I arrived at Vegas around the usual time and pretty much just spent the next few hours playing casuals. I lost the first few games I played, a lot of them vs Mitsurugi’s Zappa. Eventually I started to warm up and was doing pretty good. A lot of the usual players were there. I managed to beat Seta in a mirror match and ended his 21 win streak which felt pretty good. At some point in there, both Rod and Matt showed up. I don’t remember a whole lot of specific details about Vegas that night, but I remember talking to Hot Zappa and asking her if she was going to G3 tomorrow and she said its too far so she wasn’t gonna go.
Once 11:30 rolled around we left Vegas. We stopped at the 7-11 and got some food and beer for the train ride. As I’m sure I have mentioned before, drinking beer in public in Japan is legal. However, drinking in public in places like the train is sometimes considered to be a bit rude. I generally don’t drink on the train but on the occasion that I do, I try to be sorta stealthy about it so no one really notices. I see enough old men and salary men drinking on the train so I figure if they do it why cant I do it on occasion? Unfortunately when we got on the train it was absolutely packed as hell and there was no way we were gonna be able to drink anything. I think this train ride has to pretty much go on record as the most unpleasant and packed train ride I have ever taken. It was literally packed so full that you pretty much couldn’t move at all and were getting squished the whole time. Sometimes the train had problems getting the door closed because random peoples limbs would be setting off the sensor from being too close the door. The last train is often very brutal because everyone waits to use it to go home. For a while, I got separated from Rod and Matt from the big surge of people getting on and off the train. For a bit, I was smashed against the door and had to get off the train every time we stopped at a station so people could get out and eventually I got slammed more towards the middle. Some dude was like sneezing a whole lot next to me, it was pretty gross. Eventually towards the end of our trip it started to clear out a bit and I was able to make my way over to Matt and Rod again.
We got off the train at Chiba station. This is about as far as we could get at this point but it was also a good station because there were a lot of places around the station to go. The plan was to find somewhere to drink until about 4 and then sleep till 10 and wake up and go the rest of the 15 minute train ride from Chiba to Goi station. We ended up deciding to just do karaoke because random bars are hit or miss and at least karaoke is guaranteed to be pretty fun. We bought a bunch of our own beer and then found a place near by. We paid for the non alcohol package and then just snuck our own beer in so that it would be much cheaper. It was just the 3 of us but it was pretty fun anyway. The place we went to was kinda small but for a 3 person group it worked out perfectly. Only bad thing about the place really was someone made a big vomit mess in the mens room toilet (and there was only one toilet). We were originally going to just drink till 4 but then Matt and Rod wanted to keep doing karaoke so we ended up staying till 5 (when the place closed).
After that we found a manga kissa nearby to stay at. The first one we went to was full but there was another one down the street. It turned out that they only have 5 hour specials so if we wanted to stay 6 hours it would have been a bit more expensive, so in a way it worked out. As soon as we checked in and went in our booths, I fell asleep pretty much right away. Matt and Rod, for whatever reason, said they couldn’t fall asleep right away so they ended up reading manga and using the internet. Matt told me that he ended up watching Japanese tranny porn with some tranny doing a regular chick that was saved on the computer in his booth 0_o.
The next morning I woke up and noticed that Rod and Matt were already awake cuz I could her them talking. I only slept for 5 hours and those guys slept even less and seemed pretty tired. We stopped at a Family Mart and got some food and energy drinks and then boarded the train to go the rest of the way to Goi. I bought this one new Fanta apple energy drink thing and I didn’t notice before I bought it but it ended up being like this jello substance instead of a regular liquid drink. On top of that, it was inside a tiny can and was almost impossible to get out of the can. You had to just sorta slowly suction it out with your mouth and it didn’t really work so well. I ended up drinking half of it and then throwing the rest away.
We arrived at Game Chariot at about 10:30. The place was already packed as hell with people playing casuals. They had a total of 11 GGAC cabs going. 9 were set up in a big row for casuals and then there were 2 sets arranged in like a square formation set up with an open spectator area around them for the tournament matches. They also had 2 TVs hooked up to the cabs and would be recording all tournament matches today. I registered for the singles tournament and then pretty much just played some casuals before it started. Everyone was beasting pretty hard and getting a win was extremely difficult. I did win a few but it was brutal in there!
