A lot of players are good at fighting games. Few players are good enough to be synonymous with the game they play. Take a room full of gamers, look them in the eye, and say, “Marvel vs. Capcom. Name a player. Go.” You’re probably going to hear one name quite a bit. Michael “IFC Yipes” Mendoza. “My brother was the best in the neighborhood at the time,” says Yipes, “so I wanted to be as good as him.”
Trying hard enough to beat his brother pushed Yipes to a whole new level of competition . . .
Before he started on the path of IFC, like so many other boys in his generation, Mendoza started out hitting the local laundromats, pizza shops, and convenience stores to feed quarters into Street Fighter II machines. Trying hard enough to beat his brother pushed Yipes to a whole new level of competition, but after dominating corner stores and pizza bars, he didn’t stop.
“The first game I played seriously was 3rd Strike, due to that being the game everyone was playing around me at the time. Later on, I decided to make a big game change and play something more hype and fast-paced.”
Part of Yipes’s decision to make the transition to the fast-paced Marvel world was his enjoyment of the play of Peter “Combofiend” Rosas at the 2000 Midwest Championships. “I saw him play a match (at Midwest Championships 2000), and that was the first time I saw MvC2 played at a high level. I saw the atmosphere of the tournament, and I was like, ‘Wow, that looks SIIIIICK!!’” That eye-opening experience laid the groundwork for a future champion. His secret? Training... and an assist from the Master of Magnetism.
“I loved Magneto in Marvel 2. That guy just had so many options in terms of offense and he was SO agile and FAST! AHHHHH!! I kinda’ miss his evil voice, also. ‘Be gone!’ He made me the guy that I am today, along with his ladies, Storm and Psylocke.”
“. . . I’ve never been so salty about a loss before, I swear.”
Infamous in the New York scene, Yipes spent years battling Justin Wong and Sanford “Santhrax” Kelly. Their three-way rivalry lasted until the game was retired from serious tournament rotation. To this day, players will argue which of the three was the best in the east, and perhaps in all of America. However, if you asked Yipes the name of the guy that pushed him the hardest, that he hated losing to the most?
“I have many rivals, but I will always consider Chris Schmidt to be my biggest rival, next to Justin Wong and Sanford Kelly. Marvel 2 is not in the mix anymore, so I don’t got beef with Justin and Sanford these days. But Chris S. takes the cake, because I’ve never been so salty about a loss before, I swear.”
Those rivalries forged Yipes into a Marvel machine, leaving a mark on Marvel 2 that perhaps on his biggest rivals could challenge. He attended his first Evolution in 2005, placing 2nd in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. He placed top 8 in every single Evolution Marvel vs. Capcom 2 tournament from 2005 through 2010, taking first place in 2007, and in the process he racked up 2 Seasons Beatings championships.
Beyond his play, a video mash-up featuring clips of some of Yipes’s mid-match talk made him a pop culture landmark. Mendoza’s lightning-quick Magneto and Storm coupled with his even quicker wit to take him beyond tournament champion to something of a figurehead for the game he loves so much. In the last ten years, Yipes has transformed from a hungry arcade ringer into one of the most well-known fighting game players in North America, racking up wins, fans, and his own clothing line imprint in the process.
The journey is far from over. In 2011, IFC Yipes became the second permanent addition to Team BROKENTIER. His reaction? “I was like ‘....word? But I'm ass, though...’ I was really happy, because I respected the movement, and I respect the goals of BROKENTIER. It was perfect timing.”
Yipes has been gaining momentum in 2012, placing higher and higher in tournaments, hosting his Curley Moustache Series from New York’s Next Level Arcade, and putting on some high-profile extended sets with some of the best Marvel 3 has to offer. A little slower than some to make the transition from Marvel 2 to Marvel 3, a lot of people see IFC Yipes returning to form, and the whispers of another Evolution win have begun to follow. Innovating with new faces, like Vergil and Spencer, while still showing off that Scoopology with Lord Magnus, the future looks pretty good for Mendoza.
You can follow Yipes on his Twitter, @ifcyipes, and keep up to date on all of Team BROKENTIER by following @BROKENTIER. Keep an eye out for IFC Yipes, and the rest of Team BROKENTIER, as they fight their way down the Road to Evolution!