Greetings all! With Final Round on the horizon this weekend, the wake of news involving the official start of the competitive Tekken World Tour season, as well as the Capcom Pro Tour being in full swing, I wanted to take some time to go back to Winter Brawl as I have had yet to tell my thoughts on the event!
Three weeks ago. I know. Winter Brawl was three weeks ago. But! Time flies! I needed that time to soak it all in considering how fast that weekend came and went. Now that enough time has passed, I feel I can put my thoughts and everything into words.
Copyright by Photography by Dstyles, which will be a lot of the photos in this post. Shouts to catching my good side!
For starters, getting there was pretty painless considering it was my first time in Philly in a very long time. I recall the last time I’ve been to Philly was UPenn, way back in high school on a college trip. I arrived there Friday evening with my good friend unexc1ted and was shortly picked up by our other good friend Big Dame. Shoutouts to both of you guys honestly. The latter for giving us that Philly hospitality and the former for being my ride or die that weekend.
In any case, that Friday there wasn’t much action aside from running some sets in Tekken with my boy. It was then I realized something different. Something I didn’t realize until I had my pools the following day.
My matches weren’t anything worthy of note. I lost clean to a really good Nina player who I’m notoriously known for having a bad matchup with. The Nina in question was always on top of me and I had no response to anything she did. I simply froze at the offense. My first match in losers was against an Akuma player who, honestly, I struggled closing out way more than I should’ve.
SO MUCH SO that I got hit with TWO, read, TWO Raging Demons!
I won that match and advanced, but it was then that last night’s session, me falling for things I shouldn’t have, and the following match when I played against a solid Claudio who did moves in which I knew what to do but did the wrong thing to punish. All of these comedies of errors confirmed that I was way out of sync.
Copyright by Photography by Dstyles, mainly showing the various competition out there.
I’ve really, in that instance, lost whatever passion, drive, and motivation I had coming into Tekken and maintaining that energy to win.
I didn’t find the game fun and enticing to me as I did that one Summer day in 2017 when I made top 16 in Defend the North.
That one day when I was one win out of my pools in Combo Breaker last year.
The game evolved in more ways than one, people had evolved to.
I was stuck in first gear while everyone else were already drifting corners around the track.
Needless to say, while my face showed that I was cool and calm, deep down inside I really wasn’t. I hated that I didn’t have that passion anymore. I struggled to find that passion again, and forcing myself to enter a tournament that I had doubts in doing well in to begin with wasn’t the way to go. Alas, after talking to one of my closest friends over the phone back in New York, I regained myself.
I have nothing but love for Tekken and I always will. It was the first fighting game, Hell, one of the first video games I’ve ever owned and played. A lot of memories were shared playing the game casually as a kid and since the very beginning, I always wanted to take a character that was perceived as a “spammy noob dishonest character” as high as I could take him. Eddy always had that stigma even back in Tekken 3 days, so initially I wanted to use him to show others “Hey, people can take this character and work miracles with him!”
Other players had done a far better job at it than I was able to. Guys like Spero Jin and JeonDDing took capos to a global stage that I could ever dream of achieving. But as much as I look up to them, I still want to do what I can to carry him in my own way in my own style. My love for Eddy as a character justifies that.
However, I’m going on a tangent here. As I said in the previous article, that’s going to be another post for another time. I’m sorry for all of the teasing, but, in due time when I feel ready to talk about why I love capos, I will. Promise.
After I had got off the phone with my bro (Thank you Ryuichi if you’re reading this), I decided to make the best of the situation. Sure, I went 1-2 in Tekken and did abysmal, but I had another tournament to look out for. A tournament I had no idea how I would do.
I admit. I initially signed up for the tournament because it was the low price of $Free, but I always had love for the Dead or Alive series as a whole. While Tekken 3 was my first fighting game as well as my first game I’ve ever owned, Dead or Alive 2 was way more appealing to me in every single way.
Eight-year-old me didn’t know it at the time but the Sega Dreamcast was an impressive system, especially compared to the Sony Playstation which was the only other console I had at the time, due to the Dreamcast being of an entirely different generation. Generations of consoles, Dreamcast’s competition being the Playstation 2, none of that mattered to me.
Dead or Alive 2 knocked Tekken 3 out of the park, since that was the only other competition, again, eight-year-old me saw at the time before I knew how console generations worked, in graphics and gameplay. This also includes how the characters looked, displayed emotion, and above all else the story!
Fighting games having a story! A very convoluted story with questions that refused to get answered until the following games, but still! It had something!
The last fighting game I played prior which had any molecule of a story was Street Fighter Alpha 3, and considering at the time “eight-year-old” me did NOT understand the Street Fighter story (I am twenty-six and I still don’t fully understand it myself…) Dead or Alive’s story was a breath of fresh air.