The singles tournament was only for people who did not make it in SBO last year. This takes a lot of extremely good players out of the picture, but there are still a ton of beastly widely known and not so widely known players. There pretty much wasn’t anyone who was there that day who wasn’t pretty powerful at the game. Scrubs don’t waste their time fucking around with G3. Serious business.
After waiting for a bit they finish the brackets. I think there was a total of like 70 something people that entered. I look at the bracket and I am very disappointed to see that my first match was against a May player. Everyone should know by now how bad I hate fighting May. I was determined to still do my best though. The May player’s name was Hohoi. I never heard of him before. Rod and Matt both had to play their matches before I did. During both of their matches I was in the middle of a casual game so I didn’t get to see them play really. Rod fought Batako, the Zappa that was ranked 1st place in ranbat points from Sportsland ranbats that I beat at the last tournament. Matt fought an Anji player named Jeno. Both of them lost. Rod said Zappa is one of his hardest matchups. Apparently Matt basically would have actually won but he dropped a combo and lost the match. Eventually it was my turn to play. I won the first round, and lost the 2nd and 3rd rounds. It was very close actually. I honestly don’t feel like I played bad or made any huge mistakes, I just have trouble with the matchup in general. At the very end of the last round, I had I think maybe full tension. He knocked me down and I went for the hand swat force break (which Rod likes to call “everlong” for some reason) but May did her belly flop force break and it hit me out of it. I would have figured that mine would be high enough to avoid it but that wasn’t the case and I died. I was disappointed I lost first round but its May so I didn’t beat myself up over it too hard. The video should eventually be up online so I look forward to watching it to analyze any mistakes I made. The May player went on to make it to the finals of my bracket and beat lots of people. In the end, he lost to a HOS player named Hatoimo. I didn’t end up seeing the end of the tournament cuz I guess it snuck by me while I was playing casuals, but I heard that the winner of the whole tournament was an Axl player named Akira.
After the singles tournament ended, they had some other event going on. A bunch of top players fought eachother. I honestly wasn’t completely sure what it was and at first I thought the 23 vs 23 had already started but that wasn’t the case. It basically seemed like all the people who had won one of the G3 ranbats earlier were able to enter this little exhibition fight thing. I didn’t see all of them and didn’t write down the results of all of them, but a few of the matches were. . .
Inoue (HOS) beat Isa (ED)
Ogawa (ED) beat Akitan (IN)
Inoue beat Kishya (FA)
Ogawa beat Haken (PO)
Kishya beat Haken
Ogawa beat Inoue
Up next was the 23 vs 23, but there was a little time before it started and we were hungry, so Matt, Rod, and I went to get some food. Matt noticed a nearby ramen place earlier so we went to go eat there. It ended up being like probly top 3 ramen ive ever had. I got like this vegetable curry ramen and it rocked pretty hard. The portions were huge. While we were eating this old guy came in and was talking to the restaurant owner in like this super harsh kinda tone and it sounded really funny. He was all coarse with the way he spoke.
When we returned to Game Chariot, the 23 on 23 had already started but wasn’t going on for very long. Originally when I wrote about G3 in my blog I had made a mistake. I thought that the regional tournament that was a result of the ranbats was the 5 on 5. However, it was actually the 23 vs 23. Each prefecture (Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa) had their own 23 man team. Whoever had the most points from the total of all 4 ranbats with their respective character would be put on the team and rep their character. As for me, I tried out for the Tokyo team. I completely missed the first ranbat since I was still in the US for winter break. You get 1 point for attending each ranbat automatically and you get 2 bonus points if you go to all 4. Meaning if you just show up to all 4 you get 6 points by default. Since I only went to 3, I only got 3 points. You only get extra points if you get top 4. A Faust player I never heard of named Shyou made the team. I guess he placed top 4 at the first tournament I went to according to the ranking list. You can see the full rankings and players list for each team here . In addition to these players, each team had the guy who ran the ranbats as a representative of the arcade they were held at play on the team. So it was actually a 24 man tournament and as a result, Tokyo had MIU as a 2nd sol, Chiba had Kaqn as a second HOS, Saitama had a 2nd Johnny, and Kanagawa had Kami-chan as a 2nd Slayer.
