Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tournament.... Fever

I started off the weekend on Friday night by heading right for Shinjuku Sportsland. Upon entering the arcade I noticed they had a sign up for an Accept Core tournament to be held the next day so I made a note of that and intended to go. I made plans over dustloop PM with a guy named Dying Chipp. He is from Singapore and is actually friend of Axel's. I played some Gear for a bit and waited for him but he didnt show up after a long time. I mailed Rod who was waiting for me at Vegas telling him I was gonna head over there soon. I was right about to leave when he finally arrived afterall. He pretty much just asked if I was ElvenShadow, I said yes, and then he got on the other side of the cab and we played a shit ton of games. Our first set of games ended with me winning 16 games and Dying Chipp winning 2. Though many of them were very close. Also somewhere in there I beat some I-no twice, a Sol twice, and then after I finally lost to Chipp that 2nd time, I went to play some BB and lost twice against Ragna. I wasnt warmed up at BB at all yet.

During our epic battle, Rod (Honnou) and Matt showed up cuz they were wondering why the fuck I wasnt at Vegas yet. I told em he showed up afterall so they stayed to play some games.

I went back to gear and beat some Faust twice. Then I played a bunch more games against Dying Chipp again and this time he started to adapt much more. The final score this time was 15-7 in my favor. Chipp is one of my hardest three matchups in the game so I knew it was only a matter of time until he started getting some more wins on me. He really actually has a solid Chipp. I would say his 2 biggest flaws are that he doesnt go for throws nearly enough, and he always jumps when doing corner pressure like at the same time every time, so its easy to just run out from underneath him to escape corner lockdown sometimes. Other than that though, he was at least on par with most average Japanese Chipps and better than most US Chipps I have fought. I also squeezed in one game with Rod against his I-no and won before we were ready to leave.

It was getting late so we decided to go to Current. Rod said he was gonna sit this one out due to money being tight. Matt and I took Dying Chipp to Current. On the way there I finally got to talk to him a bit since we just did nothing but play at Sportsland. His real name is Richard (so I will just call Dying Chipp, Richard from now on cuz its easier to type).

Basically, when we got to Current, it was deader than a cemetary. It was like, Sushi, Mogi, Masami (the guys that all work there) just sitting around talking with Bosch and I think one other guy was there but I forgot who it was. We stayed for like 2 beers and then decided we would have a better time checking out another bar.

We made our way over to GODZ which turned out to be a good choice. The place was pretty packed, though I didnt know most of the people there aside from the staff and this one guy named Jackie and some random Finnish guy. We just drank lots of beer and requested lots of songs. Some random drunk chick who said she was like 40 and looked like she was in her late 20s was hitting on tons of guys but was there with 2 male friends who were keeping her in check. She told me I was handsome and im just like... thanks. One of her friends spent a good while talking with Richard. I wasnt listening to their conversation but they seemed to be having fun.

After that we went to PSY for more beers. Mai (not the Mai whos apartment I stayed at last time) showed up randomly with Masami. I guess she stopped by Current later and they came together. At some point Ayami showed up out of no where and then just left heh. Once again we stayed till a little passed 6 and then got some drunken McDonalds breakfast. The security guard (yea at a McDonalds) was being a dick and wouldnt let us use their bathroom until after we ordered food (and we were hungry but we had to pee), but whatever.

After eating we all just went to the manga kissa and slept there.

The next morning we woke up and went right to Vegas since its across the street. Not much action going on, but Richard wanted to play me more so we had another long Faust vs Chipp war. The final score this time was 12-9 in my favor again. Richard once again played very well. After that I lost in a close game to a Robo-Ky and then beat a Testament and a Faust twice.

Right around this time it was time for us to head over to Sportsland for that 2 on 2 AC tournament I discovered the previous day. Matt had to stay behind at Vegas to wait for his girlfriend since his phone was dead. When we got there it was pretty dead. We were surprised to see no one there. Shortly after, Rod showed up and then we saw Shoot who was there working. He informed us that the tournament was actually ladies only (this is like the 3rd time this has happened to me at Sportsland, I need to start reading the whole sign and not just the game, date, and start time).

Well since we were there and no ladies had even showed up yet, we played more casuals. This time vs Richard we went 8-3 in my favor. I also played Rod's I-no again and beat him but then he played me again and won. During our games of casuals, females started to show up. I didnt know who any of em were except for this one HOS player who has glasses whos always around. Among them was this cute I-no player I never saw before (among the like 6 girls that showed up she was the only attractive one). Rod played her in a mirror match and beat her and enjoyed trading some I-no strats with her. I could tell he was totally digging her but since hes sorta like dating Tomoko now he didnt really like ask for her number or anything.

After that we all went to get Wendys and I got a cigar. After leaving, Rod suggested we stop by Sporstland again to check it out. When we got there, it was obvious he wanted to see female I-no again since he spent a great length of time talking to her and showing her I-no strats lol. Matt was still no where to be found. After Rod had finished his private tutorial, we headed out. Rod had to actually leave to meet up with Tomoko but said he would hit us up later at Current.

Richard and I headed over to Club Sega Shinjuku to play more BB. I ended up getting a 9 win streak with Arakune which was cool. Richard was just playing the game for the first time and decided to learn Bang (big surprise lol). After playing there a bit, we headed to Joybox but after only being there for a bit, I got a mail from Matt saying that Alpha Station was THE PLACE for BB action! They have 4 cabs at 3/5 rounds for 50 yen a game! That beats any other place ive been to so far so we took a quick train ride over to Okubo station and checked out Alpha station. Lots of very very good players were there. They only had 2 GGAC cabs now to make room for the 4 BB cabs. Matt wasnt there when we arrived but eventually showed up. We played some good matches against various people. Some Rachel had 20 wins when we got there and I soon found out why. Inoue eventually beat him though and ended up getting like 17 wins with Jin.

