You may have seen Clarence (a.k.a. SFDevotion ) around in the past , but have you seen the true extent of his devotion? Look no further than the latest Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition , available TODAY, which lists him as the owner of the largest Street Fighter collection in the world.
With a collection of thousands of items spanning nearly twenty years of collecting, that’s an incredible feat! He was kind enough to share his experience as a collector, as well as that of being named the official record-setter.
GregaMan: How did you react when you were informed by Guinness World Records to have the largest Street Fighter collection?
Clarence: It’s hard to describe. I was initially informed via email, and it was mid-day while I was at work, so I wasn’t in the mind-set to react. I remember txting my wife, who then congratulated me. Even then it didn’t really sink in. It was when I received the official certificate that it felt real. Again, it’s hard to describe. I’m humbled and honoured for the title. I remember when I was a young lad, my father would flip through the Guinness World Record books with me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen. I still can’t believe it.
GregaMan: Tell us your story. How did Guinness World Records find you? What was the process like?
Clarence: Over two years ago when I was approached by CAPCOM to participate in the “I Am Street Fighter” documentary, a friend of mine who knew about the project proposed the idea to put in a claim with GWR. So I did, just for fun, and didn’t think much of it. I received a response with a LONG list of things I had to do. Between work and secretly planning a proposal to my girlfriend, it just wasn’t the right time. So I dismissed it. Fast-forward two years, out of nowhere, I received an email regarding the 2015 Gamer’s Edition. The GWR team was looking through older claims and happened to come across mine. My wife and I catalogued for weeks. WEEKS. When we were done the first round, we obtained a witness who then had to count every individual item with us for a second round. Furthermore, we had to take photos of every individual item as evidence for the GWR database. It was a long, tedious process… and totally worth it in the end.
GregaMan: So the record catalogues every Street Fighter item in your collection?
Clarence: This is actually a grey area. My instructions specifically said it had to be branded Street Fighter, which meant no Final Fight, no Rival Schools, no games with cameos or special moves (Mega Man, Breath of Fire, Little Big Planets, etc.) These games also span out into other related media, which I had to exclude (comics, soundtracks, toys, posters, etc.) Special Editions and Packs had to be counted as one item. For example, the Street Fighter IV Collectors Edition and its contents were counted as a whole, so The Ties That Bind movie, which came in the pack, was not counted separately. No duplicates. Every item was official. No bootlegs or copies, though I don’t support piracy anyway. The specifics run deeper, so I won’t bore you with any further details. So no, the final count did not catalogue everything in what I consider to be my entire collection.
GregaMan: What was the final count?
Clarence: The final count was 2,723 individual Street Fighter items, and growing. My newest item is Assassin’s Fist!
GregaMan: What’s your most prized piece within the collection?
Clarence: Oh man, that’s a tough one. I’ve been asked about a “favourite item” before, but I don’t think I “prize” any single piece, actually. Its semantic, but I think of a “prized piece” to be something you cherish and hold dear to your heart, whereas “favourite” is something you would often experience, such as a favourite game or film. They can be one and the same, or different. See, a few items in my collection have sentimental value, but it’s the memories that resonate with me most. When we have friends over and spend time in the Street Fighter room, I can jabber on and on like an old fart telling tales of how I got this or that. For example, I hung out with Ono-san a few years ago and he gave me a few gifts. We met again a year or two later where I introduced him to my wife. He remembered me then, not sure if he’d remember me now. Although these gifts are very dear to me, they’re just objects. When I introduced him to my wife, whom I met because of the game he produced, it meant more to me than any collector’s item. That’s me being an old fart.
GregaMan: When did you start collecting? When did it turn from just incidentally having some Street Fighter games into actively “collecting” stuff?
Clarence: The collection started in 1996. At first, I didn’t know it was going to be a collection. I simply enjoyed playing Street Fighter after classes at a friend’s house. I owned my first game on PlayStation and really enjoyed it. After learning there were a variety of Street Fighter arcs and sequels, I began purchasing more and more to experience them all. This branched out to Figures, Movies, Comics, and more. A little over a year later I moved all my Street Fighter items into a single corner of my room and thought, “I have more games than I am missing, let’s see how far this goes”. The collection truly began at this point. I now have been collecting for most of my life. This is the result.
GregaMan: Do you have any particular rules for items in your collection? E.g, no used stuff, posters have to be mint or framed, etc. Or are you pretty much all-inclusive? Do you have any other collections?
Clarence: The item must be in great cosmetic condition. Games, Movies and Soundtracks must be complete in its package. It must be an officially licensed product by CAPCOM. And for the most part I try to collect North American items. I don’t even want to think about how much it would cost if I began collecting international.
Between my wife and I, we collect DarkStalkers, Final Fight, The Legend of Zelda, Fire Emblem, Star Fox, Killzone, Katamari, Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney, Devil May Cry, the “Souls” series, and a few others. Oh, and anything from Naughty Dog. Love them. You could say we’re huge CAPCOM and Naughty Dog supporters.
GregaMan: I know I’ve seen you dress up as Ryu before (…haven’t I?); is he your main when you actually play SF? Or if not, who? Or do you not have a main? (FYI mine is Guy. It’s an uphill battle.)
Clarence: Are you serious? I main Guy too! Well, depending on the game. When it comes to IV, Guy is my main. II is Dee Jay, III is Ryu, Alpha is Karin, EX is Doctrine Dark, Marvel is all over the place, and I absolutely love using Dan in Pocket Fighter & Puzzle Fighter.
GregaMan: Do you play in Tournaments?
Clarence: Everyone keeps asking me this! Haha. No, I’m nowhere near good enough to compete. Mind you, I can hold my own, but I’m like the NFL fan with all the giant foam fingers, posters and jerseys. EVO is like my Super Bowl. We go to a friend’s EVO party every year to watch the pros, follow the news, and get hype. I admire them. The pros. If it weren’t for the FGC keeping the spark alive, I don’t think Fighting Games would be as successful and alive as they are today. When it comes down to it, it’s all about the game. To all the pro players out there, EVO, MLG and the like, you have my greatest respect, and I bow to you.
GregaMan: What now? Will you keep collecting?
Clarence: It’s an enjoyable hobby. I’m not rich, however, and I’m not about to dish out full price on every new item. If there’s a new game, I’ll get one version to play, and wait to pick up the variants at a good price. Hopefully my future children enjoy Street Fighter because I’d love to pass these along. But until then, the collection will keep growing. I’d like to think its got good historical value.
GregaMan: Finally, any tips for other video game collectors out there?
Clarence: Yes. Shop smart. Learn to use the eBay search tools. Attend game swap events. Go to hobby conventions. Be proactive and be patient with your wallet. Most importantly, don’t be a jerk to other collectors. Everyone has different reasons for collecting. Focus on a clear goal, whatever yours may be, and go for it. I play my Street Fighter games and have friends over all the time to enjoy them with me. Collecting is fun, but know where to draw the line between hobby and addiction. Collections are worthless if you can’t feed yourself, have a roof over your head, or friends to share them with.