Published by Jan Heaney on


Eh… nervous as shit was the easiest way
to describe my first tournament experience. I didn’t do well, I was quite jittery, still
am to this day but it was just… there’s some sort of adrenaline, you can come away
annoyed at yourself or you can come away excited. My name’s Assad Suliman, I go by Suleymon, I’m based in Glasgow and my main game is Street Fighter V. I’m Ryan Esler, I’m from Glasgow, my online
handle is Esler, or RG_Esler on Twitter and I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember,
Tekken, Marvel Vs Capcom and Destiny 2 most recently and a little bit of Hearthstone. Hi my name’s Jack, the main game I play is
Tekken, I go by Jack99 and I’m from Falkirk. So it would’ve been in 2009 with GamerBase
and Scotland was kinda in its kinda beginning stages so they had an event with a website
called Ready Up and it was called “The Pure Belter” and it was in this dingy basement
of a LAN Cafe. And it was just so many people there, it was pre-release, it was Super Street
Fighter IV and it was just, that was the first like moment I was like “Man, this is fun,
look at all these people. Look everyone’s came from… there’s people from France, people
from England, Wales, Ireland, all in just this one place, all so excited for this
game that we hadn’t tried yet. And that was the kinda chrysalis for “I want to be… I want to do
this competitively”. So we were quite fortunate in Glasgow at that
time for events that there was quite a lot going on. You had GamerBase, you had what
VersusScotland had going, it wasn’t until about the later stages where I really got into Tekken
and Tekken Tag 2. There was nothing for Tekken in Glasgow at that time and there wasn’t
much interest, so way before Burn To Fight I created an event called Wednesdays Are
3D and it was basically any 3D Games. So Soul Calibur, Tekken, we even had Sonic The Fighters
and Fighting Vipers, like old games, just old games that everyone didn’t have to be good at,
that you could have fun and then games that people wanted to play on some kind of competitive
level. And from there it was 2012 onwards I started organising events on a monthly basis. You spend a lot of time playing fighting games,
you’re eventually gonna reach a level that your friends won’t be able to keep up
so I had to actually actively look for a competitive scene. Back then it was held at a place called
One Level Up and that’s where I first found the competitive scene and that’s where I’d
go. They eventually moved to another venue and I would go there on a weekly or monthly
basis to find… cause those were the people who were actually competing. Well I’ve always knew about it since maybe about
2015 since my brother was into it, but then I got into it myself in 2017, there was a
big tournament called Hype Spotting 6 and that was my first one. So I went to that,
met a bunch of people and I’ve just been coming since. Eh… nervous as shit was the easiest way
to describe my first tournament experience. I didn’t do well, I was quite jittery, still
am to this day but it was just… there’s some sort of adrenaline, you can come away
annoyed at yourself or you can come away excited. But, realistically, it didn’t matter. Going
0 and 2 was just part of the journey. There’s was still more games to be played. Obviously when Street Fighter 5 first came
out, there was a lot of veterans who were playing competitively from Street Fighter
IV days. I kinda missed out on those days so when I came in I was basically, kinda like
a new face and I beat one of the players who everyone kind of knew was a competent player,
so people started like cheering, it wasn’t like a big crowd or anything but it was like…
it was big enough that I got super excited about it. When I went to my first tournament, it was
really daunting at first because it was a lot of people and I didn’t know how to play
the game, so I thought the game was quite elitist, and I wouldn’t be welcomed, but
it was complete opposite, this scene is really friendly and I was lucky to have the experience
that I did and to want to keep on going and improving. So fighting games foster a sense of community
because they started in arcades, it’s as simple as that. It was always based in, “I’m
going to beat the guy sitting next to me” not the guy on the other side of the world,
it was always, the next big competition’s the guy that wants you quarter or your 25p
or whatever you’ve put into that machine and from there it kinda flourished. Everytime they see a new face, everyone is
going to be super, like excited and welcoming that we’ve got another person to actually come
and like play with us. I think it’s because the fighting game community
is so small and it’s still at its roots in some ways, and the people that are here
want to be here and it’s really passionate. I don’t feel that’s always the case with
other games, people play for money, or for other reasons, people just play because the
