Anyone who’s ever played a competitive fighting game has experienced a moment of hopelessness. A moment when you realize that your chances are getting slim and your hopes of winning slowly fade away before your very eyes. What separates legendary players from the rest of us is the ability to look that dread in the face and keep playing.
The ability to never give up.
At the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 tournament at EVO 2007, everyone in the fighting game community was waiting for one match, Justin Wong vs. Michael “Yipes” Mendoza.
Justin was the best Marvel vs. Capcom 2 player on the planet. He was the MvC2 EVO world champion in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. While there were plenty of challengers for his title, only one person had ever beaten him at EVO — Yipes.
Yipes was a master of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. He’s also known for his legendary commentary, inspiring compilation videos that created memes repeated to this day. But Yipes isn’t just a legend on the mic, he’s a legend in-game too. He placed second in MvC2 at EVO 2005, and fifth in ‘06. He was one of the few players who could consistently prove a challenge to a young Justin Wong, even eliminating him at EVO 2005.
At EVO 2007 both players tore through their sides of the winners’ bracket to meet up in the Winners’ Finals. And while Yipes looked strong, Justin's tenacity kept him in the game. Despite being down to Cyclops, a character that shouldn't be making full-team comebacks, Justin didn't give up. He didn't give in.
He kept fighting, and made history.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.