Bizarro Mike’s Most Memorable Moments of 2016 Part Three

Colin (left) and Bradley Martin (right), Christmas 2016

2016 was a big year for myself and the fighting game community full of memorable moments. I’ve already talked about why I’m grateful for the FGC in 2016 but I really want to talk about some of my personal highlights and important moments of 2016. This is the final post of three posts (you can read one and two here) that covers Capcom Cup shenanigans and the support of my family.

Capcom Cup

Capcom Cup marked my third trip to the Los Angeles area of the year. Day one of Capcom Cup was filled with so many surprises. Infiltration and Tokido went 0-2, setting fire to probably 99% of the mock brackets out there.

Some time after his elimination, I walked up to Infiltration to see how he was doing. He was standing with Burnout, who I must acknowledge as being incredibly gracious for translating Korean for interviews with us all year, and asked if I wanted to do an interview. I looked at him and asked if he was sure.

“I’m okay,” he said with a smile.

We did the interview. I almost cried while Infiltration was replying to my last question. I didn’t know exactly what he was saying but it felt like such a letdown to see what he had done throughout the year only to fall 0-2 at Capcom Cup. But he’s a fighter and a champion and you lose in this business. Afterward, we shared a big Korean group hug.

It’s hard watching the players you have come to know lose. One by one, they fell at Capcom Cup. Everyone busted their asses in a lengthy season to get to Capcom Cup.

At Capcom Cup 2015, I was right in front when Xian was eliminated by Daigo. I knew how bad he wanted Capcom Cup that year. He still does but he knew the chips were stacked against him as a FANG player. For as trash as that character is, Xian was a god with him. To think, he took ninth at Evo and Capcom Cup 2016 and was one match away from making top 8 at both events.

Seeing him fall short was hard, especially after the time we spent together in Singapore. But like Infiltration, Tokido, Daigo, and so many other top players, he’s a champion and hard worker. I know he’ll put in the work to be in Capcom Cup 2017, but for the love of everything in the universe, I’m beggin you, please drop FANG!

Day two of Capcom Cup took place on day one of PlayStation Experience. I got to see so many friends I’ve made at events like PSX, even if it was just for the briefest moments. But my day started out with a big reveal that I knew was coming but couldn’t confirm, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. Finally that news was out there and I couldn’t be more happy for Marvel players and the FGC.

I also got an invite to speak with the Capcom/Marvel Illuminati about the game.

One of the biggest stories of the year took place during Capcom Cup finals. NuckleDu and Ricki Ortiz, both players I have a ton of respect and admiration for, met in an all-North American Grand Finals. One of the most interesting parts of this match-up is the generation gap. Ricki Ortiz is a long-time veteran with over a decade of competitive fighting game experience, while NuckleDu is a 20-year-old Street Fighter savant with years of competition (and championships) ahead of him.

I wasn’t ready to admit that North America was on the same level as Japan (or Asia) in competitive Street Fighter but the end of the CPT proved me wrong and I can’t wait to see how everyone adapts in Street Fighter V Season 2.

Covering fighting games is hard work so sometimes you just need to have a little fun outside of the events. Yahoo Esports recently hired Zorine Te, who moved from that deathtrap known as Australia to Los Angeles and was on-hand to cover Capcom Cup.

Du ‘NuckleDu’ Dang, Capcom Cup 2016 Street Fighter V World Champion (Michael Martin)

We decided to get something to eat one night with my good friends Jibrill (who won UMVC3 at NEC 17!) and KyleP. Out of all of the great places one could possibly eat in Anaheim, near Disney, we ended up at the International House of Pancakes because she’d never eaten there before. Hilarity ensued.

It was a blast. Zorine probably thinks KyleP and I are insane. I love nothing more than hanging out with KyleP at events. He’s a good friend and I love that he has this insatiable desire to win in UMVC3 and SFV. He’s a genuine dude and I will spare him by not telling the world about our first in-person encounter, which is one of my all-time favorite moments because it showed me what kind of person he is.

Also I’m so grateful we have Zorine the News Queen (and another FGC head) at Yahoo Esports.

My Family

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the FGC friends and family but not nearly enough talking about my own. Most of you know, I do all of this while helping raise two young boys (4-year-old Colin, and almost-2-year-old Bradley) with my girlfriend, who also works full-time.

When I have to travel, she is the one picking up the slack with the kids. Usually it’s just a few days over the span of a weekend. But this year, I had to ask a lot of her. I was gone two weeks while I was in Singapore and then California for SEAM and SCR. She understands (maybe somewhat begrudgingly at times and that’s okay) what I do for a living and does her best to support it. I can’t ask for more than that.

It’s hard being away from your family, especially my two young boys. I miss them dearly when I’m gone. The one thing I look forward to the most when I return home is seeing them for the first time. Their eyes light up and they shout “Daddy!” and come running for hugs. We all have to sacrifice a little and I’m grateful they understand because this is a thing that won’t last forever so I want to appreciate these moments as much as possible.

Colin is too hard for Smash at Don't Park On The Grass in Seattle
Colin is too hard for Smash at Don’t Park On The Grass in Seattle (Michael Martin)

2016 has been good to me professionally and personally. But I have made mistakes along the way. The obvious ones I’ve tried to correct or make amends for immediately. I still suffer from anxiety at times. I’m a people pleaser and deep down I want everyone to like me and the content I make, even if that isn’t realistic.

I do my best to stay humble. I’m not perfect. Progress over perfection. If I’ve crossed a line with anyone, I can apologize and hope to do better next time.

I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished and that Yahoo Esports has accomplished. But know that I’m always trying to improve, whether it’s how I conduct interviews or what kinds of projects we do in 2017, just like players want to improve in fighting games (something I also want to do.)

Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with or done interviews with throughout 2016. Thank you to my friends and family and everyone who supports me and my work. I am nothing without you. Here’s to even bigger and better things for the FGC in 2017.

Please check out parts one and two of my memorable moments of 2016 because I wrote 3000+ words and decided to spare you having to read them all in one post.

Follow Michael Martin on Twitter @Bizarro_Mike for tweets with far less words than these posts.

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