Evolution: 2k10 and Beyond
Is it just me or is it really hard to come home from Evo/Majors/Vegas? You come from this atmosphere where only games/skill matter, money is just an object, and enjoying time with friends is what is important…then, all of a sudden, blam… back to reality. It’s mad depressing
At any rate, I arrived at Caesar’s Palace late thursday night. I got to my room and immediately took a shower. I went downstairs, took out 100 dollars from the atm, and put it on double zero. bam, I was done gambling for the weekend :looney:. I was pretty focused and anxious for the tourney, so I went to bed at about midnight, trying my best to be well prepared for the morning. The only game I entered in this year was super 4, so I wanted to be in top shape to bring my A game…
I wake up at about 7:30 or so, get dressed, drink a meal replacement shake and go downstairs. As I stand in the registration line and meet with some friends i haven’t seen in a while, I start to get REALLY excited. THIS IS EVO2k10.
I am assigned to Pool B, and they begin immediately as the doors open. My pool judges are very aggressive, and immediately they begin. While some players in my pool were distracted by lights, banners, daigo, mad catz sticks, marvel 3, free t-shirts, and other distractions, I put on my headphones and chill out. I am here to play Street Fighter 4. I am here to win.
I bide my time and patiently scope out some matches. I see sanford play and think to myself, “I WANT TO PLAY HIM…”.
My first match is up, and I dont have tourney nerves, but I feel anxious… The first tourney match at a major tournament is what can set the tone for the rest of the tournament, so I take it very seriously. My first opponent is a ken player. I want to test his reactions and tendencies, so I flash kick and jump in a lot in the first round. He fierce dps all of them (as expected lol) but also dps things he shouldn’t have… so I take full advantage of this dp happy ken player in the next 4 rounds to win. I started rounds by baiting dp, something like empty jumping or bazooka knee then block…then I would punish. Followed that up with some hardcore turtling and he was pringles. He was actually pretty decent in terms of execution and he kind of knew what he was doing, but you can tell he had never fought a real guile player.
I go to play my first match in bbcs teams while the bracket continues. My bang took out a hakumen and I almost won a bang mirror, but my team had my back and we won. the BBCS team tourney was really sloppily run, which really made me apathetic towards it. You could tell they were doing the best they could, but man…its really sad aksys didnt show up to make sure they had the right gear (although even then it would have been bad, cause if you remember last year, people were waiting 4 hours for one match in blazblue tourney…).
I go back to pool B for my second match. sadly, I dont remember much about this. It was pretty much guile vs sub-par ryu… iirc I just played semi aggressive and he couldn’t block.
Since I won my first two matches, I have a 2 hour break. It is now that I play marvel 3 once, go get my t-shirts, and get my ass handed to me by an arakune player who was SUPER GOOD…dude pulled off 2 160+hit combos on 2 members of my team…lol :wtf:
I make my way back to my pool, and actually take a good look at my bracket. I notice that if I win my next two matches, I would play sanford. I think to myself, “I am going to play Sanford. No one is going to stop me from playing Sanford…”
The opportunity to play one of the strongest opponents in the US excited me, because it was what I really wanted.
My third match was against a bison player. He was pretty legit but I used guiles advantages in the matchup against him pretty well. I won 2-0 but the rounds were close.
My fourth match was against Awalk (from CA iirc?)… Anyway…this was an awesome set…we were both hype because we knew the winner would be up against the beast from NY…
He played Guy in the first game. At one point, he was actually winning, but I pulled off some sick air throws and combos to clutch it out. It was one of those games where someone is clearly beating someone down, but then in the second round when all hope seems lost, someone gets downloaded and an epic comeback happens. I remember being down on meter and on my last bit of health in the second round, but I made one really beast airthrow that had him mindfucked. He then woke up super and I took the win…frustrated, he went to sagat. The first sagat game he rolled over me, taking advantage of jumping strong and his spacing was on point. I got REALLY frustrated and made some dumb mistakes. Some really poor jumpins and booms… the third game was much the same, he rolled over me round one, and had me down in round two as well. Then, I had another moment where I achieved a “higher” level of play, I started baiting jumpins and then countering them with cr. fierce or airthrow, catching him in patterns with sonic hurricane or a jumpin, sobat-ing through low tigers and other stuff. I frustrated him and won.
