3on3 Chile Finals, Gaijins in Tokyo: Heicko
Here are the final stages of the 3on3 in from Chile this week! – This was the 1 player 1 character system!
Check out ‘Chilly’ Spooky on mic 😛
Congrats to ON.Tortita for staging a successful tournament and helping the scene grow for noobs and pros alike! Looks like everyone had fun and that’s why you should do 3on3 too!
GAIJIN IN TOKYO: HEICKO
KOF Koucha posted an interview with a mysterious gaijin that had suddenly appeared in certain arcades, here’s the ‘translation’.
Please give us an introduction of yourself. Here’s a few questions to start you off, but feel free to improvise and add anything else you’d like for people to know.
– Who are you, what’s your player name, where are you from?
– Have you played or achieved in any tournaments back in the UK? (Are there any videos up on Youtube)?
– What brought you to Tokyo? When did you arrive? Is this your first time in Japan? How good is your Japanese?
– How long have you been playing fighting games and KOF?
– What characters do you play with? Why did you pick them?
– Where can people play you, and what days/times of the week? Do you have a public Twitter account?
My names Greg and I’m a 23 year old KOF player from Glasgow, Scotland. My player name has always been “Heicko” (Pronounced: は-い-こ) but I’ve used グレー in Japan since it’s closer to my real name. I’ve won a few local tournaments and events in Glasgow but not much to talk about, the level is not very high in the UK.
I arrived in Tokyo in July this year and it’s my first time in Japan. I’m currently living in south Saitama (Warabi-shi). I’ve been planning to come to Japan for about 5 years and came to Japan to try improve my Japanese. My Japanese is okay but my strengths are reading and writing, unfortunately my speaking and listening skills aren’t so great so I’ve been quite shy about talking to Japanese people. I’ve been playing fighting games since 2009 and my main games were air dasher games like Blazblue. KOF13 was my first KOF game and I really enjoyed it and have played it for about 2 years.
My main team is Duo lon, Raiden, and Shen. Duo lon was my first and favourite character I played in KOF, I liked his design and moveset and just thought he had a lot of potential to get creative with. Shen was the second character that I eventually settled on. I liked his cancellable charge punch (I played Johnny in GG and similar to Mist Stance Cancels) as well as his big damage potential.
Have you seen videos of Japanese KOF players before you landed? If so, how did it compare to actually playing them? And thus far from playing, which players have impressed you the most? Are there any other Japanese players that you’re looking forward to play?
I had been watching Japanese KOF players for years on youtube. The playerbase is very small in my city and because I was completely new to KOF I spent a lot of time watching match videos from Japan and Korea. I would always think “Why did this work? How does he counter this option? How does he approach this matchup?” to try learn the game properly. After I began to play more myself and get better these decisions became clearer and I was able to start taking the things I’d learned from other players and bring my own style to my characters.
When I finally got here and actually played some of them I was very excited but also nervous. I wanted to do well but it was my first time playing in an arcade and I was nervous. My first couple of weeks I did okay but had to learn quickly and improve. Theres too many players to name that have impressed me, and unfortunately I’m unsure of a lot of their names. As for players I want to play there’s also a lot to name, Haregoro, Tenkawa, Dune, Koukou, Picnic, Rinomoto, Myu, M’, MOA, Shoki, Himojoe, Azuki Neko, Kaoru, Woo, Jinpachi and many others. I have played some of these players a few times but would like to play more. There’s also a lot of players I’m unsure of their names so it is a big confusing list haha.
What’s the difference in Japanese style play compared to the UK? Are there anything new that you’ve learnt?
The difference in play is like night and day, the UK level is very low and I think that is fair to say. There is a handful of decent players but not many. Since the level is much higher in Japan I’ve had to learn a lot. My defense was weak (still is) when I first arrived and was punished quickly for wreckless rolls and reversals. I also felt I had to improve my neutral game really fast because Japanese players were harder to crack with my pressure and mixup game.
Thus so far from playing in Tokyo’s KOF13 scene, where would you rank yourself in there (chose from following: low-low, low, low-high, mid-low, mid, mid-high, high-low, high, high-high). Why do you rank yourself there? Would you rank yourself the same if it were back in the UK?
It is difficult to rank myself since there are a lot of players I’ve yet to play but I suppose somewhere from mid to high-low on my best days. I would put myself around there because I feel like I can do well against most players but struggle to beat certain players consistently and have a lot of matchup knowledge to learn.
We hear that your Raiden is doing very well. What do you think makes him play well? Have you played against Keykakko, the Raiden specialist in Tokyo? (If so, what was your impression?) Also, what do you have to say about the Japanese tiers in KOF13? For example, Raiden and Ryo seem to be ranked higher in West Japan/Osaka compared to East Japan/Tokyo (you rarely see people using them in Tokyo).
Raiden is the most recent character on my team. I have played him for quite a long time but have kept him on my main team for about 6 months. I picked him up after seeing Kaoru’s Raiden and then really enjoying the challenge of learning a very unique character. I think Raidens strength is his damage potential and good mixup game. I don’t think I’ve played Keykakko unfortunately but I’ve played Azuki Neko’s Raiden and been beaten hard a few times by his. Embarrassingly I’m not that good at fighting Raiden myself, something I need to work on.
