Thursday, April 30, 2009

Close Call at Game Ace

Since Wednesday in Japan was a national holiday, it meant I had no work and it also meant that it was the day for the next SBO qual in the B-4 Chiba block. My team for this one would be Kaking (ED) and Yuki (IN).

I headed out for Shinjuku after work on Tuesday night cuz I wanted to get some practice in. I went to Vegas and Yuki met me there as well. There was a decent amount of players there. While I was there, I wrote down the results of every single casual match I played that night so... here it is!

win vs SO
win vs Yuki 3 times
win vs AX
lose vs Yuki
win vs Yuki
win vs SL
win vs JO 4 times
win vs black IN (I think this was the guy that beat 012's team at Game Newton qual)
lose vs black IN
win vs SO
lose vs Yuki

at this point, while I was waiting for a cab to open up to play my next match, all of a sudden MIU appears! We started talking about various things. I told him how I was thinking about going to Hokkaido for the quals going on there next week but that I needed a team first. He said he would like to go but has to work so he cant. Also we were talking about EVO and he said he might not go this year and doesnt like the fact that GG will be singles this year. He said he will be visiting New York next winter to hang out with Karl (the Testament player who I met who a long time ago who used to live in Japan). Also, at this point, Rod was at Vegas too and he just bought some new Uniqlo video game shirts. He got a rockman one and a SFII one. MIU thought they were amusing so he took pictures of Rod holding up the shirts.

After that I got back on the cabs to play some more and...

win vs SO
win vs VE 3 times
win vs SO 12 times (yes this same Sol player challenged me 12 times in a row and I think he won maybe 1 or 2 rounds out of the entire 12 3/5 round games LOL!)
lose vs Yuki
win vs Yuki

then I lost to a blue Anji player. Judging by the play style and skill level, I assumed it was Kunihiro. I played him again and then I beat him twice in a row. Then he came back hard and beat me 4 times. Then I beat him once more. After that, sure enough, Kunihiro came around to the other side and said he also had assumed it was me playing Faust haha. He was playing extremely well and seems like he has been practicing a lot lately. We talked for a bit after this. I told him I was sorry for dropping him from my team last time but he totally understood since he cant enter the Chiba block finals next Saturday anyway. I told him we should team again sometime during a block where the finals arnt on a Saturday. He wants to team with me again. Infact... I mentioned to him about how I was thinking about going to the Hokkaido A-1 block that takes place during next week's Golden Week holiday on 5/4 and 5/5 and he said he wanted to go! So that meant if I could find one more person I would be set. Basically, Matt wants to go to, but since Matt isnt going to be around for SBO finals it would be best to find one more team mate. Both Matt and I have never been to Hokkaido before so it would be a nice excuse to go see it. I told Kunihiro if I could find one more person to go with us we could make good plans and I would contact him. After that, Kunihiro started playing on the cab next to me and then I got another challenger...

win vs ED
win vs MI
win vs ED
lose vs ED
win vs ED
win vs FA 2 times
win vs Rod's SL
win vs Rod's IN 4 times

after that, Rod came to the other side and said that he had to leave cuz he needed to wake up for class the next day and the last train would be coming soon so I said bye and he headed out. At this point, the only ones left playing GG were me and Kunihiro and it was getting really late and I was hungry as hell, so I told Kunhiro I was gonna head out, but told him I would get back to him about the tournament in Hokkaido.

After that, I got some quick food at Sukiya and headed to Current. On the way in, I ran into SPG Chris who was on his way home. He told me there was a decent size crowd in there. Sure enough it was a good crowd for a weeknight. Mostly people I didnt know with a few regulars. I talked with Chip pretty much the entire night. We mostly just talked about video game related stuff from anything to what we are currently playing to stuff going on in the game industry. Chip (who works for Dolby) said he is currently working a little bit with the sound people for Final Fantasy XIII and has heard the soundtrack and says its good. He also says that he has heard that Square-enix is working on a new Chrono Trigger game, and I really hope he is right and that its more like CT than Chrono Cross. We talked about a whole bunch of other various stuff too and drank lots of beers. It wasnt the most exciting night but it was chill and I had fun. I drank till about 3 am and at this point most of the people had cleared out. I could stay later but I figured it would be best to just get some sleep earlier so I could practice before tomorrow's tournament. I said bye to everyone and headed out to the manga kissa for sleep.

