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markjulio01When I was in Singapore I sat down with a brilliant friend and journalist, Jonathan Toyad (formerly with GameSpot Asia) to discuss just how things happened the way they did with myself and Mad Catz… It was a thrilling moment of recollection and emotionally challenging to realize huge change that happened because of “luck.” Check out all the fun stuff and my version of the story below!

CONTEST

UPDATE: The comment contest is now over and all entries after 10:00 AM PST on May 28, 2014 are not eligible to win the prize! Thanks everyone (all 400+ of you) for your entries! The winning entries are pictured below (click thumbnails to view)! Congratulations to Evan & Lenn! Our panel of judges picked you as the winners!

markman23_contest_evan_winnermarkman23_contest_lenn_winnerAlright followers! I wanted to do a cool giveaway for Memorial Day weekend! I’ll keep this short and sweet. This contest is open worldwide, so don’t hesitate to enter! The TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT 2 Arcade FightStick TE S+ was a VERY important project for me. It was the FIRST official TEKKEN stick I worked on for a community that I love with all my heart. That being said, I want to give away one of these to you! They’re no longer being made, so this is your chance to win!

CONTEST PRIZE: 1 TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT 2 Arcade FightStick TE S+ for PS3 and 1 Arcade FightStick Carrier (Messenger Bag) by Mad Catz

HOW TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me WHAT got you into fighting games? My coworkers will help pick the winner on Wednesday, May 28, 2014! (Make sure you scroll all the way down to find the comment/reply box)!

markman-1-622Last month at NCR 2014 I sat down with one of SRK’s newest writers, Paul ‘superfx’ Dziuba to just talk about everything going on in my world. We talked about a lot of things… About the fighting game community, about TEKKEN, time, balance and just life in general. I promise it’ll be an interesting read and ask that you check it out. Click below for the full interview!

I wanted to get this out there, especially before the anticipated re-release later this year. My favorite sneaker of all time is the Air Jordan XI that Michael Jordan wore in the 1996 All-Star Game, better known widely by it’s nickname the ‘Columbias.’  As a Michael Jordan fan, 1996 was a very key year. The year prior, MJ had come out of retirement towards the end of the 1995 season with the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls fell to the Orlando Magic in the playoffs, but MJ vowed to come back strong the following year and work off the rust. Long story short… The Chicago Bulls ended up winning their 4th NBA Championship and setting a record 72-10 season.

4d80cd44_JordanXI-2So why this sneaker? I think a lot of it has to do with the All-Star Game hype and everything leading up to it. The Bulls were already having a franchise best season and everyone was expecting them to take the crown. Michael Jordan was back in the best shape he’s ever been. My friends and I were really into basketball at the time, especially sneakers. At school we would gather around the latest Eastbay catalogs or go to the mall after school and check out the latest styles. When we weren’t talking about the game (basketball), we were playing it on Super Nintendo… Anyone remember EA’s Bulls VS Blazers & The NBA Playoffs? We were just INTO it. This was a rare time in my life. It was before I got into competitive fighting games, it was before i started collecting video games… and it was before I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life.  After Michael Jordan retired, I just couldn’t enjoy the game of basketball as much as I used to. San Diego didn’t have a ‘home team’ and that’s when I started focusing more on school and life. Even when MJ returned for his brief stint with the Washington Wizards, it just wasn’t the same. I was a fan of #23, but not of the Wizards…

That didn’t stop me from reminiscing and appreciating the old days. Thankfully Nike and Jordan Brand started to retro (re-release) the Air Jordan XI again and in 2001 they brought back the ‘Columbias’ … I absolutely had to track down a pair. While I missed out on the release of them, I had to go to NIKETALK to acquire a pair from their forum marketplace. This was new to me. The internet proved to be a very useful place filled with knowledge and holding no bounds to race, color, creed or location. LOCATION. That was key. I ended up using my PayPal account and ‘copping’ a 10.5 pair of the 2001 Columbias from a NT member in New York. It was a smooth transaction and a week later I finally had my ‘holy grail’… But why stop there?! What could be next?

