Gaming

sfa-psx-longbox In high school I lived down the street from two brothers who were smart enough to invest early into a Playstation. They had the long box versions of all those early games: Ridge Racer, Street Fighter Alpha, Air Combat, Battle Arena Toshinden, etc. An early favorite of mine was Ridge Racer, but far and away the one we played the most was Street Fighter Alpha. I played it in the arcades of course, but sitting down next to someone and playing for hours was a sort of practice I hadn’t gotten since playing SF2 on the SNES. That’s when the brothers had the bright idea to host a tournament.

I was reluctant to enter because, well, first was the $10 entry fee, and secondly because I wasn’t confident in my ability to win so I joined to be part of the fun. If memory serves, the tournament had 8 players and was set up as double elimination. I remember not doing too well and getting knocked into losers early on. My first fight in losers though I did pretty well and I specifically remember picking Ken and doing a jumping HP, crouching HP, HP shoryuken combo. The guy gave me hell for my one button combo, but it didn’t bother me too much. Later on I got knocked out of the tournament anyway.

The most memorable part of the tournament was what happened during grand finals. First, it’s important to know that for this tournament, the person hosting it set the rules for no throws. The host won the first round, but lost the second round to a throw. The host claimed it was his right to a free hit at the beginning of the third round, and it was agreed upon by everyone since the only rule was no throwing. Instead of throwing the second player for equal damage, or just punching him he does a level 3 Shinkuu Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku. Insane! He took the rest of the round easily. The guy who lost got his $10 for second prize and it didn’t cost him anything overall, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was a shitty win. We found out later he actually hosted the tournament to collect money for some target purchase of his – probably more games.

Needless to say, that kind of ruined the pay-to-enter tournaments for us and we never did it again. As someone that grew up on games and Street Fighter it has always been a dark memory for me. Years later I went back to their house and played them, but they couldn’t touch me, haha. Those were very satisfying wins.

I had an opportunity to visit my first Evo tournament this year – Evo 2014. I’ve been watching streams, tournament footage, and playing Street Fighter for a long time, but had never gone to the big show. I’d also never been to Las Vegas before, so it was a real treat.

FChamp & Alex Valle It started at my local airport where I met a couple of folks going to the tournament, and again when transferring in Chicago. They were mostly young pesky folks who wouldn’t stop talking like they were in a twitch stream chat. Don’t get me wrong, I like fighting games, that’s why I’m going, but you gotta know when to tone it down and put that fanboy stuff in check.

I got to see all the greats Justin Wong, Alex Valle, Seth Killian, Yipes, Chris G, Golden Boy Neo, Marn, Daigo, Tokido, etc. I only got to talk to Neo and Marn – Neo struck me as a nice guy, Marn was a bit peculiar but what would you expect? What struck me as really interesting was how Daigo was treated everywhere he walked. EVERYBODY wanted a photo with the man, it was amazing. We all grew up on hearing about Daigo, his face means Hadouken! Justin Wong was smaller than I expected, maybe that’s because his fighting spirit is so much bigger than he is.

Did I compete, yes. How did I do? Well, I got some blood on my hands, but these guys were tough. I see now that you have to bring a system with you or know someone with one so you don’t go into the tournament cold. You don’t want to be loosening up in a real fight. The other thing was, I was a bit nervous. You’re waiting for your name to be called, and everyone is looking over your shoulder to see what you’re doing. It’s reminiscent of the arcade, except you already know everyone in your arcade. Overall it was a lot of fun, and I would totally go again. If anything, it’s a few days away from work. I don’t gamble or anything like that, but Vegas was as fun or relaxing as I wanted it to be at any moment. I got probably the best chicken wings in recent memory while there!

I knew that seating on finals day would be tough, so I loaded up on snacks and water, and got down there early to see what was going on. BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma finals were surprisingly amazing, talk about a wake up! However, the Smash Bros finals put me straight to sleep. I don’t know how people can watch people jump kick each other for hours. My understanding is that this is a tactic in finals, very safe. Either way, it was un-watchable. After all that, we got on to the excellent and hype play of Justin Wong, who prevailed. Snake Eyes, a favorite of mine also did great in finals, but that match against Fuudo? Wow, infuriating! Haha, overall I had a great time.

