I have time to kill and I wanted to revisit The EVO Virgin blog that I was trying to post last year. Due to a combination of laziness, sleeping, laziness, playing fighting games, writing for IPLAYWINNER, laziness and not giving a shit sometimes, I never really continued past day zero.
Now I will just go over the rest of the three days at ground zero in a more condensed form so I don't have to write three different parts and have more time to get ready for this week's EVO!!!!
Sorry I don't have any pictures since I am working through a different computer!
After sleeping very late under the influence of crappy pizza and Pepsi, I wake up exhausted but ready for the big show at Ceaser's Palace. In our bus ride to the hotel was my friend and one of the world's best Super Skrull players in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Hi Im Nastyy. While his game was not until day two, he came by to practice with the other players. He also gave me a Mountain Dew which actually readied me up for my match against Korea's Poongko in The King Of Fighters XIII.
While I was intimidated by his long term experience in fighting games, I came with a state of mind of just playing hard. That unfortunately didn't really turn out as well as I wanted since he destroyed my team twice with his first character, sending me to the losers bracket. I didn't give up though and actually fought my best through that side of the bracket with my team of Billy/Iori/Kyo (now Duo Lon/EX-Iori/EX-Kyo for 2013). Aside from one match where I almost choked, I won multiple matches until I actually lost to Kazunoko, a very good Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition player from Japan, in losers semi-finals. I underestimated him since I thought he would focus more on AE but I would later find out he had necessary experience in KOF. If I ever fought him again, I wouldn't fall for some of his shenanigans.
I was a bit surprised my pools bracket had a full house of 16 since some only had as low as 2 players even when it was shown as full of players registered. These were the shirt monsters. They wanted the Mai shirt and never played and it was sort of disappointing until I found out the attended/missing ratio was actually in favor of the former.
After watching the rest of my bracket, I checked out the other stations which featured some deadly hitters such as China's Xiaohai, Korea's MadKOF and Mexico's Bala. These matches even if not shown on the main stage were very hype and great way to learn stronger strategies for a game that's fast and offensive.
I also checked out the back of the main hall which had Persona 4 Arena, Divekick and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. I only played a couple of matches for each game and most of them I lost in but they felt fun at the time. Another part of the event was the Indie Game Showcase. I only played two games if I recall: Nidhogg and Spy Party. The former is the fencing/race to the finish versus fighter with the retro look which really felt strong for emphasizing footsies through use of both players' blades. Spy Party took on a much more yomi/reading the opponent's mindset since it played passively from both perspectives, the sniper and the spy, in this thick and deliberately destracting party. I also played a bit of PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale. I found it a bit funny everyone I played with were being sorta mindless and fighting close to each other when playing but I had the edge by taking advantage of using Nathan Drake's level 1 super to kill them most if not all the time. I was racking up so many wins and actually got threatened by one player if I won but he calmed down and apologized.
Following that was watching and playing AE in my bracket. Unfortunately, I didn't have the urge to play and just didn't do good enough as I expected. While I did beat one opponent, I would get destroyed in my next two matches. I didn't really give much issues about it since I realized then I enjoyed the game from the spectator perspective especially after watching strong players duke it out on the main stage and encountering so much side bets out in the open.
After checking and playing more of the games in the back end, I was getting ready for Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown. I was practicing for that game with Lion, by practicing moves and watching various matchups. Being my first 3D fighter, I was still not fully understanding the nuances such as mid-hits, sidestepping, etc; I was still optimistic. While I was enjoying the casuals, my play in the tournament was terrible. My first opponent was scrubbing it out and I wasn't paying attention to it which made me angry. Luckily he got pummeled the match after which made me grin. If I were to revisit the game or at least had conditioned myself, I would have done the same. Even if eliminated, I tuned into some of the matches and were awesome.
