May the 4th be with you: First to Ten exclusive with Darth Arma

With the Injustice Pro Series Season 2 announced and around the corner, I thought it only appropriate to reflect on the first season a bit.  Our scene had an epic year in 2017 with a lot of life changing payouts given to players who placed high enough during the various majors. We saw many players in the scene take a step outside their country to another for a chance to rank higher with their points as well as many players make a bigger name for themselves at some of these events.  Thinking about some of those moments got me insanely hype for season 2 and I hope the rest of you are also excited.

This week’s guest on First to Ten felt only appropriate to be one of the commentators of the Injustice Pro Series tour.  Miguel Perez, or as we know him, “Darth Arma”, is a long time NRS game player. Over the years of being on the microphone he finally transitioned to doing that more than competing.  Some can probably recall seeing him a lot on Eight on the Break which used to happen in Jersey back in the older NRS days. Some may only know him now from his time spent on the Injustice Pro Series tour last year.  Regardless of how you know him, he’s quite an interesting person with a deep love for the competitive scene.

Photo of Darth Arma by Robert Paul – http://rmpaul.com/

Let’s dive in and get to know Arma a little more:

1.  Miguel, thank you for joining us.  Tell everyone a little bit about where you’re from and how you came to be in the scene there.

Well, I’m from Northern Jersey, and I’ve been playing video games competitively since 2005, starting off with local Halo 2 tournaments. I never amounted to anything nationally (which means my team got washed at MLG) but I was good enough to win my local tournaments pretty consistently. That competitiveness moved on away from halo and onto fighting games, which developed at my local arcade known as Fun N’ Games.

In those days, you didn’t have the luxury of a stable online net code, or the freedom to use your own pad, you had to use the awful arcade sticks there and deal with it. Fast forward to 2009 and the release of street fighter 4 reviving the entire fighting game scene, and that was when I was introduced to the FGC. I picked up the game, got my combos down, played ranked enough to understand how to win and found out what the SRK forums were. Those forums led me to the 8 on the break weekly street fighter 4 tournament, and I’ve been hooked to the FGC ever since. Fast forward a little bit to 2011 and we get MK9. Instantly in love! I played ranked for hours and hours and days and days, continued lurking through the SRK forums to find any locals I could reasonably attend, and went to VSM a few times when I could make the 2 hour stuck in traffic trip from jersey.

Say what you will about the NRS community, but I feel like it’s hands down one of the most welcoming communities out there in the FGC. Everyone was very kind and welcoming to all sorts of players. I didn’t matter if you went 0-2 (you still got made fun of) but you were still part of the family. I played Cyrax in that game, and Maxter would not only assist me by downplaying the characters damage, but he would actually give me advice to work on my game too. Injustice 1 releases and I’m ready to go, a whole new game, and pretty much common ground to everyone with NRS’s first back to block game. I developed immensely with the help of KDZ and began to learn fighting games on a whole new level.

I learned to make decisions based on frame data, reads, and tendencies. Don’t get me wrong, if you put me at negative I’m still going to doing something crazy, that’s just who I am. Began to commentate at our very strong weekly local and developed a love for commentary, not for money, not for glory, but at first it was just to understand the game more, express what was going on and to have genuine fun with it. MKX is released 2 years later, RIGHT as I have to kick college into full time 🙁 It hurt alot but I knew fighting games had to go on the back burner just for a little bit. I graduated from college right as injustice 2 came out, and I came back swinging with the injustice pro series tour and had a blast every step of the way.

Art of Miguel as Batman (Batman Beyond skin) from Injustice 1. Art done by Eric Barbour and the video of everyone from that era can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1SeO8Balow

2.  So in Injustice 1 you played Batman and were known for this, what are one to two of your favorite memories from this game?

I actually really wanted to play the Joker, because he’s my favorite villain of ALL time, but I cared about winning the first break weekly tournament so I went with the quick pick of batman.

This sick tiny impossible zombie pixel comeback against who I believed to be the best wonder woman at the time, KDZ. Literally NOTHING but pressure on me, up against the ropes, I SHOULD HAVE DIED, situation where I clutched it out with my heart beating in my throat the entire time.

And the time that I beat Rico Suave at ECT during top 8. Again, pressure is on, 2-2 Top 8 on the stage and I’ve got this pesky aquaman in front of me.

