A few months back, during Evo, I was afforded the opportunity to interview Cygames Beast’s Yu-Lin “Gamerbee” Hsiang. To be honest, I knew little about Gamerbee except for the fact that he seemed to always have Echo Fox’s Justin Wong’s number, he played Necalli, and that he was very good at the game. With that in mind, I saw this as an opportunity to focus more on the man himself, rather than the Necalli player. Even before the interview started, we joked about how tiresome it was to be asked question after question about Necalli in every interview. Instead, we talked about his competitive nature, being in a relationship, and hopes for Season 3.
You travel a lot for events for the most part. How do you stay on top of your game while also having to travel pretty far to compete in some of these tournaments?
Well, I like to compete, it’s my whole life purpose as a pro-gamer. I like to enter tournaments, I like to show that I’m a great player. So this kind of thing keeps me moving forward. If I lose, I feel really angry at myself. If I win, I’m more happy. Both the joy I get from winning a tournament and the disappointment from a loss fuel me to become a better player.
Have you always been a relatively competitive person?
Yes, one of the things about me is that I had a temperament issue when I was a small child. Through playing fighting games, I have learned how to control my temper. I don’t need to take it out on anyone. Even when I feel bad or mad, I play Street Fighter and I feel better. I beat up someone in the fighting game, and nobody gets hurt! It’s so good, right?
*Laughs* Right, it’s really good, yeah. Did you have siblings? Like a brother or sister?
I have a really young sister, but she doesn’t enjoy my fighting game stuff.
Because with me, the way I got into fighting games, I had older brothers. I just wanted to beat them all the time. You can’t beat them physically, because they’re bigger than you, so video games!
Yes, when I was young I felt alone. I didn’t have much friends. Because of my father, we were moving a lot. It was hard for me to make really good friends, like old friends. And sometimes I felt unhappy at school. After school, I went to an arcade center. All the anger was relieved through playing games there. I’ve found my whole world in fighting games. I’ve learned so many things through playing fighting games and it has made me a better person. While vigorously playing fighting games, I still went to school, and in the same way, I still have a job while I play professionally. And no one gets hurt from what I do and that’s great!
Okay, so when you saw your bracket for Evo, how confident did you feel about potentially going as, how far did you think – When I spoke to Bonchan and he said that he looked at his bracket and started doing simulations of all the different people he’s going to have to face up, and he thought he’d have a pretty good shot at top 8. Some other players have expressed they try to plot it out how it could go. For you, do you plot out how you think you’ll do in the tournament or do you take it one game at a time?
I try to think in a different way. For me, I always think of Evo as a huge tournament, like a thousand people with so many odds You can’t predict who you’re going to play against. Of course you can take a look at the bracket, you know whom you are going to match up against first. After the first pool, then there’s a second one. After the third pool, anything could happen. So I don’t try to predict things like that. I only want to focus more on myself like did I get enough sleep? Did I prepare every strategy, technique, skill? Do I feel comfortable when I play? Am I nervous before a tournament? Other than that, things that could help you is an opponent’s habit. You don’t even have to plot out how to play a match. By knowing the other’s habits, you can catch him twice or a third time in one game, it really creates a lot of opportunity for you. In SFV, the reward in every mixup is so high. So you can even kill Daigo, you can kill Fuudo or Punk. If you can catch one’s habits in one round, that’s enough for you to win
Speaking of Punk specifically, what do you think it is about him that has allowed him to be so dominant this year?
You know, so many people are thinking about this question, but for me I don’t have a good answer right now. Obviously, he plays the game in a different way. I think he has his own strategy. It seems more like a personal strategy catered to each opponent. He will study a player, find his weakness and try to defeat his style. He controls a risk/reward really well in this game, which I am not good at because I’m more of a risk averse. Maybe I have so many habits from the old game, I used to play safe. Like before I do anything, I’m always thinking about a risk. Maybe him, in everything he does he thinks about reward. If I can do what he does, my reward will be really high.
Do you think it’s a detriment to players like yourself who have been playing so many different versions of Street Fighter, do you think gets harder and harder for you guys to adapt to newer games?
We can always adapt to a new game. We’ve played fighting games for over 10, 15 years while the new generation doesn’t have the experience we have had. Hence, we approach to SF and gaming differently. We always played at the really really high skill level of fighting game. Our knowledge-base is deep, our skillsets are high, and we want to reflect each of our personalities in our game play. We want to play stylishly while I think the younger generation is hungrier for winning and do not care about a style. Playing SFV, everyone doing the same combo, everyone can deliver the same damage in the game. The only thing different is reads, mind games, and decisions or reactions. Capcom has simplified the whole system, so maybe the younger generation just focuses on people, on the person. So all I would have to do is study Daigo, study Tokido and understand their weakness to try to attack that. Then I would upgrade my opportunity to win. My character has good reward, that’s all I need. I don’t need to care about risk, which is something new to the experienced players
Necalli is a character that does, as soon as you get that one hit a lot of opportunities open up.
A lot of characters in SFV is designed by… Ibuki, Balrog… Those characters are real killers, they can kill you in two or three mix ups. They only need one opportunity, one shot.
To go in a different direction, since you have a job and you have a social, personal life. How do you find the time to balance work, your partner, and still practice enough to stay at a very high level?
I’d say this is really really hard. I think there’s no right answer for it, but the only thing we can do is keep working hard, never get lazy. Then you have to use every single energy and your time and focusing on the things you have to do. I’m not talking only about practicing fighting games because outside the fighting games, everyone has their own life. People have family, people have kids. Sako, he has kids. People like me, I’m going to get married in October.
Congrats, by the way.
Thanks! Everyone has different problem, the only way you can solve the problem is you can never get lazy. You have to always work hard. Focusing on the problem and fix everything, in practicing, in job, in family.
What would you like to see most out of Street Fighter in Season 3?
Well, that’s a really good question. I don’t know! For me, the SFV design is kept simple. If you’re using one character you practice in the order of mix up, combo. There’s not much you can discover unless you play Urien, mirror mixup. So you get bored by your character. Then finally, they release a character I’m really into. Or, they make a new system like second V skill, second… second critical… Maybe that’s one solution, but these adjustments may make the game harder for the new players to get into. But If they make the game more complicated, actually the players like us who have played fighting games for very long will have an advantage. No matter what element you add in a fighting game, we’ll probably know what it is and what to do with it just by hearing it Parry, come on. Random combo, right? Target combo or something. We all had that experience. We can adapt right away. That will become our advantage. If they put in that, actually it will make it more fun for me to play because I can study and discover more things by myself, which is so much fun for me But maybe you will also hurt their strategy right now, which is – –
Getting new players in —
Last question, what do you think is a mistake that a lot of new players will make when they’re trying to learn a character?
You mean, the first time they play fighting game?
Yeah for example in soccer, when you first start playing some people kick with their toe. That’s not how you’re supposed to kick a ball, you’re supposed to kick with your laces or the inside of your foot. What do you think is a mistake that new players make when they’re just getting into fighters?
I would like to say that playing SF is just like when we learn anything new. Just in anything to watch somebody do it is easier than to do it yourself. When you start actually trying to execute it, you will feel bad because you fail so much. In the end you will give up. So, you have to understand it’s not easy. Everything is step by step. You have to be patient and give yourself a break.. And you have to keep doing it in order to get better. Like everything else. Give up the quit.