This was sort of a free day for me since all of my games were on Friday. I just continued to walk around the hall, finding something to watch or something to play. I know one of the first things I done during the day was playing some Super Street Fighter II Turbo. While I didn't intend to play any of the events for ST, I just wanted to jump into something to at least get my mind up to speed. My opponent during a casual session was a Japanese player I didn't know. His name was Mao and he played Vega, a destructive Vega. No one during casuals nor even tournament to a certain degree was able to defeat him. I was lucky to even hit a jab from his strong mixups. Mao was a strong player but a pretty nice dude that loved to communicate even if his English isn't the best.
I believe Mortal Kombat was being played on Saturday and I came to see even if my skills were really bad. There was enjoyment from seeing a special US vs Europe team tournament and seeing some exhibitions. I remembered the Netherrealm Studios dudes were there including Ed Boon. They were watching just behind the stream station for MK and seeing Ed Boon in person for the first time watching Perfect Legend go at it with his Kung Lao was sorta mindblowing.
Later on in the day, I went to one of the stations which hosted Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs.. While not necessarily a fighting game, it has strong 4v4 versus combat that is rivaling that of the actual fighters in Japan. While I did watch lots of footage prior, my actual experience in the Gundam Vs. series was very low. I didn't have a teammate from the start but I was grouped up with a pretty cool dude from Singapore. He acted sort of like a jerk but he was of good intentions and helped me out on what should I play. Our team had him playing as one Gundam I can't recall but really emphasized close quarter battle while I played as the tank Hildolfr, known for excellent zoning and annoying the opponents. By surprise we were doing really good with my racking up some clutch kills along the way. I believe we lost during losers semi-finals to the same team that took us to that part of the bracket. While I actually never seen or heard of him again, I would love to encounter him this year. The tournament for EXVS was fun, it really took a lot of time to setup since the game requires PlayStation Network to play online (although the input lag for four consoles playing together in one area over PSN was very low) and the constant game drop turned the tournament from ending in an hour to two hours tops. It's not regrettable since I still enjoyed the experience.
The rest of the day was then dedicated to just watching my friends playing their tournament matches in UMVC3 including Nastyy which I rooted for. One of the matches I was tuning into, I heard a big thud and I thought it was the main stage audio messing up but it was a guy who apparently collapsed. People were saying it was heat exhaustion, getting drunk or one claim where he overhyped. A lot of people were seeing this guy dangling like a ragdoll being taken away outside the hall.
Day two concluded with the top 8 of the ST Tournament of Legends which featured a personal favorite Honda player, Kusumondo from Japan. The finals featured him vs. the super strong Mao. I was rooting for Kusumondo since I watched many match videos of him doing really well in Japanese tournaments. My friend Kingofsarus was next to me and was rooting for Mao; he was even doing the Vega yell HYOOOOOOO in which the rest of the crowd did as well. It was both hillarious and full of hype. Mao eventually won by final round in the final match. Even if Kusumondo didn't win, the grand finals was too good anyways.
This was finals day. All the setups are gone, all taken over by a massive amount of seats. I arrived at the hall just after Soulcalibur V finals since I slept at 5:00 AM and woke up at around 11:00 AM or so.
While Street Fighter X Tekken was the least interesting of the bunch, the other finals were really good including The King of Fighters XIII. There was something about that finals that presented a special energy where I didn't see in the other games. Things like national pride, clutches, dropped combos, comebacks and Spanish soccer chants just made KOF far too amazing up until the last match of the tournament. Even if Korea took it, everyone had a universal bond with each other because of this game.
Marvel and AE were really good as well but just not up to the level KOF set. They have their own set of special events including Infiltration's perfect raging demons or the Marvel grand finals which were exciting.
I wish I remembered more of Sunday but the hype really made me forget the details. Oh well. I got to later hang out with the rest of IPLAYWINNER all night, sans the cigarettes and drinking, about the future before I said my goodbyes.
I returned home on Monday. As soon as I reached my house, I got to bed and had a great 19 hour sleep after staying awake for so long and deprived of energy.
If I had time to write this, I would have went into more detail on various things but this will have to do!
For those going to EVO, I hope to see you there! You can check out the photo below if you want to know what I look like. I will be wearing the same Giant Bomb logo shirt on finals day and hope to be at the front once again during the Shoryuken yell, in honor of Ryan.