Did You Know: In 1998, Japan Vs. America Happened For The First Time In Fighting Game History


Competitive gaming was still a new endeavour in the 1990s, and if there were any tournaments happening, they mainly consistent of local or regional competitors. Cross-country competitions were a rarity back in those days, let alone having players from other countries come to play.

But as competitive gaming continued to grow, the idea of a showdown between Japan and America, two of the countries with the highest quality players, started to seem too good to pass up. And in 1998, two Street Fighter Alpha 3 players, each representing their respective countries, would face off. It would be a match that not only continued the exponential growth of the fighting game scene, but the beginning of one of the most historic rivalries in fighting game history.

Daigo vs. Alex Valle

The match was between none other than Daigo “The Beast’ Umehara and Alex Valle, the undisputed best Street Fighter Alpha 3 players in Japan and America, respectively. It was Daigo’s first tournament overseas, and he had more than a match in Valle, who had solidified his place as the best Alpha 3 player in the United States. 

For newcomers to the fighting game community, it’s interesting to see Daigo and Alex Valle, who are both now old legends of the scene, in their youth; they both know how good they are, and they certainly show it in their attempts at talking smack. 

Valle ends up going with his trademark Ryu while Daigo opts for Akuma. The match is one for the books and comes down to the wire:

This match is a piece of history, and the beginning of one of the most important rivalries in the history of competitive gaming. While Daigo may have usually gotten the better of Valle, they were always memorable sets, and frequently showcase some of the best footsies you’ll ever see.