Some competitive gaming events would fall apart if the audio from the game the competitors were playing suddenly cut out. Not last night.
During a losers bracket matchup between Arturo “Sabin” Sanchez and local competitor Bryant “Smug” Huggins at the Next Level Battle Circuit in New York City, the audio for Street Fighter V abruptly stopped transmitting to both the commentators’ headsets and the ongoing broadcast. Street Fighter V was suddenly a silent game.
Sanchez would normally be the one to fix it, since he curates the weekly events at the Next Level Arcade, the spiritual successor to the iconic Chinatown Fair, but he was playing in the match. [Correction - 5:43pm: Due to an editing mistake, we originally said the event was at Chinatown Fair. Apologies for the error.]
Michael “IFC Yipes” Mendoza and Francis Lee Chung, the commentating duo in charge of providing viewers at home with their analysis, decided to double as voice-over artists and sound effects specialists.
From character lines to sound effects, Mendoza and Chung did their best to keep up with the action on screen while entertaining themselves in the process. Some of the best moments include Mendoza’s insistence on providing appropriate chain clanking for the stage’s background elements and his incredible impression of Balrog’s dash punch roar.
Listen to it here:
Mendoza is something of a legend in the fighting game community. A former Evo champion turned on-air personality, he’s contributed more to the scene’s lexicon than probably any two people combined. Apart from his excellent fighting game skills, his claim to fame comes from old-school Marvel vs. Capcom 2 videos that highlight Mendoza in his element: Getting hype over tournament matches.
Fair warning, the language tends to be a little rough around the edges. Marvel baby!
He and his fiancée Samantha “Persia” Hancock have become the voice of Marvel in recent years, contributing their combined knowledge to events across the United States like the Evolution Championship Series, Combo Breaker, and Community Effort Orlando, among others. Chung works at the local level boosting the Street Fighter community alongside fellow members of Professional Instigators Entertainment, otherwise known as Team PIE.
Sanchez was eliminated in seventh place, returning to the stream station to correct the issue, while Huggins made it to grand finals in a losing effort against eventual champion Derrick “Idom” Ruffin. Mendoza and Chung continued to entertain the folks watching at home, sometimes even laying down a rhyme or two between matches.
Next Level Battle Circuit streams live every Wednesday night courtesy of Team Spooky.
Ian Walker is a fighting game expert and freelance writer. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.