Interview with Infiltration and Laugh from Korea – Exclusive!

By on June 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm

So, five Koreans, a Vietnamese dude, and a Filipino dude with big hair walk into a bar.

Yeah, it sounds like a bad joke, but that’s actually a pretty accurate description of what happened just last week. The day after NorCal Regionals concluded, John Choi hosted Seonwoo “Infiltration” Lee, Ryan “Laugh” Ahn, Sebastian “ThyAllMighty” Nguyen, Rom the Bomb, myself and my girlfriend Jean at our favorite ratty Korean bar in Sunnyvale, California.

While we were slammin’ bottles of O.B. and ordering up skillets of kim-chi fried rice, I managed to squeeze in a very impromptu interview with these two South Korean Street Fighter players that come from very different backgrounds.

Ryan “Laugh” Ahn has been a part of the and EVO scene for quite some time now. After living a majority of his life in the United States, he’s moved back to South Korea and has kept his Street Fighter spirit alive. He’s even turned his passion into a business selling Korean parts to the rest of the world at I’ve always known Ryan to be one of the coolest dudes I’ve met through Street Fighter, and seeing him again, the sentiment is still the same.

Seonwoo “Infiltration” Lee, born and raised from South Korea, is largely new on the scene, but he made huge waves in communities by placing 3rd at last year’s EVO Championship event. With several top 8 appearances here and in Europe, he’s made a name for himself while also putting South Korea on the international map for Street Fighter. After meeting him, I realized that he too is a cool, laid back, humble type of guy. If you ever get a chance to see them, be sure to stop by and say hi.

Check out the interview below. It’s been loosely translated, and please keep in mind we were a bit tipsy and had somewhat of an interesting night. 🙂

Yoon: Why did you guys want to come to NorCal Regionals?

Laugh: It was only one week after the RevaLAtions tournament in LA, and both tournaments were ones that we were very interested in attending for more than half a year. ReveLAtions had a lot of big names attending, which is why we wanted to go there, and NorCal Regionals was a tournament series that I’ve known about and wanted to attend for many, many years.


Yoon: What did you guys like the most about NorCal Regionals 9? What would you change if you could about the tournament?

Laugh: If I could change one thing, I’ll say I wish there was more Air Conditioning (laughs…) However, NCR is a tournament that has that traditional American tournament feel, which is something I really look forward to.


Yoon: Describe the difference between Korean tournaments and American tournaments.

Laugh: Korean tournaments are not as community involved – they’re typically run by corporate parties, and I feel like sometimes they could take a bit more time to do it the way the community would like it. American tournaments, even though they may get delayed at times, they want to do it the community way.


Yoon: Why are you not playing StarCraft and why are you playing Street Fighter? What drew you in initially in a country where there are more popular games?

Infiltration: It was by far the game I remember the most growing up. When I started playing Street Fighter IV, it brought back this nostalgia of fond memories of playing back in the day. However, the first game I started playing competitively was Street Fighter IV.

Laugh: When I was like, 6, Street Fighter II was the first arcade game I’ve ever played, ever since then I stuck around. I didn’t get smart about the game until way later, but Street Fighter II was where I started.


Yoon: Okay, for real. Do you guys play StarCraft? I KNOW you guys have some sick siege tank/lurker micro.

Laugh & Infiltration: (Laughs…) No, we don’t play at all.


Yoon: Laugh, I know you’ve been a part of the American scene for quite some time and you are a familiar face, but Infiltration, you’re somewhat of a new face especially to American players. How often have you come to America?

Infiltration: EVO 2010 was my first time ever, and this trip to ReveLAtions and NorCal Regionals was my second time.


Yoon: What do you like the most about America?

Infiltration: The free-spirited and hype atmosphere and how they get into it is incredible, and the passion that American players have.


Yoon: What do you dislike about America?

Infiltration: [Jokingly] Alex …Valle? (Laughs around the table)


Yoon: You’re obviously very focused on the Street Fighter IV series, but are there any other games that you’re playing these days?

