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Tuesday
Sep202011

« The Salty Runback : Glitter-kake »

If you would indulge me, the introduction to this article involves you following my instructions in order to physically participate. Don’t worry, you won’t have to move out of your chair or from your keyboard. You just have to take one of your hands off the keys momentarily. If you’re busy, it isn’t as if you don’t have plenty of practice typing one-handed.

First, sit up straight in your chair. I want you to picture, somewhere on your desk, an invisible mug. It can look however you please. It’s invisible. Inside the mug is a whole mess of glitter and confetti. Now, I want you to take one of your hands and use it to pick up the invisible mug by its handle. Make the same fist you would make holding a visible mug. Hold your invisible mug against your stomach, just over your navel. Now shake that mug up and down and spew confetti everywhere.

That is exactly how I feel about SBO.

Grab a towel and get yourself cleaned up. Quick show of hands. Not that hand, the other one. How many of you were happy to pay twenty dollars to watch a stream and not see a single American play?

Follow up question. Let’s say that you and a friend fought your way through SBO qualifiers and earned Wonka’s golden ticket. You paid thousands of dollars out of your own pocket to travel to Japan to compete. After arriving, you are told to go home; there is no room for you. Luckily, one of your fellow American travelers speaks Japanese and is able to broker a compromise. The best the SBO committee will do for you is make you play yet another qualifier match with a second foreign team in order to re-secure the position in the bracket that both of your teams had earned back home. Despite the fact that you have logged thousands of travel miles and cleaned out your bank account, the two local teams that wiggled in at the very last chance aren’t forced into a playoff. You are. Make sense?

Final question. Can you imagine the community’s reaction if someone had pulled that sort of shit with Daigo Umehara at an American major?

It is time to stop legitimizing Tougeki. It is time to stop allowing a single foreign tournament to dictate affairs within our national scene, to create strife and drama within our national scene, to belittle our players, and to make our hobby look bad.

Every single legendary American Street Fighter player has always had an asterisk next to his name in the record books, a footnote that reads identically for all of them : “*has never won Super Battle Opera.” It is a fact that comes with an unspoken connotation, that until we put someone on the stage at the Tokyo Game Show that can win the thing, we will always be inferior to the Japanese in fighting games.

Can someone please explain to me how our players are judged so critically for failing to do well in a tournament that favors Japanese players in a hostile environment?

How many single elimination two-versus-two tournaments have you attended lately? In America, team tournaments are a novelty, a side-show. They are a social exhibition within the more serious competition of the overall tournament, a format that allows players to hang out while working together and allows spectators to enjoy the drama of larger scale battles with an element of fantasy football thrown in for good measure. Furthermore, there is no American tournament that features single-elimination anything, teams or otherwise. Yet we are disappointed yearly when the players we send to Japan fail to flourish in an environment within which they literally have no experience outside of the qualifiers for that same tournament?

When the Japanese visit America for our tournaments, they find gracious hosts that often provide translators (when possible), lodging, transportation, and hospitality to their guests. It is ridiculous that we invest so much, as a group, into providing players for a tournament where they are obviously not wanted.

When they play through our brackets, they win some, and they lose some. Of course some Japanese players are very good; so are some Americans. However, when placed on even footing with American players, they are beatable. Latif proved that in Las Vegas. Filipino Champ proved that at back to back tournaments.

In complete denial of those facts, the "conventional wisdom" dictates that our achievements don't mean jack shit until we've won Super Battle Opera. The community is obsessed with sending someone, anyone, to Japan that can win, so much so that they are willing to show a disturbing trend to mercilessly cannibalize the qualifying tournament victors the moment grand finals is finished and their tickets are punched. "They aren't good enough to win SBO," they say, as if they, the millions that didn't fight and win a qualifying position, have any right to say so.

Even if we dominated at SBO and won for the first time, what would it prove? The idea that the Japanese are better, by default, is delusion. No, I wouldn't send Johnny Q. Sheepfuck from Boulder, Colorado to Japan and bet on him against Taito Station killers, but that doesn't mean we don't have players on our side of the Pacific that can, have, and will beat the Japanese. The sort of people who believe that the Japanese are our betters, naturally, are going to believe so until the day these games are no longer played. It is a piece of pop culture canon. 