love Tekken or any other fighting game so I think that makes it really unique. People have been around so long, so you get
to know people and their personalities, and there’s not really any bad eggs in the Scottish
or y’know UK Fighting Game Community and because of that and the attitude all the players
have, I think it makes it a really friendly and good environment to be around. There’s always something moderately near
you to go to, to experience and have fun. The most recent in the UK… in Europe was
Celtic Throwdown in Ireland. 600 people went there. 600 people don’t live there, it’s
because of the offline community and it’s these things like, we benefit massively at
Burn To Fight from the Tekken World Tour Dojo system, which enabled small events, well saying
small, we’ve got 78-ish people coming today, but, they get some reward. There’s a point
system, there’s a big leaderboard and there’s points to chase and if you get enough points
you might just win that trip. Ever since we got this new venue and we rebranded
our locals, we ended up getting an increase in entrants, we got people from like Newcastle
traveling up, we got people from Aberdeen making the journey, and right now as it stands
it’s probably been like the best it’s been since the game came out. The way that it’s transitioned in the past
even year has been amazing. Esler’s done so much to the venue, we’ve got a new venue,
we’ve got streams now, more people coming from different parts of the UK so I think
mainly the TO’s efforts have made it so good. The next steps are kinda complicated. We used
to have a big event of our own called Hype Spotting, but people grew older, they drifted
apart, and after the sixth one it wound down, so there’s some anticipation that we step
up and create a new one, but it’s a two day event, it needs sponsors badly. I can’t
pay that out my own pocket, that’s just… it’s absurd. I’ve been able to go round the world, I
was a paid Tekken World Tour commentator, I got to go to Barcelona, I’ve been to the
finals in Amsterdam last year, there’s just loads of things that I’ve never really had
the opportunity to do, or even the motivation to. It was more “Oh, I don’t know why
I’d go to Dublin” then Celtic Throwdown happened and I was like “Aw man, all my
friends are there” and you just go and have a laugh. That’s one of the best things about
it, the sense of community, six of us got an apartment, was a very messy apartment by the
end of it, but we all had fun and it’s just like that sense of bonding that’s been quite
important to it. I’m a lot more well-travelled as a result
of fighting games. Like this year alone I went to Brussels, Lyon France and Cologne in
Germany. So I’m going to Germany and these places, and there’s people I haven’t like
actually, physically met before, but we’ll meet and we’ll act like we’ve known each
other for long cause we play each other online, we’ve been watching each other in streams. They’ve changed me huge, socially. I never
used to go out much at the weekends at all, I was more kinda content with staying at home,
seeing a friend here and there, but em, at least once a month if not once a fortnight
I’m out to a tournament at the weekends, I’m seeing the same people I always see,
and this is my main social life now so it’s been really positive so far. I absolutely feel responsible for growing
a healthy scene in Scotland in so many different ways. As a competitor, as an organiser, it’s
about sharing best practise, it’s about actually showing up to events, the smaller
ones, the bigger ones, and just making people more aware of it. Engaging in Discords, engaging
on Twitter. Just making it so people are aware they’re welcome everywhere they go. The first step will always just be show up.
Don’t be demotivated by showing up and like losing and going 0 and 2 and not making any
sort of dent in any of the competition, cause everyone’s been there once, everybody knows
what it looks like. Everyone’s here to help each other, there’s
sessions on Wednesday and Friday here and in those sessions, guys will sit down with
you, take you through where you’re going wrong and you’ll get better from there. Focus on enjoyment, enjoying yourself and
reminding yourself even when you’re losing, why you’re here, because when I’ve thought
that to myself, why am I here, playing right now, I realise it’s because I love the game
and I ended up figuring out I love the community around me as well.


Gamma Alpha · October 7, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Awesome interviews!!! Thanks esler for everything

Faker's Fun Corner · October 7, 2019 at 1:45 pm

If you want to check out the events talked about in this video please follow us



Hope to see you soon!

Backyard Creativity · October 7, 2019 at 5:19 pm


Ryutsuna · October 7, 2019 at 9:26 pm

Amazing, Zeku on the BBC 😎

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