This weekend I’ll be at Season’s Beatings 4, a large fighting game tournament that is generating a ton of buzz. Not only is there a ~250 person Street Fighter 4 tournament with some of the best players in the U.S. competing, but Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara will be playing an exhibition match, first to 10 wins. They are indisputably two of the best fighting game players in the world so the hype is through the roof.
This is my first ever tournament of any kind. While I’ve been trying to train sporadically, school prevented any serious practice. My goal is to beat just one person!
My second goal was to meet Daigo Umehara and get his signature. I wasn’t sure when he was arriving or whether he would be participating in anything other than the exhibition match, so it was awesome that he showed up on Friday and entered the SF4 3 on 3 tournament. I approached him during a lull in the action and…
Daigo is the most famous Street Fighter player in the world, and even if you don’t play fighting games, chances are you’ve seen his EVO 2004 SF3 comeback. Every single person at the tourney venue knows who Daigo was, so I was surprised that he was standing by himself most of the time and people weren’t crowding around him. Probably a combination of minimal communication potential due to not knowing Japanese and showing him respect by giving him space.
Daigo was just standing there by himself watching a SF4 match so when it finished, I asked him “Sumimasen Daigo-san, sutikku ni sain shite kudasaimasen ka?” (Daigo, can you please sign my arcade stick?)
He was very friendly and happy to comply. I also requested a photo “Issho ni syashin totte mo ii desu ka?” (Can I take a photo with you?) I’m a bit rusty on my Japanese so I’m not sure if that’s grammatically correct, but he agreed. I was going to ask a random bystander to take the photo, but Daigo flagged down his handler/translator. So awesome, thanks Daigo!
Unfortunately, somehow I had already smudged the autograph within 30 seconds, but the photo with Daigo means a lot more to me anyway.
I’m holding my arcade stick with the Taeyeon design that I made a few months ago. Now it’s Daigo-approved! My next goal is to get Taeyeon to sign it somehow.
Justin Wong, the best player in the U.S., also was floating about. I didn’t see Daigo and Justin together once, but they’re probably giving each other space until the big exhibition match.
A couple photos of the crowds. This is the main TV set-up with webcam stream and announcers booth. Love the Mashimaro plush overlooking the crowd!
I’m going to get clobbered in the tournament, but I’m having an awesome time so far and will enjoy every minute of it. More updates to follow!