My next match was against Sanford Kelly. He played Sagat against me. I went into the match saying to myself that I would rather lose by time out then for him to style/have me doing stupid shit. I played as lame as I possibly could for the most part, I did that. However, his reactions,zoning, game knowledge, and execution really came into play. the rounds were competitive but he won 2 games to 0. I talked to him and lamerboi afterwards and they were both really cool about offering me advice to improve.(more on this later and shout outs to both)
My next match was my first match in losers. I played a blanka player by the name of DJVest (sp?)…He was pretty good, I definitely see why he went so far in losers. ALthough I know the blanka matchup pretty well…he managed to adjust to my patterns and tie our set at 1-1. I played really well in the final game by baiting and punishing slides, airthrowing balls, reversal sonic booming balls, anti-airing etc…although the main reason why I won was because I landed a (full damage) dash ultra 1 in the final round. Going into the final seconds of the final round, I airthrew a blanka ball and cemented my sick comeback by cornering him and ex-flash kicking his reversal ball attempt.
My next match had me paired up against one of my weaknesses…RUFUS :looney::annoy:… worse even, it was a good rufus…
Younglegend and I had a good match. he won 2-0…the thing is…I played well, he just used rufus’s advantages against guile to win. Every round was close…That kid is mad good. I remember he countered the cr.fierce option select with ex-messiah a couple of times, which really got in my head. despite that, we had a really good set.
With that loss, I was eliminated from the tournament with a record of 5-2…top 8 in my pool of ~120 people.
I walked around a bit more, meeting folks I havent seen in a while and also meeting some new faces. My team got eliminated from the bbcs team tourney, so I was done with tourneys for the weekend. I played around a bit more with marvel 3, and went to cheer on other Louisiana players in their pools. A few others made it pretty far in their pools, so I took solace in the fact that LA represented. I had the opportunity to speak with tatsu, and offered him my thanks for some advice he had given me before which helped my game a lot (shout out to tatsu for being mad humble). I stayed until the last match on the big screen, got some food, and then went to sleep/shower. I was pretty beat but I felt good about the way I played that day. I was free, but not “that” free…lol :nono:
The tail end of day 2, was a blur in my mind. Nothing short of unforgettable.
I woke up pretty early again, but I felt good. After another meal replacement milkshake (which I advise everyone try for tourneys like this…Its cheap, fills you up, and gives you energy, but keeps your reactions and alertness…), I was ready to crack open MvC3…Myself and Dakota (thedarkphoenix, who did a nice writeup on the game found in the mvc3 subforum) got a lot of games in all day 2. I also had the privelage of playing 1v1 with RyRy for about an hour, and he helped me learn some of the basics really quickly. IMO, RyRy and KDZ were the best players of that build. Both were doing some combo vid type stuff…In addition to MvC3, I also played mightymar a few times in vampire savior. my execution on that setup was not very good and he walked all over me, but I learned and saw a few things in motion that I have only been able to read about until now. Seriously, that dude has a beast Anakaris…
I made it a point to watch all of warahk’s, dagger g’s, and lamerboi’s matches. all I can say is fuck rufus, ryu, and dhalsim. lol :annoy: :arazz:
seriously though, watching those guys on the big screen made me a little envious. I wanted that. I still want that. I thought to myself, “I have to ACHIEVE that…” :karate:
Pretty much played marvel 3 until they kicked everyone out for the bang the machine screening. I was excited to see this film for the first time, because for 4 years i have heard about how epic it is, seen the youtube clips, but have never been able to see it. It did not disappoint. To actually see the past and present versions of a community like this in person is astonishing. Furthermore, it was really funny and outdated, but I really enjoyed it and I was glad I got to see it. It was actually pretty inspiring.
