XSPR asked me about a write-up of his recent trip to Versus for the Xmas Eve East vs West Team Battle and I happily accepted as I know many players love to read about any experiences in Japan.
(Note: For those of you who don’t know, XSPR lives in Japan but not in Tokyo so it’s always a nice treat for him to get some ST in with the Tokyo players when he visits.)
Thanks to XSPR for taking the time to write this up and share it with all of us!
XSPR’s match with Choshu starts @Â 15:28
Last week I went to Versus arcade for an east-west battle, the second to last one of 2013. I managed to win my match against Choshu, the strong Ken player I almost always lose to.Â
I hadn’t seen any of the other players there since X-Mania, andÂ hadn’t even played much recently- even at home on the Xbox, I’d beenÂ playing more Forza 2. In Forza 2’s real world track of TsukubaÂ Circuit, S-Class, I am in the top 0.00718 percentile, so I also droveÂ to Tsukuba earlier that same day to see if I could get on the trackÂ and see it in person. Actually, let me back up a bit.
Before all this, I had heard from Fudd that he would be travelling toÂ Japan and likely attend the event at Versus too. Well, nothing wasÂ written in stone, but I’m always happy to help out fellow ST playersÂ and was looking forward to meeting an active player Stateside. VersusÂ was the most convenient event I could get out to so close to theÂ holidays, but I also made it out to an event the night before, afterÂ checking ST Revival’s awesome Tournament Calendar if anything wasÂ going on that night. There was a freeplay to be held up north ofÂ Tokyo near Omiya at the Minami Urawa Big One 2nd arcade, so I decidedÂ to go to that too. I met Kawa@Sim and a few other players. ThereÂ were a lot of good matches. Freeplay definitely seems to helpÂ encourage people to “just play” regardless of particular unfavorableÂ match-ups. There was a good Zangief player and dictator player too.Â A new Ryu player seemed to know his mirror match well, and I couldn’tÂ get any wins without going to Dhalsim. He was more familiar with 3rdÂ Strike and Guilty Gear though, likely new to the ST scene. After theÂ arcade closed down we all stood outside talking. Kawa-sim was talkingÂ about some frame disadvantage, and when someone asked him about aÂ situation, he took out his smart phone to bring up scans of frame dataÂ he’d taken from Yoga Bible. That’s dedication and being prepared!
The next day, I drove up to Tsukuba Circuit. The weather was perfect-Â a nice brisk sunny day with only a few clouds, almost exactly likeÂ they have it in Forza 2. Unfortunately, the track was closed that dayÂ for yearly maintenance. It was a Tuesday, and normally they areÂ closed Mondays but it was a three day weekend. Most days, if it’s notÂ a big race event, you can enter the track for free just to watch theÂ various member clubs drive on it. I talked with the security guardÂ for a little bit, and it seems to actually drive on the track, I’dÂ have to get their license and become a member, which costs about $170Â USD and includes the first year. I wanted to explain to him that allÂ of that wasn’t really necessary, as I am the best driver in the worldÂ and have top times in B, A and S classes. But I just took a fewÂ brochures he had at the window and strolled around the outside. It isÂ surrounded by a fence with barbed wire on the top, and you can’t seeÂ much at all. Pff like THAT’s gonna stop me– but then I thought aboutÂ it for a second, and I had the Versus thing that evening, so decidedÂ to put off risking getting arrested for the time being.
I got to Versus a little early and Kawasim was one of the first players. Soon we were playing withÂ Choshu.
As usual, I got beat soundly by Choshu. It wasn’t even close. HeÂ would often nail combos, both for big damage and the one with highÂ dizzy potential. So I just asked him after a few games, like ok youÂ got me, I have no idea how to deal with this to stand a chance. HeÂ explained I was using the chop wrong at key jump ins. He said to useÂ mid punch instead. So I tried a few more times and realized just howÂ ingrained my bad habit of doing that was. But there is always theÂ guessing game of figuring out when ken will jump in or not- because ifÂ it’s from a safe distance, there’s the guess of walk up DP or justÂ throw and, to state it bluntly, he was very good at getting me toÂ guess the wrong thing. He also said to throw fires (fb) to keep KenÂ at far range, but that was a lot easier said than done- one read on aÂ yoga fire, he jumps in and it’s round over. I am pretty sure at leastÂ once or twice I got beat with single combo basically. I’ve mentionedÂ it before, how playing a high level, consistent Ken just transformsÂ the match more into a kind of Zangief match, where once he gets inÂ after rolling with the punches, it’s all over. Kawasim had moreÂ experience with all this and was showing me too from his side of theÂ cabs.