Furthermore, I feel someone should say it, and if it's me, it's me. American events, like Evo, like the majors all over the country, are just better. They are a better product being distributed with higher production values. Compare top 32 at SBO with top 8 at Evo; it's comical.

Tougeki is an outdated institution. Its format does nothing to showcase American talent. Instead, it places them at a disadvantage, while tournament organizers actively discourage American efforts. It is far beyond time that we stopped allowing SBO any credibility whatsoever within our community beyond being a fun travel experience and an interesting novelty tournament.

Until that happens, I’ll be here, shaking my invisible mug when someone mentions SBO.

Reader Comments (66)

So true. So very true.
I think with this year's happenings there are a lot of people who have lost their faith in SBO's credibility and that is a good thing.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterCheesus

If my opinion had any weight behind it in FGC i would simply encourage people to ignore SBO overall.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterMan With a Plan

Me and a friend were just talking about this yesterday. The summary of that conversation: "SBO is bullshit."

As far as I'm concerned, SBO is the most illegitimate annual tournament in the world. It's amazing how suddenly, specifically, and consistently incompetent the organizers become when it comes to foreign players--Japanese ethnocentrism at its worse.

SBO isn't a real tournament, it's just a circle jerk.

Fuck SBO. Fuck any tournament where nationality supercedes player skill and the spirit of competition.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterMonsterGoGo

SBO organisers aren't thinking about the bigger picture, tournaments like that don't deserve any further support. We're better of growing our own scene while they keep poisoning theirs.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterCuuri

SBO is run by a corporation that sells magazines. EVO, like all American majors, is run by the players. That's the key difference.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterCarmine

before watching this SBO I was all "RA-RA TEAM SBO, you should pay the 20$ dollars u cheap asses, this tournament is godlike... etc etc" After watching it I realized I had all this SBO hype and preconception was from years of hearing "oh no american has even made it out of first round @ sbo sf4 games".

If I could trabel back in time I'd punch myself in the mouth. SBO is garbage, well written article.

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterdom mafia

For the most part I agree with what you said. However, I get the impression that you think SBO should be catering towards american players when its hosted in Japan. "Its format does nothing to showcase American talent", why should it? SBO is a japanese tournament. Did EVO stream every international player? I don't think so.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterJoey D

You act like just because an American team is there, they deserve stream time. Does Spooky stream the potmonsters when Justin Wong is playing a game? No. He streams the better player. The fact is that other, BETTER, players were playing when the Americans were playing, so they got streamed instead. Hey maybe if one of the American teams got past round ONE they would have been streamed. Too bad that didn't happen because they were too weak.

This whole article defies the essence of competition. Its like... well we can't do well at SBO so lets pretend it doesnt matter. Instead of coming to grips with the reality that the American scene needs to level up, you run away and stick you head in the sand.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterC B

America had teams that qualified to be at SBO, why shouldn't they get time on stream? You had Fubarduck writing translation guides on how to purchase NicoNico points and others urging us to view SBO to support the American teams. We wanted to see the American teams play!

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterlolmark

Then maybe they should have made it past the first round and earned it.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterC B

maybe if the american doesnt get knocked out of the first round every fucking time they'll get stream time. And the way evo is run helps the american players with the evo pts so they dont knock each other out but since the international players dont get pts they end up in the same open bracket as seen with two japanese players having the play each other. Learn to grow a pair or suck on one cause you dont know what it looks like.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterJohn J

@CB

I think its you who is missing his point bro. The point is these players are not pot monsters these are big names coming to Japan to show off their skills. Spooky and Haunts indeed don't show off monsters when Justin is playing but they do show off Japanese players if they are there. In fact every Major in America goes out of its way to help the Japanese and other foreign players as much as they can.

Now i don't know much about SBO, but if you look at it this year it was run in a terrible fashion. This is the kind of stuff you expect to happen at Larry's jackoff's bi monthly mash buttons till it works tourney not SBO. This is suppose to be the biggest fighting game tourney in the world and all they did was make themselves look like a joke.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterSpiron

C B don't assume it's because of the American's talent level.

Fubarduck tweeted the Tougeki bastards didn't even put the Americans on the projector even though there were no matches played asides from the Americans.