At this point, I am dead tired, and about to take a shower and call it a night. I go to my room, and get a call from kenmastersX. He convinces me to accompany him to the Salty Suite. On our way there, we run into a french player who had just left. He told us they were doing the 100 dollar high roller tourney. Kenmastersx and I, with our delusions of grandeur, and desire to play the strongest players, instantly withdrew money from the ATM (lol) (shoutout to ATM zangief) and went on to the suite. This was easily one of the dumbest/most stupid moments of my life. I can remember stone and I repeatedly looking at each other like, “please stop me from doing this lol.”
Entering the Salty suite was unlike any experience I have ever had. We pay the entrance fee, the doors open, and EVERYONE who is important to the SF fighting game-world is there. It was like, this dream world inside of the surreal environment that evo/vegas is anyway…totally unreal…
The tournament had started by the time we got there, but we were determined to make the night worth our while. I met BP Amoco (sick gief) and we talked shit for a while, and I then had the honor of money matching Alex Valle. My goal was to get my game slayed, and in the process, learn and grow from it, and I knew he could expose my weaknesses and show me what I need to work on. We played a first to 5, surrounded by the likes of many top players like Online Tony, Banana Ken, Rico Suave, Shizza, and several representatives from Australia. Valle gave me what I desired. I played well for the first two games, but then he showed me my true colors. He completely downloaded me by game three and shut me down, frustrated me, and destroyed me five games in a row. Granted, it was at 4:00 am and I had been up since 7 am, but so had he. I played sloppy, shittily, and was mentally weak. However, he offered me words of encouragement and told me what his mindset was as he faught me. These words, combined with what I learned from Sanford and Lamerboi, taught me a valuable lesson.
It was at 4:00 am, during a lonely walk back to my hotel room, that I realized something about myself.
I am simple.
My reactions are poor.
My thinking is not “active” enough.
I am a robot.
I don’t mix it up.
I don’t think.
My execution is poor.
I am scared. Too scared.
I don’t play to win.
I play to not-lose.
That is the difference between a good player and a great player. A great player can adapt to his opponent, read his opponent, and he knows when to play to win and when to play to not-lose. What I realized, is that by utilizing my ghandi-like attitude and playstyle, it is very effective at mid-advanced level play. However, it is simply not good enough against elite level competition. The truth is, losing by time out will get you respect for not being an idiot, but you will not win. THe only way to get TRUE RESPECT is by claiming victory. You must find a way to outplay the opposition. You must take a chance. You must overcome the matchup. It is only then that you will be acknowledged. I realized that I still had a long road to travel.
In addition to this realization, I also recalled that actions in game tend to be microcosms or reflections of the real world persona. I knew that my defeat showed myself and others that, as a person, I am easily frustrated, mentally unstable, impatient, slow, childlike, impulsive, but worst of all, I am weak. This was a troublesome fact that I had to face. I was weak.
With this defeat, I went to sleep. Feeling mentally unsure of myself and mentally shattered…:wasted:
Day 3 was a somber day.
I was feeling a bit better about the previous night. I got up at about 10 and went to watch the tail end of melty finals and play some more mvc3. I actually got close to winning a prize for my play in mvc3, but I choked. Although, I would say I was fairly competent at the game by the time capcom closed up shop.
I was really hype for marvel. I thought that it was an awesome top 8 up until grand finals. Clockwork almost lived the dream…Melty and Tatsunoko also had pretty awesome showings. Those games were mad awesome at high level play. I personally think both of them get too much hate. Tekken and MVc3 were also entertaining. the fact that RyRy won mvc3 made me feel a bit better about him beating me into the ground for an hour the day before. I got a bite to eat while HDR was on, so I cant speak much on it.
Super finals were pretty nice. Nothing EPIC but it was still a good show. The fact that top 4 were from 4 different countries…awesome. I really thought Ricky was going to take Daigo to the second set. His rufus play was amazing, and although both of those characters are complete bullshit (lol), watching both of those guys play for all the marbles (as well as a certain adon player, and two hondas with dreams of victory) was nothing short of inspiring. I realized that half of my battle was won. I had made it pretty far in my pool, and I got my ass exposed by top level players. I now know what I must work on to one day achieve that level of play.
