Alright SSF2T fans, we have a great interview for anyone who enjoys a good read showcasing seasoned players who like to share their opinion and knowledge to help others improve their game. Kris Powell, better known as “Fromo” in the ST community, has taken the time to give us very elaborate answers to the questions we asked.
So let’s get started with the interview.
1-First of all, some background information on you as a gamer. Could you share your top 5 favorite games of all time? It doesn’t matter if the games are not all fighting games. Just a top 5 of games you find to be your favorite.
Off the top of my head, my top 5 games:
- Street Fighter II
- Resident Evil 4
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Metal Gear Solid
2-When did you start playing fighting games and which game introduced you to the genre?
My first experience with fighting games, like many people around my age, was with the SNES version of World Warrior. It was at another cousin’s house, I’m guessing late 1992 or early 1993. I picked Guile because he looked cool. It was the most awesome game I had ever played. My brother and I eventually got our own copy of it and later Super SF2 for the Genesis, which was the version I played the most in my youth.
3-When did you start playing SSF2T with the intention of becoming competitive?
I think it was sometime in 2005 or 2006 when I discovered that the game was still being played competitively. I knew I had to get in on that. I had a crappy American-style stick I bought a couple years previously (a Pelican Universal Real Arcade Stick if you’re curious) and started playing Anniversary Edition (and the terrible Capcom Classics Collection port) on that. Not much later, I acquired an Agetec Dreamcast stick and modded it with Sanwa parts and hacked pads for other systems.
I played with my brother and tried to get some of my friends to play with me to no avail. I kept going on my own, switching to the Dreamcast port of SSF2X and eventually HD Remix when that was released. I’d say I truly took the plunge in 2010 when I got involved with the local FGC in my city and started playing on GGPO. From there, I started playing with the best players online and began traveling to tournaments with my new fighting game friends. It’s been a fun ride.
4-Your Blanka is one of the best in the US if not the best. Being that Blanka is a low tier character, what made you choose him for tournament play?
Something just clicked with me when I started learning him. If I remember correctly, around the time I was playing AE I looked at a tier list and saw that he was considered one of the worst characters in the game. That gave me the brilliant idea to use him against my brother so I could brag about beating him with a crappy character. Before that, I had always considered myself a Ryu player – I didn’t think I had it in me to play a character that didn’t have a fireball. But when I started using Blanka against my brother and people online, I began winning much more than I had with Ryu. Also, I figured I’d stand out more using Blanka as opposed to Ryu due to the fact that most people don’t want to play bad characters.
Fromo at Evo 2015 against Ultracombo
5-I have played your Ryu a few times and you are definitely at a very good level with Shotos. Would you say that Ryu is your backup character at this point?
He’s definitely my second best character at this point. I play Dee Jay a little, too. Despite both of them being much better than Blanka, I don’t think I’ll be changing mains anytime soon. Maybe if I get sick of losing to Hondas.
6-If you had to use only one button to play a whole tournament with Blanka, which one would it be? You are allowed to do normals and specials with it, but just one button.
That’s a tough question! I’d have to go with fierce – it gives me a couple good anti-airs, a poke, the bite and the horizontal ball of course.
7-Who do feel is the most unfair opponent for Blanka?
Blanka has a lot of terrible match ups, so this is another tough question. Of the more frequently used characters, I’d say it’s close between Dee Jay and Honda. O. Sagat and Boxer are pretty trying as well. Same for Chun in the right hands. I haven’t seen anyone else talk about it, but I think O. Chun is secretly one of Blanka’s worst match ups. Her jumping LK is a nightmare to deal with.
8-Could you share the footage that showcases your abilities as much as possible and give us a quick overview on the reasons why you consider this footage to be the most useful for any Blanka players looking to improve their game?
There’s a YouTube channel featuring GGPO replays that has several sets of mine, although it seems to have been abandoned. (https://www.youtube.com/user/GGPOSTArchive/search?query=fromo) The videos are a few years old now, but they could still be useful for people looking for information on certain match ups.
I’ve also made a playlist of videos from tournament appearances, which go all the way back to my first Evo. (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtu7aEX-4TBAUVnyEpTgFaOMrSIL6bMjx) I can’t say I’m proud of all those performances, but it might be interesting to see the progress I’ve made over the years.
One video I like to show off is a money match I played with Daigo Umehara. You’ll see why if you watch it.
Money Match with Daigo Umehara
In general, watching match up videos is great to see how other people deal with situations you may be having trouble with and exposing yourself to new ideas. Also, it’s a great way to get information on your competition (if you know who you’ll be playing).
9-What arcade stick are you currently using?
I’m using an old Hori Real Arcade Pro with a Seimitsu LS-32 stick and Sanwa OBSF buttons. It’s dual modded with an MC Cthulhu PCB and a Madcatz Xbox 360 fightpad. I have a couple backup sticks, but this one is by far my favorite. The case has the right amount of weight and mass to it and the layout feels perfect.
10-How important do you consider learning about frames and hitboxes to be in order to become a good ST player?
I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary but it can be helpful. I know I’ve spent a decent amount of time looking at hitboxes trying to figure out why certain exchanges work how they do, as well as trying to find counters. Regarding frame data, I’ve mostly used it to learn start up time for moves to help with combos and frame traps. It can help your punishes too, but the normalized hit/block stun coupled with the generously telling animations makes it fairly easy to learn frame advantage just by playing the game. There’s no need to look at boring spreadsheets all day to figure things out.
11-What do you think a fighting game player needs to learn in order to make it to a higher level?
I think the most important thing is being able to learn from your mistakes. I’ve played so many people who’ll stick to the same game plan even when it gets them nowhere. If you can see what you’re doing wrong and take steps to correct whatever it is, you’ll be able to improve exponentially.
12-What do you think helped you reach that competitive level that many people fail to reach?
This ties in with my previous answer, but accepting responsibility for one’s own performance is something I see quite a few people fail to do. Whenever I’ve lost in tournament, I’ve usually felt that it was because I failed to play to my best ability. Many people will refuse to take any personal responsibility outright and go straight to blaming external factors such as the match up, the way their opponent was playing (usually as an accusation of scrubbery), not being warmed up, etc. I think accepting that responsibility has helped me reach my current level.
13-If you could play against any SSF2T player exclusively for a whole month, who would that be? Who do you think would help you upgrade your game the most at this point?
You’re gonna think I’m crazy, but I’d choose Kusumondo. I want to learn everything I can about the Honda match up no matter how torturous the process may be.
14-Give new players who are looking for a good old school game to pick up a good reason why SSF2T is the best choice.
Even though it is now over 20 years old, Super Street Fighter II Turbo remains a paragon of video game design that few games have even come close to matching. Unlike the tedious, sluggish pace that is common in newer fighting games, Super Turbo is fast and exhilarating, just like the old Mustang your dad never lets you drive. Its controls are tight and responsive – no 8 frames of lag here – and the animations let you feel the impact of every move that connects. Catchy, memorable music and awesome sound effects round out the presentation with panache. Modern fighting games? Throw them in the trash. Super Turbo is here to stay.
Once again, we want to thank Kris “Fromo” Powell for such an excellent interview and for taking his time with such elaborate responses that are very helpful to anyone who is looking to improve their game. Stay tuned for more information coming from this top Blanka player as we plan to publish his contributions to the Blanka ST page soon.
Anyone interested in playing some games with this top Blanka player can find him at Fightcade. Nickname “Fromo”.
Fromo’s Fightcade profile page:
Register to Fightcade and start playing SSF2T online: