Interview with Pro-Gamer, Justin Wong of the Evil Geniuses

Being an avid fan of fighting games all my life, I’ve always had an interest in the fighting game tournament scene, and pro-gamers who are considered to be the best of the best. I decided to catch up with Justin Wong, one of the best gamers in the country, since the fighting game genre and tournaments for professionals have been on the rise. Justin is considered by and large one of the best Street Fighter players in the country, along with placing well in tournaments for games such as Marvel vs. Capcom 2/3 as well.

GamingAngels: We noticed that the Street Fighter series seems to be your game of choice. For you, what sets it apart from other fighting games?

Justin Wong: I grew up on Street Fighter at my local arcade. It was the most played and the most competitive in New York so I wanted to be the best at my local arcade.

Do you have any advice for gamers looking to improve their fighting game skills? Is there anything else you would recommend for novices?

I would say practice a lot and try to learn as many characters as you can to have character knowledge and also make sure your execution is on point. You can’t do damage if your execution isn’t on point.

Do you feel using an arcade stick is a dramatic improvement over standard controllers for fighting games? I personally have stuck with controllers thus far, and have always wondered if arcade sticks are worth the investment.

I personally prefer arcade sticks than standard controllers. I do feel it is easier to perform many things on an arcade stick but everyone has a preference, right? One of the best players use standard controllers but I hate controllers for fighting games.

A lot of people were surprised by your initial thoughts on Marvel vs. Capcom 3; Now that the game has been out for a bit, how do you feel about it now? What do you like/dislike about it? Do you feel it’s an improvement over Marvel vs. Capcom 2?

I still believe its the cheapest game ever but that doesn’t mean its not fun. In fighting games, the cheaper the game, the more fun it is, but that doesn’t mean its not frustrating at the same time. I like the character variety in MvC3 but I do miss the in-depth part of MvC2.

I saw your very impressive wall of trophies and plaques featured on your website. Do any of these victories stand out to you more than others? Are there any specific matches that you feel you were more challenging than others?

Umm to me, trophies are whatever now. I just love competing and doing my best and having everyone to see. And of course the prize is always good. There are many matches that mean a lot to me. Any match I fight against an international player is always good in my eyes. Got to fight for the USA ya know.

You seem to gravitate more to 2D fighters (Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom) than say 3D. Is there any reason why? What 3D fighters do you enjoy the most, and why?

I use to play lots of Tekken 5, but there are too many fighting games coming out and its hard to keep up. I do play Mortal Kombat 9 competitively and I will play Tekken Tag Tournament 2 seriously when it comes out.

What new fighting games on the horizon (such as Street Fighter vs. Tekken, new Smash Brother Installments, Soul Calibur V) are you looking the most forward too? Do you plan to take up any of them on a tournament level basis?

I think the main fighting game I am looking forward too is probably Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Street Fighter X Tekken just because everyone has their eyes on them. I like to go where the competition goes.

We saw that you offer Street Fighter lessons now too; Could you give us a deeper explanation of how you train gamers and help them develop their skills? I know many gamers who are very intimidated by fighters as a genre, and won’t even partake in games for fun. Do you have any specific students who’ve shown progress?

I don’t do it too much due to my very busy schedule. But there was a time I was full time into them and I would say it helped a lot. There have been some strong improvements in their tournament placings and what I teach them is their flaws and strengths and what they should work on.

If you could change any three things about any three fighting games of your choice, what would they be, and why?

Hmmm the only game I would change is Marvel vs Capcom 3; and I want them to nerf X-Factor, make Phoenix a regular character, and a spectator mode for X-Box Live.

We know that in the fighting game community, the basis of tiers arises whenever any game is discussed. Do you believe in character tiers? Is this concept applicable to all fighters, or just some? (The rough definition being that certain characters simply put, have more advantages and utilities available to them than others do. Or that players who pick specific characters tend to perform better than those who pick other, usually less “powerful” characters. A good example being Sentinel in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.)

I believe that tiers will always be strong opinion based. It can never be fact because it will be all based on theory. And I don’t think that people in general can 100% prove specific theories because it all comes down to player skill and practice. I will always have my own specific tier list and so does everyone else at the same time. And this revolves around every fighting game out there.

Other than fighters, are there any other genres of gaming you enjoy? If so, what specific games/series do you enjoy as well?

I am a gamer at heart. I love RPGS, Puzzles and Adventures. Puzzles are my favorite, especially Magical Drop series. If there were competitive Magical Drop tourneys like all the time, I would 100% participate in those tourneys. I do believe I am super godlike in those games.

In terms of your own fighting game skills, what do you feel you could improve upon? Is there anything (whether it be improving at specific games, or game mechanics) that you’re hoping to develop more?

I would improve on many things. I would improve on my other characters for sure. I also would improve on my execution because I do not practice enough.

What other, non gaming related hobbies do you enjoy?

I do enjoy movies, social drinkings, hanging out with my friends, and anything new. I can’t knock on it without trying it right?

Do you have anything else you’d like to share with us today or add? Or any shout outs?

Hmm Shout out to Evil Geniuses for everything, my sponsors Intel, Monster Energy, SteelSeries, Kingston HyperX, Intel Extreme Boards, Bigfoot Networks, 6 Pool Gaming, and SplitReason and everyone who supports the video game community and follow me on twitter @jwonggg for more updates. Thanks!!!

Thanks so much to Justin, and the Evil Geniuses for getting in touch with us! For more information on Justin and on Pro-Gamers, check out