I woke up at around 9:30 and saw something I had never seen before. There were people standing outside of Vegas waiting for the place to open. I cant honestly remember the last time I was in Shinjuku where I woke up before like 10 am haha. Anyway, I didnt bother waiting at Vegas, I just headed right to the train and went to Motoyawata in Chiba where the tournament would be held. Game Ace was pretty easy to find, it was right next to the station. I realized when I walked in that I had been there for a qual last year but forgot. There were already people there playing when I arrived. They had 2 nice sorta slanted side-by-side cab setups and both setups were hooked up to seperate big flat screen TVs for spectators. Yuki told me he would be arriving at Game Ace right at around 2 pm, when the tournament would be starting. He wanted to practice at a game center close to his house because he figured Game Ace would be crowded. I played some casuals...
Played a game vs Udei AX and lost.
Then I played a mirror match vs Kishya and beat him, once again showing how Faust vs Faust is random.
Then I lost to a Venom.
After that, Ojima saw me lose and was saying how like VE isnt that bad and was like saying what you should do to beat him blablabla and gets on the cab and loses to him too haha!
Then I got a mail from Matt who said he was on his way to come watch.
After that, I was talking a little with Kuni, the Baiken player, and he said that he wasnt going to go to Hokkaido afterall.
I played against his Slayer and won, winning all 3 rounds, 2 of which were a perfect, and one I got hit like once. Then I played against AGF Anji (black mustache Anji) and won, then I beat a Sol and a Chipp. Finally Kuni rematched me with his Slayer and I lost in a close one.

After this, I got a call from Kaking. I asked him if he was at the station (cuz he wanted me to meet him there to show him how to get to Game Ace, even though its really really easy to find) and he was like "no, im not coming now". Im like "what? but I already signed us up." he was like "cant you find someone else" and im like "nope, theres really no one else I can team with". He said he would try to come and would contact me sometime before the tournament if he could make it afterall. I wasnt exactly sure why he couldnt come because its hard to understand Japanese on the phone sometimes for me, espessially when you are talking in Japanese to a Chinese guy with a bit of an accent. Basically it sounded like some issue came up that he had to take care of. Anyway, knowing this, I figured it would be best to try to find a back up plan. I checked the signup sheet and noticed there was one person signed up all by himself. And that person was none other than Ogiwara (aka Basara). Those of you who have read my blog since last year know the long history of trying to team up with Basara and all the BS I went through lst year so I figured it was futile but I figured I would ask anyway. I didnt see him anywhere around. I told Kuni about my problem and he said maybe it would be worth at least sending him an email to see if he was interested. I still had his email in my address book so I sent him a mail basically saying "Im at Game Ace and see that you are signed up alone. It turns out one of my team mates cant come and I need a 3rd person. Would you like to join my team?" and basically his response was "no, I want to enter the tournament by myself". Im just thinking like ".... wtf, he would rather enter alone then team with me!? wtf!?" I have no idea what his reasoning is but I guess knowing him, im not all that surprised.

Around this time, Matt showed up. I told him the situation and told him he would have to join my team as a last resort if Kaking couldnt come. He said he would do it. I went and told the signup guys the situaton and wrote Matt's name in there next to Kaking and said I would tell them which one is on my team before the tournament started. After waiting around a little longer, I got a call from Kaking who said he would be coming afterall! So I didnt have to worry about it and crossed Matt's name off the sheet again.

Right before 2 pm, Yuki showed up. At this point, they started to kick everyone off the machines to set it up for tournament mode and make brackets. While they were calling names for the brackets, they called Ogiwara but he was no where to be found. Someone asked people to find someone who was good friends with him to call him and then everyone sorta looked at eachother like "uhh...." and finally someone called him. Eventually he showed up all late and they didnt let him enter. I thought it was funny. Thats what he gets for wanting to enter alone and showing up late when he could have just joined my team... heh. After making all the brackets and getting everything ready, it was already like 2:45 or something... and Kaking hadnt arrived yet. He told me he was gonna call me when he got to the station but I got no call. Luckily we still had some time because when I picked our random number for the bracket, we were placed as one of the last matches to fight first round. I went to the train station to see if he was waiting there. I waited there for him for about 10 minutes or so but didnt see him at all. I tried calling him a bunch of times but it seemed that his phone was turned off. I went back to Game Ace and told Yuki and Matt that I had no idea wtf was going on. I told Matt that in the case that they call our match and Kunihiro isnt here, we would ask them if we could change the Eddie to Order Sol and have Matt play. I didnt think they would let us though so in that scenario, I told Matt to just try to play Eddie. I asked him if he knew how to use Eddie and he was like "well, I know how to perform his special moves" and I was just like "...".

