<VF4> What was your first encounter with any version of SFII?
<CigarBoB> First time i saw SF2, I was at a bowling alley in Yuma, AZ, at a tournament. It was right after it came out so I would say I was about 14-15.
<VF4> World Warrior?
<CigarBoB> That would be around 91, yeah WW. I was too caught up on my bowling to really spend much time on it. I would have had to give up practice time from that to play.
<VF4> Did you imagine at all, that years later, you’d be traveling the country with a SFII cabinet playing the game in tournaments?
<CigarBoB> Fuck no. You kidding? But even back then it was an obsession. What really got me was when my bowling alley got CE. After that my days were numbered. I am a very competitve person so from day one I wanted to beat anyone that I played.
<VF4> The alley just had one CE cabinet?
<CigarBoB> Yeah, just one. They used tokens that were just bigger than a nickel soI would pound out nickels in my garage and use them.
<VF4> Did you branch out to arcades?
<CigarBoB> Of course I did
<VF4> Who was your main in CE?
<CigarBoB> First it was Ken. I was the first to figure out how to st.fp xx fp DP in my area, and to discover cross ups. I would dominate with just that.
<VF4> People must have hated you for X.ups
<CigarBoB> Yeah, they did, a lot. One kid said he would shoot me then started to flash gang signs in my face. I remember my uncle, who was only six years older than me, taking me to the arcade to play CE back then. He would never use specials cause he thought they were cheap. He would beat the fuck out of me with just normals. I asked him what he did versus FB characters. He just told me to jump straight up and move in slowly. That dude was hella smart for back then.
<VF4> Yeah that’s good advice for ST now.
<CigarBoB> Hell yea it is.
<VF4> What did people think of HF when it came out?
<CigarBoB> I started to see it in all the mags at the time. Then one day at my local aracde, Metro Midway, they started to pull out the CE cabs and bring them back in one by one. Next thing I knew it was HF and my life was even more over.
<VF4> HAPP parts on arcade, pad at home on consoles?
<CigarBoB> I conned my dad to get me a C&L Championship controller with Happ parts if I got all B’s in school. It was the last time I would get any good marks in school. I would spend all day just playing in my room hour after hour.
<VF4> What was your main arcade for HF?
<CigarBoB> Metro Midway I would say. I would bus down there on a saturday morning with my friend Dan and $20 and play all day. They had 12 HF cabs. They were in little pods of 3. Each station had a different level of comp on it. I would play at the elite station and the one below. I was still a little young and didn’t quite understand the higher level play concepts back then. I remember that I had a school folder that I dedicated to all the articles about Sf2. I would take it with me to the arcades to study strats and stuff.
<VF4> Did you play any other games? MK or Killer Instinct? Non fighters?
<CigarBoB> I was a beast on KI. My mains were Glacious and Jago. But I didn’t get really good till XBAND came out on the SNES. XBAND was a modem that you would play head to head with other people across the nation. Sabre, Mr.Wizard, dreamTR, DG&V, played on there. You could play MK2/KI/SSF2 and many more on it. Some of the best comp in the nation. I played KI mainly at that point. I got really good but I couldn’t beat the very best like Mr.Wizard and Sabre. XBAND was direct connect over the phone lines. I had a second phone line put in just for it. At one point I got injured at work and played it nonstop for a whole month. Racked up a $400 bill in nationwide charges…but it was well worth it. When I was 17 I was given a little cigar from some guys at bowling alley. I remember being scared that I would get pulled over because I was underage. Well back on XBAND I used the name BoB. And when I went on agsf2, I used CigarBoB and I’ve kept the name since.
<VF4> HF was immensely popular in arcades, what was the scene’s response when Super dropped?
<CigarBoB> Super was really hyped up in all the mags showing the new characters and intros. When I saw Fei I knew I would play him. But the game wasn’t received very well in the arcades here. MK2 was killing the SF scene, and SSF2’s speed didn’t help at all. CPS1 wasn’t making money if SSf2 was around so they all just upgraded and ditched the HF cabinets. At Metro Midway they had nine cabs for SSF2, and on the second day each and every cab had 99 games played. But again MK2/KI was killing everything at this point, so arcades were already moving away from SF2. By the time ST came out there was only one arcade to play it at, Video Round Up.
<VF4> what happened with ST at Metro Midway?
<CigarBoB> Metro Midway only got one ST cabinet. I tried to play but I was too stuck in KI land.
<VF4> Did they keep the old Super cabs or just phase out SFII completely?
<CigarBoB> Phased it out, they either sold them or converted them to KI/MK2/3 cabs or brought in NBA Jams.
<VF4> so if you’re exposure was limited to ST in the arcade what got you to stick around all of these years?
<CigarBoB> I stopped playing SF with KI. Then started to play KI on XBAND. Then one day I decided to pull out my SNES SSf2 cart and play on XBAND. What happened to me would be something very similar to a new player coming on ggpo for the first time. I played this Blanka named Mr. Wet Dry Vac. He just threw me till I died. I got soooo pissed and started to yell at the TV like he could hear me. At this point throwing was still considered cheep in my area and I didn’t do it, but it sparked something in me. I kept playing. Playing versus people like DreamTR didn’t help either as that dude was way too good as well. XBAND and SSF2 brought me back from KI.
<VF4> when did you switch to ST?