3.  What is your favorite NRS game and why?

My favorite NRS game is probably MKX, because it provided EVERYONE with so much content, it was just a huge stride coming onto this gen’s console that NRS was able to do the things they’ve been wanting to do for soooo long. Super bloody and gruesome fatalities, 3 different character variations, unique intro and well written dialog, in depth story mode, return of a stamina bar, and more. So much was brought to the table with such passion and precision. Sure the game wasn’t perfect, but nothing really is.  

4.  What made you decide to transition more into commentating over playing the game competitively?

At first is was a little involuntary, I started going to school technically during injustice 1, but I did grind the game enough the first year I could get by on not playing it full time for the remainder. But when MKX came out, I just didn’t have the time to be happy with how I was as a competitor, so I focused more on commentary. I thought about competing while commentating for injustice 2, but between getting engaged and venturing into a new business, I just couldn’t keep up and I knew it wouldn’t make me happy to fall well below my expectations as a competitor. So when the Injustice 2 pro series started, I dabbled a little with my joker casually and pretty much put batman away for good.

5.  When commentating how do you think your style and flow are? What role do you play when commentating with somebody else?

When I commentate I try my hardest to cater to newer/non players in attempts to bring them over to the world of competitive fighting games. I explain mechanics and try to highlight what makes this game unique and special to all the other fighting games out there, for the off chance that someone who’s “just” interested in watching batman beat the crap out of their favorite DC villains, to dive in head first into the FGC.

The role I play is definitely support, just like I do in every other game. “You need materials or a pick up in fortnite? I got you! You’re the ADC that needs to get away from this creeping jungler? Say no more! My game plan behind the mic is to do what I need to do provide synergy and help my co-caster be the best they can be, all while making sure the audience at home is entertained and having fun.

6.  What is a challenge you’ve faced in the scene whether it was during competition or commentating?  How did you overcome this obstacle?

Aquaman’s down 2, and I deal with it by losing.

Seriously though, I’d say the biggest obstacle I’ve faced in the scene is knowing that fighting games are a niche genre, and developers are doing very little to remedy that, to help player’s understand the game in its entirety.

7.  Do you have a favorite player you like to watch?  How do you remain unbiased while commentating their matches?

My favorite player to watch is hands down Tekken Master. Knowing that this guy is a foreign warrior, has very few outside offline sources outside of his brothers, and limited “playable” online time makes his strides and accomplishments soooo much more impressive. I usually don’t think about how godlike tekken master is while he’s playing. I’ve gotten used to being unbiased after getting flack for commentating any of KDZ’s matches. I feel like NOT competing has helped me become more unbiased as well.

8.  What were your initial thoughts when chosen for the IPS season 1 tour?  What was that experience like for you?

I remember sitting in the library at school working on one of my last papers for my final semester when I got that call for combo breaker, I was so shocked. I couldn’t work for the rest of the day, I was so pumped and amped, but then it switched from denial to yaaaaay, questioning my existence, to YES we’re going to Combo Breaker!

Screencap of Kitana Prime and Darth Arma commentating the IPS Finals

9.  How is the IPS Season 2 tour looking for you?  Anything you can say about it?

Its weird, I wish i could say something, its not like Im not allowed to say anything, its more of, theres nothing to say. Applications were submited but as far as “we” know, casters havent been selected yet.

10.  What tournaments do you plan to commentate for this year?  Anything else exciting in store for you in 2018?

Applications are in, but the ones for sure in 2018 are Summer Jam and NEC, I am open and willing to attend/work any event, so if anyone out there is a fan, my twitter is the best way to reach me. For 2018 I am going to focus more on creating content and streaming which I have started to do little by little.

Miguel and his fiance Chelsea (who you might see running brackets at tournaments supporting the scene!)

Thanks for the interview!

 

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Thank YOU Miguel for the interview!
If you’d like to follow or keep up to date with Dartharma you can follow him here:

Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/dartharma
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dartharma
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DarthArma

As always, thank you for stopping by everyone.

I hope you’re still enjoying this series.  I still have the plan of making this into a zine for you to have as a keepsake.  I am hoping to have them ready for CEO to give out to those who attend my podcast panel.

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