Infiltration: I’m interested in Marvel vs Capcom 3, but there’s no scene in Korea, especially compared to Arcade Edition, so I’m focusing more on that instead. I’m very interested to see what happens when Street Fighter X Tekken comes out and how the scene in Korea responds.

Laugh: For me, I gave Marvel a chance, a true run at the game, but it basically reconfirmed that I do not know how to play that game. (Laughs…) I’ll be playing Street Fighter X Tekken for sure though.


Yoon: Describe the scene in Korea more – is it arcade oriented like Japan, or is it more console focused like America?

Laugh: For the longest time, Korea did not have Arcade Edition in the arcades, anywhere. As a matter of fact, we just got it like a month and a half ago.


Yoon: Woah.

Infiltration: Yeah, so what we would do is run training mode in Super at home, trying to analyze and figure out theoretical Yun and Yang strategies and counters to them. Then, once it came out in arcade, we would try those strategies and see if they would work. The Arcade Edition was the battle ground, Super at home was the training room.

Laugh: Now that AE has come out on consoles, it’s really time to figure out the matchups, train hard, and do well in tournaments. We have weekly tournaments at arcades right now where about 20-40 people show up, and from time to time, when a big game gets released, we’ll have a national tournament, so those will get 100 players or so. We’ll be training up to enter our Korean national tournament for Arcade Edition the weekend after.


Yoon: For the both of you guys, who are the players that inspire you the most to get better?

Infiltration: With no regional restrictions, I’d have to say Poongko. In vanilla, Poongko was playing Ryu, which I didn’t feel like it fit his play style exactly, but now that he’s playing Seth in Arcade Edition, I think that he’s found a character that fits him perfectly. He’s one of the players that people don’t really know what to expect from him, so I’m looking forward to him doing his thing at international tournaments. [Note: Poongko coincidentally went on to win Shadowloo Showdown this past weekend.]

Laugh: I’m sort of the opposite. The player that inspires me the most is actually Infiltration.


Collective Group: Awwww. <3

Laugh: I started playing fighting games in America, watching and admiring players like Justin Wong, Valle, and Choi, and I always strived to be a player like one of them. And then this guy comes around [points to Infiltration], and out of nowhere, he started winning and doing all of the things I was striving to do. I’m so excited to see how far he will go.


Yoon: So, I know both of you guys are planning to attend EVO, but do you have any plans to come to the states regularly afterwards?

Infiltration: It’s difficult for me to attend these American tournaments since they’re expensive and I’m not very fluent in English at all. I’d love to attend every single American and European tournament, of course, but it will only be when I am able to go. I will always try to make it a possibility though.


Sebastian: Do you guys ever go to Japan to train?

Laugh: I haven’t, actually.

Infiltration: I haven’t either. Japan is very well known for their big player base and their Street Fighter skills, but Korea also has their notable players, though the base is not as large. I feel that the level of players in Korea allows me to have a good training experience – as good of an experience as training in Japan.


Yoon: Okay, honestly. Who’s the best in your opinion: America, Japan, or South Korea?

Infiltration: Right now, American level and Korean level are too hard too judge. The skill level between all three countries – Korea, Japan, and America – is so little that anyone from any country could trump over the other.


Yoon: Last question: Favorite American food?

Laugh: After living away from the states for this long, the thing I look back to is… the philly cheesesteak. It just comes to my mind from time to time. The other thing that I miss – it’s really not fancy at all – but I really miss mashed potatoes and Gravy.


Laugh: Yeah! Totally! But see, in Korea, for some reason, we get mashed potatoes, but… we get no gravy! Gravy!!! We have KFC, we have Popeyes, but we have no gravy!

Infiltration: I gotta say, from my time in California, In & Out Hamburger!

  • Sleazoid

    ROM is filipino?

  • GenoZStriker

    “Why are you not playing StarCraft and why are you playing Street Fighter?”

