Ho Kun Xian

Evo­lu­tion 2013, Su­per Street Fighter IV: Ar­cade Edi­tion (2012) World Cham­pion

HWM (Singapore) - - Trends - BY JAMES LU

When did you start play­ing video games? I started play­ing when I was ten. I was al­ways in­ter­ested in fight­ing games like Street Fighter II, the Mar­vel se­ries and King of Fight­ers. When did you re­al­ize you were good enough to play games pro­fes­sion­ally? I en­tered my first over­seas com­pe­ti­tion in 2009 when I was 18 (Street Fighter IV, Dreamhack 2009, Swe­den). I man­aged to get se­cond place over­all, so that’s when I re­ally be­came mo­ti­vated and started to strive to make it even fur­ther as a pro. Af­ter that, I started trav­el­ling more to try to get more ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing with other peo­ple. But even though I won a few tour­na­ments here and there, it was only this year that I won my first world cham­pi­onship at EVO. What other games do you play? I also play King of Fight­ers and Mar­vel vs Cap­com com­pet­i­tively. I like them be­cause I’ve played them since I was young, but I play Street Fighter the most be­cause it’s the most pop­u­lar game and, as a pro-gamer, I be­lieve that you have to play and be the best at the most pop­u­lar game. When you’re pre­par­ing for a tour­na­ment what does your av­er­age day look like? I usu­ally prac­tice when I’m free but if a tour­na­ment is com­ing up, I’ll prac­tice about four to eight hours a day. As well as play­ing against op­po­nents in Sin­ga­pore, I like to watch videos of other pros so I can study the play style of my op­po­nents, and I’ll also go into the train­ing lab to prac­tice. You en­tered EVO in both 2011 and 2012, but were knocked out both times. How did you im­prove so much in the space of just one year? I was re­ally mo­ti­vated to do bet­ter af­ter I lost last year. I knew that Sin­ga­pore had the po­ten­tial to go much fur­ther and I wanted to prove my­self and my coun­try to the rest of the world, so I prac­ticed re­ally hard for this year’s tour­na­ment. Why did you pick Gen to play? I used to play Yun, which was a bit un­pop­u­lar, be­cause he’s such a high tier char­ac­ter, so I would get boos from the crowd when­ever I played over­seas. I re­al­ized I en­joy com­pet­ing more when the crowd is sup­port­ing me, so be­cause of that I switched to Gen, who was re­ally not pop­u­lar at all, at the time. Also, be­cause no­body re­ally played Gen, I knew that if I put in the ef­fort and made him strong, I would have an ad­van­tage be­cause peo­ple wouldn’t know how to fight against him - and I also think he’s pretty cool. Now that you’ve won at EVO and more peo­ple are study­ing your game, do you think you might have lost any of that sur­prise ad­van­tage? I’ll see how it goes, but I’ll prob­a­bly be stick­ing to Gen for now. Even though more peo­ple might start play­ing him, I don’t think he’s easy to pick up, and it will take a long time for peo­ple to learn how to play him. Who is the tough­est you’ve faced? In­fil­tra­tion, he’s def­i­nitely one of the scari­est op­po­nents out there. He’s al­ways com­ing up with new tricks, so it’s very hard to know what his next move will be. Other than the EVO 2013 fi­nals, what is your most mem­o­rable match? The semi-fi­nals match against Sako Noko from Ja­pan at EVO 2013. I had pre­vi­ously lost to him in the Topanga Asia League in Ja­pan, and the match it­self was re­ally close, so I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber that one. What do you think of the Sin­ga­pore pro-gam­ing scene? The stan­dard here in Sin­ga­pore, es­pe­cially for fight­ing games, is very high and I’m only able to get to the level I’m at be­cause I have such good op­po­nents to play against. But, I think it’s a bit so­cially awk­ward to say you’re a pro-gamer in Sin­ga­pore right now, be­cause peo­ple here don’t re­ally rec­og­nize it as a pro­fes­sion. So when you tell peo­ple you’re a pro-gamer, they’ll tell you to go study or go get a good job in­stead. I re­ally hope peo­ple will start rec­og­niz­ing that pro-gamers are just do­ing what they love be­cause I be­lieve pur­su­ing your dreams in life is very im­por­tant.

I usu­ally prac­tice when I’m free but if a tour­na­ment is com­ing up, I’ll prac­tice

about four to eight hours a day.

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