'The most important part to improving is having fun' - EventHubs interview with Daigo, talks upcoming games, tournament mindset, top players and more

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • December 6, 2013 at 7:21 a.m. PST

At the recent DreamHack event that took place in Jönköping, Sweden, EventHubs' very own MajinTenshinhan was present on the scene, managing to get a bunch of exclusive interviews with notable people attending the event.


Our fourth interview out of a total seven is with MCZ|Daigo Umehara, widely regarded as one of the best fighting game players of all time, if not the best. In this interview, he talks about upcoming games, tournament mindset, what it takes to be a good player and more.

We've also included a bonus question in our player interviews, asking who each player thought would win DreamHack Winter 2013, prior to the tournament beginning.
Hit the jump to read the full interview.
MajinTenshinhan: What do you think about the changes to Ryu, or lack thereof, in Ultra Street Fighter 4? Do you think that you'll continue playing him, or do you think that you'll be switching characters? If so, to whom?

Daigo Umehara: I don't know so much about Ryu's changes yet, but... And he'll probably get adjusted more from now on anyway, but as long as he doesn't become a lot weaker, I want to keep using him. But, if he becomes a character who I feel can't win tournaments again, I'll be switching to somebody new.

As for who I'd change to, that's very hard... I'll have to try them out and see, I think.

MajinTenshinhan: Are there any upcoming fighting game besides Street Fighter 4 you think that you'll be picking up? If so, which one and why?

Daigo Umehara: Personally, I really like Guilty Gear, but... Since I became a pro, I've kind of started playing just the games that are very popular around the whole world. If Guilty Gear catches on, on a worldwide level, I want to play it.

MajinTenshinhan: You're widely regarded as the best fighting game player in the world. During the Topanga League opening, you were even listed as "Living Legend". Does having this reputation make it harder on you, mentally, when you lose a match?

Daigo Umehara: No, not at all. Every time I enter a tournament, I do it with the mindset of a challenger, so I don't feel extra dejected if I lose. I don't see myself as a champion.

MajinTenshinhan: Who do you think are the five best Street Fighter players in the world?

Daigo Umehara: That's a hard question... For example, in Japan, we have Fuudo and Sako, who I think are very strong, but lately they haven't gotten very impressive results in tournaments. Which players are at the top is something that keeps changing all the time, so as to who are the five best right now, I'm not really sure.

MajinTenshinhan: Who do you think are the five best Street Fighter players in America?

Daigo Umehara: That's hard, too... Who could it be? I'm really not sure. Actually, PR Rog always gets really good results in tournaments, I'd say that he's definitely up in the top. For other American Street Fighter 4 players, I'm not quite sure how much they practice Street Fighter 4... Everyone seems to be playing Marvel a lot. So honestly, I don't really know, but I'd really like to see more from players who've done really well in the past, like Ricky [Ortiz] and Justin [Wong].

MajinTenshinhan: What do you think is the most important quality for becoming a good fighting game player?

Daigo Umehara: That's tough. If it's just about getting better at the game, now that there's online, a lot of players have increased their playtime by getting a lot of matches in online, but ... Being a good player, it can't be just about that. Playing a game with a lot of different players in it, a game that looks fun... I think the most important part just might be having fun? If you can keep having fun while playing the game, I think that's the most important part to improving.

MajinTenshinhan: Who do you think will win DreamHack?

Daigo Umehara: That's a bit hard, I wonder... A lot of top players from Europe are coming, so... It wouldn't be strange if any of them won, but I've been training a lot, so I'm confident in myself.
Many thanks to the great MCZ|Daigo Umehara for agreeing to this interview with us, and for some very interesting insight into the mind of the man who ended up being the DreamHack Winter 2013 champion. Any opinions on Daigo's responses? Let us know in the comments. Image courtesy of MadCatz.com.

Note: This interview was conducted in Japanese and was thereafter translated by the interviewer himself.
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