<CigarBoB> I got a 3D0 and ST and started to play that again. But there weren’t any other players. I was talking with Mr.Wizard over the phone at this point and we were trying to plan for me to go out to California and play with them, but it didn’t happen. Around this time A3 really captured my attention, and I only had one other person to play ST with, and he is a tier whore and would just play O.Sagat so I wouldn’t play ST very much. Even though I was strong in ST I didn’t concentrate on it. I played A3 where locally there were eight of us that were serious about it. My friend Dan, Sabre, One Handed Terror my self and a few others. I mained Gief in A3 for a long time. Then switched to Sakura in 2000. I didn’t know how strong she was until later. A3 was really deep and there was so much to learn and do in that game. Plus it has always been very difficult for me to maintain more than one game and play at my best so I focused only on A3 and not on ST. Sabre was the best in our
area, his Akuma and then Cody were just amazing. Locally here our little group was just playing A3. It wasn’t until HSF2 came out for XBL that I really got back into ST.
<VF4> you went to EVO2004?
<CigarBoB> i went with my friend dan that i had known since I was 16, he can be a real bitch when he loses, and on the final day he decided to go home he was my ride so i had to go with him then 1/3rd of the way back he wants to go back i didn’t talk to him for about 6 months after that
<VF4> you went back then? did you see the ST top 8?
<CigarBoB> didn’t get to see anyting that year. I spent alot of time in the BYOC room. DG&V were there playing ps2 HSF but I didn’t know it was them and being that I knew them from back in the xband days i would have like to meet them. I didn’t do well at evo04 cuz I hadn’t been playing at all. I had to play David Spence, the sim player and he took me out of the tourney. i played Gief, and Ryu but i wasn’t nearly as good as I am now.
<VF4> So AE on XBL got you heavily into SFII again?
<CigarBoB> for me to get good at any game I have to be able to play it nearly nonstop. I loved ST for as long as I have been in the competitive scene, but it wasn’t until xbox live HSF that I had access to the tools that I needed to really play it. I had been playing around with ST and trying to learn Ken but that shit is hard with no competition. So that is all I did when HSF came out. From then on I never played anything else. I only played Ken for about 3 months before I figured out how to shortx2 super. There wasn’t much in the way of high level info so I actually had to work it out on my own.
<VF4> Renda cancel on your own? ouch.
<CigarBoB> I started posting it on SRK because I would get so many people asking me how I did it. And it was about this time that I built my cab
<VF4> you built your cab from scratch right?
<CigarBoB> Yeah totally, not only that but I also worked out a way to have swapable pannels so you could have jap and american sticks on the same cabinet. I have improved the design since but that cabinet is where it started. I built it to take to EVO and show off and they even used it on stage at EVO2005. They used it for ST, CvS2, and 3S. Wizard would go up and swap out the panels, everyone was blown away. I have to say hat my ego got a good stroking right there. The cabinet at this time was Supergun/Snes/PS2/Xbox. I used 15pin DSubs to swap between them.
<VF4> you have Japanese board for your ST setup?
<VF4> why a JP board and not US?
<CigarBoB> got the JP board for really cheap on eBay, like $20 becuase they listed the auction wrong. I was hardcore into ST at this point. Zazza just moved here and we were playing nonstop. Zazza coming her before EVO was just amazing for me. My game consisted of a lot of shenanigans with Ken and not much real solid play, he exposed that to me really fast. Zazza was the best ST player in the US. I remember when he first came from the UK he messaged me on SRK because he was coming to visit for a while, we were instant friends. I had heard of his legendary match vs Daigo back a few years prior.
<VF4> Daigo once said that Zazza was the best O.Sagat of all time.
<CigarBoB> Yeah he was, I fucking hated his O.Sagat., but it’s because of him I can rip apart most any sagat with N.Fei. Zazza had been here for about a month before we jumped in my rented Trailblazer and loaded up my cabinet. I had been talking to Kuni a little bit over SRK because he saw the pics of my cabinet, he told me that Ken-O/Gian was coming and that he was the best Sim in japan and at that point I think he was ranked #1 ST player as well. I was insanely psyched for evo at this point. we got into town and unloaded the cabinet onto a dolly and pushed it into the hotel. It is a site to behold, two dudes walking around with a huge custom arcade cabinet/tv/chairs, and PCB’s, and me smoking a cigar the whole time. we had a huge group of people around us asking me questions about the cabinet, took it up to someones room and set it up. DSP found us and we played all night,XvSF. When we set it up in a room Kuni followed us in and played for a while. I guess Kuni and Zazza had some issues between then from back when Daigo played him
<VF4> over in the UK when they played in 2004
<CigarBoB> They started to argue for a bit after Kuni beat him with Gief. Zazza got pissed and Kuni told him “Accept defeat”. Zazza was maining Boxer at this point and he thought that Boxer owned Gief really band but Kuni showed him otherwise. After all that we packed up and headed to our room to get some sleep. At this point I had also become good friends with Afro Legends on HSF. It’s not widely known but I was the one that showed him how to play Boxer and Ryu, well not showed him but gave him the basic info and explained to him how to do it. When Afro first came on to HSF he only played DJ and he was a GameFaqs player.
<VF4> GameFaqs player?
<CigarBoB>back then there were two groups of HSF players, people from SRK and people from GameFaqs.