Guard Cancel: OverHeat

Guard Cancel is an interview series profiling KOF community members. The goal is to get to know the people behind the tags. Guard Cancel will be published every Monday. If you’d like to be featured, email or PM me in the forum.

1. How long have you played KOF? Which KOF was your first? Which is your favorite?
To be technical, I’ve played KoF since the original; Fatal Fury: The King of Fighters. That said, my first exposure to KoF proper was with an import version of KoF’94 arcade. When I was older and worked at an arcade, KoF’98 became my go-to game. I just absolutely adored everything about that game. It was everything that Street Fighter wasn’t.

2. Why KOF over all of the other fighters?
Character design remained consistently interesting, larger and more varied set of special moves, faster play when compared to the competition. Besides, back in the day, getting to play 3 characters for only one quarter?! Baa~rgai~n!

3. Are you a tournament player? If so, list your tournament rankings.
I never played KoF in tournaments. As time went on I did quite well for myself but never knew of any tournaments. KoF was never super popular, so the only tourneys I ever knew of were based over in Street Fighter land. With the release of KoFXIII I intend to hype the game as much as I can at the local level, and participate in any tournaments for it that I can reach. Should it be announced at EVO 2012, I’ll be doing my best to be sure I attend.

4. Do you have a local scene or do you rely on online play?
I am fortunate enough to have a local scene. I have a core group of friends who are all dedicated fighting gamers, and there is a local scene known as Salty Peanuts. Currently all focus is on SF4:AE and MvC3, but I intend to make as big of a dent in those games as I can.

5. Do you prefer pad or stick? Why is that your preference?
Stick all the way. Growing up around arcade machines, the concept of playing on pad is just foreign to me. I gave it the ol’ college try back when SF2 came out on SNES, but my friends and I concluded there was just no comparison.

6. What advice do you have for new players?
Be patient and focus on fundamentals. It may be boring as s**t, but if you are serious, it’s going to be the most important thing you can spend you time on. Take advantage of what didn’t exist in my day; FGC forums and Youtube. The ability to learn new combos without finding them for yourself and getting a basic idea of what to expect in certain match-ups will help a lot. Also don’t rely on online play if you can help it. Search forums to see if there is a scene in your area. Don’t let laziness be the excuse that keeps you from greatness! Don’t be shy! Get out there, meet people and get better!

7. How do you choose a character and team? How do you choose the order?
Terry and…. I can’t pick Terry twice? Hrmmm…
Beyond that, I tend to like to experiment a lot with all the characters. Since Terry is an all-rounder, I usually try to pick 2 more all-rounders so I am never at a clear disadvantage. That said, if I find a character that really speaks to me who is not an all-rounder, I’ll attempt to find a 3rd who counter balances whatever type that character may be. As far as order goes, I base it on my personal play. I’ve noticed that my ability to play certain characters flows and ebbs. If I find that I am doing particularly bad with a certain character that day, I’ll put him up front to build me meter. Conversely, if I find myself on an extremely hot streak with a certain character, I’ll put him on point so he can wreak as much havoc as possible.

8. Which type of character do you prefer?
All-rounders generally. Poke-heavy types garner a close second and I enjoy a good grappler. I’m usually not super great with keep-away characters for whatever reason.

9. From a purely gameplay perspective, who is you favorite KOF character?
My favorite character from a purely gameplay perspective has to be Terry B. Aside from my long time enjoyment of the character design, I really like that all his special moves serve a useful function without getting overly tricky. He has a solid set of normals, with an extremely solid anti-air option along with that slightly longer than expected poke. As I have matured as a fighting gamer, I also find that I tend to gravitate towards and enjoy playing characters that aren’t very high up on the tier list. I tend to get lazy and “sleep” on a higher tier character, almost expecting them to do the work for me. Where with mid and low tier characters I need to pay close attention at all times because I know the first slip up could be my last. Terry is rarely an upper tier character, but he’s never at an instant loss against anyone either. So I always have that fighting chance, but I know full well I am going to have to earn it.

10. How often do you practice or train in KOF alone?
No where near as often as I should. Since the scene and tourneys are favoring SF4 I have been playing that predominately. I have been sneaking small sessions of KoF2k2UM under my friends noses every time we get together though. The sessions tend to get longer the closer we get to the release of KoFXIII. The Project that I am currently working on and my new puppy have been taking away practice time as well. Once KoFXIII hits, I’ll be playing that almost exclusively.

11. How do you gain new techniques, strategies, setups and combos? Do you watch match videos?
Lots and lots of practice in training mode for combos. Everything else I gain from playing against others. I’ve always been a sort of on-the-fly player and seem to do my best when I am winging it as the match unfolds, playing solid footsies waiting for an opening, paying attention to my opponent’s style and tendencies. I usually figure things out from there, but when I hit a brick wall I will set up the difficult scenarios is training mode and watch match-up videos online.

12. Have you played KOFXIII yet? Did you like? Will you buy it?
Unfortunately the closest I’ve come to playing KoFXIII is KoFi. I have been watching as many videos as I can and that game just looks so incredibly hype I haven’t even played it and I am already sold.

13. Will you continue to play older KOF games while playing KOFXIII?
Probably not so much. I will be putting all my energy into hyping this game up and being the best KoFXIII player I can be so I can represent at tourneys.

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