So the 23 on 23 was set up so that everyone played at the same time. The Saitama team fought the Chiba team and then Tokyo team fought the Kanagawa team. I dont remember who beat who in what order but they will probably eventually update the G3 site with full results like that and there will be vids. Basically the Kanagawa team took out the Tokyo team pretty quick. The match vs the Saitama and Chiba teams took a bit longer. The Saitama team was actually down by a lot but then they saved Ogawa for last. Before his match started you could see him doing this hand motion like he was charging up some invisiable energy ball LOL! He ended up defeating like 10 people all by himself and took the victory for Saitama.
After that, the finals were Kanagawa vs Saitama. I was playing casuals for a bit during the intermission and was getting pretty pissed off cuz I couldnt win a game for a while but then I beat Mitsurugis Zappa and ended some big streak he had and it felt really good. But then I kept losing in a mirror match to Ojima's Faust and it was really close every time. Eventually I just gave up and went to go watch the 23 on 23 finals and sat with Matt and Rod. One noteworthy match I noticed right away was Gin (SL) beat Limekey's Anji! Everyone was like super hype on the Kanagawa team after Gin won that one. Gin was never all that consistant before but maybe he leveled up. However, he then lost his next match, but I forgot who it was that he lost to. This time, Saitama didnt wait to bust Ogawa out at the end, they threw him in there when they still had some other players left. For a while, Ogawa just thinned Kanagawa's ranks, taking out one player after another. It started to seem hopeless for Kanagawa and you could really see a look of defeat on their faces. They pretty much just would hesitate after someone lost, and then someone would muster up the courage to get up there and take a beating. In particular, HEVEN seemed rather discouraged when he was fighting Ogawa, as if he had already given up before it started. However, a hero emerged from the ranks of the Kanagawa team. A legendary Faust player by the name of Kishya! I always knew Kishya was a good Faust, but he honestly isnt around the places I play at that often, probably because hes always playing in Kanagawa and I dont ever go there. His Faust impressed me like no one else at this whole event and he defeated Ogawa's Eddie 2 rounds in a row! It was like one of the hypest matches ever and everyone was going fucking nuts! Suddenly the tables had turned. Kishya went on to defeat Reid (JO), Ogiwara (AKA Basara who entered with Sol instead of Slayer), and Inoue (HOS). He lost to the other Johnny player on their team. However, up next was their Chipp player (who I could have sworn was Minami but according to the list of players his name is Iwasaki, maybe an alias) who finished off the Johnny in a clutch last down to the last pixel match with a quick psychic force break! And with that, Kanagawa was the winner of the 23 on 23! Amazing!
After it was all over, we were pretty much ready go head back to Shinjuku. We stopped at the Lawson and got some food and beer for the trip back. We waited for a bit for the train on the platform and there was this group of 3 GG players there so we chatted with them for a bit and Rod shared some icecream with everyone that he bought. Then suddenly like 2 minutes before the train arrived, a flood of GG players (most of which were top players that I know) showed up at the platform. Unlike us, they were smart enough to check the next train time on their phones. We all got on and sat near eachother. While we were on the train, Matt asked one of them if we could see his program guide pamphlet. I was gonna pick one up earlier but they were all out but said they would have more copies the next day. We checked the player list and then gave him the guide back. Matt busted out his beer and started drinking it on the train. I was gonna drink mine too but since its considered sorta rude I didnt wanna do it in front of all the GG players so I figured I would just wait.
