If you have been following any East Coast stream monster this year, then you must have come across the unique game play and style of Christopher Gonzalez (NYChrisG), formally of Empire Arcadia. Chris has been garnering a reputation in the fighting game community by sticking to low and mid tier characters in games such as Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition, and Mortal Kombat 9. He has a unique self imposed principle to stay away from “broken” characters or glitches that have a seemingly unfair balance. In the mind of NYChrisG, the true taste of victory is beating that which seems unfair. In reality, Chris is seeking an underdog victory. It’s very hard not to spot Chris on or off stream with his long hair, headphones, and shirt promoting his own brand by Local Battles. Local Battles? Who is Local Battles and what ever happened to Empire Arcadia?
While most of the fighting games community has heard of NYChrisG and everyone knows of Empire Arcadia, very few know the story behind Local Battles. Local Battles is a gaming center located in Fort Lee, NJ – the epicenter for the Korean-American population on the east coast. Our gaming center is designed as a console based gaming center looking to attract a local and regional community of like minded gamers to a place they can call home. Growing up as a kid, there was nothing that could replace the love and feel of playing with your friends physically next to each other at a cab. With the lost of Chinatown Fair earlier this year, it is centers like ours, 8Bit and Up in Manhattan and The Next Level in Brooklyn who are trying to keep a venue alive for past, present and future generations of offline gamers in the metro NYC region. As a new venue operator, we must share with the community that our mission is looking very ominous and we are near the end of our capital to keep that audacious dream alive. Just when we were losing hope, Chris arrived to our first Salty Battles event back in May right after making the decision to leave Empire Arcadia. Little did we know that we would be sponsoring him in a high stakes venture to save our venue and community that night. Can riding the coat tails of Chris’ talent launch Local Battles into prosperity?
Actually, we have heard this story before. In fact, we have seen this story at CEO2011 during the screening of King of Chinatown. While we are not suggesting that Chris is the next Justin Wong or that we are the next Empire Arcadia, we are saying that we do share a dream to help build and launch a career for the players we partner with in exchange for exposure for our own ventures. Our struggle resonates with that of any gamer looking to get sponsored, with any sponsor looking to fulfill their business goals, with any tournament organizer looking for larger corporates subsidies and with the publishers to sell more game units in a down economy. Placing a top victory at EVO symbolizes the prosperity that we are all seeking. With EVO2011 coming to a close, Chris has made it it to top 64 in Super Street Fighter, top 16 for Marvel vs Capcom and top 8 for Mortal Kombat.
So tonight is the big night. Even while we dream of that #1 spot for Mortal Kombat, there are hundreds of hopefuls who also gave it it a shot for the big stream in their respective games but have come up short. We respect the drive and motivation it takes to even make it this far. Even after Evo, Mortal Kombat will have a challenge keeping the scene alive for the next tournament season. It’s fitting that we have it all riding on Mortal Kombat since it has been the strongest, most dedicated community in our region looking to stay relevant in the competitive fight scene. It is the northeast Mortal Kombat community that can ultimately save us for another year, get us to another EVO.