After a long day of gaming and fun, I take a shower and go to sleep.
I wake up with a refreshed attitude.
You know how sagat felt in the alpha series after he won/lost to ryu? How he would be like “Fuck it! Next time I see that bitch I am beating his ass! I need to train harder and become stronger!” ? Thats how I felt. It was a positive attitude. That feeling, of looking at an opponent with the eagerness to fight them again after you have trained to become stronger, faster, and smarter. That is a great feeling.
I knew I was weak. However, I knew one day, with hard work, determination, and persistence (hallmarks of my real life persona), I would one day be strong. In game and in reality.
On a whim, since I still had time before my flight, I WALKED from caesar’s palace to the Pinball hall of fame. 4 miles in heat was nothing really (im from Louisiana so i was desensitized to it). Anyway, I met P. Gorath, Keits, Kryo, and Valaris there, and played some sweet pinball games. I got back to the hotel grabbed my stuff, and hopped on a plane home.
For the first day or two back from EVO, or any major really, I always feel this kind of pseudo-depression. I find it very unfulfilling to come back to such a mundane day to day life after the roller coaster rides that are these fighting game tourneys…
that said, I really had a blast at my second evo. My only regrets are that I didn’t meet MORE people, and that I couldn’t go in 06 like I had planned. My shoutouts: http://shoryuken.com/f8/evo-shout-out-thread-162057/index4.html#post9208427
As an aside, I think next year is going to be very interesting. We are experiencing a very exciting period for the fighting game genre. I only hope everyone goes into this era with open minds. I agree with many others in that it is unhealthy for the community to become “super sf4 Nation,” as the scene could theoretically implode. I hope that in the future, people diversify, and that all games at evo/majors/whatever can know the level of success sf4 does. Who knows what the future holds, but isn’t that part of the fun? I know I am personally going to put my best foot forward in our local scene(s). Something that I would like to see develop, is for there to be a unified “Fighting game community,” as opposed to the “sf4 community,” “capcom community,” the tekken community," etc., etc… The truth is, we all represent the same genre. We all know the thrill of playing high level fighting games, and how it offers a more engaging, smarter, and more enthralling experience than shooters or various other games (with the exception of wow arena and starcraft imo). Above all else, we all know the same stigma/struggle with being classified as an “underground” community. Why consistently divide ourselves? We need to stand together and be aware of who we are as a whole.
Furthermore, I always have a moment at majors, where I can look around and see hundreds, (in this case) thousands of people creating bonds of friendship and rivalry. I see them forging their minds, skills, and relationships. THrough what?
Through a video game. It really is remarkable. It makes me wonder sometimes, is it possible that Fighting games are on a higher level than a typical video game?
In conclusion, I have reached the point of no return. Even as I sit here now, on a 10+ game losing streak on live lol , I can recall my past experiences, reaffirm my desire to become a good player, turn on training mode and look forward to the future. The truth is, win or lose, it is all about the fight. It is all about the experience. It is all about the path to become a champion, and the bonds we form with people along the way make that experience even more worth it.
Magus sums it up nicely in this vid from evo 2k9. Listen to it from 2:38 onward. [media=youtube]7Kgg-hHjBFE&playnext_from=TL&videos=8nkt-fZZ4cY[/media]
In 2006, after high school and the hurricane katrina bullshit, I started college. I attended Xavier University of Louisiana’s Pre-Medical Biology program, a rigorous program designed to prepare its students for medical school. I had to deal with a (difficult) school, post-katrina new orleans, and numerous other real-life issues. In order to keep the stress at bay, I dove head-first into the fighting games that I had only casually played up until that point. Somewhere along the way, I became a part of an underground community that few people can understand. Now, as I sit here a recent graduate from my college program, the fighting game community is a part of me, and I am not looking back.
As Ryu says, “The answer lies in the heart of battle.”
As (Cheesy as it is) Exile says, “I gotta keep on moving, I know I’ll be strong.”
Thanks for reading guys. See you next year.