We waited a bit longer and suddenly out of no where while we were watching the match before our match would be called, Kaking shows up! He was really sorry and asked if it was too late but was surprised when I told him we didnt play yet. He said he was having some major problems with his phone and had to go to the store to get it checked out and now it was completely not working at all. In any case, now I had my full team so it was all good.

Our first match was against a team of PO/AN/HOS. We sent out Kaking first just cuz pretty much Eddie can fight anyone. They put out their PO player. Kaking pretty much just cheesed him to death with unblockables and PO didnt really have much of a chance. Up next was their Anji. This match was really close and went down to the last round. Kaking seemed to be having some trouble with it and ended up losing. I was gonna go next but Yuki said he wanted to go so I told him to go ahead. Yuki fought hard and won in a close match in the last round to Anji. Up next was Order Sol. Just like with Anji, this was a close one and in the final round, Yuki hit him with something and could have killed him with one more hit but messed up and didnt do it. They fought a little more and HOS started to come back but then Yuki squeezed in the last hit ftw and we won our first match.

We waited around a bit longer and our next match was against Hase(SL)/Udei(AX)/ASA(PO). Once again, Kaking went first and once again this team put their Potemkin first. Unfortunately, ASA is a lot better than that other Potemkin and ended up beating Kaking's Eddie. Yuki said Potemkin is hard for him and I dont mind the matchup so I went next. I lost the first round. I fought hard and won the 2nd round. The 3rd round was going well too. ASA had almost no life left and I threw a bomb bag right in front of him on the ground and baited him into doing a slide head and he landed into the bomb bag explosion radius which was just enough to kill him and I won. Up next was Hase. The first round was going really well and I hit him with lots of good combos and pokes and was playing smart but eventually he hit me and when Slayer hits you once you lose like 80% life. He ended up winning the 1st round. 2nd round started off OK but he had me in the corner and went for a meaty forward kick and I was stupid and tried to forward punch it which beats it clean if its timed right, but he did the kick early enough to where I really should have just blocked cuz it wasnt gonna get beat out and I got counterhit and he pretty much just did a rape combo and I lost that one too. Last match was Yuki vs Hase. Yuki tried his best but Hase's Slayer was just too much and Yuki fell as well. And with that, we were out of the tournament.

I talked about plans fot the next tournament after that with Kaking and Yuki. Kaking said he probably will be fine with entering on Saturday for the block finals and said he would contact me about it within the next few days. Im pretty sure he will enter but hopefully it wont be some last minute nail biter shit like today. Yuki said he was going to be going to his hometown for Golden Week and wouldnt be around at all. I asked him when he was leaving and he said he was leaving tomorrow. I then thought to myself... then what would happen if we actually won today? Yuki failed to tell me that fact before hand. I wonder if he would have changed his travel plans if we did win. I would like to think he would have but didnt bother asking about it. Im gonna make sure to bring up the block finals stuff beforehand in the future from now one when I team with someone for a non block finals prelim. Anyway, I already asked Honyo to team with us for Saturday and he said he would so its no big deal I guess. Yuki and Kaking both left shortly after that. Matt and I decided to just stick around and watch the rest of the tournament. Pretty much all the big names were there once again, just like last time. There were a lot of upsets in this tournament. Teams that I wouldnt have expected to lose other teams were getting peaced out. At one point, TEN was about to OCV En/Nanashi/Limekey but then Limekey came back in the last round vs TEN and ended up reverse OCVing, but then they lost to some other team who I didnt even know who they were. Also, Kishya lost in ANOTHER mirror match against this one default color pony-tail Faust player and I dont know who he is either. He was good though and I actually saw Kishya lose to him in a mirror match in casuals earlier in the day as well. Hase's team also went on to lose to the team of Goro (JA)/Fumo (AB)/Kayuro (SL). Actually, im not sure if that is the Slayers name because the hand writing on the sheet is kinda messy. The first Hiragana is definately "ka" and the last one is surely "ro" but I cant tell what the middle one is. Looks kinda like a half ass "yu" but it could be something else. Anyway I dont think ive ever heard of the guy. Hase was fighting the other SL in a mirror match and was about to win. He knocked him down with almost no life let and did an OTG big bang upper to try to kill him but he ended up living with like no life bar and was able to squeeze in a quick crouching punch to kill Hase (who also had like no life left). Hase seemed shocked and the rest of his team went on to lose after that.

