In high school I lived down the street from two brothers who were smart enough to invest early into a Playstation. They had the long box versions of all those early games: Ridge Racer, Street Fighter Alpha, Air Combat, Battle Arena Toshinden, etc. An early favorite of mine was Ridge Racer, but far and away the one we played the most was Street Fighter Alpha. I played it in the arcades of course, but sitting down next to someone and playing for hours was a sort of practice I hadn’t gotten since playing SF2 on the SNES. That’s when the brothers had the bright idea to host a tournament.
I was reluctant to enter because, well, first was the $10 entry fee, and secondly because I wasn’t confident in my ability to win so I joined to be part of the fun. If memory serves, the tournament had 8 players and was set up as double elimination. I remember not doing too well and getting knocked into losers early on. My first fight in losers though I did pretty well and I specifically remember picking Ken and doing a jumping HP, crouching HP, HP shoryuken combo. The guy gave me hell for my one button combo, but it didn’t bother me too much. Later on I got knocked out of the tournament anyway.
The most memorable part of the tournament was what happened during grand finals. First, it’s important to know that for this tournament, the person hosting it set the rules for no throws. The host won the first round, but lost the second round to a throw. The host claimed it was his right to a free hit at the beginning of the third round, and it was agreed upon by everyone since the only rule was no throwing. Instead of throwing the second player for equal damage, or just punching him he does a level 3 Shinkuu Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku. Insane! He took the rest of the round easily. The guy who lost got his $10 for second prize and it didn’t cost him anything overall, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was a shitty win. We found out later he actually hosted the tournament to collect money for some target purchase of his - probably more games.
Needless to say, that kind of ruined the pay-to-enter tournaments for us and we never did it again. As someone that grew up on games and Street Fighter it has always been a dark memory for me. Years later I went back to their house and played them, but they couldn’t touch me, haha. Those were very satisfying wins.