It's not about talent level, it's about tournament organizers having some fucking courtesy to do SOMETHING for players who traveled across the world to play in their "prestigious" tournament.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterVOID

@John J
What, you think Daigo or Tokido aren't seeded among the highest at every major just for being strong international competition? You're dead wrong, and I'm amazed you could possibly imply they wouldn't. I made an account literally just to say how ridiculous your statement is. And of course you mentioned japanese players playing each other, not every single international player is going to be seeded (obviously) but if there was only one present for an invitational, you had better fucking believe the japanese player would have been streamed and recorded.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterDavid Broweleit

@Spiron Maybe they are big names in their home country but when they go to SBO they are pot monsters who get knocked out first round.

@Vince Vo tournament organizers wouldn't give two shits about Daigo if he didn't consistently win and prove himself over here. And even then, he still gets shit on all the time by people like the writer of this article. None of those Americans have proven anything over there, and they didn't prove anything this time either. So what, the streamers should have pity on the poor Americans who flew over to Japan for once, and stream their subpar matches? Seems like a lot of entitlement in this thread.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterC B

Or, you know, at least been IN the tournament he qualified for. SMH

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterDavid Broweleit

The situation with Banana Ken just plain sucks. No arguing that. Terrible thing, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. SBO fucked that one up. The stream was at times boring, it was very slow with matches being few and far between at some points. American audiences used to the way most of our big streams are run would probably consider that a failing on SBO.

The SBO stream, however, isn't even advertised towards Americans. Maybe they appreciate that some Americans choose to buy in, but I don't think they're about to tailor their product towards us. I'm sure they don't expect the American FGC to tune into Aquapazza and think that it's the hypest shit ever captured in streamed tournament history. They didn't advertise any American players that were there. Is that because Japanese stream viewers, who'd they consider their only audience, simply don't care about the international players? I don't see why they would care about seeing the Americans play, especially because everyone expects us to get owned up, and we always do. Not that I think this says much about the American skill level vs Japanese skill level or whatever bullshit dumbass middle school bus arguments people like to have about that sort of thing. I don't know. They don't expect any Americans to watch. If someone produces some evidence that they do, I'd be convinced that this stream was some sort of scam. I don't think not getting stream time is a big deal. I would love to hear a Japanese stream monster's opinion on the stream, so we could see if they were at least successful in satisfying that audience with the stream.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterDijon

lol ok not going to start a flame war here. The fact is the tourney was run in a very bad way, and to call any player at SBO a pot monster is beyond goof troop. Peace out!

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterSpiron

@C B You're completely missing the point. This is about players who earned their entry to the tournament and were told they no longer qualified at the tournament venue after travelling thousands of miles and spending thousands of dollars. The streaming is a non-issue compared to their mistreatment. Foreign players who enter US tournaments will never have that happen to them.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterVOID

Wow. I 100% agree with you, Darry. Well-written article that explain the fighting game situation with SBO. The system is arcane, and it still shocks me that viewers are spending money on a stream. Not even EVO does that, despite its production values (that's a shout out to Haunts, Spooky, and stream support btw).

This year's SBO just seemed discourteous and unfair. I was under the impression that Tougeki would be polite towards foreigners, given the fair treatment American TO's have given towards the Japanese, but I guess that's on me. Can't expect that when even in America, top players are hated, I guess.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterCoopa

I say let 'em run their shit. We have qualifying spots but why do we care about qualifying spots for a tournament that will just treat you like shit?

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterHatman

@ Void I agree that what happened to Bananaken's team is really bad. But thats the only thing this article got right.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterC B

Looks like they issued an apollogy for what its worth.

http://www.tougeki.com/faq?id=121


But, it is not like this is the first year things like this have happened.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterObanye

@Dijon

"@taka89ma_fg 高八九間
@nycfurby I think the problem is PPV. I wanna watch coL.CC in Japan, mago/tokido, but while we watching guys are talking, they are gone."

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commentercjskater

@Coopa

So according to you, not paying for shit is the 'next level' of fighting games. LOL thats exactly why the fighting game community still has shitty prizes compared to other games like Starcraft. Think about it like this, SBO made 20 dollars per person and had 50,000 viewers or more. Thats 1 million dollars.

Now think about if EVO did that. It would have had 1 million more dollars to add more to the pot, make the tournament better, etc. Maybe allow players to earn enough money so that they could actually go professional and play fighting games full time. Which would translate to having better players to send over to SBO that would stand a chance at winning.

