There are legendary gamers, and then there’s Daigo Umehara. Together with rival Justin Wong, Daigo is considered one of the FGC’s greatest icons, particularly for the Street Fighter franchise. He’s Japan’s first Pro Gaming icon, and he really deserves all those accolades. However, at a speech at the NHK Culture Center in Tokyo, Daigo revealed that people actually assaulted him physically because of how good he was. In that speech, Daigo said that when he was 13, he beat an adult in a friendly game. However, the game was far from friendly, as the adult actually punched him in the face.
Daigo stated that the incident left his face swollen, and he became afraid to return to that arcade where the incident happened. He played in other places, but he wasn’t having the same amount of fun. So he promised to return to that one particular arcade. And he tried to, only to stop at the door for fear of running into the man who punched him.
“I started thinking which scenario I’d hate more. I realized going back home without opening the door was scarier than the other by a long shot. I realized turning back would have a huge negative impact on my life. I realized the pain I would suffer would be way more than being punched in the face,” Daigo said. But his attacker wasn’t at the arcade that day, and he entered anyway. However, the incident did stay with him for the rest of his life and made him into who he is today. Without that incident, he might not have been the legendary FGC icon that he is. And he also says that his experience translates to young players who want to be professional fighting game players.
“It’s completely fine to want to come into this industry,” Umehara said. “But do you really like it? Can you keep playing even when you’re treated unfairly? These sorts of things are something I want them to think about very well. This is your life. And you only get one life. So I hope they think about this very seriously.”
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