Eventually it was getting late so the 4 of us (Matts girlfriend Akiko was there too) walked to Current. On the way I got some food cuz I was really hungry. Tonight at Current was the Finnish Xmas Party. When we arrived, I was shocked to see tables full of free food. Im not talking about Currents free "Tasty Junks" (aka some chipps and pretzels and nuts and shit). They had like full cooked turkeys and pasta and sausages and salad and cookies and all kinds of shit. It was free to get in too! Everyone offered me food like right away. Mostly all the Fins were there except the Snus man couldnt make it cuz he was actually in Finland right now... bummer. A few Current regulars were there but this was much more like a standard xmas party with just talking and eating and not so much like the typical current party where everyone goes nuts and dives off the bar and shit. A lot of the Finnish people there were older and I had never seen them before.

After a long night of drinking, Eventually I got hungry after a few hours and that food was still sitting out so I had some Chicken, pasta, and salad. Matt left early with this girlfriend to hit up those Okubo love hotels. Towards the end of the night, I was debating whether or not to go to PSY cuz I was kinda tired. Rod never showed up either. As we were leaving, Masami asked me "are you going to the usual place? You know where I mean" and im like "eh... im kinda tired" and hes like "cmoonnn..." and im like "alright fuck it, ill go"

When I got to PSY, SPG Chris was there and a few other various people. Chris was cool and bummed me a few cigarettes. After one beer I was really getting tired and started passing out. Masami never showed up, that bastard. Richard suggested we leave, so I finished my 2nd drink and we headed out to the manga kissa again.

When we woke up, the plan was to go to Alpha Station again for more BB casuals. Matt and Richard all met up with me there and we started to just play casuals. The place got filled up quite fast. At around 3 pm we decided to go get some food at Subway. On the way there, I didnt bother putting on my sweatshirt cuz it didnt seem that cold out and it was only like a 3 minute walk. One thing that was odd about this Subway was that they had the drink machine as self service yet they didnt offer free refills. WTF is that? I didnt even noticed the small sign that said no refils. So during eating the whole time I helped myself to more drinks anyway but then they told me I couldnt do that on our way out. Haha oops!

On our way back to Alpha station, I once again didnt put my sweatshirt on. I really should have, because I felt very very cold. When we got inside Alpha station I had this tingly feeling all over my body, kinda like when you have a fever. Well, thats exactly what I had! A fucking fever! Just from being outside without my sweatshirt on for like 3 minutes! When people tell you not to go outside without a coat on, fucking listen to them! I know I will from now on!

We now noticed that they were setting up what looked like a tournament! I had no idea there was a BB tournament going on there today! It was already just starting actually. I asked the guy running it if we could enter and they said they had strict rules or some shit so only one of us could enter, so I asked them to add my name to the bracket. After a little waiting I had a use the toilet but it turned out I had enough time before my first match. My first match was against a Noel player and I just annihliated him. I just got him cursed and just kept throwing bugs all over the place all while constantly resetting the curse with various D attacks and the poor guy couldnt get anywhere near me. Up next I had to fight this really good Rachel player. He looks very familiar, like I should know him from GG somewhere but I cant put my finger on from where. He told me to just pick what side I like, he didnt even care about doing RPS, you could tell he was very arrogent and wasnt very worried about my begginer Arakune. Well I guess he didnt have much reason to be because he knew exactly how to deal with Arakune very well and was able to handle me pretty easily. I got some damage off him and stuff but he beat me convincingly.

After that I just felt very tired. Playing with a fever took its toll and I just sat down on the bench against the wall and fell asleep for a while. At about 6:00, Matt woke me up and said they were gonna go to another arcade so I finally got up and we headed out. On the way to the station, Richard suggested I just go home early since I wasnt doing so well. That sounded like a great idea cuz I was fucking beat.

I said bye to them there and headed back to Gunma about 2 hours earlier than usual. I had a wait a whole hour to transfer at Takasaki station since the train schedule in Gunma sucks big hairy nuts.

This whole week ive been sick as hell, with a bad fever and some of the worst and most painful diarrhea ever. Im still sick now but finally mustered up the energy to type this shit up.

I doubt Ill go to Tokyo this weekend, probly best to just make sure im healthy for the holidays. Ill be leaving for Chicago on Dec 23rd so I should rest up while I can.

This will be my last blog post of the year. I will follow up next time with a blog entree about Frosty Faustings!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Come... To the Crimson Side!

On my way to Tokyo I got a mail from Rod (Honnou) who said he was going to Joybox, so I said I would meet him there. I also mailed Matt to see what he was up to but recieved no reply. When I arrived at Joybox, Rod got there about 1 minute later. We played a good ammount of casuals against a few people. There was this one Ragna player there who was gimmicky as hell. He just started every single combo with a series of standing As, then would finish with a string into DP. The only other thing he ever did was just run at you and DP any chance he got, and he would RC his DP into another DP. Maybe like 1/10 times, he would throw you instead. It was extremely annoying because the guy wasnt even that good, just playing super gimicky but it was working on us because we havnt gotten used to the timing to punish Ragna's DP yet. Its like sometimes safe and soemtimes not. The guy had this stupid grin on his face the whole time too. Sorta like that "Yea im the fuckin shit!" grin going on. I was just thinking how if this guy as playing Sol like this in GG I would be owning him so hard. Anyway, eventually Rod beat him with his Tager and then a few Noel players played against us. One of the Noel players was kinda gimmicky too but he was IMO better than the Ragna. He sorta had that grin thing going on too. I was playing pretty bad most of the night, most of it was execution based too. I was having a hard time against the Noel but after several tries I finally beat him. I hope those matches dont go online cuz they were pretty craptastic.