I kept seeing people talk about “one to rock, one to stock” … Shit. Me too! So I scoured the forum marketplace until I finally found another size 10.5 or 11 pair. This time the seller was from Sweden. Now that might not seem like a big deal nowadays, but back in 2001 when I was new to doing person to person transactions over the internet? It was crazy. Same story, different tune. A few weeks later I had my second pair and all was well in the world. I then took it upon myself to be more of a collector and actually pay attention more to the science and community behind sneaker collecting. This was back in the day when NIKETALK actually had a WEALTH of knowledge on the message boards… so much that you’d have to have a back-up account for when you’ve reached your daily viewing limit (LOL). Shoutouts to retrokid, snugglesmcduggles, flipjays, dependablejay, Method Man, kingcrux and all the other OG NT heads that used to share the knowledge. If it wasn’t for NT and eventually ISS/SC, I probably wouldn’t have been as appreciative as I am now.

COLUMBIA_MESHYou know what the crazy thing is? It was through that knowledge that I ended up finding out the minute and subtle differences between the retros, the OGs and all that. So when I saw and confirmed that the 2001 pairs of Columbias did not have the glorious icey blue tint to the sole, it kind of ticked me off a bit deep down inside. That blue tint that the original pairs had, I just had to have it… I eventually ended up getting a deadstock size 10.5 of the original 1996 pair. Thanks to my sister for copping those for me way back when I didn’t have a job. LOL. I don’t know if I clearly conveyed why this sneaker is my number one of all time, but I know that it is and you’ll just have to take my word for it.

It’s been over 13 years since the last release of this shoe. Some pictures have finally started surfacing and the hype is slowly but surely building for the holiday release. Am I ready? Yeah. I’m planning to get 4 pairs. Why 4? I plan on wearing these for the rest of my life. It’s nice to have one aspect of life thought out… I’m still figuring out the rest. I guess I should thank the sneaker game for that, heh.

AKIHABARAJune is when it starts to get busy. It starts off with a bang with the 2014 Electronics Entertainment Expo, better known as E3! One of the most wonderful times of the year where the gaming industry comes together to show off their big guns and set the pace for their year. I have the privilege of working in the game industry and I will be busting my ass off to prepare for E3 & beyond! I’ll need a little break though. Sometimes you NEED to take some time off and just enjoy life. That’s exactly what I’m doing after E3. Vacation destination? Tokyo and Singapore.

I’m no stranger to these faraway lands, quite the contrary. I’ve been there a few times each the past couple of years. I’ll be doing my usually GEEKMODE hunt of sneakers, arcade sticks, gaming goods and whatever else tickles my fancy. While in Singapore I’ll be representing Mad Catz and attending SEAM 2014 (South East Asia Majors), a major fighting game tournament for the surrounding countries. Stay tuned to my twitter & instagram for the latest pictures of food, cool stuff and whatever else I encounter.

I like Chun-Li.

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Check out my modded Chun-Li TE ‘S’ ! Modded with a Cthulhu to work on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Yellow Mad Catz bezel. Clear Mad Catz dust washer & shaft cover set. Swapped out the default Sanwa buttons for the blue (6) and yellow (2) scheme. Yellow Sanwa LB-35 ball top. ♥

The only thing I’m not doing right now is wearing my Mad Catz shirt! BTW, look at Kayane rockin’ her limited edition Chun-Li FightStick and wearing the LE Chun-Li inspired shirt!

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NOTE: Mad Catz does not condone/advise you to modify your sticks/therefore voiding your warranty.

First ninja-shots of the Mad Catz Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition GOLD for EVOLUTION 2010:

Only 24 of these arcade sticks were made. The only chance to get a hold of one of these is by either placing top eight in Super Street Fighter IV at EVO2010, winning the ladies SSFIV event, OR via raffle live at the event or by watching the EVO2K live stream! More pics below…
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