That's where this guide comes in. I'll go over a list of important people and vocabulary words for you to know to prepare you for any event, be it a 24/7 open lobby or EVO. I will be focusing heavily on the Street Fighter side of the fighting game community, so I apologize if I left off your favorite BlazBlue player (which is probably Mike Z).
This list is a quick "who's who" of the fighting game world. There are a ton of people who are probably worth mentioning, but I'm keeping it to the short list. These are the folks who will likely have the most commotion around them during the bigger tournaments like EVO.
Alex Valle - Alex is probably the oldest on this list, playing in the old arcades before these other young whippersnappers could say "Shoryuken." He has, as far as I know, always stuck with Ryu and continues to impress. Never count him out because of his age; if anything, he has the most experience!
Daigo Umehara, aka "The Beast" - Daigo is often regarded as one of the best Street Fighter players in the world. He hails from Japan and is perhaps best known for performing "Evo Moment #37." If you haven't seen that video by now, go watch it immediately. He has a ton of accolades under his belt and you can just about always expect to see him in the finals.
Fuudo - Last year's winner of SFIV at EVO. He played Fei Long, thought to be the best character at the time, and won pretty convincingly with a 3-0 over Latif. Fei Long has since been nerfed, so it'll be interesting to see if he sticks with the character or moves on.
Gootecks (twitter) - The other half of Mike Ross (see below) and also works for Cross Counter TV. He stepped down from his position back in March, but just recently came back into the fighting game community. Known for playing Balrog (Boxer) in Street Fighter IV.
James Chen (twitter) - One of the two best commentators in the community. His knowledge of the SFIV series is perhaps unmatched by anyone else. He has an inexplicable ability to detail what just happened and why it didn't happen another way. Combines with Ultra David (see below) to form Ultra Chen, an unstoppable commentating machine.
Justin Wong (twitter) - An overall great player. He has an innate ability to become great at any fighting game he sets out to play. He didn't manage to crack the top ten in SFIV at EVO last year, but his Adon and Rufus play is top notch. One of the most well-known US players on the scene.
Latif - The underdog that took second place at last year's EVO in SFIV while playing C. Viper. He eliminated Tokido, Daigo, and Poongko in order to get into the grand finals, accruing perhaps the most powerful "defeat list" I've ever seen.
Mike Ross (twitter) - Perhaps most famous for his "Adventures of Mike Ross and Gootecks" series, Mike Ross is often a fan favorite. He currently works for Cross Counter TV. Known for playing E.Honda in Street Fighter IV. I'd highly recommend checking out the documentary about him, FOCUS, over on the G4 website. Whenever you see someone giving him a nickname like Mike "The Machine" Ross, it's an ongoing joke that literally anything and everything can be his nickname.
Poongko (twitter) - Poongko made a huge splash at last year's EVO with his incredibly Seth play in Super Street Fighter IV. He pulled off a Perfect round against Daigo and eventually knocked him down into the loser's bracket. Seth is a very risky character to use, so his return into the top 10 isn't as concrete as with other players, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him back.
Tokido aka The MurderFace - Best known for his Akuma play, Tokido is an extremely good player from Japan. Perhaps my favorite Tokido moment is from this video at the end, in which he wins a match and stands in front of the projector screen so the Akuma symbol lands on his back. So cool!
Tom Brady (twitter) - One of the best Mortal Kombat players out there. He's been a large influence on the MK9 scene since its inception and makes a good player and commentator for the game. He knows just about every move property there is within Mortal Kombat 9.
Ultra David (twitter) - The other of the two best commentators in the community. When combined with James Chen (see above), they create the most intelligent and well-versed commentating team possible. Known to use lesser-played characters like Dan or Hakan. Always looks professional.
Jargon and Colloquialisms
The following is a list of vocabulary words you may encounter when watching fighting game streams. This by no means covers every word you'll encounter, but this is a great start and should adequately prepare you moving forward.
Bodied (verb) - When someone gets bodied, it means that they are being absolutely dominated in the match.
Justin Wong just got bodied by Daigo, two Perfects!
Combo (noun) - String of continuous moves that connect together with no time in between for the opponent to escape.
