Blizzard and Black Women: Is it beef?

Blizzard and Black Women: Is it beef?

For those who are not familiar with the BGG channel, Overwatch is a favourite of ours.  So many of us enjoy endless hours in quick play and comp, cheering just as much as the next person when we get Play of the Game.  However, unlike the next person, we must settle for ambiguous attempts at representation in the game.

Where are the unambiguous Black women in game?

Overwatch is often praised as a game that has gotten diversity “right” and represents many people from various backgrounds to the best of its ability.  But where others see effort, many Black Women see laziness and exclusion.

Before we get into it, let’s review the current make up of the playable character roster in Overwatch.   We have:

  • 6 White Women
  • 6 White Men
  • 5 Non-human characters
  • 3 Asian women
  • 2 Asian Men characters
  • 2 visibly racially ambiguous characters of Latin/Hispanic (race not specified – No Latino is not a race)
  • 2 visibly racially ambiguous character of Egyptian nationality (Farah is half Canadian indigenous)
  • 2 Black men

Now don’t get me wrong, each and every character above deserves to have their heritage/culture represented but….where we at?

I posed this point on Twitter and it seems I wasn’t the only one who was waiting:

We are still yet to see any unambiguous representation despite the fact that we have seen, a long time ago, concept art of unambiguous black female characters.

So what happened?

A collage of the potential Overwatch Heroes spotted in Overwatch cinematics. Source: https://bit.ly/2NMR3XE

 

The community has been bewildered by this for some time.  In fact, ElleOnWords created a thread on BattleNet in 2017 on this exact subject which had to be shut down due to the racist vitriol it received.

What were people’s responses to the request? The common rebuttals both myself and the thread received are:

  1. Sombra is Afro-latina”
  2. Farah and Ana are Egyptian”
  3. Erm Orisa…duh!”

Let’s tackle them shall we?

Sombra is canonically Mexican, this has no bearing on her race as Mexican is not a race – it’s a nationality.  However there have been no overt indicators towards Sombra being Afro-Mexican in her short or her story video.  Let’s not conflate the term Afro-latina with meaning anyone with brown skin.  Just as Sombra could be Afro-latina, she could also be Mixed or Mestiza.

The next response was that Ana and Farah were Egyptian and therefore Black.  Firstly, it tickled me that now people want to say Egyptians were Black when, for years, the Black community has been screaming this from the roof tops to be met with white washing and obtuse reasons as to why Ancient Egyptians “just simply weren’t Black”.  I digress, Ana and Farah are Egyptian and quite rightly could be Black however again I had to redirect people to the word unambiguous a term many people had trouble understanding.

“Unambiguously Black” simply means that by looking at a person there would be no question as to what race they are.  Using racially ambiguous people as representatives for the whole of the Black race is a tired tactic used by media and brands.  Just as there are 6 representations of white women in Overwatch in a variety of nationalities, shapes and sizes, there should be different representations of the Black women and other POC in game.

We don’t all look the same, have the same skin tone and relate to one representation.  Dark skin and non-eurocentric features deserve just as much airtime.

 As we near the game’s third year of release, we have seen a variety of characters being released including Orisa.  Orisa is a sentinel robot built by young child genius Efi Oladele.  Efi is from the imaginary African country of Numbani, she is featured in sprays and player icons but makes no appearance in game.

As I return from Twitch Con this year, I noticed that games like The Breach and Sea of Thieves have no problems including unambiguous Black Women as playable characters from inception.  So I can’t help but wonder why is there such reluctance from Blizzard when it comes to featuring them in Overwatch?  To add more insult to injury this is not the first time Blizzard have excluded us, having 0 Black Female characters out of 82 in their other popular title; Heroes of the Storm.

As more and more time/opportunities pass, the exclusion is seeming increasingly deliberate; leaving many BGGs to find ourselves in this unique conundrum, yet again, where we love a game that doesn’t love us back.

Edit: Numbani is an imaginary city located near Nigeria.

BGG talks to: The Samurider, a real-life Bad Ass!

BGG talks to: The Samurider, a real-life Bad Ass!

Being a real life superhero is something so many of us dream about but rarely push to achieve it.  Shaina West, also known as The Samurider, was inspired by Anime after a motorcycle accident to become a real life bad ass. 

A martial art stunt artist and personal trainer, Shaina has accrued a huge and diverse following on her Instagram where she shows her journey of being a “hero for hire”.  Jay recently caught up with Shaina in after MCM Comic Con (London) to learn more this bad-ass Brit born beauty.