Time seemed to fly by pretty quickly and before we knew it, it was already passed 11. We decided to go hit up Current. Tonight at Current was Piko's birthday. It wasnt some huge epic birthday party like the one for Mogi, Sushi, or mine, but lots of regulars came and it was a good crowd and good times. Mogi, Sushi, Masami, Piko, Bosch, both Mais, Ayami, Michi, Yone, Yago, Megu, Chip, SPG Chris, Nick, Kristie, Maki, Rina, Mame, Nozomi, and some various other people were all there at some point. Rod wanted to see Tomoko but she was busy so she couldnt come, but Mai (Tomoko's friend) was dancing like crazy as usual so Rod danced with her for a while. At some point, Piko and Yone took their pants off and so did Rod and they all started dancing around in their underwear LOL! It didnt last that long though. Piko DJed at first but then Sushi told me I could DJ for a while. They let me DJ for longer than they said they would. I dont remember the whole set or the order but I played

Alice Cooper - The Ballad of Dwight Fry (live)
Symphony X - In The Dragons Den
Stratovarius - Legions
Boston - Peace of Mind
Mr Big - Take Cover
Judas Priest - Breakin the Law (live)
Judas Priest - Painkiller
Hammerfall - Stone Cold
Megadeth - Peace Sells (but whos buyin?)
Children of Bodom - Oops I Did It Again (Britiny Spears cover LOL!)
ACDC - Some Sin for Nothin

They originally told me I could DJ for 30 minutes but it ended up being more like an hour which was cool with me! Lots of free shots were being passed around too in honor of Piko's birthday whih was cool. I also bought him a shot of Jagermiester.

After closing time, Rod and I hit up PSY where SPG Chris had headed earlier, and Masami also joined us there later. I was pretty damn drunk, but in the good way where I felt fucking awsome and not sick or tired at all. We requested some songs there as always and enjoyed more beer (I love beer btw) and after closing time, Rod, Nick, Rod's friend Takau, and I all got some drunken Yoshinoya. After that it was off to the manga kissa for me.

I woke up the next day and went right to Vegas. A few people were already there paying BB. I got a few matches in, won a few and lost a few. Shortly after, Kifa (the yellow Faust player) showed up and busted out his Arakune. I actually managed to beat him on my first try, but the he rematched me again and I couldnt beat him after trying a few more times. In between tries, Kazuki was there too and also attempted to beat him with his Rachel but Kazuki couldnt get a win on him either, so I didnt feel so bad. I also played some games against Vegas Pink Axl (im gonna start calling him VPA) who just got off work. He was using his Ragna which is already pretty decent. I tried about 3 times but couldnt beat him.

After a little BB action, I went to get some Wendys cuz I was fuckin hungry. I was gonna pick up a cigar too but I forgot.

After eating, I headed back to Vegas. I played a little more BB but wasnt doing so hot. I dont know what it was, but I suddenly just had this feeling that Rachel wasnt the character for me. Like, im sure I could probably be good with her if I really put in the time and effort, but I just couldnt see myself using her down the road. It just felt off. I was always torn between Rachel and Arakune before the game came out and I just happened to roll with Rachel at first. I think its cuz she seemed easier to pick up and Arakune just seemed confusing as hell to me when I first tried him. I decided that it was time to give Arakune another chance. However, I didnt really wanna do it just now a Vegas against these guys when I dont know wtf im doing, so I decided to go play a little Gear.

It felt good to wield my scalpel again and throw some random items. There sadly werent that many people playing though. I played against this one Venom player who was pretty good, lost the first game but then rematched him and won cuz I started to feel adjusted again to AC. After that he picked Eddie and Millia on me and I beat him and then he eventually went back to Venom. We went back and forth a bit and he occasionally went back to Eddie. Overall I won more times than he beat me but I honestly dont remember the score or anything like that. After he left, no one was playing me for a bit and I wasnt very patient to sit and wait and fight the computer for too long so I just got up and played a little more BB.

Some guy who wasnt very good tried to play me a bunch of times with a few different characters and I beat him like 10 times in a row. I eventually lost to a Ragna but im not sure if it was the same guy or a different guy. After that I decided I was gonna go find somewhere with not many people playing BB so I could try to learn some Arakune stuff in arcade mode.

I decided to first check out Mikado since its right down the street from Vegas. When I got there I was surprised to see that they were just about to start a BB tournament! So much for finding a dead place to practice haha. Im always down for some tournament action so I decided to enter. I entered with Rachel of course since I still didnt even know jack crap about how to use Arakune. I think a total of only 9 players entered the tournament. I dont think it was very advertised. Another strange thing about this tournament was this was the first tournament in Japan that I have been to that was double elimination! I guess cuz the game is new and the turnout was low, they set up a double elim bracket. It was scheduled to start in about 10 minutes. I mailed Matt and told him how I just found a random tournament but I never got a reply. I didnt bother telling Rod cuz he was on a class trip all day until later in the evening. I was also surprised to see that VPA was there (he plays pink Ragna too btw haha). I didnt know who anyone else was aside from him though. Before the tournament started I played a quick game of casuals vs a gray colored Jin player. I took a round and it was close but I lost. After that, the tournament began.

I was like the 2nd match to play. My match was against the same Jin player I had just fought. His handle was Megane, but im not sure if he was the same Megane that plays I-no in GG. He was a skinny short dude with thick black glasses. The first round was somewhat... close but he ended up getting in on me and I couldnt get him off me. The 2nd round he got me in this air combo and I bursted on accident when i wasnt trying to at all, the burst completely whiffed and I got fucking punished hard. I ended up losing but honestly didnt really even care. You can watch it here. I watched the next few matches and Megane Jin went on to win the whole winners bracket. After that they started losers and I was the 2nd match to play. I was to fight a Bang player, I dont remember his name. I just zoned well and kept him away and ended up beating him 2 rounds straight. Shortly after, my next match was vs a Litchi player. I have a lot of trouble with this matchup and this time was no different. The rounds were pretty close but I ended up losing to him. You can watch the match here. After that I decided to just stay and watch the rest cuz I wanted to see who won. VPA beat the Litchi I lost to and then beat a white colored Ragna in a mirror match. He then made it to the finals against Megane Jin. It was a bit one sided and Megane Jin beat him down to take the whole tournament.