When we got to Chiba station we got off the train to transfer trains. It turns out we fucked up cuz the train we were on was actually going all the way to Tokyo. I didnt realize it cuz the station destination name that was listed on the train was a station I wasnt familiar with and we had to transfer on the way there. However, Rod and Matt claimed they knew the train was going all the way to Tokyo but we got off anyway and no one said anything lol! All the rest of the GG players stayed on the train so I guess it makes sense. So we had to wait a bit to get on another train (which was local instead of express). Since we had a while to go and I no longer gave a shit, I busted out my beer and drank it descreately on the train. By the time we eventually got to Shinjuku I had drank 2 500 ml cans in less than 45 mins and was feeling a bit buzzed. Combined with a general feeling of tiredness from drinking too much caffiene throughout the day and plus I was doing some snus, I really felt kinda drunk and had like this I dont give a shit mood hah. Matt and Rod wanted to go back to Vegas and play a bit more even though we already started drinking (except for Rod). When we got to Vegas, it was pretty dead, but HH was there playing his Dizzy against the computer. Matt jumped on their real quick and played him and lost. After losing he went over to HH and told him he was sorry for playing bad and that he was a bit drunk. HH just gave him this blank look and didnt say a word to him. After that, I played HH with my Faust and lost. Then I decided to play Ky just for the hell of it cuz it sounded like fun. I didnt win because quite frankely I havnt played Ky even semi seriously in years so I didnt give a shit. However, I played once more with my Faust and won 3 rounds in a row for the win! I was doing like weird shit I wouldnt normally go for and it cought him off guard. Yay for drunken Faust. After I won, HH left the arcade. No one was playing GG anymore so I played a few games of drunk SFIV, beat some Ken, and then lost to some Dhalsim like 4 times lol! Rod and Matt were busy playing HOS mirror matches. I then busted out my HOS (I dont have a HOS) and my Sol (I dont have a Sol either) and got owned cuz I dont know combos. Rod and Matt played one final match of JO vs SL and I told Rod that if he lost to Matts SL he owes me a beer but I told him if he IKs Matts SL I will buy him one. So Rod tried 3 rounds in a row to IK Matt SL but ended up losing as a result LOL. I didnt make Rod buy me the beer.
After that, we headed to Current and a metal event was going on. The place was fucking packed as hell. Chip showed up and we exchanged PSN gamer IDs because he said he will probably buy SFIV and give it a chance even though hes still skepticle about the game. It will be interesting playing SF against someone who used to work on making some of the older SF games. Other than that it was just a crazy packed metal event night with a mix of regulars and new people and we had fun talking to people and I enjoyed a nice cigar that I bought earlier back in Goi before we went to get Ramen. Some random drunk guy bought some people tequila shots, and so to be nice, I bought a round for us as well but then he bought me another one! So I did 3 tequila shots in like 5 minutes and then I was just feeling really drunk. A group of us went to PSY after Current and I think I fell asleep there after I finished my beer. Those shots cought up with me combined with not so much sleep. After that, Matt and I headed to the manga kissa for sleep. Rod went home.
The next morning, Matt said he was too tired to go back to Game Chariot and I never heard from Rod again, so I ended up just going back there alone. I showed up around 3 pm. The 5 on 5 was already going on. I wanted to enter the 5 on 5 but I didnt know until a week or so before G3 that you had to pre register a team online. I already missed the deadline so I wasnt able to play. Knowing this, I didnt mind showing up late. I played a bunch of casuals. This time they had less cabs going for casuals cuz they were using 4 cabs to run the tournament. In the end, Ogawa's team consisting of Ogawa (ED), Isa (ED), Machaboo (KY), Haken (PO), and EN (SL) won the tournament. While I was just chilling and waiting to play, Ogawa came up to me and said hi. We talked for a bit about various things. I congratulated him on winning the 5 on5 and told him he did amazing in the 23 on 23 even though he lost to Kishya who is an amazing player. I asked him where he lives and he said he lives somewhere in Saitama which is why he was on the Saitama team (I always thought he lived near Akihabara cuz hes always there). He told me that his SBO team this year is going to be Mike (JA) and RF (FA). Pretty unexpected that he would team with RF since hes all the way in Kansai, but I guess RF is gonna come out to Kanto again this year to qualify just like he did last year. Pretty beastly team! Also I talked with Ogawa about that game Demon Bride thats coming out soon. He said it looks somewhat interesting but he said hes just gonna wait and see how it is and hes not like overly excited about it. I also asked him about his thoughts on SFIV and he says he doesnt like the game and that Zangief is too good.