    LOL. Props to you for asking this question. Good interview. Really well done.

    • tempbast

      I’m glad they asked too cuz Starcraft is like S. Korea’s national sport now.

  • Ghostal

    Infiltration has felt the touch of In-N-Out Burger.

  • GalzPanic

    lots of korean ppl i know luv dat in n out burger

  • rinoH

    In n Out is too gdlk

  • mega_buster

    no gravy? in kfc oh no oh no no no lol anyways good interview

    • Missing Person

      For real. Popeye’s over here doesn’t even have Cajun Rice. I almost flipped the table upon that discovery.

      But word, no gravy over here. BYOG to Korea.

      • DietDrKelp

        I lol’d at BYOG.

  • k4polo

    Alex Valle got put on Blast.

    • UserX03

      Why did Infiltration say Alex Valle? Sounds like there is a funny backstory there.

  • skipperxyz

    laugh is a jokeass dork. he got hella mad like a nerd when i told him i’ve fucked mad korean girls in the korea regional thread. (truth)

    • MrSoada

      Damn, you are cool. Point proven.

    • Missing Person

      I’ve never seen your lameness in the Korea thread, good thing.

    • Gaijin87

      What a hella douchey post.

    • Missing Person

      Oh wait, now I know who you are, you’re that idiot poon_hound from DBKC (and also formerly deadbeat from this very site) who posted about going to Korea and Hong Kong and China and hitting up prostitutes like most people hit up sushi bars in Asia.

      If it’s fictitious, then that’s a sad thing to lie about, and if it’s true, then I don’t know why you’re bragging, since most everybody in the Korea thread gets Korean for women without having to pay for sex. So no wonder if Laugh called you out. In fact, I think he did just because you were doing nothing but trolling in the first place.

      • Missing Person

        Aren’t you also banned here under your first username, and also from Tekken-Zaibatsu for this crap?

        Get a life.

  • Sadistic Masochist

    wow after seeing those SS vids, ceo and revelations tourney where both childsplay compared to this. that ausie tourney had some of the hypest last 16 ive seen thats not from a japanese tourney. the level was soo high, it honestly made the 2 US tourneys seem boring. sakos matches where good, too bad he wasnt in australia. i really would want to see something like poongko vs sako etc. all the biggest names where in australia.

    • starmine92

      might as well be a japanese tourney if you look at top 16 results. it was all jap players and then the top player from all the different countries that were attending.
      btw its “were” instead of “where”

      • Sadistic Masochist

        yeah your right about that, but those great japanese players where also in the US tourneys (they took or jobs, i mean money). its just that there where more in ausi, and the level of the final 16 was way higher imo. only thing missing from that aussi tourney was sako, and maybe daigo.

        and yeah i kniw its were, it was 6 in the morning when i typed that reply after watching those hype vids of SS. what i loved the most aboput the tourney was most of the last 16 didnt have that lame it out style, even the american players (well ross at least) where nice to watch.

  • ChibiMana

    They got Popeyes in Korea? Boss.

    • Missing Person

      Chicken and biscuits both taste the same as in the States. That’s the plus.

      Negative is no cajun rice, no gravy for the potatoes, and they have what they call a “cajun” salad. I did e-finger quotes on cajun because it’s not. spicy. at. all. Quite the oxymoron.

      But if you’re craving dat Popeye’s goodness in the land of the morning calm, it’s there for the taking. Just don’t come with the misconceptions I had about Popeye’s here, it’s still somewhat a different animal than stateside.

  • Streye

    I like these guys already. Shoutouts to In N Out love. Double doubles and Animal styles fries are where it is at.

  • Kuvio

    Infiltration said he’d like to see how the Korean scene will respond to Street Fighter x Tekken. I’ve wondered about this as well considering how South Korea is the Tekken capital of the world with Street Fighter taking a back seat. It would be nice to see the two communities blend together moreso than they do now.