After it was over, I congratulated Megane Jin and told him he was really good. He said its Jin thats really good heheh. I asked him if he was going to the tournament tomorrow at Club Sega Shinjuku. He said he didnt even know about it. I had to go to the bathroom kinda bad so I said bye to him and VPA and took care of that. After that I decided to continue on with my quest of finding a place where I could try out some Arakune stuff. I figured I would check out the arcades on the south end of Shinjuku station. On my way there, I stopped by the cigar shop and got that cigar I forgot to buy earlier.

First I hit up Club Sega Shinjuku but there were too many people playing as I pretty much expected. Up next I went to Spot 21. This place also had a lot of people. I then went to Joybox and there were people there too. I was pretty much out of options so I just said fuck it and figured if im gonna lose a lot trying to learn Arakune with no knowledge or experience, I might as well do it at 50 yen a game instead of 100 yen a game. I played one match against some Ragna and lost. I got up to get more change and all of a sudden Rod just appears out of no where from the other side of the cab. He just arrived at Joybox. He mailed and called my phone but I didnt notice it. He said he figured I would be here so he just guessed right. He told me his class trip ended up being like 2 hours of all you can drink so he was kinda drunk. I immedietly told Rod I had decided to drop Rachel for Arakune. He seemed to think it was a good call since he suites my play style.

We all played some games for a while and I actually did manage to win a few matches with Arakune despite not really knowing anything. I didnt know any combos or links or what the properties of any of his moves were but I improvised and managed to win here and there. The thing was, I didnt even mind losing! I was having a lot of fun just using the character! I would sometimes get very frusterated when I lost with Rachel, espessially when it was due to execution issues. I noticed that with Arakune, controlling him just felt kinda more natural to me and and even though I had no idea what I was doing with him, everything I tried to do (among the stuff I knew how to do) at least always came out when I wanted it to.

After about an hour or so of playing, Rod said he had plans to meet up with Tomoko in front of this one bar. It was already 10 and I figured I might as well just go drinking with them so we left. We waited for Tomoko in front of the bar for a bit but she was taking a while so I went to get a corn dog and a redbull from the conbini. When I came back she was there with her friend from Osaka (I think her name was Emi). Emi was just visiting for the weekend so she wanted to walk around and see some of Kabuki-cho, so we did a little walking around. Rod asked them where they wanted to go, and Tomoko asked us to show her where we always play games, so we ended up going to Vegas lol! She wanted to watch us play, so I played a game of Blazblue. I picked Arakune and played against a Litchi player but I wasnt doing so well. She was cheering me on and stuff all enthusiasticly but sorta did like this pouty thing when I lost haha. I told her that I just started learning this character like an hour ago so I wasnt good yet. Rod played for a bit with his Tager and did much better.

After watching us play for a bit, Tomoko and Emi left cuz Tomoko had to walk her to the station where she would get on her overnight bus. She said she would come back, so Rod and I just played and waited. Rod ended up playing a little Gear, and I continued to try to beat the Litchi player from before. Eventually Tomoko came back and stuck around for a bit, but then she said she suddenly said goodbye and left. I figured she was going drinking with us but I didnt know the details. I continued to play and after I think maybe like 9 or 10 tries, I finally beat the guy with Arakune. After that, he got up and left. He was probly like thinking "fucking scrub, im leaving" which is exactly what I wanted! This meant I was finally free to try to play against the computer and actually test stuff out! I probably only played for about 10 or 15 minutes against the computer. I was able to find out at least what links into what to an extent and found out the commands for some of his moves that werent listed on the cab, as well as discovered all his command normals. I also realized how the curse works. Up until this point, I didnt even know that button presses summoned bugs, I thought it was just random! LOL! Previously I had never read any of the character specific information about the game other than the stuff for Rachel cuz I just wanted to focus on getting good with her. I also read general system mechanic stuff, of course, though. This is why I honestly had no idea wtf I was doing with Arakune. Its a miracle I won any matches at all LOL! I wanted to test out some more stuff, but suddenly they started turning the lights off. I checked the time and it was already like passed 12:30.

I hadnt seen Rod in a while so I went over to check and he was just messing around against the computer in GG. I asked him whats up and he said that Tomoko ended up going to some party at her friend Mai's place. I guess he asked Tomoko if she wanted to go with him together but she said she was just gonna go alone. Appearently Mai told Rod in an email that he could come by too but I guess there was some sorta confusion. I dont know the exact details, but in any case, Rod was contemplating about whether or not he should go to the party since we originally were gonna hit up Current for the metal event. I kinda wanted to go to Current, but Rod said that Mai told him its ok for me to go to the party as well. I can go to Current anytime and a party sounded like fun, so I figured why the hell not.

We left Vegas and headed to the station but we found out that the last train had already gone. I suggested we ask a cab driver how much cab fair would be. He said 2000 yen and we figured if we split that it was totally affordable, so we just took a cab out to the area where Mai lives. She met us at the station with another girl. The other girl was her friend Nao. She told us that Nao was the DJ. She was pretty cute, had a cute hat and glasses and a nice face. As we were walking to Mai's apartment we were talking and it turned out that somewhere along the line, someone misunderstood someone or something... but somehow this "party" we were invited to ended up being just the 4 of us hanging out at Mai's apartment with Tomoko coming by later. I kinda wanted to experience a Japanese house party since I had never been to one but I figured Id just make the most of it. We were stuck there anyway since the trains stopped. We stopped by at a Family Mart on the way to buy some booze. I ended up getting four 500 ml cans of Kirin 7 strong (which is like a cheap beer that has 7% abv). It tastes alright for a cheap beer and I had never tried drinking it all night before so I wanted to test how well it worked out for future reference. Rod bought some Umeshu.

