SF4: Choco blanka & Gama no Abura interview

Previously I interviewed Fuudo and Shinz. This time I thought I would just get players who are really famous but in a different way compared to Fuudo. I got some time off with them to conduct this interview. Thank you Choco and Gama! Hope everyone find this interview just as interesting.

If you like this interview please take a little time and vote for me @ http://www.wcg.com/Torch2010/event_detail_1st.asp for WCG Torch bearer. You have to login to WCG website in order to vote. Votes can be done daily. Voting ends on 30th of May 2010. Lastly, I will convey any comments left on this blog to Choco and Gama. I will do more interviews if there are good response for this one :)

PS: Sorry if there are translation mistakes or english errors!

Credits: Tetra(myself) for translation and interview.
Sock & Wei Ming for editing.
Thanks: Matsui for language help!
Special Thanks: Benjamin Ang, my colleague for the awesome Juri artwork on my blog now.
Round1.sg for some of the cool questions

Japanese version link/日本語版こちらへhttp://sf04.blog133.fc2.com/blog-entry-4.html

Profile

201004251332000

Nickname: Gama no Abura
Country: Japan
Occupation: IT industry
Character: Dictator
Background:
Famed for organizing amazing tournaments such as Nagoya Street Battle(NSB), Gods Garden and lots more.
Also known for his awesome commentary that we all saw on youtube. “UMEHARA GAAAA~~~~!”

Choco Blanka

Nickname: Choco Blanka
Country: Japan
Occupation: Automobile Industry
Character: Blanka
Background:
Famed for winning Mago(#1 BP ranked player in Japan) in Gamesky tournament(aka Choco Cup). (video here)
She also won in the first Gods Garden female tournament.
Last but not least, probably the only female in the world to organize weekly live streamed SF4 tournament(Choco Cup) in Gamesky arcade.

Gaming related Questions

Tetra: When did you start SF4?
Gama: I started when SF4 was launched in the arcades in July 2008.
Choco: I started on October 2008
Tetra: Good job remembering the exact month ^^;
Gama: Choco started fighting games from SF4. I started around 20 years ago. >_<
Tetra: I started fighting games from Virtua Fighter 1. Around the same as Gama, 20years ago.
Choco: Both of you have a long history in fighting games. (´゚∀゚`;)
Gama: Choco’s age = Tetra and my fighting game history. >_<
Tetra: We are really old now!
Choco: Hahaha, that’s true.

Tetra: Why did you start SF4?
Choco: I find it interesting to be able to play against other players and at the same time I get to know and interact with different kinds of people . I wouldnt have met Tetra if I didnt play SF4.
Gama: I like playing in arcades where alot of people gather. I believe fighting games could’ve easily died off if not for SF4′s popularity. That is why I started NSB to keep the scene going.
Choco: I liked games for a long time and had interest in fighting games. I didnt actually play at all because I thought it will be difficult for me. It was actually interesting to just watch!
Tetra: SF4 is quite a difficult game in my opinion. But Choco can do combos very well!
Gama: Not true!
Tetra: I only can tell from the videos I saw^^;
Choco: I only started playing fighting games since SF4 but I am able to do it. So I dont think its THAT difficult!

Tetra: There are alot of overseas players who think Choco is a grandmaster ranked blanka player. Its not true right? ^^;
Gama: Yap. Its not true. She wouldnt become a grandmaster even in 100 years.
Choco: Gama!!!!! But what he said is true…

Tetra: How much time do you spend playing SF4 in a week?
Gama: At the start, I played around 30hours a week.
Choco: I spent 10hours within 2 days weekly.
Tetra: 30hours! That’s alot of time!
Gama: Now I play around 1~2hours a week.
Choco: In the past I also played around 5 hours everyday!
Tetra: You guys really love SF4 :)

