Today we're talking about some Street Fighter V, but we're not talking about Wolfkrone or Balrog. Today, we're taking a look at the competitive performance of a player who goes by the name "Sven." Sven, who recently competed in the Sonic Boom Tournament, has been blind since childhood. Sonic Boom took place April 1 and 2 in Mardid, and though Sven didn't walk away with any prize money, he did show up in a really strong way and kicked some ass. See him in action right here:
So Sven is playing as Ken in this match, and as you're watching, you may be wondering just how the heck he's competing at all. Street Fighter is such a reactive game, and so much of your offensive strategy is based on where your opponents are in relation to your avatar. How on earth is Sven putting together these counters, air counters, and such a cohesive offense? In an interview (found here), he gives us a few of those answers.
"I want to say that Street Fighter V has really good sound effects," he said. "I play with a headset on so I can hear, left and right, what's going on during the battle. You know when a characters jumping or when he's kicking or punching, then they make sounds in different ways, of course. You have to study the sounds for a long time before you know them all, and when you manage to do that, you have to train yourself to react to the sounds that you hear. Like people do when they see on the screen, I have to listen to what happens and react on that."
It's pretty incredible how he can act and react so deftly based solely on the sound effects that he hears. Sven does mention, however, that it is really tough for him to defend against cross-ups, noting that he can't tell from sound alone if, when his opponent is jumping, if they're jumping toward him or over him, so that makes deciding which direction to guard from a bit of a gamble.
That doesn't stop him from performing and competing with the best in the world, though. And Sven plays other fighting games as well. He notes that, in addition to Street Fighter (which he's played since the early 90s), he also loves to play Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat.
It's pretty inspiring stuff, and reminds us all that nothing should keep us away from the games and stories that we love.