We arrived at Mai's, who lives alone in a pretty nice apartment. Nao got to work as DJ (just putting what songs she wanted to hear on the CD player). She had a big selection of stuff though and a lot of it was stuff I had never heard of before; lots of indie kinda music but some of it was actually really good. We pretty much just all drank and talked and chilled for a while. Eventually Mai went to meet up with Tomoko who was waiting for her, so Rod hid up on the bunk bed and I hid underneath under some blankets. Tomoko didnt know we were there. When she entered the room we jumped out and scared the shit out of her. She was all surprised and shit haha. I honestly dont really know what the deal is with her and Rod at the moment but im pretty sure she likes him. She seemed embarresed at first but eventually she got all snugly with Rod. Most of the rest of the night was us all just getting really drunk and hanging out talking and listening to music. Nothing crazy or wild really happened. At around 5 am I was just getting straight up rocked by those Kirin 7 strongs and started to pass out. Everyone else was getting tired too. We all went to sleep shortly after. Rod slept next to Tomoko up on the top bunk. I slept really good and it was way more comfortable than the manga kissa.

I woke up the next day and Tomoko was playing the piano (Mai has a grand Piano in her bedroom which takes up like 1/3 of the whole room, shes a music major at her university). After a little bit more relaxing, Tomoko had to leave. Nao had already left earlier in the morning. Rod and I stayed and messed around on Mai's piano for a bit with her. Mai asked me if I wanted to stay here every weekend lol! Im not sure if she was serious or joking but I told her I probly would be mostly staying at the manga kissa haha. Mai walked us out and we sorta snuck around all Solid Snake style cuz I guess Mai was sensative about her neighbors seeing her leave her apartment with 2 guys in the early afternoon. Japanese people often tend to gossip and are very observent of what goes on in their local communities a lot of the time. We snuck out with no problem and then Mai walked us to the train station. We thanked her for having us over and said goodbye and got on the train.

We headed back over to Shinjuku cuz we were gonna play in today's BB tournament at Club Sega Shinjuku. However, we were both really hungry so we decided get some food first at the Indian resturaunt over by Current. After eating, we walked to Club Sega and on the way we passed by a pachinko place. A new Star Wars pachinko game came out this weekend and there were all kinds of Darth Vader shit all over the place. Rod told me he had a storm trooper give him some free tissue earlier LOL.

We made it to the tournament on time. Infact, when we got there, I was surprised to see it was dead. I then realized that SIGNUPS start at 2, but I originally thought the tournament started at 2. By about 2:15 or so it started to fill up as people began to sign up. MIU was there doing signups and would be running the tournament as expected. I decided that despite still hardly knowing how to use the character, I would enter today as Arakune. Even though I knew I wasnt gonna do well, I figured its just a waste of time for me to keep using Rachel if I really was serious about switching. Rod entered as Tager. I dont know who everyone was who entered, but a few noteworthy players were there. DIE-chan was there and he entered as Noel. Karun was there and he entered as Litchi. Also, this one really short, blue Potemkin player whos pretty good that I always saw at SBO quals was there playing Tager, but I dont know his name.

I talked with MIU a little and told him I was changing to Arakune cuz hes more interesting to me than Rachel. He said Rachel is also an interesting character, to which I agreed, but told him that Arakune suits my play style more IMO. He told me he still hasnt really played the game all that much yet but will probably main Ragna, which was to be expected.

I still had my cigar from the previous day. I didnt wanna be rude and smoke it in Mai's apartment so I saved it. I figured I might as well just bust it out now and enjoy a nice cuban while i play in today's tournament. MIU was kinda enough to give me a razor to use to cut it and I lit that sucker up and enjoyed it throughout the whole tournament.

Eventually the tournament started and it was time to see how my one-day-Arakune would fair in his first tournament. I still honestly felt like I had no idea what I was doing yet with this character but fuck it, I was gonna have fun anyway! They called my match and Rods match at the same time so we played on the cabs next to eachother. Rod was to fight a Taokaka and I was to fight a Rachel (kinda like fighting my old self, execpt this Rachel was way better than mine). I actually did a lot better than I was expecting to. I even won a round! The last round wasnt too bad, I got him down to like less than half life, but he beat me. I didnt really care nor have any regrets. Rod's match was really close but he got hit by the Taokaka super and didnt know that it was unblockable and ended up losing. Had he known, he could have easily using several other options to stop it but oh well. We decided that instead of sticking around to watch the rest of the tournament, we would just head out and go practice some more at Joybox.

We said bye and thank you to MIU and went on our way. When we arrived at Joybox we were shocked to see that they now had TWO BB machines, both still at 50 yen per play! Fuck yea! There were people there playing, so I didnt get a chance to go into arcade mode again, but we played a bunch of casuals anyway. Rod only stayed for about an hour or so because he had plans to meet up with Tomoko again. When it was time for him to go I said bye to him and just continued to play.

Things were going fine for a while and I would win now and then. Then blue Taokaka happened... He beat me but then I rematched him and I beat him. After that, there was like a minute or so of time when no one played me and I was thinking, "sweet, I can learn combos!" but then he challenged me again. This time I lost to him... then I lost to him again... and again... and again... At first, it was fine. I didnt care, I wasnt getting upset, and I didnt mind losing. The guy was decent but not like amazing. I had fought, and beaten, better Taokaka's before back when I was using Rachel. The thing that started to piss me off, was then guy eventually just started fucking with me. At some point, he just tried to throw me every single fucking chance he got, to the point where it was just mindless and excessive. It worked a little for like one match and I caught on quick and then I just started teching it every time, but the guy just wouldnt give up. Then he started doing some stupid crap where he did these 2 moves over and over again, and I couldnt do anything. I dont know Taokaka's moves by name but it was like some quick hit and then this overhead hop thing, which left me in block stun long enough to do another quick hit, into another hop, which he just kept repeating. I was able to burst away from it and dead angle away, but when I didnt have bar or burst, he just kept doing it over... and over... and over. I couldnt squeeze in any normals. Appearently Arakune doesnt have anything fast enough to interupt it. I tried instant blocking and doing a standing A but for some reason it didnt seem to work either. I probably was just timing it wrong, but the sheer scrubbyness of this shit was just pissing me off. If I was Rachel I could have easily just done 2C (the electric chair) and that shit would have been done, but since I was Arakune I had no idea how to get away. The guy just kept spamming this shit like a fuck tard. After the match, I went over to him and told him this was my first day of using Arakune and asked him what move can interupt that. He said he didnt know. The guy was like this pudgy little shit head looking guy. He had this pig snout nose and this stupid smartass grin on his face. You could tell he thought he was like the best player ever and was totally just trying to fuck with me. I played him again and he went back to doing that stupid crap and eventually he started playing normally again. Im all about the playing to win mindset and doing whatever works, but its obvious that in a match against someone who knows what they are doing, that that tactic isnt gonna work. Instead of actually trying to gain experience playing his character right, he chose to just be a dick head and abuse some crap that will never work in a match down the road. Thats why I was getting annoyed. The sad thing was, there were so many times when I came within a pixel of beating this guy but he somehow always managed to just get lucky at the last second and pull ahead. I couldnt help but get a little pissed off at this whole situation but I just thought to myself, im almost beating some guy whos probably been playing the game every day since it came out for 3 weeks with his character and im using a character I dont even know how to use on my first day and almost winning, all the while this guy knows this is my first day yet he still thinks hes like totally awsome. There were lots of times I considered just picking Rachel and tearing him a new asshole but I figured, whats the point, I wont learn anything that way.