Every character had an individual story to tell which all revolved around the main story in one way or another, and every character had something unique to bring to the table. It wasn’t until Tekken 4 that Namco started to put the same emphasis on story and character personality, but DoA 2 would be the last game I would play for almost eight years.
I couldn’t play DoA 3 because it was Xbox exclusive, and when I eventually did get a 360, I joined the DoA 4 train a tad bit too late. While I did play Dead or Alive 5, it followed the same vein as Tekken 6. I dabbed online for a bit, but never took it to competition levels, something I regret not doing during my college years. However, much like Tekken 7, I wanted to get into Dead or Alive competitively as my second favorite fighting game growing up.
So I was all but excited to see how I did, with my very limited knowledge from 4 and 5, entering the first ever Dead or Alive 6 tournament. I always considered Dead or Alive an entirely fun game to look at on a high level, but I never knew how much in depth it was in playing the game until I was given a crash course by Dead or Alive veterans an hour before the tournament began.
At the time of this writing, I have actually picked up Dead or Alive 6, so, my thoughts on how deep the game is had only amplified after playing with it for two or so weeks. Expect a review on the game very soon, in fact. It’ll be exciting!
It’s me! On the right! And in game, on the left! La Mariposa!
Back to the tournament, a huge special shoutouts to Sly Bass for giving me the time to coach me as well as putting me on to the Dead or Alive group on Facebook. The community, from the various players I’ve met, were all helpful to me in their own ways and I am thankful they accepted me in open arms.
However, all three, count, three matches I’ve had were all on stream.
Somehow, I was able to get away with murder and win my first match on stream. Even though I lost the last two matches on stream, for someone who didn’t know what they were doing, I almost graced top sixteen. Much like Tekken, however, I wanted more. I hungered for more. Every chance I could get I played as many casuals as I could after the tournament. I sat down and dissected the game. I was entranced.
It was a running joke among my friends that I was becoming a “professional Dead or Alive player” much to my chagrin, as I only wanted to enter because it was free and a new experience, but it was fun. Too fun. I was enticed. I guess, as you could say, I really did become a Dead or Alive player overnight.
The next day, Sunday, was finals day and I saw all three main events. Tekken, Dead or Alive, and Soul Calibur. The Tekken tournament was intense with the finish being as emotional as ever.
SourPiggy took his tournament win in an extreme close set which came down to the wire VS Sayco.
Copyright by Photography by Dstyles. Sayco right. SourPiggy left.
On the Dead or Alive side of things, Dracarys and his Rig made use of his fancy footwork against Rikuto in another equally close set.
And lastly, in Soul Calibur, Linkorz took it against Saiyne but not without Saiyne making a very impressive run through losers bracket.
Copyright by Photography by Dstyles. Linkorz (background) watches on as his close friend Saiyne is medalled by Big E himself
Before I close out my thoughts and experiences, I wanted to touch upon the amusements that were available outside of the main tournament hall. Alongside refreshments and a small arcade gaming room, where they held a Windjammers tournament among others, there were several vendors, including my friends over at Keito Krafts who I’m happy to have seen again, meeting them back at Summer Jam.
Among these vendors which caught my eye, was a booth with a diverse amount of stickers.
So. Much. Dedication!
The first thing that drew me in were the amount of King of Fighters stickers, ranging from various characters, but also their specific versions in relation to their outfits. I don’t think there was a single outfit or character from King of Fighters that were looked over, and considering how many games and characters were introduced in the twenty-plus year franchise, that’s a tall order.
I was able to give a quick interview with Saltamiya, the woman behind the booth, while her assistant helped customers in the background, but it was evident even prior to the small interview that with her being her first ever vendor experience at any event, that she was excited to be a part of the scene.
One thing I always felt about the vendors in conventions and especially in fighting game tournaments, is that they are often not paid as much attention to. Vendors featuring in art, stickers, charms, keychains, and other creative craftsmanship is an integral part of the FGC. It’s what we use to express ourselves while simultaneously supporting the artists and their work and dedication as well.
If you can, please give her support! I’ll leave a link to her Twitter as well as the interview posted below!
All in all, it was a very great event. The event was well run, and for it being my second Big E tournament, I love how grassroots it is. I feel like I’m at a local, at home, even if I am several miles away from home. Even the staff who were helping run the tournament ensured everything was ran smoothly and all reasonable accommodations were met. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend April Annihilation, and Summer Jam is looking like a maybe for this year, but for my first tournament of the year it was met with a lot of self reflection.
I’m sure by Combo Breaker, which will be my next major, I’ll have it all figured out by then.
However, this will not be the last time you’ll hear from me for a while! You’ll be hearing lots! Thanks once again to Big E and the staff for making the tournament a blast and best of luck to everyone entering Final Round, April Annihilation, and others in between!