J: So tell me how you got into being a Stunt Artist/ Self taught martial artist?

S: I’ve always been a huge fan of anime, comic books, games, action movies, that kind of stuff. Four years ago after I had a motorbike accident, I spent a lot of time in my room binge-watching anime and I had a lot of time on my hands because I had been let go from work because I couldn’t fulfil the contract because I was injured.  So I became inspired [by the anime] to start doing Martial Arts training and almost become like an anime character.  It just a hobby that made me feel more empowered through what I was going through at the time.

I just started teaching myself from YouTube tutorials.

J: Oh wow!

S: Yea, in my house and at the gym.  So yea that’s how I started and then from there I’ve just been practicing what I see.

J: What was the anime series that inspired you?

S: Naruto. I’ve been watching Naruto since I was like 12.  I was watching that back to back and it’s super inspiring; the characters, the morals, the symbolism.  It’s made in a such a way that every viewer can relate to what’s happening to a character, a situation or a symbol that comes up in the anime. My tattoo, for example, is a symbol that keeps coming up in the anime.  It’s called “The Will of Fire” and it special in a way that the meaning is unique to character but it pretty much stands for the same thing, to me anyway, which is to be strong, to fight for what I believe in and to do what I love. There’s a lot I took from that anime and that’s why I decided to just go for it.

J: What style of  Martial Arts were you studying when you were teaching yourself?

S: The first one is a sports martial art called Extreme Martial Arts, it’s really big in the States.  It borrows elements from Aikido, Wushu and tricking as well.  So it’s a very modern style. I guess the simplest way to say it is Freestyle martial arts.

J: When did you start?

S: I started training myself Martial Arts in Autumn 2015.

J: …Three years?! Wait what, for real?  I thought you had been training since you were 12 years old or something!

S: Hahah aww thank you! No only three years.

J: So from your perspective as a Black Women, what’s it like to be a Stunt Artist? Is it very diverse?

S: Umm ooh! Not from where I stand at the moment, it probably is in other parts of the world but from where I am at the moment and from what I see it’s very much White male dominated.  For someone like myself, it puts me in a position where I’d like to say I’m at an advantage because there are not many people like me that do what I do.

J: Therefore you stand out.

S: Exactly, also a slight disadvantage because the general consensus when someone is looking for a stunt person is “Oh yea, we’ll get a stunt man” they’ll get the established white man.  It’s a little bit of a controversial thing to say but that usually is the case.

J: Don’t worry, our platform is the best place to say it!

S: Hahaha! So yea there are pros and cons I imagine but I’m seeing more of the pros.

I’m bringing something new, not only to the industry but I’m bringing something new to Black Women by going for something like this.

J: Exactly! Do you get messages of support or ones saying that you’ve been an inspiration to many Black Women who want are interested in Martial Arts/Stunt Work?

S: Yea actually, I do get a lot of messages like that.  I don’t know it’s weird for me, for example at MCM Comicon I would have people coming up to me saying “Oh my God, it’s you! Can I get a picture?” and stuff. It’s weird because people think that when you have a certain level of recognition or become a local celebrity (celebrity in any sense of the word), [it means that] your lifestyle changes.   I still have the same lifestyle, I still get on the bus.

J: With the way you’re going that will change!

S: Haha I hope so! The support is my biggest motivation now, whereas before my biggest inspiration was anime and my biggest motivation was to become stronger.  Now it’s to keep reaching people that send me these kind of messages, because of that I’m driven to keep going.

J: I feel it’s also just your presence that is important.  I follow a lot of Black Art pages on Instagram and I swear, I see you inspiring someone’s art all the time and I know it’s you.  I look at the tag and see @thesamurider and I’m like YES!  So your presence inspires art which then inspires stories which then inspires movies and comics and things like that.  It’s really good that you’re out there because if not we [Black Women] wouldn’t have anyone to think about in terms of representation.

S: Thank you!

Art by Cameron Knitght. Twitter: @cknightart

J: Now that you’re out here doing your stunt work and martial arts, are there are specific goals that you want to achieve?

S: Yea actually my biggest is to be in the next Black Panther film.

J: Oh my God, yes you should be! If you were going to be Dora Milaje, you’d have to shave off your hair!

S: I’d do it! It would hurt me but of course I’d do it! I did apply for the first one several months ago, I didn’t hear anything back but that may have been for many reasons, I’m not based in the States etc.  At first I was a little bit disheartened by it but I’m a lot better now than I was then and I know more now than I did then.  I believe in timing, timing is everything so that is what I’m working towards.

