Part I: The Origins of the SFCCL
As mentioned on the right side of this webpage, the first origins of the SFCCL can be traced all the way back to the Super Nintendo (SNES) days of Street Fighter. Some of you may too young to even have played the SNES. Now, please understand, that doesn’t make me feel old. To the contrary, it makes me feel sadness for the young whippersnappers playing now since you guys missed a great era of gaming. But that is another story for another time.
The next couple of years, I would try to find any arcade to play SF, whether it was my hometown of San Antonio, Texas, or when I went on vacation. My biggest thrill came in my family’s annual vacation to Las Vegas and searching out every arcade at each casino we visited just looking to play anyone. During the mid-90s, Las Vegas was in the middle of reshaping itself as a family destination, not Sin City. Almost every resort had an arcade-on-steroids with big screen TVs for the most popular games, like SF. In the summer of 1995, I went 32-2 over a three day period. I avenged both losses in rematches, but had a great time playing so many different people. One of the matches I lost was to a pair of guys who would alternate each round with Guile. It was a bit challenging to play one style one round, another in the next round, and then back to the original style for a third round. To this day, I’ve never seen anyone else do that.
My last memory of playing SF in the arcades was playing one of the last versions of SFIII. By this time, I hadn’t played SF competitively in years as I never really liked SFIII. In all the years that I had played at the arcades, I had always treated my opponents the way I wanted to be treated – respectful & courteous. It’s supposed to be fun, after all. That final time I played in the arcade was especially memorable because there was a guy who was really good at SFIII beating everyone else in the arcade - let’s call him ‘Big Mouth’. One of the other players, a young teenager, kept putting in quarter after quarter trying to beat Big Mouth. All the while he kept laughing and berating the kid round after round. It got so annoying that you couldn’t ignore him no matter where you were in the arcade. My girlfriend knew of my love of SF and told me to challenge him, specifically, to shut him up. I told her I hadn’t played in years. Nonetheless, I plopped down my token and waited for the kid to get beat again. After another defeat, he stepped aside and went to get more tokens. I stepped up and picked my old fav character, Ken, to challenge Big Mouth’s Ryu. He kept his boisterous attitude as our battle began. He won a close 1st round with a Super. He was obviously a master at all of the new game play elements of SFIII, which were completely foreign to me. The guy was about my age (late teens, early 20s), so he only ratcheted up his rhetoric after winning the first round. The kid from earlier had returned by this time and put down his token on the control panel indicating he had the next game. I resorted to basic strategy in the 2nd round and won, surprising myself and especially Big Mouth. He then turned around his ball cap and got quiet and focused for our 3rd round. I was happy to have shut him up for at least another 99 seconds. So you might understand my sense of redemption when I won the final & deciding round. He was speechless and quickly began to fumble around in his pocket for another token to play me again. While I was happy to shut him up for a while longer, I got really pissed when he inserted another token since the kid had already put down his token earlier indicating he had the next game, no matter who lost. Big Mouth didn’t care and just wanted to kick my butt. So……I simply walked away from my game. I left my game there and the kid happily played my token once everyone realized I wasn’t coming back. I did it in part to piss off Big Mouth as he wouldn’t get another shot at me, but also to give the kid the next game that he rightfully deserved. Big Mouth beat him once again, and began talking crap about me for walking away saying things like "I wasn’t really playing last time!" By that time,I had gone over to play a 1942-style shooting airplane game next to my girlfriend. I knew what I had done would really annoy anyone who took the game that seriously. But this guy took it to whole another level. He actually came up behind me and starting talking trash right to my back. He figured out that I was with my girlfriend and even got her involved in his trash talking saying something along the lines of "not wanting to get beat in front of my bitch". Now, I was doing my very best killing those Nazi airplanes in my current game while not cracking up from this guy’s tantrum. I never actually felt threatened as I just thought the whole situation was so ridiculous. I was actually more concerned that my girl would go off on him and neuter him on the spot. You just don’t want to mess with her. But surprisingly, she was trying hard not to laugh as well while playing some puzzle game. Eventually, Big Mouth realized that I wasn’t going to give him any type of response so he went back to playing SFIII. He continued to look my way while steaming. At least he finally shut up. That was the last time I ever played SF in the arcades. The arcades had become a dangerous then! No place for a responsible, respectful, & courteous man like me! They closed down that arcade last year. Oh, and that girlfriend I mentioned…she is now my wife of 7 years. And you still don’t want to mess with her…trust me.
