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Wednesday
Sep022009

DSP's STREET FIGHTER 4 HD MADNESS

Love him or hate him, DarksydePhil's videos are some of the more entertaining Street Fighter 4 videos online. This one really takes it to the next level though, check it out.

Tuesday
Sep012009

WEST COAST WARZONE

If you haven't heard yet, a massive tournament is going down in SoCal this weekend called WEST COAST WARZONE. I am still trying to sort out the details and see if I can make it down there, but if you're in or around the SoCal area you should definitely check this out!

From the official thread on SRK:

When - Labor Day Weekend - Sept. 4th - 6th, 2009 | Pool Party on the 4th!

Location - Yahoo Maps Link -
Orange County Airport Hilton
18800 MacArthur Blvd
Irvine, CA 92612
949.833.9999

Literally across the street from the airport!!

Games -
Street Fighter IV
3rd Strike
BlazBlue
Super Street Fighter II: HD-Remix 2v2
King of Fighters XII
Marvel vs Capcom 2

Setups
I will be purchasing every TV used at this tournament to ensure that it has no lag and every station is standardized. This way, everyone has an equally positive experience.

ASUS VH236 Monitors have been purchased.

This tournament will be run on XBOX360s over HDMI. Top 8 for all games will be on a projector in a ballroom with theater seating.

3rd Strike will be on PS2 Anniversary Edition on SD TVs.
Marvel vs Capcom 2 will be on Dreamcast on SD TVs.

Details -
Venue Fee - $20

Each game entry will be $10.

Prize payouts - 70/20/10
SFIV will have a bonus $700/$200/$100 added to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd from me.
King of Fighters XII will have a bonus $500 for 1st place from Team False Hope!
If BlazBlue gets more than 128 players, an additional $500 will go to first place.
If Marvel gets more than 64 players, an additional $300 will go to first place.

For more information check out the West Coast Warzone Official Website.

Monday
Aug312009

Video Tour of Mi-ka-do

Hey, Pherai here from DenjinArcade.com. Here is a short video tour we recorded of Mi-ka-do while in Tokyo. Enjoy!

Monday
Aug312009

EVO2K9 HIGHLIGHT REEL

Richard Li from 1up.com put together a great EVO2K9 highlight reel, showcasing the crowd and array of top players who attended. Check it out!


 

Monday
Aug312009

FAN EXPO 2009: Yoshinori Ono x Capcom x Udon Panel

And here's a summary if you don't want to sit through those.

Ono bio
-loved music and girls so started a band to get chicks
-studied architecture in university but thought that it wouldn't get him any chicks
-applied to Capcom since he felt he could be the center of attention while exploring his love of games
-first game he worked on was as a composer for Muscle Bomber/Slam Masters
-fisrt SF game he worked on was Alpha
-Alpha was being developed on CPS2 but Capcom had a glut of CPS1 boards so they had to use them
-guy working on sprites had the toughest job converting them to CPS1's 16 colour palette
-had 2 months to make Alpha, staff pretty much did not go home during that time
-worked on SF3 as music producer
-at the time of planning, they wanted to make the ultimate SF game (art, sound, game balance, graphics)
-since it was well received by fans and SF3 team thought it was the best, it took him 10 years to convince Capcom to make SF4
-66% of Capcom do not think it's a good idea to continue with Street Fighter (boo)

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug282009

iPLAYWINNER.COM PODCAST EPISODE 3 FEAT. PHERAI (DENJIN ARCADE)

 

We just finished up an awesome podcast with Pherai, Akuma player from Denjin Arcade and also webmaster of Denjin Arcade . com

Also, Oichi is back from VersusCity.net as our official co-host!

This podcast covers:

  • Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike in Japan
  • Japanese Arcades
  • Japanese Play vs. American Play

..among other things. So if you're interested in what the arcade and 3s scene is like in Japan be sure to check this one out!

Download the full MP3 here!

Subscribe to the podcast feed!

   

Tuesday
Aug252009

SHIOZAWA CUP VIDEOS

SHIOZAWA CUP 5 VS 5 STREET FIGHTER 4 TOURNAMENT VIDEOS

So this is a nice surprise considering I thought I'd never see videos of this tournament, but it looks like a handful of matches from the 5 VS 5 Street Fighter 4 tournament that took place at BIG BOX arcade the day before Super Battle Opera made it online. They also included the infamous LETS GO JUSTIN match if you ware interested in seeing how the battle went down between the USA team and the Japanese team they were facing.

I cant embed the videos since they are hosted on another site, but be sure to check them out when you get the chance considering this tournament showcased pretty much all of the best Street Fighter 4 talent in Japan. Thanks to VersusCity for the heads up on this one.

