I got back late last night from XMANIA. It was a lot of fun, but I didn’t even realize it wasn’t being streamed until I got back online today. That is very disappointing, it sucks that nobody could see it outside of the arcade. This weekend I was thinking about how XMANIA is like, THE event each year for the world of ST, but it most likely won’t even get a mention on the srk main page newsfeed (yet again). And then I find out it’s not even streamed on top of that… I’ll look into why. One reason may have been because the Mikado arcade also ran some other tournaments that weekend too while XMANIA was run. In fact I think Mattsun helped run at least one of the other tournaments simultaneously. For what it’s worth, the setup this year looked pretty much as it has when they did stream it before. It got recorded, at least. DVDs from past events were on sale there.
I went by car this time, along with the other two guys on my team to share parking costs. I actually hadn’t played on a cab in months, and that was only once or twice since Gian Recital in the spring. I’ve just been playing a lot of HDR with my HRAP, and not a lot of time to adjust so I knew it’d be tough to win just one game this time. Matsuo and I entered the 2on2 Hyper Anniversary tournament on Saturday, and lost that one to a Turbo Ryu player pretty quickly. Even before Anniversary, I was trying to play ST as much as possible. If I’d known it wasn’t being streamed, I could have at least followed the brackets closer and report back to you guys more about what happened but when you’re at XMANIA, you have the best problem in the world: trying to decide whether to play the best and level up as much as possible, or follow the action of the best in the actual tournament itself, and I usually opt to play.
There were a lot of Zangiefs on the casuals machines. At one point I think there were like 4 or 5 Zangiefs on across the cabs at once. And Chun Lis. Seemed like more DeeJays than average too. Otherwise, same strong representation of other characters too like a bunch of fei longs, hondas, cammys blankas etc. Oh, earlier on Saturday when it wasn’t crowded at all, Tsunoppi was playing the cpu as Akuma. So I thought it was a good chance to play as Dhalsim for all the times he uses Guile. But I won and stood up, throwing my arms in the air for beating Akuma. Also, I played MB Bison (Boxer) a bunch of games and I don’t think I beat him once. It’s similar to when I play Adachi, just raahhrahhrahhhrahhrahhhh-RAAAAAh like he doesn’t have any recovery time. This match is supposed to be even? Maybe slightly in sim’s favor?? I can’t figure it out, not at any high level anyway. There’s just a lot of constant guessing going on and it seems like if I guess wrong once or twice, that’s round over or I’m in the corner and shut down. Dhalsim cannot REACT so much in this match-up (as he can in others), he has to GUESS which is worse, esp for that match up where the risks are so high for guessing. It feels like boxer just has to REACT to any threat, and otherwise continue some ridiculous barrage of constant attacks. I wonder when boxer players feel the most vulnerable so I know when it’s best to GUESS (when I have a chance). For years now that match-up has just felt like one big constant corner trap, no matter where either character is on the screen except for both at full screen. That’s generally good for dhalsim, however, the general rule of thumb for boxer vs a projectile char like sim or ryu is, from full screen, one buffalo headbutt through a projectile puts him in range to do a charged punch and from that same distance or closer, better hope boxer doesn’t have his super meter charged.
I totally got stomped by a bunch of Chun Lis too. I can’t complain too much about that though, as I got one or two wins eventually and I think I just need to watch out for a particular three hit combo or two with high dizzy potential. There are definitely ways in and times I might have to guess but no where near anything like the shutdown vs. boxer always winds up being for me. One in particular (unless others used same color) was Kita or KitaChun who Shu said did well in Nakano Royal. No argument there.
All this weekend at Mikado, it wasn’t just XMANIA, but also the Hyper Anniversary tournament, the Choujin Olympics w/Samurai Shodown games, and (maybe a part of that? I didn’t enter) a Rainbow Edition tournament. I suspect the Rainbow Edition they used was likely the one from Kaikan arcade, which is closing and one of the few I’ve seen in Japan. I think the finals had two vegas that kept rolling into each other, fireballing four or five on the screen at a time in a close mirror match. Kukurusuadon tried that as guile, jumping so high he got off the screen, while chucking 6 or 7 sonic booms but I guess he has to land eventually. I suppose that even (some?) Rainbow Editions have times your character can get hit. Anyway, none of those other tournaments were as big as XMANIA, and were at the other end of the same floor, but didn’t help the crowd control any.