Enough about me and my crazy, wild nights at the local arcades. Let’s get back to origins of the SFCCL. With every release of Street Fighter for the home consoles, my family and friends would start up another season to play in our league. Rankings were very similar to the system we use today. However, since there were no more than 6 of us in the League at any one time, we did have a rule that only one person could use one character during league play. So, only one person could use Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, or Guile. We even setup a draft so that every player could pick their fighter. If your favorite fighter was drafted before your turn came up, you were out of luck. Trades were allowed to try to acquire a new fighter. But there were plenty of beatings for Dhalsim and Zangief back then as no one wanted them and little effort would be placed in trying to master those characters. Some of us even played SF online for the very first time on the crude, but advanced-for-the-time Xband on the SNES. That led to even bigger problems as it was played over a phone line. If some of you guys think SFIV has lag issues, try playing over a phone line. And even more dangerous was you’re your opponent would get your phone number if they had caller ID. How many of you like 3 AM harassing phone calls?
The PlayStation2 came and went along with various Street Fighter games, but Capcom never released a SF game with online play for the PlayStation. The Xbox was fortunate to have SF Anniversary online play, but I’m not an Xbox guy. However, in February 2009, that day finally came with the release of Street Fighter IV. And the thoughts of a new SF league came flooding back to me.
Now, again, my interest in SF prior to the release of SFIV was very small. I even thought about whether or not to buy SFIV as it just seemed like I would be playing in the past. I wasn’t actively involved in any online SF forums or communities. I pretty much kept to the official PlayStation forums for the various games I was playing at the time. However, once I read that SFIV would have online play, I decided to buy SFIV on the day it was released (traded in LBP for it). I began to think about bringing the league to the online community. It was an exciting thing to think about since so many things would be different since it would be an exclusively online league and present all new types of problems. Nonetheless, I was convinced it could work with the right framework. So began the SFCCL or the SFL (Street Fighter League as it was originally known.)
On March 18, 2009, nearly a month after the release of SFIV on the PS3, I created a thread on the Street Fighter forum on the PSN message boards called "Online SFIV League – Join Now". I honestly didn’t expect to have more than 5 or 6 guys join. I came in with the idea of setting up a draft and making every fighter exclusive to one member. That idea was quickly discarded as more and more people wanted to join. Eventually, we had 16 players ready to go in the first-ever Super Brawl tournament that would setup the first ever rankings. Now, I think I have to mention that the process from idea to actual tournament went through a whole lot of s**t. Basically, the league nearly died before it began. Now, please understand that everything that I am writing about is from my perspective. Different people will have different accounts of what happened. I felt like two members began to take over my league. They dismissed my rankings system for a champion & contenders league. One member didn’t even care about setting up a league, but preferred to have a ‘community’ where gamers could come and chat & play. Another member had gone ahead and created a website for the Street Fighter League without ever consulting with me. I thought both were great ideas, especially since I had never even considered those things. I was more focused on getting the league off the ground with real scheduled matches. All the while, I felt that my ideas were being ignored and I was outnumbered. I told them we should have several leagues within the SFL community for players to join and choose from. That was dismissed. I recommended we nominate one person as the leader of the SFL to make these decisions as I was tired of trying to get support for my ideas (I was actually asked why I was acting like the leader of the SFL! I never wrote it but thought, "This is my original f’n idea!!!!"). So, after much bickering and confusion for all the other members, I simply bid the other guys farewell & told everyone that I would be creating the SFCCL (I lost the original name of the SFL to the website guy) on my own. Those interested in my ideas could join the SFCCL. Those that did not like my ideas could join the others guy league. While the opening tournament and bickering continued, I began to work on the SFCCL website. On April 15, 2009, I announced my plans for the SFCCL & advertised the website. And so the SFCCL was born.
Here are the links to the forums all this stuff took place in:
And the first ever thread for the SFCCL weekly matches:
I don’t regret anything I posted in those forums. I simply had to make the decision I made. I wasn’t going to let other people stop me from doing something I had long thought about doing. If the league as going to succeed or fail, it was going to on my terms. Feel free to read thru those old posts. You’ll soon figure out who the members I was bickering with are, and even some of the original members of this league that are still with us today, like ELGENERAL and BANKERD. Many thanx you guys for sticking this whole year out with me! Several others in the league currently joined from the PS forums, but ElGeneral, BankerD, and myself are the only 3 members who can claim to be here from the beginning – from the first ever tournament to the current version of Super Brawl.
But I'll save that for my next REFLECTIONS blog. Good luck until then.