 

Monday
Aug242009

HD DIRECT FEED RECORDING DEVICE & CAMCORDER GUIDE

The best way to improve your game is by recording your matches and going over each one to see what you did right or wrong.  I know, I know, you guys are probably tired of hearing me post about this or talk about it on podcasts but its true!

Thing is, from what I've seen, most people don't have the equipment to be able to do this and don't even really know where to start. When you do a search online for "video capture device" nothing that helpful comes up. Pulling up similar searches on Amazon or Ebay will also most likely confuse you considering you will be assaulted with everything from cheap-o USB recorders to high end capture cards.

Camcorders are a little easier to find online, but with so many reviews out there it can still be difficult to determine which is the best for recording match videos. I've found that smaller camcorders that fit in your pocket or aren't too bulky are best for this type of project, but having a robust, fully featured HD camcorder can be very useful as well.

So which products are actually legit? Well, lucky for you I've had a chance to try all sorts of recording devices and now have a pretty good idea on which ones get the job done at this point.

HAUPPAUGE HD PVR 1212

Look, I would love to give you guys the break down on 10 different direct feed video capture devices but this is the only one worth looking into at this point. I bought this a little earlier in the year and it is so easy to use it's hard to even think about looking into anything else. I know there are cards you can pop into your PC, but if you want a portable stand alone device that will capture HD video straight to your laptop or PC, then this is your best bet.

It also works on Mac (I run a MacBook) even though it is not advertised to do so. There is currently some great independent software that allows the HD PVR to run on Mac just as well as it runs on PC.

It's fairly easy to set up. You just pop in the USB cord to your computer, connect component cables from your PS3 or 360 to the back of the unit, then run another set of component cables from the unit to the TV. Make some adjustments within the software to determine video and audio quality and you're set to go!

The only thing that this unit does not offer (yet?) that I wish it did is the ability to stream video directly over the internet while capturing. At this point I think this is only available through certain camcorders and direct capture cards. If any of you reading this own this unit and know a work around to stream video over the 'net, please post up in the comments!

Either way, this is the best product to buy if you simply want high definition videos of your own gameplay.

Official Hauppauge HD PVR site

Canon PowerShot SD780 IS

So this is my newest purchase, and a very good one at that. I picked up this camera before going to Japan because I needed something that could not only take high quality still photos, but also have the ability to record footage if need be. The thing about this camera is not only does it record video, it records video in 720p which is awesome considering how small it is.

Transferring images and videos from the camera is real simple. You install some software, plug in the USB cable and the software will transfer everything over for you. I've loaded up the movies (.mov) into iMovie with out hitch as well.

The camera also includes an HDMI out which I thought was real impressive, again considering this camera is considerably smaller than an iPhone. I haven't found much use for the HDMI out just yet considering I transfer most videos directly to my computer anyway but this may be an attractive feature to some.

My only complaint about this camera is the sound quality.  I didn't really expect much to begin with though, since this is first and foremost a point and shoot camera, but the audio quality leaves much to be desired. Still, not bad if you're just recording fighting game matches at the arcade.

I have tried streaming with camera as well, and unfortunately it does not work unless there is some sort of work around. Regardless, this camera is perfect if you end up going to a lot of gatherings and tournaments and are looking to record all the matches that go down without having to carry around a bulky camera case.

Official Canon PowerShot site

Sony HDR-CX100 HandyCam

Now, I will say that I don't own this exact model, but over a year or so ago I purchased a similar HandyCam and got more use out of it than any other camcorder I had bought previously. This model, unlike the one I have, records in HD as well so this is perfect if you are looking for a light compact solution to capture HD video.

Although the camera is light and compact, it is obviously a little bulkier than say the Canon Powershot that I mentioned above, but the features, audio and video quality are going to be much higher. On the other hand, even though you can take photos using these camcorders, in my experiences they come out virtually worthless. So a lot of it comes down to what you think you will need the most: high quality video and audio with poor photos or high quality photos with average video and audio?

If you are on PC, you can also use it as a webcam and stream your own footage or footage from tournaments/gatherings over the web using Justin.tv and uStream. Unfortunately, the Sony site says this does not work on Mac, so us Mac users are out of luck unless there is some sort of work around.

Also, when purchasing a camcorder like this I recommend getting a tripod and also a small case. Setting it up on a tripod and constantly recording all the action is the best way to make sure you don't miss any solid matches, either of yourself or other players. On the other hand, if its not realistic to set up a tripod, in my experiences having it on your side with a camera case is pretty crucial.

