Header credit: @Dynavolta
Hey, everyone! For those who don't know me, my name is RetroStation, a NYC native with a passion for gaming. Gaming has been a major part of my life for over 20 years now (although I still haven't beaten the Super Hang-On Expert Course). I dabble in a lot of genres, but action/fighting games have a special place in my heart. I started playing fighting games back when SFII: Championship Edition came out on the SNES, and then I played Mortal Kombat 3 before moving onto Deadly Alliance, Armageddon, and Capcom vs SNK 2 on the XBox. Currently, I gravitate toward Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition and a bunch of anime/indie fighters.
I didn't get my first taste of the competitive FGC scene until 2011 when I lived in VA and played a bunch of games on GGPO. Learning to play beyond a casual level was an experience, and I was eager to learn and improve. I would then take that desire to compete to my first big tournament, the NYC Qualifier for Super Street Fighter IV during the 25th Anniversary tournament series. While I only went 1-2, the desire to improve and compete remained, and I knew I'd want to keep going. While I've yet to make Top 8 in anything I've competed in, I will continue to grind it out, bonding with everyone along the way.
My short-term goals with KPB are to attend more events, prioritizing the local scene. I want to connect and network with players and organizers in the NYC region to either further build existing communities or help establish new ones. This will segue into my long-term goal of developing comprehensive resources and support for people curious about joining the FGC. Collectively, the FGC is seen as a hostile space despite the camaraderie among individual communities, and those hesitant about entering the fold may be put off by such hostility. I want newer players to feel welcome in whatever game they want to improve in, and personally, there's no better joy than teaching someone a game you love playing.
I went to my first major - Winter Brawl XII - to compete in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. While I didn't perform as well as I'd liked, I enjoyed the experience. I also earned first-hand experience running brackets for Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late [st] and BlazBlue: Central Fiction, and that's when I realized I can enjoy fighting games as an organizer as well as a competitor. What really made Winter Brawl a memorable experience was just wandering around, playing in the arcade room, and personally connecting with people I'd only spoken to on social media before then. It was heartwarming introducing myself to people and being met with, "Oh, you're RetroStation!" I enjoyed this reaction most when I'd introduced myself to Sharpie and got the biggest hug out of it, as if I were long-lost family.
Throughout the weekend, I got to play a bunch of amazing games like Punch Planet, Them's Fightin' Herds, and Windjammers while enjoying old favorites like Hokuto no Ken and Dance Dance Revolution. If I wasn't playing games, I was watching Top 8/16 for games in the Crystal Ballroom. It's one thing to watch these events on Twitch, but it's a completely different experience being there yourself, getting swept up in the hype of clutch plays among friends. I even found myself doing commentary dialogue with fellow KPB member Camyoin during the King of Fighters XIV Grand Finals with PachuKOF vs EG|NYChrisG! Overall, Winter Brawl was fantastic, and I look forward to future Big E events.
Speaking of events, Chinatown Beatdown was the first local event I attended as part of KPB. The experience was as incredible as Winter Brawl, and I decided to get my hands dirty and tackle every possible job available, from running the stream, to making sure brackets were running in a timely fashion, to the occasional commentary alongside Aphro (and the comical bits of self-promotion throughout). All of this first-hand experience made me realize and appreciate the hard work people throughout the community put into their productions to make them as spectacular as possible. However, the best part about Chinatown Beatdown was a tossup between Rage teaching me how to run the stream and someone playing casuals learning from my pocket Abigail during my casual Street Fighter set at the end of the night. I enjoyed learning how everything works, and I was glad someone could level up their game from watching me play!
Working the stream at Chinatown Beatdown. Photo credit: @RidazOnTheStorm
Overall, I'm grateful to the warm welcome I've received here at KPB, and I look forward to bonding more with the NYC community. I'll be attending Combo Breaker, Summer Jam, and our next Chinatown Beatdown in May, along with several local events throughout. If you ever want casuals in SFV, or if you want to teach me about your game of choice, let me know; I'm always down to learn new things!
Here's to growth, opportunity, and nurturing our passion for our community.