Tetra: How did you come to main the current character?
Gama: I have been playing dictator since SF2
Choco: Blanka is cute!
Tetra: Blanka is cute?^^;
Choco: CUTE!
Gama: Please say that more.
Choco: Gama!!!!!
Tetra: Hmmm, normally wouldnt it be Chun Li that is cute? In Singapore, we have a female player using Chun Li.
Choco: Ya. Female players will normally choose a female character. But looks like I am not the norm. ^^
Tetra: As a female player, what is the most difficult thing to learn in SF4?
Choco: At the start the hardest thing to learn is “command input” in my opinion. In my opinion, the hardest thing to learn at the start was “command input”. Even doing Shoryuken was tough!
Tetra: Shoryuken? You used Ryu?
Choco: Only once. The day when I started SF4.
Tetra: I see. Blanka is a charge character so you dont have issues with Blanka’s commands right?
Choco: No, there are still difficulties^^; Occasionally, I will do c.PPP instead of ultra.
Gama: My Dictator’s ultra will end up as warp instead … Having such a mistake against Daigo is unforgivable ^^
Tetra: Was that during NSB Exhibition?
Gama: Nope, it was during some time between September and October last year, when Daigo came for NSB.

Tetra: Choco just started playing fighting games. As a beginner, how did you get better?
Gama: Momochi?
Gama: Ah, Choco hasn’t said anything yet.
Choco: Momochi didn’t really teach me^^; Momochi said, “Its still too early for you, practice your combos first.”
Tetra: Momochi is quite useless as a teacher^^;
Choco: As I am playing, I thought about how to get stronger. I kept in mind of what I need to learn in order to improve.
Choco: I got better in SF4 because alot of different people taught me. Training on consoles also helped me got better in my opinion.

Tetra: Choco, do you know about frame data?
Choco: I only remember a little ^^;
Gama: You don’t have to know so much of Blanka’s frame data to play him. I had to memorize most of it because I was commentating for NSB and Godsgarden.
Tetra: I see so its for commentating right?
Gama: Yes, its useful when I do commentate. In Japan, most of the top players have extensive knowledge on frame data and techniques. I have to keep up with them in order to commentate effectively. It is really tough. ^^

Tetra: How did you choose your nicknames?
Choco: My pet rabbit is called Choco too♪
Gama: It is a symbol in the local perfecture(Ibaraki). Gama means frogs. I like frogs so I ended up using this name.
Tetra: Will you change your main character in SSF4?
Gama: I dont have console at home. Sigh. If I get to play, I will probably use Ibuki. Sub character will be like Dictator, Guy or Guile.
Choco: I want to try Guy, Deejay and Makoto! My main will still be Blanka though! I love Blanka!
Tetra note: Lots of talking about Momochi and Honda. Choco hates Honda! I will think about including this part if there are people who are interested.

Tournament Questions

Tetra: Isn’t it tiring to organize a tournament every week?
Choco: My tournament is just a small scale tournament. It is not really tiring, especially with players like Gama helping me out. Doing NSB every week is 100% impossible! Gama will die from that. Haha
Gama: Holding NSB every week is tiring enough haha.
Tetra: Yea… Even in Singapore, the organizers get tired.
Gama: It is difficult to maintain large scale tournaments.
Tetra’s Notes: NSB usually have around 120 participants.
Gama: In the Capcom national tournament 2010, NSB players did really well to get to the top few positions. Players like Momochi and Eita have also been invited to overseas tournaments. For myself, I met alot of  different players. This pushes us to continue organizing tournaments.

Tetra: How do you find all those great commentators for your tournaments?
Gama: Hmm, we are all connected by SF4. Japan is a small place, it wasnt difficult to find commentators.
Tetra: Are they volunteers?
Gama: Yap. Everyone love games. It didnt took us long to gather some commentators.
Tetra’s Notes: Ended up random talking about inviting Gama to Singapore. Gama saying let’s do NSB in Singapore! Gama explained how he got famous by commentating for Daigo: “Umehara gaaaa~!”.

