More than nostalgia: 2 Old 2 Furious commands respect for classic fighters

By on August 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Kusumondo 2O2F Feature

In mid-July a grandmaster Street Fighter player made his way from Japan to the states; but rather than making the trip to Evo, his sights were set on Next Level Arcade for 2 Old 2 Furious. Kusumondo’s E.Honda has already claimed international titles and countless victories over the two decade history of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but the passion for classic Street Fighter that pours through each 2 Old 2 Furious event brought him to Brooklyn.

2O2F has hosted tournaments for ST, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter EX2+, and Capcom vs. SNK 2 since 2013. What began as a local series for New York City players has gained international attention for preserving these games in their purest form. For their setups, 2O2F uses arcade hardware and Sony PVM monitors for RGB display. Stream matches are held on head to head BlastCity cabinets that were purchased via a donation drive for an ST revival in 2012. Equipment donated by other gaming groups such as iFixMachine help make sure these old games are presented in pristine condition.

A viral video from Mashable showing just a brief glimpse of a 2O2F event sparked a wave of nostalgia in April, and has been seen more than 800,000 times on Facebook. But despite the publicity, attendance for July’s tournament was nearly the same as the one three months prior. The turnout isn’t exactly surprising; the competition at these events has always been about much more than arcade nostalgia.

At a time when even new games like Tekken 7, The King of Fighters XIV and Injustice 2 struggle to keep their players involved at locals, 2O2F nurtures its small but consistent scene by regularly improving its presentation, and providing players with top-notch equipment and high-level competition.

“With every 2 Old the quality keeps going up,” Brooklyn native and OG Dictator player Riz0ne said. “And not only the quality of the stream, the quality of the amount of setups, the quality of how quickly the bracket is run, the quality of the players.”

“You incentivize the players to come, you make it a fun event and build it up, and people are gonna turn up,” added Josh Cooper, another local player.

Fighting old school

While the tournament pool was filled with Next Level regulars, not everyone was a seasoned veteran. Patrick “DaFeetLee” is best known for his play in Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter V, but in a stacked ST tournament he bowed out with an early 0-2.

“In these old games, if you don’t anti-air once you’re dead,” Lee said between matches. “I don’t even know why people say that about Street Fighter V! The old games are so punishing; playing them makes you more aware that if you make one mistake, you’re done.”

PAG|Jihan “Virgo” Sheriff-Crichlow managed to take third place in Street Fighter Alpha 2 with Birdie, a character widely considered to be one of the worst in the game. He explained how practicing in an arcade environment can help players improve, while echoing Lee’s sentiment about the speed of the classic Street Fighter titles.

“It helps you with your fundamentals, learning your spacing, understanding your character,” Virgo said. “Back then we didn’t have training mode we just worked it out, going to the arcades everyday. Fundamentals are important with these old games and they go very quick, it’s not like how the modern games can take so long to just finish a round.”

Kusumondo put on a masterful showcase during the Super Turbo finals, overcoming one of Honda’s most difficult matchups and winning the tournament without losing a game in top 8. There’s no hidden tech or new characters in these games; the best players are defined by their knowledge, experience and consistency. The low margin for error and fast-paced nature of these arcade classics created the win-first mentality that still defines the competitive spirit of the fighting game community.

Out comes the new, stick with the Old

July’s 2O2F also featured a tournament for Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, the recently-released update for the Nintendo Switch. While the title has reportedly sold well overall, it has been largely ignored by the competitive community. USFII saw half as many entrants as ST at 2O2F, and didn’t receive much hype or attention in general.

“It’s good but it’s not 2X, 2X is still the best,” USFII and SFEX2+ winner Marcus “GoLion” Gibbs said, referring to ST by its Japanese title’s (Super Street Fighter II X: Grand Master Challenge) abbreviation.

Gibbs, who has used the tag Marsgatti in the past, said that he enjoys the game but ultimately hopes it will lead to a direct port of ST on modern consoles. USFII introduces new characters, some balance changes and a throw break system, a big change for the SF2 engine. But if anything could be learned from the short tournament life span of 2008’s Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, it’s that the magic of ST cannot be reproduced.

“You can’t recreate the gem of 2X, the game is perfect and if you change one little thing about it, it’s no longer that game,” Riz0ne said. “ST cannot be recreated, you can have another version… but you can’t compare the two.”

It’s hard to argue with the decades-old legacy of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but it’s the players who have kept the game alive and near the forefront of the FGC throughout the years. Tournaments like 2 Old 2 Furious and the ongoing ST Revival movement show the sort of passion that is needed to keep old games alive and fresh.

“If you have a small group of friends, just three people who really really love this game and you want to do this thing, you can revive any game,” Riz0ne said. “You can revive Ultra Street Fighter IV or you can revive vanilla Street Fighter IV if that’s what your crew wants to play and you have enough heart to play.”

Without world tour stops, pot bonuses or sponsored players, 2O2F continues to grow through its dedication to the classics. The tournament is a living testament to the grassroots and history of the fighting game community, showcasing the spirit that fuels competition.

“You get good players from all around and there’s no drama, the drama is in the game,” Gibbs said. “I’d pick 2Old over Evo any day.”

Video archives from July’s Ultra 2 Old 2 Furious are available now through Team Sp00ky; be sure to follow @2Old2Furious for information on their next event. Both Super Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2 enjoy healthy communities on FightCade. For more information about competitive Super Turbo, including offline events, interviews and Fightcade sessions, visit strevival.com.

Sources: 2Old2FuriousRetroRGBiFixMachine

Kevin Webb is a player, writer and tournament organizer based in New York. When’s he’s not working on his set play or out at an event, you can catch him streaming on Twitch, tweeting about comics or throwing games of Dota 2.