I wasn't exactly thrilled with the SBO stream. But I think they definitely got the PPV part right.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterC B

Some of you guys are missing the point of the article. At the Japanese gave Daigo/Iyo free entry into the SBO tournament while another Japanese team got in at the last chance qualifier. Only one more spot was left and instead of letting Daigo/Iyo go up against Neurosis' team to quality for a spot, Tougeki let Kuwait and USA fight for a spot that they already qualified for in their own respective countries.

Kuwait qualified and USA qualified in their own tournaments and deserve actual spots in the 32 team SBO bracket. But the Tougeki staff were biased and gave two spots to Daigo and Neurosis' team.

Stream time is one thing but the treatment that they are giving to foreign players is unacceptable. Team Taiwan was also left off the bracket by Tougeki staff error. Taiwan didn't know what to do because they didn't have a translator with them. Through social networking, Fubarduck was given notice of this and likely helped Taiwan and Tougeki staff settle this mistake.

Tougeki couldn't even run a 32-team bracket properly. SBO and its single elimination format is outdated, the quality of the stream pales in comparison to streams run by LevelUpSeries, TeamSp00ky, Offcast, iplaywinner, etc. and biased decisions by Tougeki staff makes it an unfair playing field.

NSB does a better job at this and I sure as hell can't wait to see Godsgarden X EVO2k (if it ever happens).

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterJustFrameLame

@ C B
Well, we both agree that the SBO stream wasn't that amazing. My fault for not clarifying my point further, but I've always found it baffling that the Japanese have the best internet in the world, and yet produce sub-par streams (visually). I was under the impression SBO would look amazing for the viewers, since you had to pay.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterCoopa

Honestly, I can see both sides of this argument (Darry's and C B's.) It does make sense to me that Americans shouldn't feel entitled to stream time. The same thing would happen here as well during the first round... lots of first round matches don't get streamed. That being said, I take issue with a lot of other things.

If SBO charged $20 for the stream, then why was the stream itself so poorly done? Also, why even give Americans qualifying tournaments if SBO is just going to treat them like shit once they get there, and Americans aren't their target audience? If the Japanese is their target audience, why not just make it a Japanese-only tournament?

If you're going to allow other countries to represent, at least treat them well. That is something American tournaments do every time. I agree that whether Americans got stream time or not should not be thought of as a main issue. Sure, we want to see our players represent, but consider if a Japanese player came here and lost first round... can you guarantee that his first round match would be streamed?

Face it, SBO was run poorly, foreign players were treated poorly, the stream was done poorly. Tougeki should be held to a higher standard.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterMatt Dalton

A lot of you people clearly don't know the history of foreigners in SBO.

Go educate yourself.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterMonsterGoGo

Ugh, my head hurts from reading this article. Invisible mug with confetti? You are trying way too hard...

I'll go in order of your article.

- "How many of you were happy to pay twenty dollars to watch a stream and not see a single American play?"
I wouldn't mind personally. Remember this stream was made by the Tougeki staff for Japanese people via NicoNico. How many people from America bought the stream? How many people from Japan bought it? If they can't show every single match on the stream, what makes Americans so special to get put on stream? If there was a "big boy match" happening at the same time as the American team playing, who do you think the majority of viewers would want to see? (hint: it's not America)

- Yes Tougeki made a big mistake with the spot of Hsien and that other guy. Mistakes happen. The fact that they were made to play vs people from Kuwait is irrelevant. Going into this tournament, every team is a Champion Team. Every team already won a tournament to get there. Every team should be prepared to play whomever that day.

-Tournament formats are different in Japan and America. Everyone knows this. To complain about it is just being a fat pussy. People that complain about how single game favors Japan are just looking for an excuse when they lose. If you don't want to play in a Single Elim 1 game tourney, then don't go to Japan. Do Japanese come to America and get beat and complain about how the tourney wasn't 1 game? How the 2/3 format made them lose? Do you honestly think America would have won an SBO already if it was 2/3 Double Elimination? If you do, then good shit.

-Americans have really only beaten Japanese here in SF4. The game mechanics equalize the playing field so anyone can win. The game is scrubby. But that's a can of worms I don't care to or want to open.

-You're saying that Evo and other Majors are better, and that's ok since everyone is allowed their opinion, but you've never even been to SBO before right? So its kinda silly to pass judgment when you've never been. Having been to 3 Tougeki's and 4 Evolutions, I can say the production values at Tougeki are way higher.