Tetra: What do you feel about the idea of console tournaments?
Choco: I like how everyone go “Wai Wai” while a match is on.
Tetra’s Note: Wai Wai basically means cheering and other forms of loud coordinated voices.
Choco: I became a tournament organizer because I want to hype up the atmosphere in the arcades. There is a possibility that even the players who only played at home would come to the arcades. But arcade and console SF4 is slightly different.
Tetra: Timing and stuff right?
Choco: Yap yap. There is a need to consider the differences between hosting a console tournament and an arcade one. However having fun is the main priority! Organizing a small scale console tournament is something I want to try!
Tetra: Yap, having fun is the most important thing.
Choco: Yes! Instead of just deciding who is better in a serious tournament, its more fun to have everyone going “wai wai” while having tournament matches against each other. Maybe we can get the same effect for console tournaments!
Tetra: I totally agree! Since SSF4 will be on consoles first, I guess there is a need for more console tournaments right? Console tournaments need alot of resources to hold though. Eg. PS3/360 and venue. It is cheaper and easier to host arcade tournaments.
Choco: Yes that’s true! Tournaments like Godsgarden will need alot of PS3/360 and monitors.
Tetra: Renting a venue can cost alot of money. Even if you host a tournament at your house, those people that you don’t know wouldn’t come. How about you, Gama?
Gama: The cost of venue is the biggest bottleneck.
Players can play with random people online from whenever and wherever they want. The way people get acquainted with each other is different between arcade and consoles.
If its console tournaments, what merits are there? In arcade tournaments, what merits are there? We need to figure out what are the merits and make full use of them.
Tetra: Yap. Its difficult to host console tournaments even if we want to.
Gama: Yes. I am keen on hosting console tournaments. I dont know to go about it when there are alot of limitations such as venue  in Japan.

Community Questions

Tetra: Seeing that console have alot of players.What do you think is the best way to get console players to play the game in arcades?
Choco: I will leave this question to Gama! Its too difficult for me to answer.
Tetra: Choco is running away!
Gama: Hmm yap this is a difficult question.
Choco: Back step rolling escape!
Tetra: My friend wants to know what is Choco’s and Gama’s thoughts about this, because this is happening in Singapore.
Choco: Ahhh(ノω`*) I will think about it♪
Gama: Firstly, we need to understand the difference between Japan and Singapore’s gaming environment. Japan is having the same problem. The reason is that alot of strong players gather in arcades, console players want to avoid them. How about Singapore?
Tetra: Pretty much the same, haha. Average and below players tend to avoid going to the arcades.
Gama: If that is the case, hold a event for players of the same skill level. Also, Japan’s mainstream tournaments are team based. There are tournaments where strangers are teamed together.
Tetra: Random team?
Gama: Yap yap. In order to gather interest of console players towards arcade, we also started live streaming events. “Tournaments are held in arcades!” is not the image we want to project. “Tournaments in arcades is so much fun with all the people!” is the message we want to convey to everyone.
Choco: Instead of tournaments, having home gatherings might be better! Fellow gamers can have fun conversation while eating food and snacks! Strong players can help/teach the weaker ones or it might even be better to host a training session. “How do you beat this character!?” for example^^ Problem is, how do we gather those players staying at home?
Tetra’s Notes: I told them about the SF4 Chalet event we had in Singapore, where we have alot of players gather to play SF4 on consoles. But most of the players who attended are still arcade players. They also mention that they want to do the same kind of event but its quite impossible in Japan.

Tetra: What do you think of the current japanese fighting games community?
Choco: I think its a good community! It doesnt matter if someone is weak or strong, everyone got to know each other and became friends!
Tetra: I am abit concerned when I went to Japan’s arcades. Most arcade goers are kinda serious. They dont really talk to each other. Eita is different though, he is like any other Singaporean who talks alot. Is this common?
Choco: That isnt true! In Nagoya, Gamesky arcade, the players all speak while playing. In loud voices too! Players who go to Gamesky for the first time dont speak at all. That’s why I will initiate by speaking to those players! Those players will also end up conversing. By doing that, more players will go to the arcade.
Gama: You will find alot of nice people if you initiate a conversation with them. Most of the japanese are shy people.