That was a 60-hit combo!!
DHC (noun) - Delayed Hyper Combo. In team games like the Marvel vs. Capcom series, this is caused by triggering one character's Hyper Combo, and while it is still occurring the player inputs the motion for another character's Hyper, allowing them to come out and take the first character's place, along with performing their Hyper Combo.
Dropped Combo (noun) - When a player mistimes their combo input, allowing their opponent to escape or block.
I can't believe Poongko dropped that combo, he usually nails it!
Empty Jump (noun) - Jumping and landing without using a move in the air. Often used as a surprise, since the opponent will often expect a move to come out in the air.
That empty jump into a throw just caught his opponent off guard.
Exposed (verb) - When a player, usually one of high skill level, loses very convincingly. Usually uttered as an insult.
Daigo just lost to a scrub! EXPOSED!
FGC (noun) - Fighting Game Community.
Footsies (noun) - A series of pokes and counter pokes while both characters move back and forth, each testing their opponent and getting an idea of how good they are at spacing.
Free (adjective) - Easy to beat; A "free" victory.
Man, that Rose player was so free. I got two Perfects against them!
Hype (noun) - Excitement.
So much hype surrounded this matchup!
Hype (verb) - Excited.
Link (noun) - In Street Fighter IV, linking is another way to combo. Comboing one move into another after the move is finished animating is called a link. Regular combos often involve cancelling one move animation into another, instead of waiting for it to finish like in links. (thanks to DaRabidDuckie for the correction! I have been EXPOSED!)
He dropped his combo because it's hard to do that one-frame link.
OCV (noun) - One Character Victory. When a team of players wins without their first member ever having to switch out.
I can't believe Team Evil Geniuses just OCV'd!
Option Select (noun) - Most fighting games allow for the player to quickly input motions that technically allow for two moves to potentially come out. If the first move won't connect, the second inputted move will come out. The most basic example is also called crouch-teching, accomplished by holding block and tapping throw as you block each move. If their attack connects, you will block; if they drop their combo and mess up the timing, your throw will come out.
OTG (adjective) - Off the Ground. A move property that will pop the opponent up from the ground, allowing the combo to continue.
He can use his Super Combo into an OTG and then continue to do damage.
Poke (noun) - A single button, usually long-range move that players will use in order to keep their spacing. Can often lead into a combo.
Pringles (adjective) - Awesome; amazing. See: this infamous video. (Note: This entire video is often quoted during matches)
That shit is so Pringles!
Runback (noun) - Another word for rematch. Often combined with salty for the term "salty runback."
Let's get a runback with that Hakan player, he was good!
Salty (adjective) - Referring to the salt in ones tears, someone who is "salty" is angry from a recent loss.
Man, Mike Ross sure is salty after that loss to Ryu.
Spacing (noun) - The distance between the two characters. Most players know how close they need to be for specific moves to connect and will be constantly moving in and out of a certain range.
Justin Wong's spacing has been superb this entire match.
SPD (noun) - Short for Spinning Pile Driver, one of Zangeif's moves. Another way to say 360 motion.
Can you SPD from that distance?
SPD (verb) - Performing a 360 motion with the controller.
He just got SPD'd!
Stream Monster (noun) - People who tune in to watch fighting game streams and mostly complain about how poor the competitors are performing, implying they could do better when we all know they can't.
Those stream monsters sure are hungry tonight!
Tiger Knee Motion (verb) - A shortcut for a specific controller input. Instead of jumping and then inputting a Shoryuken motion, a tiger knee motion can be performed, completing both the jump and Shoryuken input in one motion. Reference to Sagat's Tiger Knee move. See: tutorial video.
Is it possible to tiger-knee that move?
Zoning (verb) - Zoning is accomplished by launching as many projectiles as possible to keep the opponent at bay.
Arthur's zoning is just too strong for Haggar to get in without assists.
As I mentioned, there will likely be more words and people that you don't recognize which are still absent from this list, but this should let you feel way more comfortable while watching the fighting game streams. You can even start using them yourselves and start to fit in more!
If there are any important words you feel I've missed feel free to add them into the comments!
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