last year of college I was taking the GO bus home. Assuming I wrapped up around 3:30pm I’d end up at BCC around 4:30pm and have to wait for my mom to pick me up an hour later or take another bus home. When you’ve got an hour to kill you start wandering the mall and sure enough I came upon Wizard’s Castle. For a while I hadn’t realized the arcade had even moved, only that it wasn’t where my memory thought it to be. I figured it closed down with a lot of the stores from when I was a teenager. It was October of 2001 when I walked into that arcade. A lot had changed. There was a Street Fighter III (what a load of shit that looks like). There were kids playing a game that looked like an epileptic seizure waiting to happen (we call it Marvel now) and there was CvS2. Ah CvS2, I fucking loved that game and still do to this day. It’s too bad I fucking sucked at it (and still do to this day apparently). My first opponent was a kid I would later find out was named Terry. He was a short scruffy asian kid with long hair that always looked like he wanted to cut you. He whooped me pretty badly for weeks on end. My first team was Terry/Haohmaru/Hibiki. It fucking sucked. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the engine. At the time I was doing wrestling reviews (that’s basically the hobby I filled the 4 years between quitting and re-starting with SF, watching and reviewing wrestling). I left an offhand remark in one of my reviews about how I’d just started to play SF again and I was pretty terrible. One of my readers was a guy out of SoCal named Thoth2001. He sent me the link to SRK. So began the lurking phase. The site was pretty basic compared to today’s standards but it had strats and some videos. My team was adjusted to C Hibiki/Kim/Guile(2). I was starting to see regular players at BCC but didn’t know anyone really.
In the meantime I went from lurking on SRK to making an account in the new year. I made my first post as a friendly hello and was completely shit on by the one and only EX Matt. Interesting bit of trivia here as the person to come to my aid after being flamed by Matt was none other than Adrian “TechRockTooGood” Chan. I spent a month playing regularly in BCC while trying to get the first Brampton thread started and failing miserably. It was basically a thread with me and random Sauga players talking down to me. So one night I got in the car and drive into The Games Skybox. They had a great cab with a really nice screen. The arcade was sadly empty though. Eventually a fat asian kid would show up and I tore him apart. The player would turn out to be part of that trio of players known as Calvin/Alex/Ken that was terrorizing Sauga. I went back on SRK and offered up a challenge to Sauga to play CvS2. So I went back a few days later and was greeted by Gerjay and Shumayel.
They got smacked out 7 - 0 and left. Best gas money + 50 cents I’ve ever spent.
So after I gained a shred of respect from Sauga I started going to Skybox on a regular basis. They had a ton of players that were better than BCC’s regulars and I was adamant in improving my game. Then I’d go back to BCC and tear people up with new stuff that I’d learned in Sauga. March rolled around and a major tournament went down. I was top of Brampton at the time and went to see how I’d rep. Montreal had just discovered CC’s (remember this is March 2002 so that was a big deal) and beat me so badly they were literally pushing each other off the cab to try stuff out on me. Then just to make sure my first tournament ever was even more painful I met my first Toronto player.
Me: Hi, I’m justin.
Guy: Hi, where are you from?
Me: I’m from Brampton.
Guy: What’s a Brampton?
That’s how I met Kymah.
As I mentioned I got used to the regulars. There was Terry, there was the little nerdy kid who never stopped swearing named Darcy, the douchebag with the briefcase, the guy I named Glass Honda, A skinny brown kid who worked at The Sony Store named Raj, skinny arab dude, the muscled up asian guy, the brown guy with the accent and the asian kid with the scarf. Every day in 2002 between 4:30pm and 5:30pm it was a madhouse in that arcade. The Arab guy ran the show with Runaway Akuma. The brown kid with the accent was stupid enough to use Ratio 4 Rugal. The muscled up asian kid was driving me nuts with basic N Groove gimmicks. The asian kid with the scarf was playing an odd K Groove team but couldn’t settle on a team. Terry, the kid with the swearing problem and suitcase douchebag fell off. They were regulars but weren’t contenders. It was obvious who was standing out from the pack.
