Are you a fighting game fan but had not found the right community? We suggest you to join Advance Guard, a fighting game fans community without limited by certain game title. Let’s find out more about this community from our conversation with Advance Guard’s leader, Bram Arman a.k.a Aho!
D: Can you share to us how Advance Guard begun?
AG: Advance Guard was initiated during Indonesia Fighting Game Championship (IFGC) 2012. Garlic, (Adipati Rahmat, AG’s Founder) asked Jozdrumz (Joshua Pamintori, AG’s Broadcaster) to join him utilizing the IFGC momentum to create a fighting game-themed gameshow that will be broadcasted live at Twitch.tv. Even until now, the live broadcast can be watched at Twitch.Tv here and all broadcast will be uploaded at our Youtube channel here.
D : What’s behind the Advance Guard name? What is the philosophy?
AG: At the beginning, we think about a name that can reflect our vision and profile. Advance Guard itself was taken from Marvel vs Capcom game series, Advancing Guard. Advance itself is reflecting our vision to always move forward and improve ourselves while Guard is reflecting our wish to be a guardian that can keep Indonesia’s fighting game communities (FGCs) active.
D: How many members Advance Guard has at its start?
AG: At the time it was started, we have Garlic (Adipati Rahmat), Liz (Lizanias Mainake), Mask10 (Andre Fransisco), Jozdrumz (Joshua Pamintori), and Aho (Bram Arman).
D : Was this community started from liking the same game title?
AG: This team was started based on our passion on fighting game, we did not limit ourselves to one game title. Advance Guard members also come from various fighting game community. The members’ preference varied widely yet some choose to specialize in one game. Most of them like to play various fighting game, even when the game presented at gathering is a game that they don’t really good at or rarely played. In every gathering, the members usually played happily and giving advices to each other during the game session. Overall, this team was created based on the love for fighting game.
D: Currently, how many members Advance Guard has?
AG: Up until now we have 21 members. As a working group, Advance Guard has a solid structure. Other than the leader position, we also have vice leader, Broadcaster, Producer, Creative Division, Event Division, and several others.
D: Is Advance Guard associated with other fighting game community in Indonesia and overseas?
AG: Our hope is that Advance Guard can become the center for all Indonesia fighting game community thus we actively build and maintain relationship with game fighting communities such as Indotekken (Tekken), IndoSF (Street Fighter), Heaven or Hell, IndoKOF (King of Fighter), ISCC (Soul Calibur), Indofinest (Injustice), etc. We also actively build and maintain relationship with overseas FGCs such as Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, etc. we visit each other whenever there’s major event held in each country.
D: What are Advance Guard’s activities? Did you guys held gathering often?
AG: As a structured working group, we have an annual, monthly, and weekly plan. Since we started as a webtv show, our focus is to create regular webepisodes where currently we have finished Season 2 (20 episodes in total). Other activities are tournament event, regular podcast, AGRadio broadcast, and providing support for live broadcast for non-game events. We also have our own clothing brand called GAME SWAG. The gathering itself is quite infrequent. Sometimes we did it based on request or when we want to get together. We also often held social gatherings by having a group feast, karaoke, and have a movie night out to be closer with other members.
D: Advance Guard was present during JGS 2013, is participating in such events already included in Advance Guard’s fixed schedule?
AG: For now, AG regularly held fighting game competition events, the annual ones are #IFGC and #FightFest while the monthly one is #GMT. At the beginning of the year, we already set when an event will be held. This agenda was posted in our Facebook page so that the gamers know when their favorite game event will be held so they can have a motivation to exercise, sharpening their skill in preparing for the event. For JGS, we contacted the event organizer Dyandra Promosindo and proposed a partnership to hold a fighting game competition as part of JGS 2012 we called Fight Fest. The idea was responded positively and Fight Fest at JGS 2012 was very successful. With a better preparation, we were able to organize Fight Fest at JGS 2013 even better.
D: Is joining a tournament has become a regular activity?
AG: Yes, gamers needed a regular competition to improve their skill. A tournament also become a great stimulus and can be used to see how much their skill has improved. The stimulus is not only comes in prizes or the chance to represent Indonesia in international tournaments. The stimulus also comes in inviting overseas gamers with international reputation. They become our benchmark, how great our gamers in international level since so many Indonesia gamers are already satisfied if they had become the best in their city, or in national level. Through a regular tournament, we can gain new friends, ne experience, and realize how much we love games and the community that we built and bring us to where we are now.
D: What is Advance Guard members’ biggest achievement?
