The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Pro gamer plays in high-level tourney

By Marley malenfant/feature editor

Whether there’s 50 cents in his pocket or Xbox Live in his living room, Trey Roach is ready.

After finishing 49th at the Texas Bar Fights gaming tournament in Grapevine in January, Trey Roach’s goal is to play in the world tournaments in Las Vegas.
Photos by Casey Holder/The Collegian

He doesn’t like to trash talk, and he won’t say that he’s going to win. He lets his thumbs do the talking.

The SE Campus student plays Street Fighter, the classic 2-D arcade-fighting game, professionally.

He started playing in competitive tournaments in 2009. He most recently competed in the Texas Bar Fights Jan. 15 in Grapevine, and he is preparing for the Upper-Cut tournament May 7. His goal is to rank in the top 10 so he can qualify in the Evo tournament, where the best players compete.

“The Texas Bar Fights was one of the most fun experiences I ever had,” he said. “Everybody was either nervous or really excited the last tournament I was in. I finished 49th, but I should have made it to the top 25.”

Roach, a SE student, plays on an X-Box at Entertainmart in Arlington.
Photos by Casey Holder/The Collegian

Playing Street Fighter as a kid in Atlanta was a treat for Roach because he never owned the game. He said his sister interested him in gaming when she gave him a Super Nintendo. He said his favorite game of the Street Fighter series is Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Street Fighter Alpha 2.

“My folks would take me to Jillian’s Arcade, which is kind of like a Dave & Busters, and I’d play Marvel vs. Capcom and beat a few guys, and those guys would get heated,” he said. “I was in the fourth grade. My parents would take me every weekend. That was my first experience with real competition.”

Considering himself an old-school player, he uses a joystick when he plays. Roach said he likes its vintage feel.

“There is nothing like that arcade feeling,” he said. “We didn’t have online play back then. You’d meet somewhere and play on that gumball joystick. But I’ll still have that feeling like I’m preparing for the arcade. The joystick is like your badge.”

Roach’s favorite character is Guy because of his high-offensive style.

“The computer used to beat me with Guy when I was playing the game as a kid,” he said. “So I felt I had a bond with that character.

Roach believes that Ryu and Ken are arguably the most popular characters based on the number of contestants who compete in the tournaments. The two characters are considered the Mario and Luigi of Street Fighter.

“There’s about 5 trillion, 500 million people who pick Ryu or Ken in the tournament,” he exaggerated.

The best Street Fighter player he’s witnessed was Sanford Kelly, a longtime player from New York. Roach watched his videos on YouTube.

“He’s one of the top players in the U.S. He’s innovative,” he said. “He’s one of the few cats to use Cammy and use high-paced pressure moves. He likes to create feints and play mind games with the players.”

Working out before practicing and before major tournaments, he does 100 push-ups, 100 toe-raises and runs on the treadmill, claiming the workouts take the butterflies away before a match. He practices four hours a day for casual play. On the weekends, he practices for 10 hours straight. And for tournament time, it’s 10 hours every day.

“I think I concentrate more when I exercise before I play,” he said. “The joystick feels better, but nothing beats muscle memory.”

Roach advised novice players to learn how to do frame traps and basic cross-ups, which are counter attacks.

“A frame trap is for those players who are good at anticipating throws,” he said. “You block the opposing players punch or kick, and then you throw a combination back at them.”

SE student Daniel Castro said he’s jealous of Roach’s playing a game for money.

“It’s not fair,” he said. “This guy can earn thousands of dollars by just twiddling his thumbs.”

Roach’s parents don’t approve of their son‘s playing games professionally and think he should just focus on school.

“My folks say, ‘Don’t waste your time with it,’” he said. “But it’s about being around people that love the same the thing I do. Most of my friends either don’t like or don’t care enough to play like I do.”

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