This is from Tougeki Spirits #6 (August 2007.) I’m taking a break folks blogging will resume in a bit.
Arcadia: Since the theme for this interview is how women can have fun playing SF2, could you each tell us how you got started?
Inro: They had it set up at the arcade so I played it up like any other game.
Chamu: Oh boy. My earliest memory of SF2 is playing with my little brother in elementary or middle school.
A: So Inro you liked going to arcades from the start?
I: My first game was Wild Fang. Endless games of Makaimura [Ghosts ‘n Goblins] even interfered with my job.
A: That’s hardcore. (laughs) Chamu, how did you go from playing with your brothers to playing at the arcade?
C: It’s not like I was playing continuously, but what brought me to the arcade was my boyfriend at the time said, “I’ve met some amazing guys at this arcade in Meidaimae.” They had tournaments periodically and people got called out by special names. So I asked to tag along as a newbie.
A: You wanted to see what was up with the high score names?
C: I was told to practice up on Playstation and think of a nickname beforehand. (laughs)
A: Your boyfriend the gifted teacher. (laughs) Moving on, even though the games have been around a long time, there are not many female fighting game players. What’s it like in your area?
I: In my area a lot of women play shooting games. When SF2 came out it brought a lot of people together. Women were drawn to the different characters more so than the game.
A: Speaking of that, where do you mainly play?
I: In Kyoto and Shigaken.
C: Around me there are very few female players. In my area (around Shinjuku) there was a woman who used CE Dictator a few months ago. Besides her, about a year ago there was one other Chun-Li player. I think it would be great to see more women playing games. The fact that there aren’t any gender differences is one of the nice things about them.
A: Could you both tell us about some of the positive experiences as well as negative that have cropped up as you continued to play Street Fighter?
I: The negative would be being approached by creeps right? On the good side I’ve been able to meet a lot of different people not just playing SF2 but a variety of games.
C: I’m happy that few creeps have bothered me. People do write a lot of nasty stuff on the internet, though. For positives I think just having a hobby is one. It doesn’t have to be SF2, but just having something outside of work is a good way to help you keep yourself balanced. So when one thing has you down, you have this other thing that you enjoy. It’s tricky to try for perfection with both of course. My stance is just to take it easy.
A: What are some of your other hobbies?
C: Nothing in particular for me beyond shopping. I guess a lot of girls would say that.
A: A lot. (laughs)
C: So having SF2 as a hobby is pretty big.
A: How about you, Inro?
I: I like all sorts of games so playing different games is my hobby. PCs, too.
A: Building them?
I: No no, just games.
A: All games. (laughs)
I: I’m afraid I just really enjoy games. Oh also I collect soaps. (laughs)
A: Could you tell us how you transitioned to your characters?
C: There was no transition, I can use only Chun-Li.
I: At first, I used everybody against the computer.
A: And then you settled on Chun-Li?
C: I was told that I should work on other characters to develop fighting strategies, but it was awkward and I didn’t feel comfortable using them. That’s it. It’s fun as long as you can use one character, though, plus Chun-Li is strong and easy to use so I can recommend her freely to other women.
I: In my case, my husband showed me how to use Chun-Li. The first time I fought him I thought I could just trap him with Zangief to win but he wouldn’t let me touch him.
C: Which characters would you recommend for female players?
I: Let’s see. Instead of considering abilities, go for someone whose style clicks with you. If you pick based on abilities then you’ll be pointing at match-ups when you lose.
C: That’s right. It’s lame when people make excuses based on the character they chose. Still, there are character differences in Street Fighter, different match-ups, that’s just how the game was made. Talking about those match-ups and taking a closer look at them can be very interesting. When character balance gets upset at a tournament that’s when things get exciting, right?
A: Definitely. Do you have any words of support for women who’d like to enter SBO?
C: A lot of male players’ girlfriends are interested, but the level of play is so high... It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman there are tough players and there are not-so-tough players so it doesn’t matter if you’re not that skillful, losing is all in your mind right?! My personal recommendation is to start by entering tournaments. As a woman you can get teamed up with a strong player (laughs.) Even if you don’t, simply entering tournaments is very exciting! I’d like to see more women give it a shot.
A: I see. What do you think, Inro?
I: It might be easy to tease female players, but in the world of games ability rules. If you show your strength as a player it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman you’ll be treated the same. Try hard - the more you buff up your skills the better.
A: Any final words? (laughs)
C: Uh-uh. Nothing in particular. I’ll be at SBO so please root for me!
A: Thanks for speaking with me today.