Eventually after lots of tries, I beat the guy, which was like a minute or so before I had to leave to catch the last train. As soon as I won, I just got up and left and headed for the train station. I was still kind adjitated but eventually just shook it off and just passed out on the train and slept the whole way home.

Now, more than ever, I wish I could practice the game during the week, because I have so much I want to learn with Arakune. Hes just so much more fun to play as than Rachel for me. Its funny cuz I started out playing Guilty Gear as a Millia player and even used her in XX for the first few weeks of playing the game until one day I just decided to try out Faust and it just felt so right. I have this same feeling from Arakune, I just need to learn how to use him. Unfortunately, unlike with Faust, I dont have access to training mode. Yesterday, I finally read the Arakune thread and watched some match vids of him for the first time and now I finally understand a lot of things about him. If I knew all that stuff that I know now, I would have destroyed that Taokaka so hard lol! I hope hes back again next week. I look forward to wiping that smartass smirk off his pig nosed face.

...anyway..... it feels good to have joined the Crimson side of the force.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Learning to Fly

Earlier in the week, I drove to Numata which is the town next to mine. This town, which is about a 40 minute drive, is the closest place to where I live with an arcade. They actually have 2 arcades and they both had Accent Core (though the Sega World only has a one sided cab with one set of controls, meaning you can only play one player). These arcades never have comp at all and are pretty much worthless to go to unless you want to play arcade mode vs the computer. However, I wanted to see if they got Blazblue because I could at least go there and practice combos and learn stuff even without having human comp. Much to my disapointment, neither of them had gotten the game. On top of that, the other arcade that actually had a few fighters and a regular AC cab, had replaced all of their fighting games with purikura machines (those photobooth sticker machines) so that arcade is pretty much completely worthless now. At least while I was there I found a nice PS3 Virtua stick high grade used for 2800 yen which is a great deal! Ill be using that to play HD remix started next week.

I started off the weekend this time on a Thursday. There were no classes to teach on Friday so I took the day off. I headed to Shinjuku at Vegas for Blazblue casuals. Nakamura was there and I got to play against his Taokaka a bit. He beat me like 5 or 6 times in some close games and I eventually beat him. I dont know the matchup well at all yet since I had hardly fought any good Taokakas at this point but I learned a lot just from these few games. After I beat him he said he had some business to take care of so he said goodbye and headed out. I played a bit more and eventually Rod (Honnou) came and he was with this girl named Mai (not to be confused with all the other Mais I have mentioned in this blog). He had plans to go eat with her but said he would meet up with me later.

After playing a bit at Vegas it was sorta dead so I went to Sportsland. Shoot was there (he works there). While I was playing, Shoot told me how to do Rachel's astral finish (which is sorta like an isntant kill in GG). During the final round of the match for both players, once you get full meter and health is less than 30% or so, just do down down down B. Its slow and doesnt seem very practical to use yet but over time, people may find a use for it. I havnt seen anyone actually use an astral finish in a match yet. Rod (Honnou) met up with me while I was playing at Sportsland, and after a few games he went to Current because he was to meet up with someone there. I told him I would catch up with him in a bit. He later emailed me saying Maiyuko was there and was asking about me. After winning a few games and waiting for a challenger but not having anyone play against me, I headed to Current as well.

At Current, it was very much like a typical Friday as far as turnout, but seeing as how it was a Thursday I was surprised. I talked with Maiyuko for a bit and this other guy named John who is a friend of hers as well as a photographer who does photo work for Monty at metal shows. In addition, there was this fucking WASTED English dude from Wales there. He looked about my age, pretty skinny. I forgot his name but Jackass is a fitting name so Ill call him Wales Jackass. He came up to me all wasted and started asking me all kinds of questions almost like he was trying to start a fight. I knew this guy was wasted cuz I already witnessed him fall off his bar stool a few times and also saw him like playfully slam Rod with some weird wrestling-esqe sorta move. He said something like "I think you look like a pussy". He was trying to say stuff that would offend me but I knew this guy was a joke and actually found it amusing. I told him he couldnt say anything that would piss me off and eventually he gave up and said he was a pussy too. Then he said he wanted to arm wrestle me. I was just like.. um sure why not. He was like "If you beat me, Ill kiss you." Im like "no thanks dude, I dont want that shit" and then hes like "ok if you beat me ill buy you a drink". At this point I was wondering if he was hitting on me.... I arm wrestled him and beat him pretty much for free... twice. Once with each arm. Afterwords I was like, dont worry about the drink. He was like "no no, I promised I would buy it". Except he never did! LOL what an ass. He took my hat and put it on and then went and sat at the other side of the bar. A few minutes later I got up to use the bathroom and as I passed by him I stole it back. I didnt talk to him after that the rest of the night. Everyone else at the bar had some good laughs at this guys expense.

