Working on three articles:
A Beyond the Summit piece (Dota 2 streaming group) with an emphasis on passion and the people involved in the group
Justin Wong and the beginnings of being a “pro fighting gamer.” Emphasis: the move from NYC to California and the struggles of his risk.
Character Loyalty with James Chen, Alex Valle, and Justin Wong.
Fantasy sports also fit under my criteria as I write profiles and rankings for a site called RotoAnalysis. In the past, I’ve been involved with TheFantasyFix. Currently, it’s RotoAnalysis and Rotowire.com. For Rotowire, I do player updates and depth charts for the NBA, specifically for the San Antonio Spurs. A little more sports for readers, my work with the fantasy sports site RotoAnalysis:
I’m currently involved in a small start-up site that covers sports with a west coast bias.
I am the main Los Angeles Clippers/NBA writer for the site and recently had some major exposure, including an interview with a Mr. Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers (as of right now). Some of the articles involving the Clippers are editorials or opinion pieces.
“The next stop is Mong Kok.”
The MTR train’s speakers announced its next stop to the passengers. A group of girls, with short skirts and heavily scented perfumes, pushed through to the exit. As the train stopped, the girls stopped watching the phone that was playing a music video with an ambiguous male singer. As they stepped out to the Mong Kok exit, a group of boys wearing matching blue and white uniforms entered the train. Reaching the surface of the MTR, the first scene was the plaza of the “New Town Mall.” This is one of the biggest stops in the Hong Kong arcade scene.
Those that look down on the people at Mong Kok bestowed the nickname the “MKers” because of the majority high school/early college-goers. The normal crowds and peak visitors are primarily here to shop for clothes, shoes, and to hang out in random spots around open malls. Most sported the latest fashions – jeans with an extra flap for the crotch for boys and skimpy skirts for girls. So, where are the arcades? They’re underground and in the middle of many youth-centered malls. They’re through smoke clouds and security guards.
Hong Kong’s scene is not a successful community, yet. The checklist for HK’s community chances looks fine. There are many different arcades that provide new fighting games at a fairly cheap price (between $3-5 Hong Kong dollars). There are several forums, like HKFighter.com, for the community to communicate as well. There are even some World-renowned names within the group to give it some notoriety: Johnny “HumanBomb” Cheng and online sensation, Joe “GameOutttt” Lau. The crowds at arcades are populated with coins constantly on deck to play the winner, but there are no consistent familiar faces. Despite the resources available, it lacks organization. There isn’t a real method for reaching out. For the most part, HK has been too scattered and unmotivated to cultivate the available talent.
“There’s less support in Hong Kong. People are not willing to pay for events,” Cheng said. “It’s not enough. You can’t just have the top 10 players playing the game; we need the middle as well.”
“The types of people who are open to helping are only those that actually come up to us and ask. In Singapore, I saw many people who were willing to just help, but in HK I don’t see that here. It’s a different mentality,” Kenny “CarzyDog” So said.
Kenny So’s been one of the driving forces in the HK fighting game scene since his move from Singapore. He started on the board for HKFighter and worked with just two other members to try to spread the community and grow the player base. Despite his ties with the Singapore fighting game community, it’s been a slow and arduous beginning.
Just having a quantity of arcades and players is not enough. The communication must be done well for something to really have potential. Community-building has several strong examples for emulation: the budding scenes in Canada (Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal), the USA, (California and New York) and Europe (England, France, and Germany). The ingredients for reaching out can be simple (network at your hang-out, spread the news on a website to gather and create an event) or complex (online plays with a local group, create consistent tournaments or events at various venues). HK is in a good location with good players to spread out, but there also must be a good situation and some luck.
“HK does have relationships with Mainland China,” So said. “But the tournaments in Mainland do not get a lot of exposure.”
“Here in HK, there are only one or two tournaments a year,” Cheng said. “HK players are not well-known. Only one or two, but we are very good.”
HK’s community lacks a real consistent way of providing information to enthusiasts. There are forums that gather the most hardcore together, but the casual and new crowds hardly visit. There is also the problem of casual and enthused players with no centralized hub like other communities (Arcade UFO in Texas, Next Level in New York, and Super Arcade in California). The simple task of meeting up with anyone is a matter of luck or coincidence, unless you’re with a group of friends already. The big questions preventing HK from building are not related to the number of players, but a way to translate and reach everyone. What if a potential community had the arcades but just not the consistent players to meet and greet?