By now I was in full swing between Sauga and Brampton playing. It was obvious after a while that it was the same players either destroying the randoms or losing to each other. 2002 rolled by. I was still the only one travelling at this point (M2 was probably the last tournament I entered without the rest of Brampton with me). When 2003 hit I elected to have the better guys over to play at my house and thus Team Brampton was formed.
Skinny Arab Kid = Gandhi Taymor (Xpac786).
Muscled Up Asian Kid = Peter Panacci (FuzzyPickle/Dr Elephan/Sauvastika)
Brown Kid with The Accent = Byron Vlhakis (Ultimate Rugal)
Asian Kid with The Scarf = Jason Wong (Noodleman)
Can’t remember the dates but this is just from my memory and perspective and it won’t be as detailed as Curt and Anant cause I’m lazy. Also might not be in the right order.
There used to be 5-7 arcades that I knew of. Each mall(4) had one. Downtown had Funland and the palace, Vanny knew that scene more. I’m assuming Jamie owned up the Eastgate arcade. I mainly played at the lime ridge mall arcade.
I played with a group that isn’t in the scene at all now. We started with SFII:WW. Throwing was cheap, you had to give a throw back. You had to give mercy rounds. This went on with CE until SSF2.
I learned lots from the change guy at the arcade, he basically trained me in all these games. I played there often and was pretty much known as the spoiler, can’t remember when I got the nickname, but basically people would be playing the CPU, and i’d join in to own them up and spoil their fun. I was ok at each game but never had good comp until I went to the downtown arcades. Their game was on another level. I remember mostly Alpha 1, and how there was a sodom player that would just destroy everybody. I learned about a year ago that he had an unblockable kick, and realized that’s how he kept winning.
Anyways, Lime ridge Arcade was really busy up until a3/mvc2/3s was there, they got the new games, but nobody really played. The scene started to die when mvc2 came out. Everybody thought that the game was about big combos. Then some kid comes in (Vanny) and just chipped people to death. After that nobody would play him and just watch him play the CPU.
Jamie showed up now n then at the arcade. We never talked. He wore a Wu shu jacket, we called him Mr. wushu. It was good playing him cause he knew what he was doing. But from what I remember I was able to beat him cause he would get so pissed after every loss.
Eventually all arcades shutdown except Eastgate. Went there lots with Jimmy(Veggiebob) just to play DDR. They got a cvs2 machine in and we started to play on that. Vanny and Jamie were also regulars there. At first we never talked much, just played on saturdays and that was it. Started to talk with Vanny after we had mutual friends at philthy’s wrestling night. I believe that Jamie started to talk to Vanny while playing cvs2 because Vanny had no money, but Jamie wanted to play people so bad he paid for his games.
I guess the Hamilton scene mainly started because of cvs2, it was our only fighting game there. Eventually me Jimmy,Vanny and Jamie started to have casuals at Jims place after playing at the mall. All of us knew nothing about tiers, or how higher level play of the game worked. Jamie mainly played P groove, Vanny used A/N groove, I stuck with K groove and Jimmy used C groove. We tried to learn mvc2, it took us about 6months or so to realize that jimmy was using a turbo controller with tron bonne and chipping us easy with her drill.
Around this time I think Jamie jokingly made a Hamilton thread on SRK, surprisingly it got lots of people posting. We went to an EMTC for a cvs2 tourney. My tourney match was against ratio1beatdown(Roger) and I played my usual team of K-yuri/maki/rock. Which looked like a random pick. Nobody was watching but Vanny I think as everybody figured roger would just own me up. People started to watch as it went down to game 3 and of course Roger won, but it was closer than everybody thought it would have been. This is when I got the name Random Rey, I believe it was from Ex-Matt.
We knew about John(cron1c) and Darko and thought they were gay (seriously). Vanny most likely started that joke. I played them before at the Mohawk College arcade then I ran into them at T4, and started to talk with them more at the arcade. There was alot of other players at eastgate but none of them stayed in the scene either, from who I remember, the twins, aaron, and their friends. Some are still around, Vince, Mario, Ike and Nam.
