Throughout the 2000s, enthusiastic fighting game players gathered at Chinatown Fair to test their mettle. Be it through Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, or Capcom vs. SNK 2, you stepped into the arcade with just your quarters and your determination to show your skills. Beloved by New York’s fighting game community, Chinatown Fair was forced to close its doors in 2011 due to rent issues. While its former owner, Henry Cen, has since opened The Next Level in Brooklyn as a new home for fighting game fans, and Chinatown Fair itself has re-opened (as a shell of its former self if you ask long time visitors), the memories that were created there could never be replaced or forgotten.
Last night, I attended the Arcade Hustla Invitational in Chelsea, which consisted of exhibitions and money matches (in you play for money) and doubled as a trip down memory lane to reminisce about the days of old Chinatown Fair. True to the grassroots nature of the fighting game community, there were tables setup for people to play Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition Version 2012, with a center table set up for the featured players to play their matches. There were also monitors in a back room playing videos recorded during the days of Chinatown Fair. However, the real attraction of the event was the crowd gathering around the setups, placing sidebets amongst themselves and getting excited at each and every hard-hitting combo. You could feel the energy and excitement as spectators were wowed with each passing moment. The Arcade Hustla Invitational captured that spirit that once filled the walls of Chinatown Fair. While the new Chinatown Fair is not what it used to be, its spirit lives on within the NYC fighting game community and will continue to do so for as long as community fights on.
The Invitational was streamed by Arturo Sanchez. Visit his twitch channel @ http://www.twitch.tv/nycfurby, where you’ll find video from the event (internet was limited at the venue, so footage is broken up into several smaller parts).