XSPR’s Visit to Versus Gamespot for Xmas Eve East-vs-West

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 @ 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. 

I hadn’t seen any of the other players there since X-Mania, and hadn’t even played much recently- even at home on the Xbox, I’d been playing more Forza 2. In Forza 2’s real world track of Tsukuba Circuit, S-Class, I am in the top 0.00718 percentile, so I also drove to Tsukuba earlier that same day to see if I could get on the track 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 to Japan and likely attend the event at Versus too. Well, nothing was written in stone, but I’m always happy to help out fellow ST players and was looking forward to meeting an active player Stateside. Versus was the most convenient event I could get out to so close to the holidays, but I also made it out to an event the night before, after checking ST Revival’s awesome Tournament Calendar if anything was going on that night. There was a freeplay to be held up north of Tokyo near Omiya at the Minami Urawa Big One 2nd arcade, so I decided to go to that too. I met Kawa@Sim and a few other players. There were a lot of good matches. Freeplay definitely seems to help encourage people to “just play” regardless of particular unfavorable match-ups. There was a good Zangief player and dictator player too. A new Ryu player seemed to know his mirror match well, and I couldn’t get any wins without going to Dhalsim. He was more familiar with 3rd Strike and Guilty Gear though, likely new to the ST scene. After the arcade closed down we all stood outside talking. Kawa-sim was talking about some frame disadvantage, and when someone asked him about a situation, he took out his smart phone to bring up scans of frame data 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- a nice brisk sunny day with only a few clouds, almost exactly like they have it in Forza 2. Unfortunately, the track was closed that day for yearly maintenance. It was a Tuesday, and normally they are closed Mondays but it was a three day weekend. Most days, if it’s not a big race event, you can enter the track for free just to watch the various member clubs drive on it. I talked with the security guard for a little bit, and it seems to actually drive on the track, I’d have to get their license and become a member, which costs about $170 USD and includes the first year. I wanted to explain to him that all of that wasn’t really necessary, as I am the best driver in the world and have top times in B, A and S classes. But I just took a few brochures he had at the window and strolled around the outside. It is surrounded by a fence with barbed wire on the top, and you can’t see much at all. Pff like THAT’s gonna stop me– but then I thought about it for a second, and I had the Versus thing that evening, so decided 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 with Choshu.

As usual, I got beat soundly by Choshu. It wasn’t even close. He would often nail combos, both for big damage and the one with high dizzy potential. So I just asked him after a few games, like ok you got me, I have no idea how to deal with this to stand a chance. He explained I was using the chop wrong at key jump ins. He said to use mid punch instead. So I tried a few more times and realized just how ingrained my bad habit of doing that was. But there is always the guessing game of figuring out when ken will jump in or not- because if it’s from a safe distance, there’s the guess of walk up DP or just throw and, to state it bluntly, he was very good at getting me to guess the wrong thing. He also said to throw fires (fb) to keep Ken at far range, but that was a lot easier said than done- one read on a yoga fire, he jumps in and it’s round over. I am pretty sure at least once or twice I got beat with single combo basically. I’ve mentioned it before, how playing a high level, consistent Ken just transforms the match more into a kind of Zangief match, where once he gets in after rolling with the punches, it’s all over. Kawasim had more experience with all this and was showing me too from his side of the cabs.

When the east-west battle got underway, I was supposed to play 3rd from our side, going very early since I really wasn’t in shape so to speak. But when the lists were finalized I went later for some reason.

Now, at tournaments, it is rarely the case that you play the same guys you played during the warm-up games. But that’s what happened this time, and I was up against Choshu. I really didn’t expect to get even one round, and you can tell by the video footage I get lucky a few times there @ 15:28.  Things started out good for Choshu, winning the first round with little problem. I got swept around 15:40, then at 15:42 I got baited into a DP, thinking a throw was coming instead. Then I DID get thrown (knee bashed), then thrown again. I lost lots of ground and steadily got worked into the corner, feeling at a loss for any conservative play to run to.

Look at the start of Round 2- I openned with a fireball, and he walked up and did standing jab to somehow trade- a messed up DP attempt? Is he just screwing around with me?? This is where your mind does not want to be, second guessing your own guesses as to when you should be guessing to do what move. Also, you might be looking at the footage and seeing him do things like two DP’s in a row and I don’t punish either one, but that’s just the fear factor in full force. So he continues the onslaught. But this time, as I got pushed into the corner, after one of the knee bashes, he jumped a little too far and wound up going over me- putting HIM in the corner. I hit with standing strong (Kawasim calls this the “Hai Sensei!!” move, i.e. like a zealous student impatient to be called on raising his hand impatiently with the correct answer etc). ha HA! A chance!! That’s where the tables started to turn. I didn’t get everything right, but managed to pull off a round. He got out of the corner, but wound up back in it, with Nikaiten on the mic commentating not even his DP will save him.

The third round, I think I got pretty lucky because at least once jump in attempt was off, and another he tried using jumping jab (once too many times). And somehow I win for a big upset (and you can tell it’s a big upset because you can faintly hear the loud crowd reaction it the background). Choshu went into the game likely feeling fine, having won so many times before, but probably got ahead of himself. I 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. I asked him why and he said he was just playing around. I mentioned 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 the name was a reference to Paul Newman’s movie/billiards. And someone told me about this guy, years ago, but I don’t think I had ever actually come across him. He wore this big black cape, and looked like Dracula. I mean the sheer size on the collar on his cape was out of the 70’s fashion era. Anyway, I thought I did fine in this match but just got walldived to death.

After it was all over, I bought Choshu a softdrink from the vending machine. I don’t think that was always the rule for east-west battles but maybe it’s the winning side’s choice to get a drink or small change for some more games.

I also got a few Ryu-Ryu games in with Hiroyan. I think I lost the first one or two, but started to get back in my groove for some wins. We headed out at the same time, and offered to drop him off near his station.

After that, I headed to a restaurant. I found a place with a salad bar and ate there. A lot. I headed home, but stopped off at a rest area. I woke up Christmas morning feeling sick, and openned the car door to vomit. By the time I felt better to drive the rest of the way home, two crows had gathered, and started picking at the pile of throw-up. I threw up three more times that day and was effectively out of commission for a few days. I felt bad also that I didn’t get to meet Fudd, but I hear he made it out to the Shougatsu tournament, which should have been awesome. Also, I never got on the real life Tsukuba Circuit track, but that’s ok. Forza 2 is infinitely safer, way less expensive, more environmentally friendly, and has a much bigger pool of competition than real life racing anyway.