I can’t remember when Justin showed up but we had a Hamilton vs Bramptom 5v5 for cvs2. There was so many Hamilton players at the time that Jamie hosted a tournament so we can figure out who the top 5 spots were. Our skill was nowhere near theirs and it was good learning experience and it was good times. Only memorable thing was when Justin wanted to plug in his Camera but it was a vent for the Vacuum and saying “that sucks!!” I think this is also when Justin named us Team Hammer(Jim,Jamie,Vanny,me) which we kept as a running joke.
Around this time I took at trip to California. Made it a mission to find Sothern Hills Golfland. Saw crazy highlevel marvel so I didn’t play it. Then decided to play cvs2 vs the cpu since the place was dead. Then a guy joins in, I don’t pay much attention to him. Won/loss some games against him. I was using K-yuri/maki/raiden at the time. He picks A-iori/sak/bison. I get CC chipped to daeth by iori and sak. Then he paints the fence. I start to think of videos I saw on the internet because of this. I start to talk to the guy and find out that he’s in town for a tournament (EVO). It was BAS he speaks broken english but was very nice. He taught me how to use A groove. I goto eastgate the next saturday and start to use A-sak/rolento/bison and make everybody wonder where the fuck I learned A-groove since I always used K groove.
From here on we trained for T5 and made trips for tournaments at orbit and kbbq. Don’t remember much about T5. From here on I guess is when we started to get to know the other crews from TOSF and sauga.
Too tired and too lazy now to think about more, hopefully the other guys have more input.
So in early 2003 BCC’s scene was in full swing. Pete and Jason were both regular members of SRK with Pete starting to travel. His best friend Charles (Carlos Escobar), his younger brother James (SRK name escapes me) and Ghazi (JaeWhoon) were now regular players up and coming. Peter had established himself as the consistently best player in the city. Jason I believe was back at Waterloo and Byron was inconsistent at best as he spent a lot of time with his girlfriend. Pete and I started to notice an influx of players we hadn’t seen before. These kids had some serious talent and started to smack us up pretty badly for weeks on end. It made no sense that three or four guys could come out of nowhere and dominate so much. At first we thought they were Toronto player, then I took the initiative and found out they lived in Brampton. They were the top players out of Shoppers World.
Steve Lawson (The Original Gatsby)
Tyrell Taylor (Neo)
Joshua Baine (THE Josh)
Junior was more the mouthpiece than anything of real note. He had no real talent but he was always with that crew and was always talking shit on their behalf. If the guy wasn’t so harmless he probably would have been really annoying. In any case, Kolin was a lot like me in that he was big on the idea of tournaments. He wanted to build a scene for Shoppers World the way it was slowly building at BCC. As a result, Colin was the first person in Brampton to put together a console tournament. He managed to get his parents to cover all of it as his birthday party. Shoppers World brought their best players and we brought our best players under one house and it was on.
BRAMPTON’S FIRST TOURNAMENT - THE KHAOS TOURNAMENT (12 Entrants - Round Robin)
1st: Dr. Elephan
2nd: The Original Gatsby
3rd: Nagata Lock II
10th: THE Josh
Coming off of this tournament I knew we could have a viable tournament scene and put together Brampton’s first arcade tournament. From a numbers perspective (24) it was a huge success. Logistically looking back it was a complete disaster. I elected to run the tournament on a Saturday afternoon. Remember we were in a mall so it closed by 6:00pm. I can’t even fathom a tournament finishing that early nowadays. Hell a lot of tournaments don’t start until 6:00pm despite the best of intentions. So despite telling everyone to show for 11:00am we started an hour or so late and the whole thing blew up in my face. The entire top 8 didn’t finish and in a move of complete ego I GUESSED who’d have placed where and submitted the results to APEX. Can you imagine someone arbitrarily telling you where they think you’d have placed based on what they think of your skills? It would have caused a major issue today but back then it was taken in stride. Tournaments were still a relatively new phenomenon on this side of the GTA. Brampton’s tournament scene would be limited at best. We would run another tournament in May and June of 2003 and that was about it. The mall hours crippled us as it concerns running a tournament with any real numbers. Brampton would end up with small casuals at BCC but the writing was on the wall. It was time I hosted regular casuals. I started hosting casual games in my parents basement on July 4th 2003.
