Interview: SherryJenix on Street Fighter, her future plans, and GamesterGear
SherryJenix has been a fixture on the fighting game scene for years, has been involved in some classic moments in the history of the fighting game community, and is one of the most well-known female Street Fighter players in the U.S. She has been enjoying the benefits of a sponsorship from GamesterGear for almost a year now, and I recently had a chance to ask her a few questions about that sponsorship, her typical practice routine, and life as a professional gamer.
GameCrate: How did you get started gaming on a professional level?
SherryJenix: I actually just started playing four years ago, and it started with me randomly going to an arcade with some friends because they wanted to play some Initial D. They were actually having a Street Fighter tournament on the same day in the arcade, and one of my friends happened to be in the tournament. He asked me if I was interested in playing in this girls-only tournament coming up. Even though I'd never played before I was like, "Why not? This will be a fun experience." I got destroyed of course, but the whole crowd was interesting, Street Fighter is a really fun game, and I just ended up sticking with it and playing it competitively.
GC: What do you think it is about you that makes you able to compete at a high level?
S: In the beginning I felt like it was my reactions that kind of put me higher than other people, but right now I think that it's mostly my reads on people, like what I think they're going to do. That's my strong point right now. That's kind of what I rely on, and I'm working on all the other fields, like the footsies and hit confirmations and all that, because I didn't come from the old games. This game doesn't stress it as much, even though those fields help, but I didn't get a chance to work on it from the old games, so I'm developing those skills right now.
GC: What is it like to be a woman in the professional fighting game world?
S: I honestly don't really think anything of it. The people that I actually compete against, most of them already know who I am because I've been in the scene for four years. But in the beginning they were surprised. They were like, "Oh, you actually know what you're doing."
GC: What are your plans for the future? How long do you want to keep doing this?
S: I actually want to play Street Fighter until I somehow grow a lot older and have arthritis or something and become physically unable to play. With GamesterGear we're more than just players, we actually work with marketing and all that other stuff, so that's where I plan to grow with GamesterGear.
GC: Does your family understand what you do?
S: No. My family is really traditional. I'm about to graduate right now from Cal Poly Pomona with a physics degree, and I told my family...they know that I do this as a hobby, but I haven't been home a lot because I've been travelling out to tournaments so much...they don't even know if I go to school anymore! I told them, "I go to class Monday through Friday." I told them that I'm going to be working with GamesterGear right after I graduate, and they weren't too happy about it but I told them, "Just trust me, I know what I'm doing." And I'll always have my physics degree to go back on.
GC: Do you like to play against non-professional gamers?
S: Yeah, it's fun. It teaches me something, because sometimes I have problems with people who don't play too much, because when you play against a player who actually plays Street Fighter, everybody has patterns, they don't really have a mind-game or anything, they play really static, really linear, just based on the character. But when you play someone who doesn't really play the game, they kind of do whatever they want. They kind of have their own mind-game, so you have to adapt, you have to get used to it. So it's really fun. And they always talk to you, so we always have a bunch of laughs.
GC: What's your practice routine like?
S: When I first started I practiced every day. I didn't have a console so I went to the arcade a lot, so I literally went to the arcade right after work at 3 PM, and I played until it closed at 2 AM. Then we went to a video store which had another Street Fighter cabinet and I would stay there until 7 AM, then grab Denny's with the crew, go home and sleep and then go to work, rinse and repeat. Since I can't really do that when school is going on I haven't been able to practice much, but once I graduate I plan on practicing basically every day and getting that back on schedule.
GC: Outside of the fighting genre, what games do you like to play?
S: The only game I really play is League of Legends. I play a LOT of League of Legends.
GC: Do you feel like your fighting game skills transfer over to League?
S: Somewhat. I don't think League of Legends is as complicated as fighting games, but a little transfers over. Spacing, when you have middle lane and you have other characters that have skill shots and you have to dodge it. When you know if your opponent has a certain range where they can do something, you know you need to be out of that range. That's the same thing as with fighting games, since you know that if you're in a specific range he's most likely to throw out this move, so you need to make that read. And then having reactions, that's a small thing. If you're in a bad situation and they throw out a skill shot to stun you and you flash away, that type of thing.
GC: How did your relationship with GamesterGear get started?
S: I was actually approached by one of our other team members, and they brought me here and we had a meeting, and we hit it off from the very start. They started sending me to tournaments representing them, and that was before Chris was on, and that was before we had the League of Legends team, so I was one of the very few GamesterGear reps going out to these fighting game tournaments. So I have a special place for GamesterGear in my heart. They did a lot for me, because before them I had to pay for everything out of my own pocket. They share the same views as I have, so we're growing pretty well together.
GC: What equipment do you use from GamesterGear?
S: Right now I have my custom headset, which is the Xbox 210 in purple.
Many thanks to Sherry for taking the time to answer my questions, and thanks to GamesterGear for arranging our meeting. In addition to their presence at E3, GamesterGear will be at the CEO tournament in June in Orlando, Florida. GamesterGear sponsors Sherryjenix, Chris G, and Team GG, which competes in League of Legends tournaments. They have a variety of gaming headsets currently available, including models for PC, PS3, and with a "rumble" vibration feature.