Daigo Umehara is arguably the most famous Street Fighter fighter on Earth — for this clip, perhaps. But which is his favorite SF game?
"SFII holds a very special place in my heart. It was the very game that introduced me to the world of Street Fighter," Daigo tells Kotaku. "I know Street Fighter IV will be another important game for me in my gaming history. It is the title which gave me new inspiration after 3-4 years in a rut and the title I played through to reach the top and got the sponsorship. In fact, it is becoming a very special game for me in a whole different way from SFII, but both are very important for me."
So... he likes both! But for different reasons.
The sponsorship Daigo is talking about is his deal with peripheral maker Mad Catz to use the company's Tournament Edition FightSticks (like the newly released Super Street Fighter IV arcade stick) at all tournaments. Daigo will also apparently lend his gamertise to Mad Catz in the creation of new sticks. "With the Mad Catz sponsorship, I don't allow compromise and practice even harder," Daigo adds. "My mindset has changed with the Mad Catz deal. I'm more determined than ever to be the best to live up to the "pro" status."
When I interviewed Daigo a few years ago at a Tokyo arcade, he had dropped out of the fighting game scene. It's good to see him back and keen to compete.