The rest of the night I just talked with a few people, mainly John, and his Japanese friend and business partner Juniya. Rod spent most of the time there playing some DS strategy RPG but I dont remember what it was called. After the bar closed, Rod decided to go home. John, Juniya and Maiyuko were gonna go get food and I was hungry so I joined them. We went to this small dart bar over right by Vegas and my usual manga kissa and the place was called Sector 7-G (note The Simpsons reference). We got some food there and another beer and talked about various stuff and then at maybe about 6 am we headed out. It was only like a 15 second walk to the manga kissa. How convenient!

Next day (which was Friday), I woke up and headed right to Vegas. Some people were already there playing BB. I got a 12 win streak until I finally lost to a bang player. This was like one of the first decent Bang players I ever fought. I had already beat him a few times but he got a win on me eventually. Then I got 5 more wins and lost to him once more. I played a while longer and eventually Rod showed up. A little later we were getting hungry and needed a break from playing so we went to go get some food at this awsome indian resturaunt near Current and came back. A really good Litchi player was there and she had a 20 win streak but I beat her and ended it.

After a while I was getting kinda owned by some really good players so I decided to take a break and play some Accent Core. For the first few matches I felt all off and rusty because I hadnt played it yet all weekend and my brain was fixed on BB mode, but I eventually adjusted back. Theres this one orange Ky player whos there often and hes pretty good but I dont know his name. Rod was having some trouble beating him and seemed to be getting a little annoyed, saying that the guy pisses him off. The guy eventually played against me and I lost to him too, but I rematched him and eventually beat him 4 times in a row and he gave up. During the last match against him, I decided to be a cocky asshole and I taunted him after one of the rounds, giving him 50% tension. I then proceeded to perfect him that round and he never got to use any of it LOL! After that, MK (the Johnny player) challenged me a few times but I beat him without any loses and he also played his Sol against me which I beat as well. He had one of those Sols that likes to DP way too much. Then a bunch of other people played me and among them was this one guy who was kinda scrubby. I was being kinda a dick and taunting him a lot. At one point he tried to actually IK me with Ky LOL! After that, I constantly went into IK mode and tried to IK him with Faust, and after it missed (of course, beacause Fausts IK is slow and worthless) I just beat him anyway with no super bar LOL. I eventually got a 20 win streak soon after, Matt showed up all late. We were actually ready to head out soon because it was already late but Matt wanted to play a few games. At some point in there, Nick showed up too in order to meet up with us before going to Current. No one beat me yet, and I went to go use the bathroom and Rod took over my game. Orange Ky came back for some more and when I came back from the bathroom, Rod was fighting him with my Faust. It was a close round but Rod lost. I took over after that but I ended up losing to him. I didnt really care cuz we were gonna leave anyway.

After that, we all headed to Current. The Wales Jackass was there again but this time he didnt say anything to me the whole night and left pretty early... good shit! To be quite honest, I dont really remember much about this night. I just remember it being a pretty typcal night at Current which is fine, but nothing to really mention. Rod was playing that DS game again and realized that he didnt save it fromt he previous night. Also, I busted out N+ on my DS and showed Matt who never played before. He tried to beat this one level for like 20 minutes and kept failing, and then I beat it in like 1 minute lol.

After Current closed, Rod and Nick went home, but I went with Matt to PSY. A tyical night at PSY as well. A few of the PSY late night regulars were there including Request Man who was just drinking at the bar.

After they closed we got food and then I decided I would go try staying at Matt's host family's house since it was a long weekend and I wanted to get some quality sleep and a shower. It took a while to get there since we had to take a few train lines and the place was sorta near Akihabara. Eventually we made it there. The place was pretty big actually. It was like 5 floors and the family owned the whole building. The family owns a vegetable company. Matt lived in a room on the top floor. There was an extra futon for me to sleep on so I got some good rest.

I woke up the next day and took a shower and then the host mom made us some breakfast and we chatted for a bit. Overall it was nice cuz I got some sleep, the food was good, and the host mom was nice, but I felt a little awkward staying there cuz I didnt even know them. I probably wont stay there often since it takes a while to get there and I usually just wanna pass the fuck out ASAP after a long night of drinking, but its nice to know its there if I need it.

We decided to go play at Akihabara since it was close by. They have 5 cabs, and they are now set on 3/5 rounds, so its a great place to play. Lots of people were there playing, though I dont know who most of them were. I played some games and was doing so-so. It felt like so many players were already so far ahead of me and I was getting slightly frusterated, though seeing as how I can only play on weekends at these guys can play every day, I guess its to be expected. I know ill catch up eventually.

I decided to take a break from BB and play more GG. A little before this, Matt had to duck out for a bit to handle a private ekaiwa English lesson and would return about 2 hours later. There was this Eddie player who was beating lots of people. I played him a few times and lost because once again I was in BB mode and it really fucks with my execution. I need a few games to adjust before I can go back to GG and play at 100%. Once I got adjusted again I was able to beat him a few times and we went back and forth for a while. I think he was friends with Ogawa cuz they were talking for a while too. After I got tired of playing the Eddie player enough times, I decided to go back to Blazblue.

This time I was doing much better in general and got a few mini win streaks. Matt eventually returned as well and we played against various people for a bit longer. We got a message from Rod who wanted to meet us in Shinjuku, so we left Akihabara and headed over there.

We met Rod at Shinjuku Sportsland for some games. As always, Shoot was there working. He was giving all of us various advice about our characters while we were playing. We mostly played a few matches against eachother and a few various people. I think most of us were going fairly even from what I remember. Its nice to see we are all picking up the game at a fairly even pace as of now.