(To be continued - first taste of directing, London and Lockdown)
So Kymah asked me yesterday about some #tosf history. I wanted to post it here for nostalgic reasons and maybe some of you guys can fill the gaps of what it was like in Sauga back in the day.
Warning: This is a long post
This was almost 7-8 years ago so forgive me if I missed anything.
I was an mIRC junkie back in day as me a group of my high school friends had our own channel.
I stumbled into #capcom by randomly typing in channel names. This is the same way other famous channels such as #mississauga and #hamilton have started. From #capcom I found my way on to shoryuken.com as well as alt.games.sf2
On SRK, there was a thread created by Ron (DeadlyRaveNeo) for Toronto players. At the time, arcades were plentiful and spread out in the Toronto area with: STC, Pickering TC, Fairview, VA/VF, Funland, Orbit to name a few.
I?m going throw out some old school locals that I met in the early days. Some still play. Some don?t. Some came back because of STHD and SF4 (ie: me and ???)
Note: I played mostly CvS1 and MvC2 and was limited to Scarborough because I didn?t have a car. I also won?t know much of the 3s players:
VA/VF: Ron (DeadlyRaveNeo), Shawn (Drunkin B), Jon (3s Ryu player, also VA employee), Will Willis, Ryan Chong, Marvin Li, Bryan (TommyBoi)
Funland: Kin Mah (Kymah)
STC: Jay Nogoy (YellowS4), Kevin Szito (Azn Bomber), Barry Choi (Geminite), Jon Chen (Jonstar), Jason Mah, Wing, Andy Hahm (Hoju Jr), Wing (flightwing).
Other STC personalities:
Holy Crowbar! What! You grab me boy!?
Dude who worked at Taco Bell and would come to play during his break
Dude who worked at the arcade and would play MvC2 with one hand
Fairview: Lawerence, Spencer, Raymond, David Tran, Stephen Munroe (Dark Dragon), Kevin Medina (FinKM)
Pickering: Dennis Kim (Shadow Fighter), Devon ??? (Firefists)
So after discovering that there was a mini community, I made a channel on mIRC called #TOSF. The people with ops were the ones that were the first to join. From what I can remember the ones who had ops were (in no particular order (real name / mirc nick)):
Gerry / Tha_Rock ? my hs friend, casual SF player
Nelson / XBloodX - my hs friend, casual SF player
Marvin / C-Royd
Will / will
Ryan / king of naboo
Dennis / shadowfi
Andy / HojuJr ? I think he had ops but I can?t remember for sure.
We also had a couple of bots in there to look after things. I can?t remember their names.
After the channel was created, I was sticking signs on the arcade machines at various arcades (STC, VA, Fairview) with ?#TOSF? and www.shoryuken.com on them in attempt to generate awareness around the community.
If you are curious how the ?T? tournaments got their name:
The first ?T? tourney was T2. 2nd was T3, etc.
T2 ? Toronto Tourney
T3 ? Toronto Tourney Two
T4 ? Toronto Tourney: The Third
T5+: No need for abbreviations since there have been at least 3 so it can be considered ?tradition?
I stopped playing after T4 when I went off to university. At some point after that Nagata took over the scene and became the GTASF godfather. Look for the other stories in this thread to fill in the gaps!
Remember that this year will be TX (T10) so we have come a long way.
The First Time Toronto Played Against Montreal in CvS1 and MvC2
Note: Now that I think of it, this could have been 2 separate tournaments but I honestly can?t remember. One of the games may have been T2, I just don?t remember which one. Or I could be completely wrong about these even being part of the ?T? series =\
MvC2 - Toronto vs. Montreal
In MvC2, Luc (Banshee) showed up and owned dummied everyone with Spiral/Sent/CC. In the finals, it was I think either David Tran or OmniDragon but It didn?t really matter cause he whopped both of them. I think I came in 5th place, losing to Luc and David Tran as I had no idea how to stop Sentinel (and I still don?t, lol).