Anyway, the tournament finals ended up being 2 teams I would never have guessed based on all the beast teams that were there. The finals were Goro (JA)/Fumo (AB)/Kayuro (SL) vs Shoo (FA)/ Chikusa (CH)/ Kurenai (JA). The team name of this team was just "X" and was written like the way they write it for the logo of the band "X Japan". The Jam player whos name was simply the kanji for the word crimson (紅) which is pronounced in Japanese as Kurenai, seems to be an obvious X Japan reference as well considering its the name of one of their most popular songs. However, you would figure someone like that would be an I-no player given the references to that song in her stage being all crimson and her final boss music being so similar to the actual song Kurenai itself. Anyway, blablabla... first match of the finals was Jam vs Jam and Goro wins. Then Shoo takes out Goro with his Faust. Up next Fumo's ABA beats Shoo but then Chikusa takes out Fumo with his Chipp. Final match was Slayer vs Chipp with Slayer taking the win for his team and they will now face off on saturday against Inoue's team along with whoever wins the Saturday prelim in the final showdown for the SBO spot.

(Once again I took pictures of the entire sign up sheet and brackets so you can see all the teams and who beat who. They will be uploaded to my pictures page so check it out).

After the last match, everyone pretty much poored out of there at the same time. Matt and I took the train back to Shinjuku and enjoyed a snus on the way. On the way on the train, I started mailing a bunch of people in my phone asking them if they could possibly go to Hokkaido with me to enter the tournement there. I didnt get any replies right away. When we got back, we were hungry so we got some quick food and then went to play casuals for a bit at Vegas. I had about and hour and half left ill I had to head back home. I started out strong with a 10 win streak, the 10th win being against Konsome's PO. Around this time, I decided to put that snus back in. He rematched me and I lost 3 times in a row and then beat him again. Then I lost again and someone else got on so I went over to the other side of the cabs to fight some other people. Baim was over there and I was talking with her a bit. She said how shes supposed to go to the zoo with Natsume or "pet" as she always refers to him as, but she says he doesnt really want to go hah. She had been trying to beat Mitsurugi's Zappa who had a big streak but couldnt beat him so I said I would give it a shot. I played him like 3 times and lost all of them. He was simply on fire today, you could hardly touch the guy. After that, I played like one more game vs a Dizzy player and lost. I was getting really tired, the snus buzz was kinda slowing down my reaction time, and it was getting close to the time I needed to leave so Matt and I headed out. Matt went on his way to Zin to go drinking and I headed back to the train station to go home.

On the train on the way home, I got replies from several of the people I mailed about Hokkaido. All of them said they either had work or were busy with other stuff and couldnt go. Junya, the Dizzy player said that she was considering going actually but after thinking about it she said it would probably be too expensive for her and stuff but she seemed like she really wanted to go. Too bad. So as of now, I am still waiting to hear back from a couple people but it seems pretty unlikely that any of them will want to go. Matt still really wants to go and says if me, him, and Kunihiro go out there, Matt will man up and play his best on our team and if we win he will just change his travel plans and stay for SBO. As of now it still seems up in the air. Matt will check at a travel agency tomorrow for the best prices and see how much this trip would cost. Ill mail Kunihiro and see if hes cool with just the 3 of us going. If he agrees to it and the cost isnt insanely high, I guess its worth going out there since I would like to travel there anyway and Golden Week is a good time to do so.

So... I will be back in Tokyo again this weekend and will be off of work for Golden Week up until next Thursday. I will enter the final tournament for the Chiba block on Saturday. As far as the Hokkaido tournament, we will have to see how that pans out. Finally, the last day of Golden week (Wednesday) is the TRF qual in which I also plan to enter but havnt decided on a team yet. Not sure whats gonna happen, just gonna roll with it and see how things play out.

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