Official Sony HDR-CX100 site

Reader recommendations

As you can see I've had my fair share of experiences with recording equipment, but I know there are a lot of other solutions out there as well. Do you own a camcorder or capture device of your own? Post up in the comments and let us know how well it works!

Thursday
Aug202009

GRINDIN' JAPAN: SHIOZAWA CUP & SUPER BATTLE OPERA

[ Image courtesy of Tougeki ]

Yo! Finally back in San Francisco now after a three week grind in Japan. I wish I could have updated iPlayWinner more while I was out there but to be honest it's very difficult to sit in front of a computer when all of Japan is right in front of you!

Regardless, I have a lot of updates and news from the trip which I'll cover in this post, and keep an eye out for some new podcasts with some special guests talking about their experiences in Tokyo as well.

POST-GODS GARDEN

 

After GodsGarden, there weren't any big events to my knowledge until the following Thursday, which was a 5 on 5 Team Tourney for Street Fighter 4 held at BIG BOX Arcade. I'll cover that in a bit, but after Gods Garden and before the team tourney we spent a fair amount of time in arcades playing.

To be honest, I didn't even play as much as I thought I would. There are so many things to see and do in Japan, I felt a bit guilty some days just sitting in front of an arcade cab playing video games. On the other hand, when I was out and about causing trouble in Tokyo, I also felt a bit guilty for not playing more and trying to level up.

Anyway, this week of playing was a bit different for me and somewhat odd to say the least. The reason it was odd is I was actually playing much better when I first showed up in Japan. Initially I couldn't put my finger on why I wasn't playing as well during week two, but after talking to Magus and Lang a bit, I found I wasn't the only one having this issue. Most of us felt like we were capable of playing much better and really didn't understand where the barrrier was coming from.

After giving it some thought, I think it comes down to being over-exposed to the game and seeing so many new tactics from high level players that you want to implement. I think many are under the assumption that you will just show up to Japan and get automatically better. There is some truth to that, but at the end of the day it takes a while to soak in what you are learning and takes even longer to apply it.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug082009

GRINDIN' JAPAN: BIG BOX ARCADE & GODS GARDEN


So I somehow survived the first week here in Japan and still have another week and a half to go. So far the trip has been insanely fun, playing at a number of different arcades trying to boost my BP on my battle card (12k BP with ~55% win percentage). With that being said, it's a bit difficult to update the blog on a daily basis since there is so much going on!

Anywho, as I mentioned in the last post, BIG BOX arcade is the spot for Street Fighter 4 competition so we have been hitting it up on a daily basis, playing some of the best players in the country such as Daigo, Ojisanboy, Bonchan, AC Revenger, Shiro, Nemo, Nuki, Kanbara and Booya. These are just the big names too -- there are just as many solid unnamed players all trying to get their SF4 fix each day as well.

The arcade located on the 6th or so floor of this shopping complex called BIG BOX that has a mix of different shops and attractions on each floor. This is hands down the nicest and largest arcade I've ever seen with virtually every fighting game known to man available to play. It's not just fighting games either -- they have the Gundam games, some crazy Square-Enix RPG game, music games.. the list goes on and on.

The set up for Street Fighter 4 is really nice: a row of 6 head to head cabs, divided up into the "big boys section" and the, well, "scrubs section". The scrub section still has really solid players but I was able to rack up 5-8 win streaks fairly easily. The "big boys section" is a different story though-- I could get a handful of wins here and there but no serious streaks. This is no surprise considering many of the players are ranked top 50 in the country.

My most memorable match at BIG BOX so far was against Daigo, considering I got him to the last round in a 3/5 match. It seemed close to me but truth be told I think he was in control of the match the whole time and could just go into beast mode when he needed a win. This is how it feels against many of the top players here, where even if you are doing well, they can seemingly clutch out a win anytime they need to.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug082009

GODS GARDEN GRAND FINALS

Wow! What an amazing night at Gods Garden! Even though the trains stop running at midnight, it was well worth sticking it out the entire night to see all the high level play.

I will have a full write up on the event soon, but in the meantime check out the the Grand Finals between Mago and Uryo!

Monday
Aug032009

DAIGO UMEHARA CONCEPT MATCHES

Yo! Still here in Japan and working on some more updates but truthfully I've been too busy in Harajuku and playing at BIG BOX to make a full on post about the madness out here. So in the meantime, check out these Daigo Umehara Concept Matches from Arcadia Magazine.

For more information on the Umehara Kumite check out Oichi's post on VersusCity.

Also, PLEASE SUPPORT ARCADIA MAGAZINE and order a subscription from Play-Asia.