-"Its format does nothing to showcase American talent. Instead, it places them at a disadvantage, while tournament organizers actively discourage American efforts"
LOL. It's a Japanese tournament dawg. Why the fuck should they care to "showcase American talent"? What if the French players somehow played every tourney 3/5, then Tougeki staff should cater to them too? Remember this is a world wide tournament. There's teams from China, Korea, Europe, Taiwan, etc. How should Tougeki cater to every single one of them?

In conclusion, Tougeki doesn't have to give anyone outside Japan qualifying spots at all. It's a privilege to be able to qualify and go to Japan and represent your country. All the new skool SF4 kids don't understand how dope Tougeki is. And I understand why, there is no "SALTY RUNBACKS" or "MAHVEL BABY" or "GET HYPE 10k PRIZE POT".

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterryan

Wow, hopefully no one here is trying to "win" this "argument", but there are differing opinions, strong ones, on both sides of the fence... some are relevant and worthy of further debate. I must admit, I can't speak on the debate of which tourney is better, or which one has better production values, but I will speak on the quality of the stream my friend paid for so we could support our players, as well as watch some of the best in the world go at it...

It was bad. We were left shaking our heads as to why the stream was so bad. When you offer a product for sale, why not put out the best product possible? I guess the priority is still the DVD sales, since the quality will be much higher, but wow... I was disappointed. Anyone else feel like we did?

Anyway, hopefully their society will lighten up to foreigners in the future, as the treatment of some of the foreign players was unacceptable. Some people say their culture is too "insulated" or self inclusive, while others would say their behavior is "racist", or all exclusive. The point here is this is their culture, no matter how you look at it, they are going to support their brands, events, and people FIRST. I've learned a long time ago that arguing over what is fundamentally a cultural behavior that has existed for centuries is futile.

People should take that into consideration when dealing with the Japanese. I have 8 years experience dealing with it, trust me, no matter what you say or how well you reason with them, you'll realize it's not going anywhere, period... it's just their way, especially in corporate Japan. THAT'S what Tougeki is. A corporate event with corporate leadership. Our scene is ran by the players. That is the big difference, especially when it comes to the treatment of the players.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterThomas Carter

A few counter points to the thoughts of Ryan here:

"Yes Tougeki made a big mistake with the spot of Hsien and that other guy. Mistakes happen. The fact that they were made to play vs people from Kuwait is irrelevant. Going into this tournament, every team is a Champion Team. Every team already won a tournament to get there. Every team should be prepared to play whomever that day."

Normally I'd agree with this entire paragraph. The only reason why I disagree in this case was because of the last-chance qualifiers... there were two of them. It seemed pretty easy to just let them play-off for one spot. I mean, that's what those spots are: last chance qualifiers. So to give them priority over teams that qualified seems an odd choice IMO.

"Tournament formats are different in Japan and America. Everyone knows this. To complain about it is just being a fat pussy. People that complain about how single game favors Japan are just looking for an excuse when they lose. If you don't want to play in a Single Elim 1 game tourney, then don't go to Japan. Do Japanese come to America and get beat and complain about how the tourney wasn't 1 game? How the 2/3 format made them lose? Do you honestly think America would have won an SBO already if it was 2/3 Double Elimination? If you do, then good shit."

Actually, most Japanese players asked about this agree: single elim tourneys are not fun. Most every Japanese player has stated they prefer Evo over SBO because it IS double elimination and 2 out of 3. They say it helps make the tourney less random. So while your point is valid in a way, that Japanese don't come to America and complain, it's a bit off because Japanese complain about SBO themselves oftentimes.

"Americans have really only beaten Japanese here in SF4. The game mechanics equalize the playing field so anyone can win. The game is scrubby. But that's a can of worms I don't care to or want to open."

This isn't necessarily true. As time has moved on, we've been catching up. Third Strike is probably the only game where we're still slightly behind. But in Super Turbo, we've been catching up a lot. The gap between countries really isn't as pronounced as you make it sound anymore.

"You're saying that Evo and other Majors are better, and that's ok since everyone is allowed their opinion, but you've never even been to SBO before right? So its kinda silly to pass judgment when you've never been. Having been to 3 Tougeki's and 4 Evolutions, I can say the production values at Tougeki are way higher."