Last time I saw a tier list from Japan I agreed with most of it. With regards to Raiden I can see why they value him more in Osaka than Tokyo, he has his strengths but also has big weaknesses. I don’t think a lot about tiers but I find it interesting the differences between regions depending on the capability of the players with the characters in the region. For example I used to consider Maxima or Ash very weak but MOA and Tenkawa can make them feel so strong.
Is there anything particular about Japanese arcades that impressed you or put you off? (doesn’t necessarily have to be about the videogames themselves). Also, has the button layout in arcades been fine for you? It’s often pointed out that overseas players have a hard time adapting to them.
So many people in one place playing fighting games is new to me and was exciting when I first arrived. It was quite nerve wrecking at first though, having more people watching, as well as playing for the credit made every match feel like a big deal compared to console. I’d always played on a fightstick before coming to Japan so it was a little off putting having to get used to different stick and button configs. The first time I played in Shinjuku Carnival I unscrewed the ball top whilst playing, I was really embarrassed! Something I never realized until I played in arcades is that I unintentionally unscrew the ball tops as I play (maybe I do too many rekkas) so I have to keep twisting them back on inbetween rounds. Fortunately they don’t come all the way off anymore!
Straight forward, it’s rare to see a white guy in a suit playing at Japanese arcades. Have you had any interesting experiences thus far, like for example, people talking to you out of curiosity or watching your gameplay more than that of other locals?
I work in an Ekaiwa in Shinjuku and usually come to Carnival after work before going home so I don’t have time to change. I haven’t really too many interactions with players talking to me. I don’t blame them though I’ve been told I’ve got a bit of an angry/serious face when I play but I swear I’m happy and having fun, just concentrating! They also won’t be sure of my Japanese level and are just a bit shy like me. A few Japanese players that have lived in America have talked with me which was cool.
Gaming culture wise, how is Tokyo different from where you’ve been living (Glasgow)? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? If you were to point out something better about UK’s gaming culture, what would it be? (let it be console or arcade, anything’s fine)
Well the cultures are very different, in Scotland there are not very many players and they are spread across the country. We played once or twice a week in a net cafe on console and there was only a few of us. So it’s nice to be able to walk round the corner from work and have a lot of strong players to play against. I haven’t been to any tournaments in Japan yet, but the guys behind the Scottish fighting game community (Versus Scotland) put on a great yearly tournament that has been the highlight of the UK fighting game calendar for a few years now. Also even though most people don’t play KOF in Scotland (SF4 and UMVC3 are the biggest) everyone gets on well and talks to one another. So shoutouts to all the fighting game players in Scotland, not just the KOF players.
Do you have plans to enter any tournaments? For example, east Japan’s largest tournament “KCE Cup 7” is taking place this Sunday in Tokyo (Shinjuku Carnival Playland). Then in November, there’s going to be “Duelling the KOF” in Kyoto.
I really would love to attend some tournaments in Japan but unfortunately I work till about 9pm on the weekends and most weekdays as well so I can only go to catch the end of the tournaments or get some games in afterwards. I’m really interested to see the tournament in Kyoto, it will be exciting for sure. I don’t think I can go though, which makes me sad.
On the subject of general culture (or even Pop Culture/ Otaku stuff), what things aside from KOF and fighting games interest you? Have you found any new favorite dishes in Japan? Is there anywhere else in Japan that you want to try going?
I’m really into music and have played drums for about 9 years. I’m into lots of different music but I like a lot of metal and rock and like a lot of Visual-kei bands. I’m also studying Japanese in my spare time so please tell me if I say something weird or unnatural, I will be so grateful for the help so please don’t think it’s rude to tell me I’m saying something wrong.
If there’s anything else you want to write about, feel free!
Any last words? If you want to say anything for the Japanese players to read (like “don’t hesitate to talk to me”, “play me at ****”, etc), feel free. Thank you very much for this opportunity!
I’d like to first of all say thanks for the interest to offer this interview and to anyone that reads it. Hopefully it didn’t bore you too much. To the Japanese players reading please don’t hesitate to talk to me. Even if it’s just “You suck!”. My Japanese isn’t that bad but I’m new to Japan and I’m kind of nervous and don’t know really know how to start a conversation too well in Japanese. I will keep studying as hard as I can and hopefully be able to talk to lots of you about KOF and other things. I’m really looking forward to talking with the different players in Japan. Talk to you soon! (Shoutouts to Infy, Atma, Paladin, Cameron, bigfool and cheers to Gunsmith for helping communicate this.)
Could you tell us about what was going on here? What happened, could you hear the crowd and how did you feel?
With regards to that video, it was from the very end of the hypespotting finals this year (Hypespotting is a tournament held in Glasgow once a year for the last 3 years). After a bracket reset from Ryan Hart I began to pull ahead very far with duo lon in every game, but Ryans Flame Iori kept bringing it back for a dramatic finish each time. In this video I land the tournament winning combo with shen, but miss the neomax at the end. Giving Ryan a chance to come back, but fortunately I was able to get the final hit in. I could hear the crowd loudly the entire time, I had never experienced that kind of heavy support before so it made me a little nervous but I enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed I dropped my combo at the end but glad to have won. It was great to get the support of everyone in the community, not just the KOF players, so I’m thankful for that.