Saturday
Aug012009

THE GRIND IN JAPAN: MI-KA-DO FEAT. RIKIMARU

Most of you who follow this site are probably aware of our never ending quest to travel and level up in Street Fighter 4. First it was LA for Super Battle Opera Qualifiers at Denjin Arcade, then it was EVO in Las Vegas. Now we are taking it to the next level: travelling to Japan to grind it out at arcades such as BIG BOX, attending GODS GARDEN (console SFIV event featuring many top Japanese players) and finishing it off with Super Battle Opera. Thanks to our ridiculously fast internet connection at the Sunroute Hotel, I'll be updating this site roughly on a daily basis giving everyone the scoop on what's going down at the arcades here.

MI-KA-DO

After 10 hour flight and three hours finding our way to our hotel in Shinjuku, Magus1234, ThyAllMighty and myself finally settle in before heading out to Mi Ka Do arcade to meet up with Denjin Arcade players Let Blood Run and Pherai. We spend entirely too much money and time figuring out how the train works but once at Mi-Ka-Do we see other players such as Kim1234, Misterbean and Yuuki. It's nice to run with a squad in a foreign county -- hard to imagine doing this solo!

Strolling in, the main attraction at Mi-Ka-Do seems to be Street Fighter 3: Third Strike with a ton of top players such as Rikimaru, Boss, Momochi, Tokura, Youhei, Pierrot, Ruu, Roah and Veaou. I'm well past my prime in Third Strike so I am obviously out of my league, but it's still dope seeing so many of these players I used to endlessly watch on YouTube back in the day.

Not wanting to embarrass myself on the 3s machines, I make my way over to the Street Fighter 4 cabs and soon realize this is not the place for SF4 competition as I rack up a 9 win streak in no time. I'm surprised to be winning at all, fully expecting to get roasted big time -- I am in Japan after all. Apparently the main arcade in the area for SF4 comp is BIG BOX which is right around the corner, but we decide to check it out another day when we have more time.

After a couple more games, Pherai swings by and asks me to help him interview Rikimaru, a top Chun-Li player.

The remaining events of the night aren't really appropriate to post about on this blog (!!), but I'll be back in the next day or two with more updates!

Wednesday
Jul292009

Out of Nowhere: SF2: CE tournament

There have been a lot of fighting game tournaments in the Bay Area over the past few months and it seems like more are announced every couple of days. While most of these tournaments are focusing on the big, mainstream titles like SFIV and HD Remix occasionally something unusual pops up. This past Friday, July 24th, I had the opportunity to attend a small, 16 man, Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition tourney. The setup was a genuine old school CE cab planted right in the middle of a Berkeley resident's front yard. 

Pizza, soda, beer and the usual Street Fighter chat were going around, but the focus was all on that glowing CRT monitor. I had somehow forgotten how good the older games actually looked on their intended displays. The colors were bold and the chunky pixels took me back to the arcades I frequented in elementary and middle school. The controls had a familiar clunkiness and bad spots with one side being favorable to the other. When it came down to the start of the tournament it was more than obvious that some in attendance really knew their championship edition. These weren't just SFIV noobs coming out of the closet to try something old, these were people that practice CE to this day on GGPO and come from Super Turbo to represent older, stronger versions of the cast in all their two or three move glory. Guile and Bison were definitely the top tier here, though I did feel like my CE Vega could have stood a better chance with just a bit more practice.

Results:

1. The Unknown (Ryu)
2. Battosai (Guile)
3. Jarrod (Guile and Dictator)

Overall it was a refreshing break from the usual tournament atmosphere and made me wish all video games could be played on authentic hardware in the cool, summer breeze.

Sunday
Jul262009

NORCAL "CRAZAY ASS TOURNAMENT" WRAP UP

Feeling a bit hungry after EVO, I took an hour train ride to Sunnyvale, CA this past Friday for a singles and teams Street Fighter 4 tournament. I was running a bit behind and missed my train so I barely made it in time but it all worked out.

The tournament was held at Country Inn and Suites in one of the ballrooms within the hotel. Street Fighter 4 was capped at 64 people for singles and 32 for teams, which may not sound like a lot, but considering they were running BlazBlue, HDR and some other games, the area was pretty packed out by the time I got there.

I ran through the winners bracket for most of the tournament until I ran into Scunsion, another Sagat player in NorCal who ended up taking the 3rd place spot in the tournament. He's probably the one player I know who may have the Sagat mirror match down better than I do. I went on to beat a couple others before finally losing to OG player Eric Choi who uses Rufus. I was hoping to get top 3 to make some money back from the train ride, but just another top 8 for me, tying for 7th. Oh well! Better luck next time.

