The Midwest is home to many strong and dedicated fighting game players, and with the constant growth of the FGC, the region’s best have been able to showcase their gameplay more than ever on a global scale. For the Chicago Tekken community, the strides being made to become more recognized have not gone unnoticed. Chicago’s own Shin Pusheen, a strong Akuma player in Tekken 7, took the time to go into detail about what makes Chicago Tekken so unique.
“I found out about the scene when browsing Facebook,” said Pusheen. “I had been a part of some FGC groups, but I wasn’t really going out to locals at the time. But one day checking my news feed, I noticed a guy hosting a Tekken tournament maybe 13 minutes away from me.” Making the first push to go to local tournaments, Shin Pusheen has been very vocal about supporting locals ever since. “Playing offline helps big-time, in comparison to online. You’re able to actually talk to other players. Compared to typing on a stick or pad which takes forever, you can easily just ask the other person questions about the game.”
Considering other well-known regions such as New York or the West Coast, Pusheen believes in his scene’s growth and resilience. “I’d say we could be equal footing with the larger regions after a little bit of time. If it was our top players against theirs, I definitely think we could hang with them.”
Along with top players like Cuddle_Core, Shadow 20z, and Joonya 20z, Pusheen went on to mention Badonkiezonk, emily, and Scoop-di-whoop as some of the region’s hidden killers. Due to the growing viewership and popularity of tournaments like the Mishima Monthly or Super Saturdays, these players are able to have a spotlight shined on their gameplay even more. Breakout performances at Combo Breaker, as well as Scoop-di-whoop winning the Red Bull Conquest qualifier in Saint Paul, show that these names are a force to be reckoned with.
Since the start of the 2019 Tekken World Tour, the dojo system has especially helped to give Chicago players an extra push to support their locals. “I love them,” said Shin Pusheen. “Ever since the dojos became a thing, our bigger tournaments have been getting more entrants than ever. The first Super Saturdays was a 63-player bracket, compared to being maybe 30–45 before. August’s Super Saturdays hit 67 entrants, even with a few out-of-state players coming in. I’ve even gone to a few outside of my own state for dojo points, like Naptown Clutch and Smash’N’Splash.”
Though some people may primarily know about the Chicago scene because of Combo Breaker, the emergence of larger local gatherings has helped to spike up community interest in these growing events. Through the hard work of individuals such as BGCallisto running tournament streams, Low Kick Esports producing Super Saturdays (and even sponsoring Shin Pusheen), and commentators such as PuppySwarm who also runs ChicagoTekken.com, the community support is clearly present for Chicago Tekken to be on the right path to growth and success.
In the past few weeks on Twitter, discussion between the Chicago and Michigan communities has begun about a potential team battle, driven by regional pride. “If we’re running this, we don’t want it to happen on the side at a tournament, because it should be the main event. We still haven’t thought of where or when, but it’s definitely gonna be fun.”
It’s clear that as of late, Chicago has been emerging as one of North America’s most prominent Tekken regions. With pro players placing well at some of the world’s largest tournaments, as well as high entry numbers and stream viewership at locals, the eyes are on Chicago as a Tekken hotspot.