Blast From the Past – Battle By the Bay (B3) Street Fighter Alpha 2 Tournament (1996)

By on September 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm
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Polarity youtubed the entire Battle By the Bay (B3) VHS recently, and I think that tons of you are going to really enjoy this. Held in 1996, and the largest gathering of its kind to that date, players gathered to compete in Street Fighter Alpha 2 at Sunnyvale Golfland in Sunnyvale, California. You are going to see tons of familiar faces, and also clear evidence as to why VHS was abandoned. Forgive the quality and spend the next two hours learning about our community’s past.

By Polarity in the video’s description;

The video tape of the tournament you are watching now offers a rare insight into the early days of the competitive Street Fighter scene. Though competitive Street Fighter play has existed since the second game first emerged in arcades in 1991, B3 was the first tournament organized over the internet (via the newsgroup alt.games.sf2) and saw not just a nationwide but an international presence. Organized by Tom and Tony Cannon, founders/organizers of the Evolution Championship Series, it can be seen as the genesis of the modern day fighting game scene.

The tournament itself demonstrates some of the highest level competition seen in a Street Fighter game, even to this day. Though understanding of the game’s unique engine was relatively undeveloped at this point, the game having only been released a few months prior, the Street Fighter fundamentals on display here have few betters in spite of the abundance of footage now available.

In the tournament’s grand finals, Alex Valle would make a radical contribution to the evolution of high-level SFA2 play when he unveiled what would become known as the “Valle CC”, a technique that enables the player to perform an unblockable Custom Combo by activating and sweeping while the opponent is standing. In a display of adaptation that would become legendary, John Choi quickly learns how to evade the technique and even abuse it himself.

I hope you enjoy this footage not just as a historical relic, but as a hugely impressive display of fundamental Street Fighter ability that one can learn from no matter what game you play.

[tip from Ezequiel A]