Remember that back then, Sentinel was played extremely basic: the top strats were: laser x drones and jump back FP for aa. Unfly combos, jumping out between drone super, flying around while stomping ? none of that existed yet.
I wish I had the vids of that tournament to post. Luc?s Sentinel was hella ghetto old school. I remember one combo that he kept doing was:
j. LK, j. HK, Land, j. LK, j. HK, capcom assist. (lol)
The reason why it fucked me up was because I was too used to blocking low after Sent would land from the jump-in. Yay go scrubby me.
If someone out there can hunt down the vids (VHS!), you?ll be able to see what I am talking about. This Sent was boooootleg.
It was an extremely humbling experience as I think the Toronto players were all hella cocky thinking we were the best MvC2 players but yet have never left our local arcades to play other players. This sadly was the highlight of my MvC2 career.
Toronto vs. Montreal - CvS1
CvS1 was a different story. Shawn opted to use the ?Team Battle? mode on the machine and make it a 2v2 tourney. As in, all characters were ranked a Ratio 2 and each team member would play a single character.
From Montreal were 5 players (sorry, can?t remember). The teams looked like:
Prez and Tony
Master Mao and Random Player A
Random Player B
Random B needed wanted to join and needed a teammate, so I volunteered as I didn’t have a team. I was given a lot of shit / trash talking for being such a ?traitor?. Lol. Oh well.
Some Toronto Players and Teams:
Greg (Chunnerv) and Cam (Ian?s Brother)
Jay (YellowS4) and Barry (Geminite)
Wing (FlightWing) and Bryan (TommyBoi)
I don?t remember much from the tournament except for 2 things:
The intense finals of Prez/Tony (Ryu/Sak) vs Jay/Barry (Geif/Honda). It was perfect as it setup the best from Montreal against the best from Toronto.
Prez and Tony both played very solid footsies but the Honda gimmicks of roll, roll, insert special [ headbutt, buttslam or ochio] were too strong. In the end, Honda sat on everybody. Barry and Jay won the tournament and so began our feud with Montreal!
If you ever played Barry in CvS1, you will know what I am referring to. Honda has the shortest roll in the game and Barry had no problem abusing it. It was hella annoying to hit or throw him out of the roll.
My partner used Bison and he was decent. I tried to use Nak because I wanted to copy a Ricky Ortiz video that I saw a week before the tourney. But it turned out my Nak was shit as my best combo was jab, jab, walk up, throw.
We won our first match and in the 2nd round, we played against Greg and Cam.
If you don?t know Greg and/or Cam, they are hella old school players and were considered to be the top Toronto CvS1 players along with Jay and Barry at the time.
With the score 1-1 (we somehow managed to steal a match… I think it was because Greg didn?t use Chun the first game), it was down to the last characters on both teams: my Nak vs Greg?s Chun.
Greg is up on life. I?m being my usual turtle self and just sitting in the corner, full screen away, holding down back as time continues to count down. Greg gets fed up and begins to sit in his corner as well.
I remember thinking what I was going to do next and had no idea because I couldn?t get in on Greg at all. So just I waited for the clock to run down a bit more. With around 18 sec left and full screen away, I do the healing super with Nak!! (Thinking back, I probably should have waited a bit longer).
Greg must have been surprised and overwhelmed with mind lag. He didn?t do anything for a split second but ended super jumping towards me and hit me with a jump short (lol) to stop the healing.
I gained enough life back that now I was BARELY in the lead. The clock was down to about 15 seconds or so. I run around a bit more and win by time out. Greg was SO pissed off that he looked like he wanted to shoot me. Haha.
It was a great feeling as going into the match, I kept telling myself and my teammate how fucked we were against Cam and Greg. But instead me and some random dude from Montreal just sent the top Toronto players to the loser bracket!!
And that’s what I remember from playing against Montreal the first time.
March Madness @ University Pinball (UP), Philadelphia, PA (2002, I think?)
At this time, MvC2 was in force and CvS1 was just about dead with the launch of CvS2.
5 of us went: Will, Stephen, Jay (YellowS4), Jonstar and Myself
Will drove all 5 of us in his Celica or Civic (?) ? I can?t remember what kind of car it was exactly but the point it was a 2-door coupe and way too small for 5 of us!!
