Fighting game player "U.S.A. | Joe Biden" is not utterly dominating the Guilty Gear tournament scene, despite what a recent viral tweet says—he is, however, doing appropriately well for his namesake.
The Fighting Game Community (FGC) has long been home to the most ridiculous names in all of e-sports. Where professional Counter-Strike, DOTA, or League players will frequently lean into edginess, or some play on their given name, fighting game players have a real willingness to experiment with the form. For example, pro-fighting game player SonicFox changed their in-game name to “trans rights” for Guilty Gear Strive Grand Finals in 2021, as did the following year’s winner, Umisho. Joe Biden is just another player to participate in this storied tradition of name experimentation.
Per their tournament record, Joe Biden has been participating in Guilty Gear XX tournaments since November 2020 (when Biden was elected!), when they emerged onto the scene with an extremely respectable 13th place finish out of 88 entrants. They have gone on to compete primarily in Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +R tournaments, while dabbling in other games such as Street Fighter III: Third Strike and Guilty Gear Strive. Their performances range from dominant to average. They consistently place well, even in massive tournaments like EVO where, in 2021, they managed to break into the top 50 of a bracket with more than 2,000 players.
Joe Biden’s record paints them as a medium-sized fish in a small pond—one who can consistently excel on their home turf at smaller tournaments, and who remains competitive in wider pools, but not so much that they’re a top contender for major tournaments. Basically, they have a couple pretty good accomplishments and are otherwise doing fine, which, again, is appropriate.
Biden’s main (the character with which a fighting game player devotes their time to learning) is Chipp Zanuff, a trained ninja and the self proclaimed president of his own nation. This is, I’m sure, intentional. Chipp’s playstyle is, unlike President Biden’s approach to politics, extremely aggressive. The character is built around overwhelming his opponent with a flurry of attacks, constantly mixing them up to land long, low damage combos that loop back into mixup opportunities. This dominant offense is balanced by Chipp’s famously meager health bar, which is susceptible to OTD (0 To Death) combos which can kill him quickly if he gets unlucky.
Biden’s playstyle in tournaments is aggressive, even by the standards of Guilty Gear, frequently forcing his opponents into messy situations (colloquially called “scrambles”), where both players trade blows while attempting to find an opportunity to start a combo and begin their real offense. In his most recent performance at a tournament held by members of the +R discord, Biden went head-to-head with an accomplished May player who, after taking them to Set Point, was disassembled at a molecular level. Their flurry of hard reads and difficult mixups completely locked down their opponent, leading to a sudden swing in momentum and a dominant victory for the self-proclaimed president.
While I do not believe that U.S.A. | Joe Biden’s powers grow in tandem with President Biden’s policy wins, it is worth noting that their performance and placements have grown a bit more consistent in the Dark Brandon era. If President Biden can develop the same aggressive approach to policy that U.S.A. | Joe Biden has to fighting game play, he may actually have a shot at making meaningful changes to policy and securing his place as a top competitor for the 2024 Presidential Tournament.