by KPB Roddyness
Daigo taking 4th place at what was another epic EVO is a sign. An omen for change, if you will. I think that’s going to be the focus of our first tournament year as community advocates for our beloved fighting games.
Welcome to Kick-Punch-Block! My name is Rodney, known in some circles as Roddy and many other nicknames. I’m a co-founder of our team and hopefully with the work me and my group will put in for the next 365 days, everyone in the scene will also know the name Roddyness, as well as my other brethren unified together for the same cause. We don’t ever want Fighting Games to die.On a personal level, I owe a lot of the happiness and success in my life through not only Fighters, but Video Games in general. Some of the best people I’ve connected with has shared that passion for gaming with me. People standing outside of this box don’t necessarily understand the magnitude and power of how Video Gaming brings people, sometimes the most unlikely of pairings, together.
I had the unique chance to actually grow up in arcades even with the baby-booming of home consoles like the NES. I remember as a 7 year old already having arcade gaming experience in older games before playing Super Mario Brothers in a Coin-Op machine alongside much older neighborhood kids back in The Bronx, NYC. I think that’s when I took my interest in gaming seriously. Ironically when the NES was first released, my dad brought me a Coleco Vision instead. (Not even an Atari? Geez.) I got over it however, and made the most out of it. I also discovered my first cheat/exploit in a game of which I can’t remember the title of, but it would skyrocket my score to astronomical levels. Back then, it wasn’t Gamerscores or Trophies that we collect on our current-gen systems now, but just getting the Hi-Score for everyone to see at your local arcade. Even if it lasted for a day due to the common practice of just not saving Hi-Score data back then. It just motivates you to come out everyday and establish your dominance in your favorite games. I could sit here and list all the games I excelled at in Arcades over the years and babble for a week straight. Not only having some of the highest scores but only needing one credit to finish the game in the process. Games like Double Dragon, Shinobi, Kid Niki, U.N. Squadron/Area 88 and it’s sequel Carrier Airwing, & Black Dragon just to name a very small few. Where was Twin Galaxies back in the day?
Of course, the game that changed my gaming and personal life, and in some ways spoiled it was Street Fighter II. I remember the summer of 91’, some 20 years ago, stumbling on it in one of the bodegas on the block. (Quick lesson, the “hoods” of NYC didn’t have many dedicated Arcades even at it’s prime. Anyone growing up in these areas mostly played games in little convenience stores, aptly named “Bodegas” due to the strong Latin influence in these areas and their across the board ownership of convenience stores by Latin entrepreneurs all over NYC.) Like any new exciting game in the neighborhood it was a crowd in every store for months, and SFII was no exception. First match I ever saw was Dhalsim Vs. Blanka. It wasn’t on an original cabinet so I didn’t even know until someone told me, coupled with my first view of the Character Select screen that this indeed was the sequel to that game I used to spin the joystick on like I was possessed. An action defined today in the scene as “mashing”. I was in so much awe and shock that I probably didn’t play my first game for a month when I finally caught it alone. My first character selection became my first character main. Blanka. I eventually became the best Blanka in the neighborhood having to deal with all the Shotos all the time and having a clear disadvantage with receiving double damage on Blanka Ball punish. With the Champion and Hyper editions, I discovered Guile and Vega/Claw/Balrog to be more my style. I’ve also witnessed these bootleg versions that allowed air projectiles, Sonic Boom’s to fill up the screen, and all sorts of wackiness that ultimately gave birth to the “Super” meter in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, the fifth installment of SFII. The demand for these bootleg games forced Capcom to devise a new system to bring back the fans. If not for those bootlegs, our fighting game systems wouldn’t be as advanced as they are now.
The start of senior year in High School was when I made my first awesome discovery and started to break out as an awesome player. I remember feeling so dejected when I first traveled to the Riverdale section of the bronx for an NBA JAM tournament at a Blockbuster store a few weeks before school started. The goal was to score the most points against the CPU by halftime and the highest would move onto the regional championships. I failed due to the fact that I played the game expertly on a Sega Genesis while the competition was on a Super NES. And I wasn’t allowed to change my control setup. What blasphemy. Obviously that was a total fail so much that I was walking home in blind disgust just drifting anywhere as long as it was towards the general direction home. I then ran into a small arcade/comic shop on Kingsbridge Road. It was called Comic Crash Pad and it was the best thing ever. I remember walking in and seeing a crispy SSF2T cabinet there among some other fighters including Neo-Geo systems and this very slender and rather cute girl, with a bit too much makeup on, beating boys left and right with Ken. I played her with my Vega not even keeping in mind that she was female and beat her soundly. The salt that spewed from her mouth that day wasn’t to my liking at first, but it fueled me. You couldn’t go into a block where no one knew you and start beating everyone in their games without the possibility of a fight. But that’s what I did. And I was classy about it so people warmed up to me instead of being angry.
It was at that store where I played The King Of Fighters ‘94. The KOF series has been my favorite fighting game series of all time with SF being a close second. I got into all the fighting games SNK was releasing before KOF and to see all my favorite characters in a TEAM fighting game?? I went bananas for years over KOF. I used to be in contact with this Korean player over IRC when ‘97 came out and the day it was released in arcades he sent me the codes for all the boss characters. Being the first on the east coast to body people with the Orochi New Face team and have their theme song, Rhythmic Hallucination blast through the speakers put me on a level of consciousness no one could touch.
After some runs in Chinatown Fair, one of the most prominent and influential arcades of the scene locally and nationally and being disgusted with how some of the community would act with others around the days of Capcom Vs. SNK and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, I took a very long hiatus on seriously playing fighting games I discovered Dance Dance Revolution and played hardcore for several years and also got involved with just living life and it kept me out of the fighting game community. Not playing games like CVS or SF3: Third Strike competitively like I should have been. I still owned these games on console and kept a little practice in over the down time.
After taking a sneak peek at SF4 in Chinatown Fair during the Summer of ‘08, I still didn’t have the motivation to come back to Arcades and play people despite loving the way it looked. Then finally when it had it’s console release on 360 in February ‘09, coupled with online play and a Gamestop tourney the first weekend of it’s release, I purchased the game, entered the tournament and figured let me see where I stand after all these years. I ended up being a finalist with another gentleman who would later be a member of KPB along with his twin brother. I realized then I still had the raw skill to be formidable and under some training and inspiration I could be a force.
Now we’re in the present, and I’ve taken my rekindled passion not only to someday in the near future be one of the best players at what I love, but even more importantly make sure this wonderful community doesn’t die. We want to set a bar, give even more life to a now currently thriving scene in most aspects. A mission I’m personally hell bent on seeing through.
I didn’t expect this entry to be so long at first, but I need our readers, supporters and fans understanding where we’re coming from to know where we’re going. And this blog will be here to express the gaming minds of myself and the rest of the KPB family when it comes to the FGC. Today is our official start on The Road to EVO 2K12 and we plan to make an impact on the gaming world in the coming days.
Thank you for reading. Whether you’re a gamer or not, understand that when there is no community, there is nothing. We won’t allow that to happen without a spectacular fight.
I am KPB, for life.