On Sunday, teammate Kukurusuadon was almost late, but we got randomly seeded luckily at a later pool so that turned out ok. But he wasn’t really there for XMANIA- his main game is Samurai Shodown(/Spirits). I think the 3rd one in the series is supposed to be the main one for that scene? Anyway, in ST he played Guile and our first match pit us up against Shiro@Ryu, AkaBlanka, and… I forget the other player right now, Foo something (not Foosuke) but they must have registered their team close to the end of registration on Sunday right before the tournament got under way. Shiro was up first, and took out Kukurusuadon’s Guile pretty easily. Matsuo put up a decent fight next, at one point gaining momentum in a good streak of solid hits but no big combos, and I think made it to the third round at least, but no win. I was last to go, and didn’t expect much, but in a sense that took off some pressure maybe? Anyway, during the match I know I made a sudden unintended jump that cost a lot of life, so by that point I could relax and just not have too high an expectation. That’s the thing in a tournament, or when you go all out in the most play-to-win sense. It really interferes with your ability to just relax. Sometimes that’s fine, like when you’re hungry for the win and can really keep up with the frequent changes over the course of a round. When you can relax, you might not have that kind of “wired” feel and hunger for the game, squeezing out every last possible frame you can, and still be ready for just about any possibility, arranged in order in your mind in terms of likelihood of it happening from any given frame. But you DO have an easier time to just say, ok whatever, this is the game I really love playing and I’ve played a bunch of games of it for years-- it’s not like I’ve never been in pressure situations before, whether in a tournament game OR “casual”. It’s easy to give yourself more distractions, more excuses. But you’re there to play the game. So play the game. I played my game. I messed up and flubbed at least once or twice but I could at least manage to focus on that much. Shiro knows how to play Dhalsims, like Gian, but the advantage is definitely sim’s, esp. in terms of number of ways to get around fireballs. Ryu’s really gotta work his way in and guess right. I don’t get the sense Shiro put on such a strong offense, playing it more conservatively but one wrong guess in me being overly aggressive can mean disaster, and sim does have to worry about the wake-up game if knocked down. One round, the 2nd I believe, I caught a lucky break in this where it was near the left edge of the stage I think, and at one point I wound up there unexpectedly, on the other side of Ryu and managed to pull off a super combo. I didn’t realize it at the time but that probably caused him to be even more cautious or at least, make room for more options for me from that point forward. And even then, I still didn’t expect to win, but in a close finish I managed to stay on top of things to pull it off. Next up was Akablanka. I didn’t worry too much about this one but should have. He had a good sense of normals and we were both cautious enough to not advance too much. Well, I should say, he was more cautious in that regard, and caught me off guard more by the end of it. Just one of those times where I felt a few more games and I’d get a win, but I lost. (and despite feeling that way, that’s never any guarantee that would actually HAPPEN of course!)
So, we were out of the tournament, but there was still plenty of time left to get in lots of games with great players. I did watch the finals at least. As you know Ito/Futachan/MAO won it, and while MAO took out a lot of players, his rounds weren’t too flashy or down to 4 consecutive one frame throws etc. Futachan and I think particularly Ito had some great plays though. Ito’s DeeJay would often get the kick throw (? the one where he rolls and throws with feet and hands?) which I don’t often see. After the tournament, they still had a few matches going to determine 3rd place. I thanked Ito for helping out with ranking charts, and asked how sure he felt about the DeeJay-Dhalsim match because I feel that’s more 7-3 and sim definitely has the advantage. So hopefully we can play a few games at some point. I’m no where on his level but for THAT match-up I feel like I got a solid handle on it.
After we got eliminated from XMANIA, Kukurusuadon could focus on the Samurai Shodown tournament. I think in those rules, you could switch your character(?). He was explaining something to me at one point about how he used a typical character, but he made it to late stages of the tournament and switched to a low tier, rare character, and had a good knack for getting off some combo like four low light kicks into her super-type of move. Anyway, he actually made it all the way to grand finals, then won it in a close match. Not long after that, we said our goodbyes and headed out. We had dinner in Shinjuku and got back after 1:30 am but it was a great weekend.
Props to Kuroppi for compiling the list of XMANIA teams and players w/characters! It’s always so crowded and packed with people during these events. Typically, they post the brackets posters that get updated near the cabs used for the tournament, which are crowded enough as it is. It’s the kind of thing that’s actually easier to track from a stream but at least with a list of which players are on which team it helps to make sense of it all (I often ask people basic things like “is this final four yet?”). Also, with so many strong players, I STILL cannot remember every player’s face and match it with his name so if I know one on a team of three, it helps me figure it out better.