Keep in mind, also, that SBO is a "smaller" tournament, thus it's much easier to create a "production." Evo, for example, discovers its top 8 one day before Finals, sometimes. Trying to get player interviews and profiles on finals day and really go into a production isn't easy, especially when that task falls onto one or two people. There was one year Evo did interviews on Sunday, and only half the games got them shown... because I was the only one editing them, and it nearly killed me. If we knew the entrants much earlier, it would be vastly different. So keep in mind that there are many things that can change when you have your teams already known in advance... such as making sure the majority of the teams get stream time.

"In conclusion, Tougeki doesn't have to give anyone outside Japan qualifying spots at all. It's a privilege to be able to qualify and go to Japan and represent your country. All the new skool SF4 kids don't understand how dope Tougeki is. And I understand why, there is no "SALTY RUNBACKS" or "MAHVEL BABY" or "GET HYPE 10k PRIZE POT"."

This is true. Tougeki already offers 8 spots, I believe, to foreign teams, which is unheard of. So there really shouldn't be any complaints about Japan being unfair to foreigners and such. They are pretty darn accommodating. So yeah, the hatred towards SBO and Tougeki regarding being biased against foreigners needs to end. That simply isn't true.

- James

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterJames Chen

"Americans have really only beaten Japanese here in SF4" RYAN
UHHHH
facts here

ST EVO
Cole defeats Ohnuki
Choi defeats Ohnuki
Choi defeats Tokido
Choi defeats Kusumondo
Valle defeats Kusumondo
Damdai defeats Tokido

3S EVO
Ortiz defeats Daigo
Valle defeats Daigo
Wong defeats KSK
Wong defeats Raoh
Wong defeats Kokujin
Watson defeats Mester
GhettoD defeats KSK
Hungbee defeats Raoh

CvS2
Combofiend defeats Daigo
Choi defeats BAS
Combofiend defeats Ohnuki
Ortiz defeats Ohnuki
Viscant defeats Ohnuki
Valle defeats Ino
Ortiz defeats Dan

do research before making such a bold statement

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterdick hurtz

@Ryan

- I'll agree with you on your first point, people do want to see the best and the same goes on in the west but with all that hard work don't you think the foreign teams deserve some credit? I mean, these teams were the BEST in their countries.

- mistakes happen but this should have never happened, this was just plain ignorance. Going to Japan to play in round zero is pointless, they earned those qualifier spots, the last thing they should have to prepare for is SBO messing up a simple 32 team tourney (correct me if i'm wrong about that number but its no where near evo numbers or any major american tourney). The only way to mess that up, is to be ignorant, lazy or they just didn't care

- Even Daigo prefers the the western format because it allows him to read his opponents and correct his mistakes, what can you learn from being knocked out by a player who suddenly decides to go balls out and randomizes everything he does? it does not help you become a better player. The Japaneese do not complain about the western formats because they are given more chances to read the opponent and learn form their mistakes, would you not feel better knowing that you beat the player through adaption and strategy, rather than guessing right 5 times each round of that one game and winning. Double elimination is an advantage for ALL players while single game elimination is a disadvantage

- I'm not touching that subject even with a ten inch pole, although I actually like sf4

- first impressions are everything and SBO did not impress, the stream was poor, there are lot more productive things you could do with 20 dollars than pay for a stream, not showing all of top 8 is just silly and thats only the stream problems. The treatment of foreign players was unacceptable, their culture is no excuse for treating humans just like them poorly, is it really too much to ask for to take care of a few teams who don't know your language. Is it really that time consuming to tell people what is going on? People call SBO a corporate tournament but their 'corporate' decisions are worst I have ever seen, complete lack of ambition and adaption.
All I'm saying is when people have more fun watching/attending WNF, Guard Crush and NSB (All free and better run) than a supposed professional tournament, thats a problem.

- "How can SBO cater to all foreign teams" If they can't take care of 10 or so teams of two and your being paid 20 dollars for a stream, then there is a problem, no one was asking for their hand to held, just a little bit of help and they would have been fine. Do you think SBO would ever house foreign players like we do in the west? nope.

In conclusion, SBO is a poorly run tournament, guard crush/wnf/nsb is run better, their format is outdated and has been proven subpar a long time ago. It is not a privilege to be treated like shit, it's a injustice.

