Interview with Ryan Hart: Street Fighter Champion
Interview with Ryan Hart: Street Fighter Champion
INTERVIEWER: So what happened how did you first get into it? Was there a local arcade near you?
RYAN: Yes I went to my local mini cab station at the time. They had Street Fighter arcade, Street Fighter 1 actually, so from the very, very beginning, and I started playing there. Obviously it was a casual thing, back then it wasn’t really competitive, you know? It didn’t really matter if you won or lost, it was all about having fun. And that’s how it began. Well basically at one stage, you know, a few companies got together and decided to do a big promotion for I don’t know, a new venue, or a new Street Fighter coming out, or maybe, you know a Capcom publisher wanted to promote their new iteration so they decided to hold a big tournament and got sponsors involved. I think the first tournament I entered for Street Fighter was for Super Street Fighter Turbo in 1994 and that was held in the London Trocadero which is still around today, and that was sponsored for Kiss FM, as far as I remember, so yeah, way back when…and that was my first ever big Street Fighter tournament.
INTERVIEWER: How old were you then?
RYAN: I was 15, a mere ankle bitter.
INTERVIEWER: How often did you practise?
RYAN: In those days it was just after school or college, and it was just, you know, maybe a couple of hours in the evening, on weekdays, then a bit more on weekends, and we’d get together with friends. Well… in competitions I’ve entered around the world, it has been hundreds now… in total I’ve won 450 tournaments world wide, so I’ve been around. Not all of the tournaments were for Street Fighter, some are for others games as well, but mainly fighting games. And yes there are times when you have to accept a lost, you know, that’s all part of growing, and when I do loose I try and learn from it the best I can, and grow from there. But I think it’s always about having a humble mid, you know? And don’t let the wins get to your head, there is always someone better out there and it’s good to accept it as a hobby and that its fun. But now-a-days you can actually take it to the next level, like there is a certain professionalism about playing fighting games at a certain level. You get players who actually live from playing games, you know? They actually make a living. They actually sign up with a team, they earn a salary and this is how they conduct their lives. So I’m actually a professional now, I’m actually playing for Low Lands Lions and they are a company based in Benelux and this is the t-shirt I’m wearing now, the Low Lands Lion t-shirt, this is the back of it, as you can see its a very decorated shirt.
But yeah this is just a quite fortunate thing for me, because it happens to be just something that’s just been a childhood hobby, that’s managed to grow into something a bit more. So it’s quite nice for me to be able to do what I like, and get enjoyment from that and get to travel around from it as well.
INTERVIEWER: Where about in the world have you been?
I’ve been to quite a few places, there are lots of places I haven’t been to of course, but through gaming I’ve been through most of Europe, well obviously France, Spain, Italy Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Gibraltar I think, at one stage, not sure why I went there, scary airport anyway. Where else.. where else..? I have to think actually. I haven’t been to Greece yet, got to do that at some point. Poland, been to Poland many times, been to Japan many times as well, been to America more than 20 times, east and west coast. That’s the brunt of it I’d say, that’s the cruxof the countries. There’s a few places you get to go here and there, but you don’t get to stay, you don’t get to [meet] very often, it will be just a one off trip, the other countries I’ve been there more often that’s why I can remember those off the top of my head- Much easier.
So yeah I mean...I definitely think what ever you decided to do, it’s always important that you enjoy what you’re doing. Its always important do to what you love doing, because I think in this world, in this life, what you can be the best at, is what you have a passion for, you know? That passion, that drive, will, make you good at it, and I think its really important that... I think it’s a really important point to be stressed, when looking for a hobby or an activity, or even a profession, to take it on board. So that’s just my two cents.
INTERVIEWER: Yes that’s good, that’s a very good way of thinking. Oh thank you so much.
RYAN: It’s a pleasure.
RYAN: So this is Super Street Fighter 2: The new challengers. It’s the one before Super Turbo, I think the last time I played this was er… maybe 1994 actually, in Surry Street Market Arcade in Croyden, the arcade I more or less grew up in. So there is a lot of nostalgia for me here, you know? Putting money into this again. I mean, these characters… when you first saw these characters featured here, there were four. I remember when you could first used the bosses, it was on the champion addition, which is a few iterations before this one, and it was like a big thing that you could finally uses the bosses.
So anyway, I’m going to have a go, see how it feels again. I’ve got an opponent; so we’re gunna see how the match goes. I’ll play on this side. Press the start button to choose, and then choose a character you like.
So I’m Zangief the Wrestler, he (opponent) is Chung-Lee, so lets see what happens.
It has been ages. I can’t do any of the moves anymore. Ha! Oh dear, that was close though, it was really close. So one more to do. But yeah its been ages. One thing I remember is depending on the arcade you played in, sometimes the joysticks would feel really different and you wouldn’t be able to do certain moves that you were used to, where you’d play regularly. Oh there we go, Springing Piledriver- just what the doctor ordered. Oh what? It didn’t connect. Oh dear. Chase her down. There we go. Victory! So yeah, that’s that I guess- one game of Super Street fighter 2. Lots of good memories, lots of good memories, but, I guess all good things have to come to an end.
So with that, I’ll leave you Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank-you.
This interview took place at the Gadget Show Live 2011 event on the Gadget Hall of Fame stand organised by The Centre for Computing History.
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