At around 6 pm they started the final special event tournament. At first, I honestly had no idea what this event was. I was talking a bit with Baim and she mentioned something about it briefly and I thought it was a kumite sorta style. At first when the tournament started, it looked to be just a regular singles event. I checked my bracket and my first match was against an ABA player named Hazuki. I looked and one space over on the bracket was 012 vs a HOS named Kugen. They eventually called my match and I beat the ABA player 2-0. I was also shocked to see the HOS player, Kugen, beat 012's Sol! So my next match was vs Kugen... but then this is where I got confused at first. They called our match and I went over to play and then suddenly the ABA I defeated is fighting 012 so I thought, is this a double elim tourny!? Then after he lost to 012 he tells me to get on the cab and fight 012. Im thinkin, wtf is going on? I just figured id roll with it. First round I get cought off guard and lose bad. 2nd round I put up a good fight and was hanging in there for a bit but then I got hit by some giant flashy combo and died. Then suddenly, Kugen, the HOS I thought I was supposed to fight, tells me I am now on his team. So at this point I was able to figure out the format. The way this tournament works is like this... If you defeat a player they are now on your team. Each round of the tournament, the teams increase by one player. However, if you lose to another team, unless you are the team captain (the person who hasnt lost yet, so in the case of the 1st round I was team captain and Kugen was team captain) you are out of the tournament. Since I was the captain of my 2 man team though, I joined Kugens team along with 012 as the guy who has to go first. So basically from this point on, if we were to lose our next match, both 012 and I would be eliminated from the tournament and the team that beat us would get Kugen but if we won, the captain of the other team would join our team as the 4th member and go first before me. Very intersting format and ive never seen anything like it! In retrospect it was actually a good thing I lost to 012 because having 012 on my team instead of that ABA (he was decent but not as good as 012) was better, but at the same time I was no longer team captain. Kinda interesting the way that it plays out.
I watched some other matches and saw Ririko take out Kishya! Amazing! I always have had a bit of trouble with Bridget because I have very little matchup experience against the character. I congratulated Ririko on beating Kishya and asked her what she thinks about the FA/BR matchup. She told me she feels its pretty even. So now Kishya was on Ririko's team. I also saw Mugen beat Yosaan (and Yosaan was like on fire all weekend). I also saw Bleed beet Kishya but then Ririko beat Bleed too! Ririko was beasting! So now she had Bleed on her team too! Eventually it was time for our next match and we had to fight a team of Millia/Axl/Eddie. I had to go first against Millia. I won the first round dizzying Millia with a head flower in pogo stance and finishing her off. The 2nd and 3rd rounds I got rushed down pretty bad and kept getting air thrown out of bomb bag attempts and in the end I lost. After May, Millia is my 2nd hardest matchup in the whole game. Up next 012 went and he beat up Millia and also Axl. Finally the Eddie player surprisingly beasted on 012. Kugen was our last hope. He played really well and on multiple occasions he excaped little Eddie lockdown pressure by slashbacking and jumping out which was really impressive, but it unfortunately wasnt enough and we were eliminated. Kugen went on to join their team and 012 and I were out of the tournament.
In a way its a good thing we lost cuz it was already getting late and if I had to play another match I would have missed the last train home (from Game Chariot its like 4 hours train ride to my town). I could have stayed one more hour if I took the Shinkansen home but then it would cost me 6000 yen more. I would have done it too if we advanced though because I didnt wanna bail on my team and I wanted to win but thats the way it went. I had time to watch a few more and saw Kishya beat Deno, Yosaan, and Mugen by himself! After that, I pretty much had to leave, so I said bye to MIU, Baim, and Ogawa since I was talking with all of them earlier and also thanked 012 and Kugen for their efforts on our team and headed out.
The train ride home kinda sucked cuz it was so long but I had picked up the newest Arcadia earlier that morning and it had the new SBO qualfier schedule in it so I was able to check that out. I was very surprised and a bit dissapointed to see that this year, there was like half the number of GG quals as last year. There is still 32 spots for teams so theres still 32 blocks. However, last year, each block had like an average of 4 prelims, meaning that 4 teams could compete in the block final. This year, theres only like 2 prelims on average for each block, so only 2 teams will fight in the block final. What this basically means is its going to be much harder to qualify this year since the concentration of top players will be more centralized at one event. Last year maybe there might have been 2 prelims going on the same day within the Kanto area but now everyone will be pretty much be going to the same tournaments. If they cap the number of entrants, this may be a problem and I might have to end up getting to tournaments super fucking early to gaurentee a spot. Im gonna have to start checking with some people and making sure I can get some solid teams going for these.
Overall this was a great weekend and even though I didnt get that far in any of the tournaments, I dont feel like I played bad or anything and mostly just got fucked by having to play my 2 hardest matchups in the game. Thats no excuse though and I need to just step it up and get better at fighting those characters. Next weekend there are no tournaments so I dont know what im gonna be doing yet exactly but im sure it will be fun. Theres a few more regular tournaments this month and then at the end of this month, SBO quals willl already be starting!