I don't know how you expect the new skool to understand how dope it is when they can get more for their money watching a level up/spooky stream.

oh and that last sentence was just being ignorant of our own culture, if you don't like it, go to Japan. SWAG SWAG SWAG SWAG

Your being blinded by confetti

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterStephen Christopher

One of the first points of the article brings up the fact that no other tournament in any genre of competition uses a single elim team format like SBO. Personally I've been argueing for the past i don't know how many years that no other competitive genre uses a massive double elimination bracket with no qualifying pools than the FGC. IMO the FGC on the whole really needs to mature past running giant elimination tournaments.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterRob Khonsu

If SBO is considered illegitimate now, will it be considered legitimate when a foreign (non-Japanese) player wins? It may happen eventually. Maybe it won't. But when it does, do we fail to recognize that accomplishment just because Tougeki is run by idiots that can't count?

SBO is a legitimate tournament with a flavor different than anywhere else, it's just mismanaged as hell and favoritism towards players known in that region is plainly obvious. That's Japan, that's how they do things (in almost everything), and you don't like it don't give NicoNico and Arcadia Magazine your hard-earned paper.

On a different note: did anyone else try to watch the Taito Station 50-man Kumite with Umehara and some of the other SBO competitors? What the hell was up with that? The quality was beyond crap.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike O'Hair

The tradition of Americans going to SBO needs to die.

What will entering a lopsided tournament prove? That you were willing to spend thousands of dollars to play in a shittily formatted tournament?

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterSkogen

Amen screw SBO...they have no respect for us so never all them none as well!!! My entire family watched EVO this year and even my girlfriend wants to go next year! We rather experience an event in America where it appears that there is a strong unified scene...globally!!! Why waste time and energy on another area that wants to keep it more members only especially when they should thank the rest of the world for buying and playing their games in the first place. I don't care if some think the foreigners would have not been worth watching if you were pissed on as soon as you got there why play your best then...there is no reason or motivation if you are treated as lower class. Really I can't think straight right now because this really making a bit angry right now and I am on the verge of just using profanity instead of manners. Well my main opinion is perhasp we americans should boycott SBO qualifiers next year and just concern ourshelves with doing even better at EVO and the other Tournaments (USA & Non-JP) for now on. If the don't respect our ambassadors then let us sever our ties with ungreatful bastards!!!

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterDG SS Z3R0

"Can someone please explain to me how our players are judged so critically for failing to do well in a tournament that favors Japanese players in a hostile environment? "

lol wow really? Sounds similar to American attitudes towards Japanese players except they still destroy us.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterLeaf

wow, so SBO makes one mistake with its foreign spots, and suddenly its a clownshoes tournament that nobody should take seriously? I remember years ago at Evo when they cut 3s down to 1 game despite promising the game would be best 2 of 3, but people forgave Evo without attaching the stigma of a joke tournament to it.

If people don't care about SBO, thats fine. All this sensationalism is absurd over a single mistake.

I do feel sympathy for those people who paid for the stream and feel dissatisfied. However it annoys me that people are using this one bad incident with SBO to call out the legitimacy of the tournament entirely, down to its format.

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterpherai

Lets be real here. If Hsien and company beat the Kuwait team everyone would have forgotten about that incident the next day.


I understand that the stream wasn't up to your guys standards. I could have told you months ago it wasn't going to be like what you guys are used to. Their #1 priority is not the stream. Its unfortunate that we live on the other side of the world and we cant travel to this event easily, but that's just life.

To Mr. James Chen:
Opinions aside, Tougeki has always been 1 game single elim. Its no reason to talk shit on Tougeki when its the STANDARD in Japan and the way they've had it all along.

Besides from your editing fiasco (which sounds like hell btw), there isn't much production value at EVO. I know its hard to only know the top 8 the day before, but SBO actually only learns the top 8 a few hours before. There is no way I am convinced EVO has more production value than SBO. Like I said I have been to both events many times. EVO seems lazy to me to be honest.


I think streams have really taken a dump on the fighting game community. Now a days everyone expect things handed to them in a perfect package and if the stream sucks, here comes the millions of randoms complaining.

This article by Darry is disrespectful and embarrassing. I hope this doesn't get back to Tougeki. If it does, at least all you people will be happy when they don't offer us any more qualifying spots anymore.

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterryan

I'm with Pherai on this one.

