Ryan Hart: A Real Life Rags to Riches Story

April 4, 2022

Briefs, News, World News

Dirt poor, picking pence off the streets, the eventual fighting game legend: all of these describe Ryan Hart’s childhood in the 1980s. Ryan Hart is an English competitive fighting game player known for his accomplishments in fighting games and his protagonist-like background.

Ryan Hart is a competitor in the game Street Fighter V and holds two 2021 tournament wins from two separate Saltmine League tournament events. In that same year, he also competed in Capcom Pro Tour, a tournament only open to a select few that are invited to compete for the Capcom Cup; however, Capcom Cup was canceled due to concerns of COVID-19 in 2021. As of February 2022, Ryan Hart has not competed in any tournament events but remains active in the Fighting Game Community (FGC) as an announcer. 

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Ryan Hart holds four world records.  These records are for the most countries won in, most well-traveled fighting game champion, most international Street Fighter IV wins, and most consecutive wins in Street Fighter V.  He also holds multiple prestigious tournament wins. Including, two Evolution Championship Series (EVO) tournament wins for Tekken Tag Tournament, three Dreamhack tournament wins, and the first-ever Capcom Pro Tour premier event. 

Currently, Ryan Hart manages the Western Wolves fighting games team. Previous teams include Falcon Arena, Team Dignitas, and the LowLandLions. The Western Wolves have multiple sponsors, including Redbull, Monster Energy, and other brand names, although Hart did not always have a team or sponsors.

Ryan Hart began playing fighting games at the age of 10 at a Street Fighter 2: World Warrior arcade cabinet. Eventually, he was able to buy himself a few games; however, a few years later when his family went into debt and were evicted, he had to sell the games he greatly cherished to survive.

His circumstances never seemed to improve until Ryan Hart entered a King of Fighters competition as a way to enjoy the games he had previously loved so much. Surprisingly, Ryan won, earning a little money to feed himself, and acquired his first sponsor, a local restaurant. Hart continued to compete in local tournaments as a way to escape poverty, despite the low tournament payouts. 

The money he earned was not enough to support himself and continue gaming, but he traveled to Japan with a friend to watch his friend compete. During his visit, Hart discovered that Japanese competition was exceedingly more competitive than in the United Kingdom. His first loss was to an average elderly man who barely played the game. Instead of giving up, Hart used this opportunity to improve his skills, eventually becoming one of the best players in Tokyo before leaving Japan two months later.

Using these skills, Ryan Hart became one of the best players in fighting game history. The wins he earned provided the money for him and his mother to live comfortably.  He no longer needed to survive off of the pence he found on the street. Ryan Hart’s accomplishments demonstrate that anyone, no matter their background, can succeed if they pursue their passions and work to turn their dreams into reality. 

Written By James Butler, 2/16/2022

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