Other personal goals that I want to be able to achieve is being able to learn more skills, weapons, learn how to trick so that when I am hired for big jobs I can deliver.  I want to get faster and stronger.

J: Do you have mentors/teachers now or are you still self taught?

S: I’m still self taught when it comes to my weapons and martial arts. I have recently started a partnership with a movement company that is going to help me improve my flexibility which will help me with my Martial Arts.  I’ve also started a partnership with a Hot Yoga company, Fierce Grace Yoga.  I’ve recently picked up a Tricking Coach to learn how to do parkour.

J: So I know you like anime, I know you like gaming.  Tell me about your gaming hobbies.

S: I don’t get to game as much as I used to because of training.  I work as a personal trainer and do freelance stunt work but when I do get a chance to play games, my favourites to play are platform games, you know like open map Tomb Raider style, Metal Gear Solid games. In my childhood I would play at lot of Spyro the Dragon, which was the first game I proper fell in love with.  I’m so excited for the re-master, I’m definitely getting it.   FPSs as well, I like COD campaigns and the Zombie modes.  My favourite kind of games have an interesting campaign, my favourites are Beyond Two Souls, Heavy Rain as well from the same creator.

J: Are you going to be playing Detroit: Becoming Human?

S: I haven’t heard of that you know.

J: It’s by the same people that made Heavy Rain and it’s got Jesse Williams in it.

S: Yea I’ll check it out, thank you for telling me that!

J: What would be your ideal anime, game or film if you could make it from scratch?

S: I’m going to start with the game because that’s something I haven’t thought about too much.  An ideal game? Hmm… I really like fighting games and I really like adventure so something like God of War has a bit of both.  So many something like that but with a selection of characters to play the campaign with.  I want diversity to be a big thing in games because games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken tend to only have one or two token Black characters.   It would be good if we had an equal amount of ethnicities in the game in general because representation is such a big thing and growing up I never really had that.  Tomb Raider, someone I idolised, was a White Woman.  Chun Li, who I loved, was supposed to be Asian but she still looks like a White Woman.  I’d even put a little bit of Hip Hop in the soundtrack for people like myself to really get into it.

I’ve got ideas for film; I’m looking to write a TV series based in London.  It’ll be something that’s never been seen before, it’ll have action and drama. That’s going be coming soon.

J: Oh, you’re already working on it?! YESS!!

S: Yea! I’ve already spoken with a producer and they’re happy to work with me on this.  It won’t just include Black people but Black people doing fantasy which is something we just don’t see on TV especially in London.

J: That is flipping amazing!! I can’t wait to see that! So to conclude, is there any advice you’d like to pass on to women that would like to get into Martial Arts/Stunt Work?

S: I get a lot of people asking how did I start and the thing that I try to advocate the most is that the internet is at your disposal. I learnt everything I know from the internet.  In this day and age, there isn’t anything that you can’t learn from the internet in one way or another.

Also, what I would recommend first is to strengthen yourself – mind, body and soul.  Start being more active, prepare your body for what you’re about to put yourself through.  Then from there, if you want to do the self taught route like I did, search tutorials for your martial art of choice.  Use the internet, just do it.

If you have enjoyed this article, please support BGG on Patreon: 

5 Games on the Nintendo Switch Featuring Black and Brown Girls

5 Games on the Nintendo Switch Featuring Black and Brown Girls

It’s been a great year for the Nintendo Switch. From Breath of The Wild to Super Mario Odyssey and every game in between, the Switch has been crushing it across all genres. But another area in which the Switch has been crushing it, and a lot of people might not know, is with its Black and Brown female characters. As a Black girl gamer, it feels good to FINALLY see characters that look like me from a company that I absolutely adore!

In this article, I will be listing five games featuring women of color that are available on the Nintendo Switch. Let’s go!

1. Dandara

Image source: https://goo.gl/FYyDPg

Originally available on Steam, Dandara is an independent game featuring a Black woman, Dandara, as the main character. Dandara lives in the world of Salt, and life in Salt isn’t going all too well. So Dandara takes it upon herself to fight back against the oppression and turmoil that she and her fellow citizens are facing. It is her personal mission to restore freedom and balance to her chaotic world.

If you’re a fan of 2D platformers (think old school Super Mario Bros. mixed with Metroid, but with some #blackgirlmagic thrown in there) you might like Dandara. If you like jumping all over creation and discovering new paths each time you play a game, you might also like Dandara. And if you just like kicking butt as a bad-ass Black girl, Dandara might be the game for you!

2. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

Image source: https://goo.gl/F7rgju

Another platformer, Shantae originally got its start way back when on the Game Boy Color, but its latest installment, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero has found its way to the Nintendo Switch. And for the first time ever, Shantae is live and in HD!

Once again, Shantae is forced to save Sequin Land as evil threatens to take over the entire world. Using her luscious ponytail and belly-dancing battle techniques, Shantae fights off evil in order to stop her arch-nemesis, Risky Boots, from destroying Sequin Land. Join Shantae in her fight against evil and see if you have what it takes to save the day!

If you’re a fan of hair whips and awesome dance moves, Shantae might be calling your name. And if you’re a fan of humorous dialogue and cute costume changes, you might also enjoy Shantae. Whatever calls you to it, own it and have fun!

3. Severed

Image source: https://goo.gl/oMTVH2

Another indie game, in Severed, you follow the one-armed warrior Sasha and her living sword along on their journey to find Sasha’s family. The world might be horrifying, but the game design isn’t!  As Sasha fights her way through the nightmare, solving puzzles and defeating enemies, she manages to do so in a very stylish and aesthetically-pleasing manner. The colors are vibrant. The enemies are freaky. And the action is definitely on and poppin’!

Check out Severed if you like action-adventure games, and especially ones led by Brown girls! And who can say no to a Brown girl kicking butt? No one. Shout out to Drinkbox Studios for creating Sasha, a visibly disabled and beautifully Brown female heroine.

4. Splatoon 2

Image source: https://goo.gl/dydYyq

Everyone knows how diverse and customizable Splatoon 2 allows its characters to be, and ever since Marina came onto the scene, fans everywhere have been in shock and awe. A member of the band, Off the Hook, Marina is also the host of a TV show and a certified baddie. While more reserved than her partner, Pearl, Marina can also be sassy when needed, but generally, she speaks in a sweet and gentle manner like the shy girl that she is. And that’s great because Black girls aren’t a monolith, and it takes all types to make the world go ’round.

If you haven’t already played Splatoon 2, I highly suggest that you do it! If not for the awesome third-person shooter paint action, at least do it for the awesomeness that is Marina. You’ll be VERY glad that you did!

5. Arms

Image source: https://goo.gl/1ZsSNj

And finally, one of the newest first-party games from Nintendo, Arms is a fighting game featuring characters with, you guessed it, extendable arms. And one of the most iconic characters from the game is Twintelle, a dark-skinned Black woman with a swaggered walk and hips to match. Using her long, curly ponytails to fight, Twintelle is definitely a force to be reckoned with! She pretty much broke the Internet the night her character was released, and people have been talking about her ever since.

If you like fighting games, you’ll probably like Arms, and if you like watching Black girls kick butt, you might also like Arms. Either way, you can’t really lose, now can you? Well, if you aren’t playing as Twintelle, I suppose you already are…

And that does it, y’all! Nintendo has really been on it with its Black and Brown girl characters this past year. Hopefully, they see all of the love and support that the games featuring them are receiving and continue to show us girls that look just like us! We’re rooting for you Nintendo! We know that you can do it!

So I Plugged in the PS2 and…

So I Plugged in the PS2 and…

Like all Kingdom Hearts fans, I’m impatiently waiting for the drop date (because 2018 isn’t enough…I have to plan financially…I mean…SPYRO). The trailer is sick, citing new worlds from Toy Story and Monsters Inc. Also, can we talk about Ariel?

I decided to go back to the basics and play the original KH on PS2 in order to prepare myself, and because nostalgia always gets the best of me…and honestly? IT WAS SO REFRESHING.

This article started as a review of revisiting Kingdom Hearts, but what I want to talk about is the sense of peace and relaxation we experience playing an old game. Now, I can’t guarantee the same refreshing feeling if you pop Bloodborne in, but there is something to be said for revisiting games you loved as kids. I’ve seen a couple articles written about this, asking questions like “Why don’t I love video games anymore?” or “How do I become reinterested in gaming?”.

When we experience problems or frustrations in daily life, we’re often told to go back to the root. We want to start over. We want the basics. Why not the same for gaming? This is the idea behind remakes, and why there is such a mad rush in preorders when we read things like “Spyro triology” and “Final Fantasy 7” (ha).

Keeping that in mind, I thought I’d put together a list of some cool nostalgia inducing game things. Spend safely, ya’ll.