Will took one for the team and drove the entire trip (10+ hours!). He didn?t want Stephen to operate his car (/no racist). Jay, Jon and I didn?t have our driver licenses.
At the Canada/US border, we ran into some problems:
Will didn?t want to tell the border officer that we were going to Philly to play in a video game tournament. It wasn?t ?cool? enough of a reason for him.
Instead he proposed that we tell them that we are going to visit a friend (kind of true since we were staying with David Spence)
Jonstar fucks this up and tells the officer that he is going to play SF in Philly.
Border officer is confused. He sees that Jon is a minor (I think he was in Grade 9 at the time) and asks if he has permission from his parents to go to Philly.
Jon produces the note and I am shitting you but this is how it read:
That?s right. THE FILLY. With a ?F?. And don?t forget ?THE?.
Of course, the border officer is now suspect of our story and asks us to pull into secondary inspection. They interrogate Will, Stephen and Jon 1 by 1 and after finding out the truth, they let us through. Phew.
I?m not sure what gave it away but we had 1 white, 1 black and 3 asian guys with an age gap of ~6-7 years between oldest and youngest. Plus nobody could get their story straight of why we were going to Philly.
We got lost in upstate NY or PA because the maps that Will had printed out from shitty MapQuest were outdated. This was before GPS and Google maps.
We met up with the Montreal crew and fortunately Spence was nice enough to let all of us crash at his 1 BR apartment. It was something like ~700 sqft so people were sleeping on the floors everywhere. I remember Master Mao sleeping on the floor in the kitchen because he was only one who could fit. Haha.
From Montreal were: Prez, JFL, Arcade Kid, Mao, ManaBoy and probably a whole bunch more whom I can?t remember.
Alex (Arcade Kid) brought his Canadian Flag and wore it like a cape everywhere inside the arcade. He was also behind the constant shit talking of yelling out ?GO CANADA!? whenever we were doing well.
Top US players in attendance were: Justin Wong, Eddie Lee, Arturo Sanchez, Sanford Kelly, Jeron Greson, Julian Robinson, Josh Wigfall, NKI to name a few. Big Eric (V?) was organizing the tournament.
This was the first time for me to see these players in action and in person. The same players that I have been looking up to (and stealing their tactics!) since the birth of SRK. I felt nervous, excited and intimidated all at the same time.
I was I wish I had gone up to them and talked to them after playing but I was a pretty shy kid back then during my high school days =\
This event also opened my eyes to the difference between casual and tournament play, as well as the idea of sandbagging.
The day before the tourney during CvS2 casuals, I remember building up a 20+ win streak using my turtle tourney team of C-Vega, Bison, Blanka. I even beat Arturo and Jeron once too. On tourney day, I of course get whooped by the very same players I had beaten the day before! I was exposed to all these A-groove CC?s and tricks (that I have never seen before) and setups that the top players were saving for the tourney.
In terms of the CvS2 gameplay, 1 button A groove CC?s was the new hotness. The game was still in it?s early stages so no one was using Bison Painting or Sak?s sho sho. Roll cancels haven?t been discovered yet. I think JWong won the tourney. Some of the teams used were:
Justin Wong: A- ?/?/Chang(2)
Jeron: A-Vega/Chun/? And A-Nak/Mai/Chun
Eddie: A-Rugal/Eagle/Rock (I think)
I can?t remember how well the Montreal players did but Prez and JFL played turtle C-groove teams as well (Arcade kid I think played N groove). After the tourney, Montreal took back all the tricks they saw and began to learn A groove.
I remember going to a diner and ordering an authentic Philly Cheese Steak Sandwhich. To this day, I still have yet to find anywhere in Canada that can offer anything remotely close. That shit was too good and made the entire trip worth it.
SRK’s tournament results archive is pretty extensive, going all the way back to 2002. I thought I’d quote this particular post from Doug as Summer’s End was a huge thing back in the day and put Toronto 3rd Strike on the map.
[media=youtube]LvCVM-Hxzi4"]**SUMMER’S END SVCD TRAILER[/B[/media]