Geez louise, people, one mistake and now SBO is being vilified! "...screw SBO"?? "... lopsided tournament..."? "...mismanaged as hell and favoritism towards players known in that region..."?

Come on guys. Everyone makes a mistake now and then.

As I mentioned already, EIGHT of their 32 spots are given towards foreign qualifiers. That's definitely a HUGE gesture towards the rest of the world, not just Japan. And yes, U.S. Players should absolutely still go. You can make up all the excuses you want why U.S. loses there, but the first time U.S. finally does well there, you can expect everyone here to all of a sudden be all "Rah rah" and suddenly care about winning SBO.

In fact, Graham and Alex Wolfe both did well at SBO one year, getting into top 8 I believe, for Anniversary Edition (yeah, they tied for 5th... thanks kuroppi! ^_^).

Let's all be rational here. Darry's article brings up many valid points, but we shouldn't overreact to this extent that some of the commenters here have been reacting. I'm sure SBO will learn from this and improve next year.

- James

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterJames Chen

sorry i cant edit my post, even thought it says i have 8 mins left to do so. made a mistake, I was trying to put "to james chen" on the paragraph talking about the video editing

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterryan

Well, I agree with most of Thomas Carter's comment. I think my post was deleted?

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterMakaveli

@James

I don't consider qualifying 33 teams for a 32-team tournament and then forcing international qualifiers who have spent thousands out of pocket to travel to Japan to re-earn their spots, while two same-day qualifiers wriggle in scot-free, a small mistake. I'm not even sure I believe that it's a mistake, to be honest, but if it is, it's a colossal fuck-up. It's a shameful handling of a situation that has a clear alternative. "Odd choice." Yeah, I'll say.

As to the legitimacy of SBO, I think it speaks volumes that Daigo Umehara, perhaps the one person in the world who takes Street Fighter as seriously as he does, almost didn't even participate in the tournament. No, he'd much rather fight for an EVO title over the SBO crown every time, and he's stated as such.

Single-elimination tournaments are a joke, full stop, and the incident with Hsien and Banana Kan (AND the Kuwaiti team, who were also done a grievous wrong in this incident) is just the cherry on the shit sundae that SBO represents.

Here's rooting for Godsgarden to fully replace that embarrassment, that relic of a tournament.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterFivec

@Ryan

One question. How does that Japanese dick taste?

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterFivec

@FIVEC

How does that Daigo dick taste?

For every Daigo Umehara, theres tons of people in Japan who love SBO, who also take fighting games more seriously than most people can imagine.

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterpherai

@Pherai

To answer your question, strangely devoid of salt.

I guess I'll just have to take your word for it that "tons of people" who take fighting games really seriously love SBO? Personally, if I was really good at Street Fighter, because I devoted incredible chunks of my life to it, and I possessed a natural gift, I would want to eliminate all the randomness I could between myself and the world title.

That means no single-elim, single-game formats (lol) deciding that title.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterFivec

My question is (and it may seem ignorant) but who\what made SBO the most prestigious tournament for fighting games? If it's a magazine company's marketing department declaring it...that really doesn't add to its legitimacy. Maybe when SBO started, a fighting game tournament on that scale needed a corporate owner, and it probably does sell a lot of magazines and DVDs.

Now though, the FGC has gone grassroots it seems with small groups financing their own tournaments or doing them via donations. This adds legitimacy as it's the FGC that's making it happen. The people, the players. Of course there's sponsors that help defray the cost, but Mad Catz or Capcom isn't saying that it's their tournament.

EVO and GodsGarden are the next wave of FG tournaments. SBO shouldn't be hated, but it doesn't hold the lustre when you look at the big FGC picture.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterWarrenMSP

@FIVEC

All I'm trying to say is Daigos opinion is just one persons opinion, and him simply saying he has a preference for a tournament ran like Evo is no reason to treat SBO like a joke.

Everyone runs tournaments differently, and everyone who qualifies for SBO knows going in that its single elim, single game. Even in double elim, 2/3 you can't eliminate all the randomness. The difference between Evo style and SBO style isn't so night and day that one tournaments results are completely valid, while anothers are equivalent to names drawn out of a hat. Daigo has taken 2 SBO titles himself. If people are uncomfortable with that tournament format, no one is holding a gun to their head to enter, especially for a tournament with no prize money.

September 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterpherai
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