AG: Most of our members are very competitive player and very passionate in being the best. They have achieved notable accomplishments in various competitions both in Indonesia and overseas. Some of them are representing Indonesia at international events such as WCG (2006-2008), getting the top 3 position in a tournament held in Singapore for Blazblue and Melty Blood, win several local competition in Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, and other cities for: Tekken, Dead or Alive, Virtua Fighter, Street Fighter, Marvel VS Capcom, Blazblue, King of Fighter, etc.
D: Is there any game title restriction for Advance Guard members or they were free to play any game?
AG: Basically we placed no restriction for which game to play or not since we believe all fighting games are interesting to play and put dedication to. Fighting game titles that we have supported until now are: Tekken, Street Fighter, King of Fighter, BlazBlue, Virtua Fighter, Street Fighter x Tekken, Injustice, Soul Calibur, Persona Arena, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom, Mortal Kombat and Guilty Gear. We’re still looking for the gamer or community that played old school fighting games such as Bloody Roar, Melty Blood, Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, Groove on Fight, Rival School, etc. and for now we not only supporting fighting games but also non-fighting games such as FIFA, rhythm games (Beat Mania etc), Trading Card Game, and League of Legends. We even have two League of Legends teams, Advance Guard and Virtus Omega.
Actually, what restricts us more in exploring other fighting games is time. Since we need to balance our life, Advance Guard members who had a job (some are married and have kids too) can’t fully dedicate their time to play game only. That’s why our activities were simply due to our love and dedication towards fighting game growth in our beloved nation.
D: What is Advance Guard members’ favorite game?
AG: Most members likes Tekken, Street Fighter, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom, BlazBlue, King of Fighter, Soul Calibur, Persona Arena, Injustice, and Guilty Gear series.
D: What do you think about the growth of fighting game fans in Indonesia?
AG: Fighting game fans maybe not as many as PC game fans such as DOTA, LoL or even sport-themed games such as FIFA since most fighting game were played casually, not for competition. But we tried our best to make it enjoyable even for people that didn’t play this game. Some who enjoyed the game might want to try playing the game. Some who enjoyed playing probably will fall in love with the game. From this, we really hope there are more new gamers that can compete with other gamers through a tournament. The tournaments then arranged in a way that can draw casual gamers’ interest to play more seriously. We also created webepisodes that highlighted various FGCs so that the gamers that found difficulty in finding a sparring partner will know who to contact. So far, we are quite successful in it.
D: What is Advance Guard’s future plan? Is there any set target that you guys want to achieve?
AG: Our target is to help promoting fighting game fans and supporters’ community so there can be more FGCs and the gamers become more skilled and as great as, or better, than gamers abroad so Indonesia can be noticed and recognized by other countries. Our plan for the near future is continuing programs that were pushed back due to the tournaments we held recently such as starting our Season 3 webepisodes. We also want to strengthen our relationship with FGCs and sponsors. We’re also really happy since recently we get a sponsorship from Madcatz Inc (a US-based game peripherals provider) and we believe that we can get other sponsorships so we can provide a stronger support for Indonesia FGCs.
We also want to continuously provide support for the gamers and their communities so they can compete in international level by creating a network that connects FGCs across countries. As for now, we represent Indonesian FGCs and partnered with FGCs from Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, etc through SEA UNION initiation (Southeast Asia FGCs’ alliance) that was created to exchange experiences, sending their best gamers to represent their country, and other activities. For example we supported DM MCZ XIAN as Singapore’s representative for IFGC2013 in February. XIAN then wins EVO2013 at USA by utilizing IFGC2013’s seeding point. Other example is where we bring FV CHUAN and CTRL TRIX as Malaysia’s representative in JGS 2013. We not only bring overseas representatives, but also sending our representatives abroad such as Advg Aho that participated in Four Nations Battle Royale in Malaysia last September or Advg Oscura that will be participating in UMVC3 tournament in Brunei Darussalam on December. We sincerely hope the partnership and the good relationship will grow and be better.
D: Is there any plan to open Advance Guard’s rep in other cities?
AG: Unfortunately, we currently have no rep outside Jakarta. This was due to we had never held any event outside Jakarta. We also never received any submission from gamers outside Jakarta to join us. If there’s any, we’ll be happily considering it.
D : Is someone required to be a great player or have remarkable skill to be an Advance Guard member?
AG: basically the requirement to join Advance Guard is having the same vision and mission and a passion for fighting game. Gaming skill or achievement is not the sole reason we accept someone.
D : Where can we contact Advance Guard?
AG: You can follow our facebook at advanceguard, Twitter @advanceguardtv and instagram at advanceguardtv. You can also watch us on Youtube at advanceguardtv and on Twitchtv through twitch.tv/joztv. You can also send us email to firstname.lastname@example.org or directly contact our personnel at their twitter account.