When the east-west battle got underway, I was supposed to play 3rdÂ from our side, going very early since I really wasn’t in shape so toÂ speak. But when the lists were finalized I went later for someÂ reason.
Now, at tournaments, it is rarely the case that you play the same guysÂ you played during the warm-up games. But that’s what happened thisÂ time, and I was up against Choshu. I really didn’t expect to get evenÂ one round, and you can tell by the video footage I get lucky a fewÂ times there @ 15:28. Â Things started out good for Choshu, winning the first round withÂ little problem. I got swept around 15:40, then at 15:42 I got baitedÂ into a DP, thinking a throw was coming instead. Then I DID get thrownÂ (knee bashed), then thrown again. I lost lots of ground and steadilyÂ got worked into the corner, feeling at a loss for any conservativeÂ play to run to.
Look at the start of Round 2- I openned with a fireball, and he walkedÂ up and did standing jab to somehow trade- a messed up DP attempt? IsÂ he just screwing around with me?? This is where your mind does notÂ want to be, second guessing your own guesses as to when you should beÂ guessing to do what move. Also, you might be looking at the footageÂ and seeing him do things like two DP’s in a row and I don’t punishÂ either one, but that’s just the fear factor in full force. So heÂ continues the onslaught. But this time, as I got pushed into theÂ corner, after one of the knee bashes, he jumped a little too far andÂ wound up going over me- putting HIM in the corner. I hit withÂ standing strong (Kawasim calls this the “Hai Sensei!!” move, i.e. likeÂ a zealous student impatient to be called on raising his handÂ impatiently with the correct answer etc). ha HA! A chance!! That’sÂ where the tables started to turn. I didn’t get everything right, butÂ managed to pull off a round. He got out of the corner, but wound upÂ back in it, with Nikaiten on the mic commentating not even his DP willÂ save him.
The third round, I think I got pretty lucky because at least once jumpÂ in attempt was off, and another he tried using jumping jab (once tooÂ many times). And somehow I win for a big upset (and you can tell it’sÂ a big upset because you can faintly hear the loud crowd reaction itÂ the background). Choshu went into the game likely feeling fine,Â having won so many times before, but probably got ahead of himself. IÂ don’t think he’ll just let that happen again so easily the next time.
I also saw Hiroyan@Hawk. That night, he decided to play Ryu though.Â I asked him why and he said he was just playing around. I mentionedÂ there still needs to be more Ryu Only tournaments from time to time.
Next I faced a claw player named Hustler, some explaining to me theÂ name was a reference to Paul Newman’s movie/billiards. And someoneÂ told me about this guy, years ago, but I don’t think I had everÂ actually come across him. He wore this big black cape, and lookedÂ like Dracula. I mean the sheer size on the collar on his cape was outÂ of the 70’s fashion era. Anyway, I thought I did fine in this matchÂ but just got walldived to death.
After it was all over, I bought Choshu a softdrink from the vendingÂ machine. I don’t think that was always the rule for east-west battlesÂ but maybe it’s the winning side’s choice to get a drink or smallÂ change for some more games.
I also got a few Ryu-Ryu games in with Hiroyan. I think I lost theÂ first one or two, but started to get back in my groove for some wins.Â We headed out at the same time, and offered to drop him off near hisÂ station.
After that, I headed to a restaurant. I found a place with a saladÂ bar and ate there. A lot. I headed home, but stopped off at a restÂ area. I woke up Christmas morning feeling sick, and openned the carÂ door to vomit. By the time I felt better to drive the rest of the wayÂ home, two crows had gathered, and started picking at the pile ofÂ throw-up. I threw up three more times that day and was effectivelyÂ out of commission for a few days. I felt bad also that I didn’t getÂ to meet Fudd, but I hear he made it out to the Shougatsu tournament,Â which should have been awesome. Also, I never got on the real lifeÂ Tsukuba Circuit track, but that’s ok. Forza 2 is infinitely safer,Â way less expensive, more environmentally friendly, and has a muchÂ bigger pool of competition than real life racing anyway.