    LOL DAMN, infiltration’s favorite player is poongko?!?! HAHAHA that’s so hype OMGGGG i remember when infiltration bust onto the scene and took out poongko 15-4 or something. that was insane. poongko was untouchable in korea back in vanilla until infiltration came along. now they’re top 2 and the competition here is pretty awesome actually. and infiltration is actually hella good at mvc3 haha

    • Missing Person

      I think it was 15-2 actually. That was the exhibition at Isu last year on Vanilla, right?

      If they both end up at Evo this year (We KNOW Infiltration and Laugh is going, but I haven’t heard anything about Poongko), it’s going to be really interesting to have the best Seth in the world and arguably the best Akuma in the world running train at Evo.

      Korea’s getting the much due respect for their skill in this game, easily, but so many players are solid and overlooked, like Kimlegend, one of the most solid (and hilarious) Blankas out there.

      Also, loved seeing Infiltration’s Ryu technology, that was so out there, it was amazing to watch. It was like Ryu was a whole different character in his hands than all the clones you see everywhere else.

      • Tigerrr Amaze

        Yeah, KimLegend is very strong. Plenty of excellent players in Korea but they just aren’t well known to the western scenes.

      • TamaThps

        Yeah it was really awesome seeing Infiltration’s Ryu just totally shut down Ricky. Totally impressive stuff.

      • Necrophile

        I think Laugh is good at coming up with strategies and counters and he shared his Ryu technology with Infiltration. Infiltration is the guy with the incredible reflexes and execution.

        Korean players seem to adapt very fast. Like how Poongko was getting bodied by Yuns like Momochi’s during the casuals at Shadowloo Showdown. Then in one night he figured out a counter strategy and bodied Momochi 3-0 in the Grand Finals.

  • Diernes

    Laugh hooked me up with a modded Korean stick, he is a legend…

  • dommafia

    TL:DR where the video at

  • Sweeternity

    Someone tell Laugh you can get gravy on mashed potatoes and chicken fried steak at All-American Diner in Itaewon.

    • Missing Person


      OMG, now there just needs to be AE in Itaewon for this to sweeten the pot. Itaewon isn’t a bad commute from Isu at all for me, only like 5-7 stops at most? I can’t remember offhand, but I think Beotigogae->Isu was like 6 stops away, two or three stops to Samgakji, then 4 from there to Isu.

      If I’m really craving something close to Cracker Barrell, I’m hitting that up HARD.

      • Missing Person

        And I just decided to stop acting lazy and look at my cellphone, situated right under my left hand on my desk. Beotigogae was 8 stops, Itaewon 6. Regardless, not bad, considering how far Isu is from Cheonho.

        • Sweeternity

          Haha, glad I could help! It’s pretty salty (the gravy) but still good!

          • Missing Person

            I think it’s hilarious you had to clarify what contained the salt content, and the fact that when you said salty, I wasn’t thinking about the gravy myself. I’ve been on here too long.

            But thanks for the tip!

  • Zmoney2006

    Gravy = top tier

    • SleepyFoxx

      philly cheesesteak = God Tier

  • offersspam

    Hey did you guys notice how Laugh kept laughing in this interview? I thought that was really appropriate and very in-character for a guy who goes by the name of “Laugh.”

  • codallenschmidt

    hell yeah!!!! in & out is the greatest.

  • YanDaMan

    These guys are too modest, as are all Asians. They just didnt want to say that Japan and Korea were better than Americans in SF.

    Infiltration’s first trip here and got 3rd at Evo, even Gamerbee’s first trip here topped Evo. Daigo and Tokido…yeah.

    And LOL @ the lack of Gravy in Korea.

  • ShinkuGadoken

    This year and next are exciting years for Fighting games. I don’t care who wins this year, as it only makes everyone else try harder next year.

  • TheTHCGamer

    Korean players representing in 2011.

  • shotofighter4

    Infiltration infiltrated by In-N-Out.

  • Bloody Riot

    How the fuck you have mash potatoes but no gravy??? That’s a TRAVESTY!!!! ;.;