After playing for a big, it was time to go drinking. Earlier in the day, Rod went to a Shiina Ringo concert (she is a very famous Japanese pop/rock artist and is also who the Guilty Gear character I-no is somewhat based off of). He went with Tomoko (the current regular) and also had dinner with her. He promised to meet her at Current (she was waiting there for him). However, tonight was the birthday party for Nozomi (another regular) at Zin (where she works). Matt and I decided to go to Zin and Rod headed to Current. We planned to meet up again later.

Zin was absoloutly packed! The most packed I have ever seen it... to the point where you could hardly even move and there wasnt really anywhere to sit for many people. Most of the people there were actually regulars from Current since they are all friends with Nozomi. We stayed there for a bit and had a few drinks and I bought Nozomi a shot of Wild Turkey for her birthday and drank it with her. After staying there for maybe an hour or 2, we got an email from Rod saying that Current had a fair ammount of people there so we decided to go check it out.

It ended up being about the same ammount of people that were there the last 2 nights. Rod was sitting with Tomoko who was already all tired and sorta passing out. The 2 of them were getting pretty cozy sitting with eachother and at one point started making out. It seems Rod has sorta made a choice as to what girl he wants to pursue (appearently lately Ayami has been being a bit... cold... I guess you can say, and doesnt really talk with us much anyway). The 2 of them eventually fell asleep on eachothers shoulders. SPG Chris (who was at Zin earlier) was also there drinking with some people. Chip was also at Zin earlier but all of a sudden showed up at Current not long after we got there. Also, that one blonde girl Kirstie was there with some friends but they left to go to some trance club or some shit. We were thinking of going somewhere else to drink since Current kinda cleared out towards the end, but we ended up just talking a lot with Current staff and ended up staying till a little before closing. Masami and Mogi told us that the party at Zin would probably go late and they said they were gonna go there and drink after closing up the bar, so Matt and I decided to go back to Zin to drink some more. Before we left, Matt asked Rod if he was gonna take Tomoko to a love hotel in Okubo for some good times. Rod was just like "Matt, sometimes you just say the most inapropriate things" or something like that. Kinda funny.

Matt and I arrived back at Zin and now it was still full of people but not as crazy as before so it was much more comfortable. I decided to do 3 snus at the same time and 2 of them were soaked in rum, so I was just buzzing my ass off and was still enjoying some good drinks. Mogi, and Masami showed up soon after as well as Chip and we all had good times drinking together. All of a sudden, at some point, Masami and Yonei start taking off their clothes and ended up trading what they were wearing. It was actually pretty hilarious seeing them in eachothers clothes. Also, Mogi bought an entire bottle of Jack Daniels and was sharing it with lots of people. At about 7 am, the party showed no signs of ending. I could have drank longer but I was getting a bit tired and Matt was on the verge of passing out. I also wanted to play some good games of BB the next day so we decided to just leave. Matt was too lazy to go home so he just went with me to the manga kissa and slept there.

The next day we woke up and the only thing on our minds was playing some BB right away. I was actually supposed to go to Ikebukuro on this day to pick up some SF Alpha 3 DVD that this one guy on SRK paypaled me money to buy for him, but I completely forgot! I didnt even realize it until right before I typed this blog entry. Maybe I can still get it for him next weeekend, otherwise ill just give him his money back. Anyway we headed to Vegas for a bit but then we were getting hungry so we went to get some all you can eat Shakey's pizza lunch buffet.

After that we went to Sportsland cuz its right near there. Rod met up with us at some point while we were at sportsland. There were several good players there, and among them was a very solid Arakune player. This was pretty much my first time fighting against a really solid Arakune that knew what he was doing. Its funny cuz it turned out to be Kiro, the yellow Faust player. Rod tried to beat him several times and I think Matt maybe tried a few as well. Kiro eventually got this big win streak. I tried a couple times too but failed. Eventually I managed to beat him in a close match with a time over and ended his streak. I really felt lost and didnt know what was going on half the time against that character. Once you get hit by the curse, you just get hit by that random garbage and I havnt gotten used to when it hits and the conditions related to it, but its still early. I also need to get used to blocking Arakune as well when hes in my face. Its an interesting match because Rachel can hit him from full screen with her projectiles and can keep him off, but he can just teleport to the other side once you get near to try and rush him down. The match seems to go bad for me once I get cursed as its very hard to hit him. I know Rachel can deal with him though so I just need more experience. There honestly are hardly any Arakune players right now. The most common played characters seem to be Jin, Noel, Rachel, and some Ragna and Litchi too.

Also, while we were there, I asked Shoot who people are generally considering to be the best Blazblue players so far. He said that the top players right now are probably Inoue and Yume (the Sol player). Both of them use Ragna as their mains. He also said this one other Ragna player was top but I forgot his name. After that though, he said FAB's Tager is up there as well, which doesnt surprise me. Seems Ragna is extremely good and I honestly hate fighting him (and Litchi) the most so far in this game. Whether Ragna ends up dominating in the long run, or just for the short term because he seems pretty easy to pick up, remains a mystery.

We all just played for the rest of the day there and at some point I had to duck out and go to the ATM cuz I ran outta money. I wasnt playing all that great in general today though cuz I was just extremely tired from the long weekend and not much sleep. I played 2 more quick games against Matt, I won the first one and lost the 2nd one and then I pretty much had to leave cuz the last train was coming soon. I headed out and passed out the entire way home on the train.

I feel like I learned more this weekend about the game for sure but I have a huge urge to keep learning more. Theres so much I need to learn still about things my character can do as well as how to fight certain matchups. I wish I could play the game during the week, but theres really nothing I can do about it. I look forward to playing a lot more again next weeknend. Next weekend will also be my very first Blazblue tournament, so I am looking forward to that as well. At the same time I still love Guilty Gear but am a bit concerned about the scene. People still play it, but Blazblue is, of course, getting much more attention, which is to be expected. I just wonder if Blazblue really will end up "replacing" Guilty Gear, or if they honestly can co-exist with both of them having healthy scenes with lots of interest. Only...time... will tell.

"Well the good old days may not return
and the rocks might melt, and the sea may burn..."