Grand Finals – UMvC3

UMvC3 finals always have an air of excitement and hype that other games can’t quite touch, this year was no different. Justin Wong’s last second victory over FChamp in winners finals? Oh my gawd, Justin Woooonggg!

I think Filipino Champ is a really good player, so it surprised me when the people around me booed him. I guess they don’t like the way he carries himself, whatever. A true man of honor, Justin Wong, went on to face douchey mc-douche, Chris G in grand finals.

The very exciting Justin Wong vs. Chris G UMvC3 Grand Final
The very exciting Justin Wong vs. Chris G UMvC3 Grand Final

Jessica Gaona’s Work

I had the opportunity to meet Jessica at Evo, and see her excellent work. She had a bunch of Street Fighter fan art, but my favorite was her self portrait. Check them out below.

I hadn’t tried going to any Street Fighter 4 tournaments before this past weekend. I went to the DC ESports event at Hard Times Cafe in Arlington and had a lot of fun. I even got to see my buddy Emile and his little bro there. Still, my thoughts at the time were that I was about to get murdered:

The week prior I had been working on Cody and decided to take him to the tournament. I really shouldn’t have bothered, as I got my ass handed to me. Since then I’ve been practicing on my Dudley and have been constantly hitting new levels with him.

The tournament was held in this back room at the restaurant.
The tournament was held in this back room at the restaurant.

DC ESports keep their site up on Facebook, you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/DCeSportsLANs

Katsucon this year was quite fun. Even with all the snow in the area, everybody came out – the registration line took me over an hour! It was well worth it though to see all the people in cosplay, seeing the artist’s alley, and of course the dealer room. Attack on Titan’s surge in popularity meant seeing people dressed in identical Survey Corps uniforms in groups of 5, 10, 20 and more. I even got a chance to hear Lolita Dark live who sounded quite good even if I didn’t always understand what they were saying.

There were only a few downfalls in my opinion. The first was the dealer room where prices for the same item ranged from $45-$80 depending on the dealer. With online shopping and the popularity of video game and Japanese anime it is unreasonable to price gouge on this stuff – c’mon people! Still, I was able to find a lot of good deals. The second thing was the dubbed anime in the theatres… I got a chance to sit in on One Piece : Strong World, which is an anime I have been watching for over 10 years, but so much of the humor is lost in translation that it was really terrible. I actually walked out of the show!

zzyzzyy Prints

Probably the most stunning to me were the prints by zzyzzyy. The action captured in the Portal print really got my attention, and then when we started talking she showed me her original works which were even better. I think the “Tink the Pen” was very imaginative and the detail on “The Year of the Snake” was just out of this world. I highly recommend you check out her deviant art – http://zzyzzyy.deviantart.com/gallery/

Steve Yurko Prints

Steve Yurko had a booth set up mostly featuring his fan art works. These include an electrifying Breaking Bad print and a One Piece print as Washington crossing the Delaware. He also had some comics I picked up… I’m hoping to read those later today! Check him out on his website – http://www.steveyurko.com/

Other Cool Prints

Sadly I can’t remember who I got these prints from, I will check my bag in case I got their card. My favorite might be the one from Frozen, but the Luffy one is quite cool too.

Figures

Honestly I was looking for a Kuma or Trafalgar Law figure, but my favorite character has always been Zoro. This figure is quite detailed I think, notice the personality of the swords, scabbards, scars and musculature. Pretty awesome right?

DVDs

I try not to buy DVDs anymore. If you’re going to pay money for a movie it might as well be BluRay, and if it’s common enough to stream I will do that. However, I found two particular movies that have been in my pirated DVD book for a while. Visitor Q – the heinous and unforgettable cluster fuck of a movie, and one of my favorites which I have seen multiple times Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts

That’s all I got loot wise. If anyone can identify those artists above that would be great! Who else went? What were your thoughts?