author: kristian ferguson | news editor
Virtual punches and fireballs abound
Video games have been picking up steam in Regina recently. Fighting games, in particular, have come into a community of their own thanks to the help of Zak Haring, a 27-year-old who was interested in bringing out the community from dens and bedrooms to a boardroom in the Callie Curling Club. The Fighting Game Community, typically shortened to the FGC, is a sub-culture all its own with heroes, celebrities, slang, and terminology. Haring explains what makes his group, the Regina FGC, different from others.
“The FGC is, for those who don’t know, an all-encompassing fighting-game club. Unlike other groups like the university’s Super Smash Bros. Club, we play a multitude of games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat. We try to encompass everything we can,” said Haring.
Haring then went on to explain just how far reaching the Regina FGC is.
“At our last meet-up, we had Street Fighter 2, 3, 4 and 5, Dragon Ball Fighterz, Smash (Melee and Wii U), Guilty Gear, Blaz Blue, Skull Girls, and a whole bunch of others. It’s all about getting together and playing a genre of games we love in whatever form they come in.”
The Regina FGC has risen at a very hectic time for fighting game fans with a major tournament, EVO, taking place in Las Vegas.
“Our rising popularity lines up with EVO from Aug. 3-5 and it brings together the absolute best of the best fighting game players,” said Haring.
With EVO on the horizon, it highlighted how beneficial FGC’s can be for those who are looking to play games at a competitive level.
“People use FGC’s to practice and become better. It brings people together to talk about games, and learn from one another. It allows totally brand new players, and veterans too, to learn a lot about these games as a community. That being said, like with any competitive community, there can be a little bit of salt being tossed around, but it’s all in good fun.”
Haring talked about his experiences with the Regina FGC and how it came to be the community it is today.
“I joined the Regina FGC about a year ago and it was being run out of a guy’s basement. Not long after it started, it fell apart and it just turned into a message board on Facebook,” said Haring.
“I’m glad there are online communities for games, but I really like meet ups. I want to be able to put a face to the name and be beside someone when we play together. I was promoted to an admin because I posted often and now I basically handle the whole thing.”
That’s not to say that the Regina FGC came with all of the work having been done already.
“Even just a few months ago, we were still running it out of my living room. Now, we meet up at the Callie Curling Club every Thursday. There’s food, drinks, and almost 60 members of the Regina FGC. In just a few months, it exploded from about 20ish members,” stated Haring.
Haring was aware that, to an outsider, or to someone who may not know much about fighting games, the community could seem intimidating.
“We had someone who was brand new, wanted to learn how to play Street
Fighter and Guilty Gear, and he knew the basics, but he wanted to get good,” said Haring.
“There’s one of two outcomes, you are either beat down by experienced players and give up fighting games forever, or, if you come at it with the right mindset, you try to get better and beat that guy who beat you when you first started.”
Haring restated how important the Regina FGC was to those who are a part of it.
“It is so beneficial because just like film or art or music, you learn best when there is someone there to critique and show you where you went wrong,” said Haring.
“I totally encourage anyone who is even vaguely interested in fighting games to come out and learn about them. Fighting games are more accessible than they have ever been now.”
For anyone who is interested, the Regina FGC can be found on Facebook and encourages anyone to come out and give fighting games a shot.
This isn’t a stand-alone project for Haring, however, as he has been involved in other groups dedicated to bringing gamers together, face to face.
“I have been trying, through this and a community called the Friendship Breakers, to get gamers to come out and meet each other at events more often. We used to set up a booth with Friendship Breakers at the Regina Fan Expo, the Saskatoon Expo, and the Regina AniFest. There is nothing quite like playing a wacky, couch co-op game together.”
Regina FGC’s “Get Together! Punch Each Other’s Faces!” is held every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Callie Curling Club.