Tetra: How would you introduce SF4 to a person who never played any fighting games before.
Gama: That’s a difficult question.
Choco: Yap. That’s a difficult question ^^; Stuff like showing him the actual matches….. Anyway show them the images/videos and places to play the game, I guess? “The game is fun” is not the main point. “Its a game where everyone can play and have fun together” is what I want to convey.
Gama: I have the same answer as Choco.

Questions related to Singapore

Tetra: Is there any chance of top Japanese players coming to singapore one day? Without inviting them?
Gama: Chances are low.
Choco: I feel the same although there is a possibility. Its difficult because alot of money is needed to travel overseas.
Tetra: What if it is an invite and a sponsored trip?
Gama: If there is a place to stay and air ticket is paid for, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Choco: If that’s the case, they will be happy to go♪
Gama: If you invite people like Eita, Mago, Tokido, Kindevu, etc.
Choco: Momochi will be happy to go if he doesnt have anything on. Hehe.

Tetra: Last question for Choco! As a player, what was in your mind when you heard that the Singapore team is going to Japan?
Choco: Firstly, I’m happy to know that there are people playing SF4 even in Singapore♪ I want to be friends with them!
Tetra: I guess you didn’t get your wish cos you only became friends with me >_<
Choco: The language barrier is difficult for me to get past but I remembered Singapore team members’ face!
Tetra: Everyone will be happy to know that!

Tetra: Thank you for the time taken for this interview!


20 Comments


  1. Another great interview, Wilson…
    I’m a fan of choco too and this is a great reading for me…

    Thanks man, do this kind of interview with more players again more often…I love it…

  2. i wanna know what they said about honda and momochi!

  3. Great Interview!

    “i wanna know what they said about honda and momochi!” [2]

  4. I would love to hear about Honda and Momochi.

  5. choco is definitely a cutie.

  6. This is very intereting, thanks!

    “i wanna know what they said about honda and momochi!” [4]

  7. Great interview. Gama and Choco were a good choice.
    Also, voted for you in the WCG link.

    By the way Tetra.. you coming to Australia to compete at EVO APAC next weekend?. =]

  8. very nice interview, kinda funny how the 2 dudes resemble me by being active in fighters for 20 years, i got the same problem(we getting old, 30 is nearing). the girl is just as old as ive been going to arcades, but she still a cutie.

  9. honda and momochi!

  10. Thanks for the comments! I didn’t put in the random Honda chat with Choco because it is out of topic. Didn’t expect so many people to be interested in it! I will edit that part in by next week.

    I will probably interview Momochi for the next interview.

    EXC355UM, I totally forgot about it! I just came back from Japan last month. Kinda difficult for me to fly off again so soon… Thanks for the vote I really appreciate it!

    I kinda regret not being able to do a full video interview :(

  11. Totally understandable Tetra, traveling ain’t cheap.
    I heard a few players from Sg were coming, so I figured I would ask.

    I’m sure we’ll run into each other in the future. Keep up the awesome work with the blog! =]

  12. how come you didn’t talk about anything with america?

  13. Great Interview!

  14. Yeah…i’ve been playing beat em ups for 20yrs but because im English, in England – there is NEXT TO ZERO arcade community….before online I almost never lost a match and could only play friends I knew – I had no idea how sh** I was in the grand scheme of things –

    - I wanna get better but it’s hard to find those…30hrs! a week and it’s daunting with the frame data and 35 freaking characters to attack-defend against…

    I will keep trying but hearing stuff like this helps – gonna move to Japan in a couple years too…lucky people.

    (I do not…normally do this but err…Yaataaa!)

    lol.

  15. EXC355UM have fun with Daigo in EVO apac!

    Motie Sifu. I feel everyone will get better at some point of time.

    I don’t think I should be asking stuff about America when I am not American. I will leave it to people like SRK.com

  16. Nice review, would love to hear about Honda and Momochi

  17. hi,
    I am from Indonesia. Your writing is quite interesting. I also love adventure games. But I prefer strategy games such as five civilizations.
    thanks.

  18. Honda + Momochi pls! Honda main here :)

  19. Choco very beautiful

  20. I’m very late.

    But thanks for the interview !

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