 

Spyro controllers by Kustom Kontrollerz

Kustom Kontrollerz does exactly what their name says, controller customization. With the release of the remastered Spyro, what gift could be better? The ones in the article are mock-ups, but you can place orders through the companies twitter!

More information can be found at: https://goo.gl/QqEHzd

 

Hyperkin Smartboy for Android

I find this extremely exciting (minus the fact that I’m team Apple). Emulators have always made my phone crash after a while and there is nothing worse than losing that kind of ground on Zelda…I promise you. I’ve seen a couple complaints about the product being excessive, but it’s more about the feeling of popping in a cartridge and playing than anything.

These can be found at: https://goo.gl/DhrRAz

Syberia for Nintendo Switch

I spent HOURS playing this as a kid. My binge only ended after I’d ripped my laptop out of the wall carelessly…(I know). I’ve seen pretty positive reviews about the switch, so if fun puzzle games are your thing, you’ve got a good deal with this.

It can be found at: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/syberia-switch

Tamogotchi

Look, we all know these are more technical furbies and will bring about the end of the world. But how FUN was it to try to keep an ugly little pixelated balloon alien alive? Order one. Play it at work. Destress.
Can be found at: http://us.tamagotchifriends.com/

Hope for a new Tony Hawk

This isn’t a product. It’s more my wishful thinking. But. I would KILL to get a new Pro Skater, preferably with Darren Harper (I’m a DC girl, what can I say), and better customization. Let’s cross our fingers that Descenders works something out.

More information can be found at: https://goo.gl/fQLD5M

Black Girls Gamers Exist: Safe Spaces for Black Girl Gamers

Black Girls Gamers Exist: Safe Spaces for Black Girl Gamers

“Black girls play video games?”

“What’s a Black girl gamer?”

“There’s a community for that?”

I wish these weren’t questions I received on a regular basis, but sadly, they are. And these are questions that I receive from all types of people, including Black men!

Similar to other industries, in the gaming world, Black girl gamers often get overlooked and cast into the some of the deepest and darkest dungeons of the gaming community. So I’m making it my personal goal to shine the biggest and brightest light I can find on all of my fellow Black girl gamers. I’m talking end-of-Kingdom Hearts 2 “Door to Light” levels of brightness. I want the whole world to see us and know that we do, in fact, exist. And I also want them to know that we can play any game we want to, and sometimes, better than your faves!

NBA 2K.Call of Duty. Final Fantasy. The Sims. Overwatch.

You name it, Black girl gamers are playing it, and they are playing it well, or not so well, and that’s fine too! A quick visit over to Twitch or YouTube will confirm this to be a fact, and a quick Google search will also disprove some of your preconceived notions about Black girl gamers. There are plenty of communities out there for Black girl gamers, and I’m going to talk about a couple of them in this article.

The first community I’d like to talk about is Black Girl Gamers, the platform on which I am currently writing this article. Black Girl Gamers was started by Jay-Ann Lopez in an effort to create a safe space for Black girls who loved video games. Often feeling left out in the gaming community, a community she loved very much, Lopez created Black Girl Gamers to connect with more gamers who looked like her and could understand where she was coming from.

The Internet is full of trolls, and Black girl gamers are no stranger to this fact. Not only are we thrown sexist slurs, but we’re also thrown racist ones as well. So we’re stuck in a constant limbo as we try to navigate the gaming community as a double (sometimes more!) minority.

Video game companies are changing and trying to make their markets more “diverse,” but that is also something that Lopez in wary of, as she fears a lot of them are only out for the money. And she isn’t wrong.

With a community like Black Girl Gamers, Black girls can feel safe and unexploited. They can be sure that they are constantly amongst friends and feel comfortable and connected while participating in one of their favorite hobbies. Black Girl Gamers is makes gaming feel good!

Another community that understands the plight of the Black girl gamer is The Cookout. The Cookout was created in an effort to provide a safe space for gamers of color, LGBTQIA+ gamers, and gamers with disabilities. The creators of The Cookout saw the gross amount of underrepresentation in the gaming world for these groups of gamers and decided to create a space where they could congregate and share their love of gaming.

And not only does The Cookout game together, but members also gather in real life for meet-ups in other arenas as well, including eating out and going to the movies. They attend events together, including TwitchCon and very soon, Universal FanCon. They share kitchen creations with one another, help each other set up streams, record podcasts, and everything else one would do with members of their family, because at this point, that’s exactly what they are!

