Sunday, May 10, 2009

Justin Wong Claims He Will Beat Daigo at EVO This Year

Twin Galaxies: In the International Finals round of the Tournament, you lost to Daigo Umehara. Tell us about that experience.

Justin Wong: I lost to Daigo at the International Exhibition. If that was a real tournament, I would have changed to my counter character. He uses Ryu, and Ryu counter’s Rufus. Don’t get me wrong, Daigo is REALLY good; maybe too good. For someone like me, though, he's just my peer; I know what can beat him and what can't. A lot of people don't know this, but I went to Japan and beat him 10-4. It’s the truth. If someone says it’s a lie I'll go back to Japan again, because I'm going anyway, and I'll beat him again.


IMHO, after watching his match with Daigo at this year's US Tournament, I'd still bet on Daigo. Justin Wong is a great player, the best in the United States---but I just think that Daigo is more exposed to a healthy dose of challenging competition over in Japan. I think if Justin Wong wants to reach the same level as Daigo, the fighting game scene in the USA has to reach the same level of intensity that it has over in Japan.

Based on data provided by, the truth is, first-person shooters are still much more in demand compared to fighting games, with Street Fighter IV no longer appearing in the top 10 games played for Xbox Live (note: this is given the fact that the Xbox 360 is the top platform for consoles in the United States right now, based on sales figures). Fighting games continue to be a niche genre in the USA, despite claims of hardcore gamers online that it is experiencing a 'resurgence of interest'. Granted, it is much better than it used to be, thanks to the release of Street Fighter IV. I recall playing VF5 in the past and the competition online is pretty thin. It was far easier to find a match in Gears of War 2 than it was for VF5. For SFIV on the Xbox 360, I find a lot of players online to play against daily; much more than VF5. But on a larger scale, from a broader point of view, fighting games in general still have difficulty in appealing to a bigger audience. While this is the case, there will be fewer players in the United States who will actually attain the same level of skill as Justin Wong has, giving him less fighting experience than Daigo, and decreasing his chance of winning.

Justin Wong does claim that he is going to Japan to prepare for EVO; perhaps that will improve his chances, but does he have enough time to gain enough playing experience to beat Daigo? I seriously doubt it. Good luck to both competitors, nonetheless.

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