High-Level Player Talks About Being Trans in the Fighting Game Community

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I cannot fathom what it must be like to transition in public, but this excellent profile of Ricki Ortiz provides a small glimpse into what that difficult road must be like. The fighting game community, like any community, has its problems. It’s not alone in how it can toxically treat women, homosexuals, and others perceived as “different.” Ortiz’s strength and perseverance gives me hope, and by telling her story, maybe that means other people will feel comfortable, too.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Ricki Ortiz, 31, is a transgender woman who is also one of the most decorated fighting game players in America and a member of one of the strongest teams in all of eSports. She’s been kicking ass at various fighting games most of her adult life, winning numerous major events over the years. Since 2003, Ortiz has finished seventh or higher 12 times at the world’s biggest fighting game tournament, Evolution Championship Series, also known as EVO. She is renowned for her skills in Marvel vs Capcom 2, Street Fighter III: Third Strike, Capcom vs SNK 2, and Street Fighter IV in the fighting game community (FGC).

Yet for all she has accomplished in the FGC, she’s had to overcome so much more in her personal life, dealing with harassment, depression and an identity crisis.

“I feel the brunt of it now, presenting as female,” Ortiz told me. “My skill takes a backseat. People question my gender identity versus me playing the game.”


145,000 subscribers does not make you rich. Heck, it’s not enough to even make a living. While this piece isn’t nearly as in-depth about the financial realities of running a mid-sized YouTube channel as I’d like, it’s still worthwhile insight into people trying to make it on YouTube. Stuff like this puts the fear of god into me about where my job might be in 10 years, but who knows what the ecosystem is going to look like then? Hopefully, uh, a little bit better than this.


Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

That’s why the show’s January 26 Facebook post caused my jaw to drop and my heart to sink.

“Game Sack is going on hiatus,” the post read. “We do have another episode coming up in two weeks but then after that we don’t know when the next one will be.”

As the hosts explained in the post, the pressure of continually creating new episodes essentially nonstop since April 2011 had finally taken its toll. “Even when there were obligations in real life we kept going through with Game Sack,” the hosts said. “You take breaks on YouTube and people lose interest, subscribers diminish and people become angry.”


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Oh, And This Other Stuff

  • Oli Welsh looked at how three very different games—Firewatch, Unravel, Dying Light—handle nature in very different ways.
  • Christopher Williams examined the design process for God of War’s Kratos, and how the character went from fully clothed to nearly nude.
  • Isha Aran found comfort and understanding about her own love life in a Japanese dating sim.
  • Alexa Ray Corriea dove deep into the relationship possibilities in the new Fire Emblem, and her disappointment that it lacks certain freedoms.
  • Janine Hawkins explored the relatively unknown subgenre of “skinship.”
  • Imran Khan figured out why GameStop is suddenly fleeing Puerto Rico.
  • Patrick Miller wrote extensively how Street Fighter’s trying to reinvent itself.

You can reach the author of this post at patrick.klepek@kotaku.com or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.

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