The Cookout is an awesome resource available to not only Black girl gamers, but all minority gamers! If you’re feeling lost and alone on your gaming journey, definitely give The Cookout a visit. I promise you will enjoy your stay!

The last community for Black girl gamers on my list is Black Gamers Revolution. Branding itself “as Black as gaming gets,” Black Gamers Revolution got its humble start on Tumblr. Once again, its creators wanted to create a space where Black gamers could get together and be able to relate to each other in the context of gaming.

Black Gamers Revolution often hosts community nights, featuring different games for its members to play, and they also host a number of other events to keep Black gamers connected in a world where it can sometimes be very hard us to feel welcome. Black Gamers Revolution are doing an awesome job of connecting Black gamers and helping them build a community in which they can feel safe and have fun. Check them out when you get the chance!

Although it’s still hard to be a Black girl gamer in our current gaming world, communities like the ones mentioned above are making it a lot easier to cope with this fact. All of these groups have Discords that you can join if you’re interested in meeting other gamers that look like you and making friends that will last you a lifetime. So go ahead and check them out when you get a chance. You deserve to play video games in a comfortable environment, and you deserve to have good people in your life!

Black girls deserve the world, and these communities are making sure that we get it!

My 4 Fighting Game Community Black-spirations!

My 4 Fighting Game Community Black-spirations!

Infinitii

Infinitii is a competitive player in the NRS scene, specializing in Mortal Kombat X and more recently Injustice 2. She mains Mileena and Catwoman with a lil bit of my girl Enchantress on the side (I suspect her relationship with Mileena is a lot more intimate than what meets the eye…) As a member of the FGC’s fiercest women’s team – The Sirens – Infinitii has been a very vocal advocate for and inspiration to women in the FGC. She is a player you can easily point to whenever doubters come out of their basements questioning women’s ability to play at a high level. Recently sponsored by Hazardous, Infinitii is going to be able to travel a lot more to attend majors this year. And, with the recent announcement of Injustice 2’s second Pro Series I look forward to seeing her take her competitive experience onto the biggest world stages. Go get em girl! @SedriaXO

Sonic Fox

A legend in the making and already made, Sonic Fox is known for his prodigious ability to play multiple fighting games at the highest level; winning many major tournaments, including EVO. Master in the Mortal Kombat and Injustice series, Skullgirls and Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, Sonic Fox is now dominating the US Dragon Ball FighterZ scene and is looking to draw blood among Japanese players. But what is so refreshing about him is how he plays his life at the highest level of himself. Self-proclaimed furry and queer black man, Sonic Fox breaks down every expectation of what a top tier competitive gamer should be like and nobody can say anything because he’s the best at what he does. I mean, he literally won a tournament in a full fox suit… Some people were freaking out but I’m celebrating: it is beyond refreshing to see some life and diversity pumped into the FGC. Seeing myself reflected in the community is part of what’s encouraged me to stick around, I love it. Keep it foxy, Fox! @SonicFox5000

Lord Grimulus

Jack of all trades, Grimulus is a well-known member of the UK FGC. King of Fighters competitive player, tournament organizer, commentator, community builder and founding member of East London Fighters (ELF), Grimulus has been at the center of creating the biggest fighting game community in London as well as developing the King of Fighters community across Europe. East London Fighter’s has managed to combine the best of both worlds by being a grassroots, homegrown community alongside being leaders in UK eSports. Dominate in the UK Tekken 7 competitive scene, by hosting regular events ELF have inspired newer players to pick up their pads and grow as players. As well as being a skilled and experienced as a tournament player, Grimulus also has an incredible talent in making new players feel at home in the FGC and bringing different fighting game communities together under a shared love of the genre. So much respect, more of this please! @Lord_Grimulus

Palushina

Palushina blew up the internet when she won her first Street Fighter 5 (SFV) tournament at the start of this year: bagging herself a perfect and not dropping a single set the whole tournament. Most of twitter was jubilant about her amazing performance but there was a small element of the guttersphere that was surprised a female could slay at a competitive level. I know – it’s like we’re still living in 1950s and your uncle Bobby is rocking that that horrendous Jheri Curl… Sigh. But, she has once again proved she is riding with the best by finishing 3rd in SFV and 7th in Tekken 7 at Michigan Masters. Palushina and her Menat are going from strength to strength and putting in work at multiple tournaments. I see those resets girl! It’s so inspiring to see how Palushina’s confidence is growing at every tournament, and confidence is exactly what makes a player dangerous so watch out boys, she is going to be a real threat this year! @Palushina