Unsung Heroes of the FGC: Jasmine “kurominah” Martinez

By on April 21, 2021

jasmine "kurominah" martinez modeling some combo breaker swag; photo courtesy of @SpinInfinite
Photo used with the kind permission of @spininfinite

Unsung Heroes is our series about the many members of the Fighting Game Community who work behind the scenes to make our community a vibrant, positive, exciting place to be. If you would like to submit your own Unsung Heroes, contact us here or @toptiergg.

“In the beginning,” according to the Christian gospel of John, “there was the Word.” But for most of us, words are so common that we take them for granted. By some estimates, the average adult says seven thousand words every day; on the internet, billions of words are published every month. The reason for this is simple: communication is the framework that supports all other human effort, from moon landings and symphonies to humbler, more personal projects.

Jasmine “kurominah” Martinez knows all about the importance of communication. As a member of the central-Florida Fighting Game Community, she would drive to nearby events like Final Round and Community Effort Orlando, where she would run her Lucky Chloe and her Vega in casual sets, immerse herself in the scene, and form “friendships and rivalries that [would] withstand borders and time.” Her experiences were so powerful that she decided “to help and be part of teams that provide those opportunities for those kinds of interactions.” That decision led her down a path that has literally changed the direction of her life.

kurominah wearing a really slick-looking hoodie, hat, and mask with equinox branding
Photo used with the kind permission of @spininfinite

Spread The Word

Even though she started out attending major events, Jasmine made a wise decision when it came time to find her own niche: she started small. “I did some research and learned about Juicy Game Night in Orlando and made the trip up there for a local.” After introducing herself to the team there, she asked how she could help. They asked her to act as their social media manager, and she accepted.

From there, she became Juicy Game Night’s co-director for multimedia, a contributor to Juked, and the talent manager for Equinox Gaming. Between those roles and a new customer care job at ASTRO Gaming, Jasmine now works entirely inside the gaming ecosystem. “A lot of people think that you have to be a top player to truly be a part of and contribute to the FGC, but that isn’t true,” she says. “There’s a lot of work to be done behind the scenes.”

kurominah modeling even more combo breaker swag: a shirt and the "no coast, no kings" hat
Photo used with the kind permission of @spininfinite

Words For The Wise

Yet even as the FGC grows, it continues to operate almost entirely at the grassroots level, with only moderate corporate support, coordination, and promotion. That makes it all the more important for community members to step up and do the work. To give but one example, consider Evo Moment 37, the single most iconic highlight in all of competitive video gaming. On the surface, Daigo Umehara’s unfathomable comeback against Justin Wong is just an amazing play made in the heat of high-level competition. Look a bit more closely and you’ll see all the work that went into creating and sustaining the Evolution Championship Series so that Umehara and Wong could have a stage on which to perform.

But there was one more key ingredient: the person who held the camera that recorded the match and who then uploaded it to YouTube. Without that last lucky step, Evo Moment 37 would have been consigned to the mists of history, ignored rather than celebrated; as Jasmine puts it, “without proper communication, you’d never know.” Now, in a world of esports and raised expectations, the scene can no longer rely on good fortune to get the word out. Every year, while players compete to reach the top, thousands of fighting game organizers, artists, streamers, and content creators compete to grow the scene.

Coordinators and communicators like Jasmine are a key part of that grand effort. As Nobel laureate JM Coetzee says, “It is a world of words that creates a world of things.” So the next time you enjoy the many things that the Fighting Game Community has to offer, pause for a moment to consider the world of words that made your experience possible.

To support Jasmine, follow her on Twitter.

Eli Horowitz knows a thing or two about words himself. His first novel, Bodied, is set in the FGC. Purchase your copy here, then follow him on Twitter for FGC news, memes, and all-around positivity.

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