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The rise of Tekken in Pakistan: The hidden gems

The news of Arslan Ash’s winning Tekken tournaments at Evo Japan 2019 and Evo 2019 in the US this year was probably not a huge surprise to the 90s kids in Pakistan, especially with the success of Tekken in Pakistan.

As esports becomes a big thing, Tekken brings back a lot of fond memories for those of us who grew up in the 90s and enjoyed video games, this was also the case in Pakistan.

Computers and gaming consoles were not a common possession for everyone in those days.

In turn, all the kids would flock to the local gaming zones, which more or less existed on every street corner.

There were several popular games, such as Street Fighter, Metal Slug, King of Fighters, Snow Bros, to name a few.

And then there was Tekken 3, a game that set in stone, the path for Pakistan’s success stories in Esports today.

Arslan Ash wins the Tekken (E-sports) tournament called EVO and raises his trophy in celebration.
Arslan Ash after his win at the EVO championship series (Source: Stepahanie Lindgren/Twitter – @Vexanie)

 

The news of Arslan Ash’s win of Evo Japan 2019 and Evo 2019, and more recently, the All-Pakistan final at the Tokyo Masters, with Awais Honey and Arif Butt, was probably not a huge surprise to the 90s kids of Pakistan.

The obsession with Tekken 3 started two decades ago. These kids then were enthralled by gaming, and it was a phenomenon that was non-existent before the introduction of gaming zones.

These gaming zones would have long queues, with people having to wait for quite some time before getting their chance to play.

Unfortunately, this wait would mostly end in some Tekken expert destroying you in a minute with their infinite combos.

The rise of Pakistani Tekken has also taken the world by surprise. players from other countries have shown an interest in visiting the country to practice with local players.

In the early to mid-2000s gaming zones on local streets started to disappear, but the obsession with Tekken did not die along with them.

Tekken may not have been as popular in the last decade or so, but with Arslan Ash’s win, it became apparent that Pakistani ‘Tekken gods’ were hiding in the shadows.

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Perhaps they were practicing and getting better until they thought it was the right time for them to show the world their talent.

What I guess we do know is that one must practice amongst the best to be the best, and Arslan Ash is just one of the many talented players in Pakistan.

Through his wins, he has put Pakistan on the Esports map and rejuvenated the interest in Tekken.

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The media coverage he has received in the last few months has made him a popular figure in the country, and he has inspired a lot of the youth to take up his path.

The sudden rise of Pakistani Tekken has also taken the world by surprise.

To learn their unique style, players from other countries have shown an interest in visiting the country to practice with the local players.

The Esports world is suddenly intrigued and fascinated with the rise of Pakistani Tekken players. For example, analysts on ESPN Esports are now trying to solve the puzzle of the sudden rise of Pakistani Tekken.

Recently, internationally renowned Tekken players such as Chikurin and Kuro Kuro visited Pakistan from Japan to train and practice with local players to understand the Pakistani style of Tekken.

This has been seen as a positive sign for eSports in the country.

Most recently, Awais Honey, as sweet as his name may sound, made other Tekken players swallow some bitter pills.

Awais won the FV Cup 2019 in Malaysia, which was his first-ever International competition. In this tournament, two other Pakistani players, Khan and Bilal, finished in the top 8.

Now, with sponsors such as FΛTE Esports and GENUINE GAMING supporting the players, the future looks brighter than ever in Pakistan, as it has motivated players to come out and take part in international tournaments.

The Esports world is suddenly intrigued and fascinated with the rise of Pakistani Tekken players.

For example, analysts on ESPN Esports are now trying to solve the puzzle of the sudden rise of Pakistani Tekken. YouTubers like TheMainManSWE and King Jae have uploaded videos in awe of the talent coming out of Pakistan.

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Some of them even go as far as to say that Pakistan may have dethroned Korea and Japan as the best nation in Tekken.

Other exciting players from Pakistan such as Hassan Naruto, Awais Ali, Heera Malik are waiting for the opportunity to make their mark.

What’s more interesting is that these players have their matches available online which can be viewed on YouTube channel Tekken Gujranwala.

Several esports and tekken athletes celebrate with their medals
Source: Arslan Ash

Several players do not even use any form of social media.

Nonetheless, with the rapid rise of esports in the country, the day is not far when we will see two Pakistani players facing each other in an international tournament.

Another key thing to notice though is that most of these players are from Lahore in Pakistan and are the ones who have practiced or taken part in local tournaments with Arslan Ash.

They represent a small percentage of the Tekken community.

There is untapped talent around the country that no one knows of, so, I can clearly say that what we have discovered is just the tip of the Iceberg.

There is no doubt that Tekken will grow in Pakistan alongside other Esports. After the recent wins of Awais Honey and Arslan Ash, their parents have been are assured (this does play an important role in the country) that it can be taken up as a career with decent monetary rewards.

This will further reassure parents across the country that there is a career within Esports for their children.

Pakistani Tekken players are only at the beginning of their careers, and if provided with the right facilities, opportunities, and sponsorships, there may be no stopping them in the future.


He follows Esports and football very closely too. You can follow him on Instagram.
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