It was Jack/Steve playing Ryu and Ricky O. playing Rufus in the finals. I assumed Jack would make it pretty far considering he is one of the most slept on players in NorCal and the fact he was feeling real confident through out the tournament. Of course it was no surprise to anyone to see Ricky O. in the finals as well.

After the singles, most people made their way home, but those of us who stuck around decided to enter the teams tournament which started at 1 AM or something. I was really tired but manned up since Thrust07 and Illiterate wanted to play and found myself a teammate-- Allan, one of the dudes who was running the tournament, who plays Chun Li. He fought hard but at the end of the day I ended up having to OCV about 5 teams to get third place. Thrust07 and Illiterate peaced me out, and they went on to play to Ryan the Filipino Champ and Hydro who took first.

Although the tournament ran really late, all in all it was fun seeing so many new people get into the scene. The ratio of new people to old schoolers was really high and reminded me of when I first started going to tournaments. Considering this event brought a lot of new people into the scene, hopefully they will work out the kinks with the tournament running so late, set up some SD TVs instead of LCDs to reduce lag and throw another one because I think this is a good event for the scene.

Here are the results for the games, check out the official thread on SRK for full results soon!

SFIV Singles

1 Ricky Ortiz
2 Jack Waller
3 Scunsion
4 Eric Choi
5 Anime Dude
5 Crack
7 Haunts
7 One3Six
9 KNice
9 Illiterate
9 DopeUyuu
9 Botsu is
13 JT Moses Sales
13 Boy of Joy
13 Evanda
13 Elcubanoloco
17 LordXBlade
17 Andy Ma
17 Lamerboi
17 Jimmy Tran
17 Magus1234
17 G No
17 MiDangMovement
17 EFCE
25 Timmja
25 Jack Zenith
25 Greg Lau
25 Kris
25 Lost
25 Taylor Smith
25 Julio
25 Introvert
33 Eddy
33 Josh S.
33 Nu
33 NabNabDeep
33 John T
33 Thrust07
33 Alan L
33 Snake
33 MisterBiggs
33 Nytemar64
33 Duy
33 Hughey
33 iGauge
33 Kirk
33 Rei Y
33 Liquid Fox
49 Tony ATL
49 TrapperJohn
49 Joseph Jung
49 Darry Dizz
49 Ronnie L
49 Paul Marino
49 Topknot
49 Khoi
49 Vincent Bringas
49 Julikeadobo
49 Andrew O
49 Darry
49 Dase
49 Shino
49 Justin Chen
49 Mike C

SFIV 2 on 2 teams

1) Filipino Champ/Hiro
2) Team Shoulderpads, Shinguards and Boxing Gloves — Thrust/Illiterate
3) Haunts/Allan Chun player

BlazBlue

1 Goryus (NU)
2 Rick Ortiz (RG)
3 Chronofreak (BA)
4 John (TK)
5 Andrew (TG)
6 Scunscion (JI)
6 PhaethonH (CA)
8 snake
8 Eric C. (RG)
8 Ginseng (JI)
11 Thrust07 (NU)
11 Botsu (TK)
11 Renegade (NU)
11 JohnT (TG)
15 AnimeDue (NU)
15 Jeff (TG)
15 William (TG)
15 9Kill (HK)
19 Espada03
19 Boy of Joy
19 Roi
19 Alex
19 Knice
19 Lost

HDR Results

1) Eric Choi
2) Battosai
3) Thrust
4) Moses14 (4 is your lucky number!)
5) Andyman/Vestax
7) Darry Dizz/Lam007
9)El Cubano Loco

 

Saturday
Jul252009

King of Fighters XII first impressions

King of Fighters XII should be widely available in your local Gamestop despite the official July 28th launch date. Is it worth running out and grabbing a copy right this minute? You might want to wait. Read on...

I have been playing the X-Box 360 release of KoFXII since last night and in many ways the game is fantastic. The new sprites are beautiful, especially when in motion. Offline versus matches are really fun. I am still exploring the new additions to the classic gameplay, but so far it's been very rewarding. With the good comes a little bit of bad though. Most of my online matches have been nearly unplayable. What I mean by that is severe input lag--even on the character select screen. I would say that on average there is a ~15 frame lag on during my online matches. To contrast with other fighting games I play online I'm almost always able to find 4 or 5 bar matches in SFIV and in BlazBlue it's rare that I ever encounter any perceptible lag. In regards to the problems people have been experiencing the KoFXII facebook page issued this statement:

"King of Fighters XII: We understand that there have been some concerns raised about performance during online play. A patch for the both platforms is being worked on which should help with those gamers experiencing issues.

While I don't have an exact date for the Xbox 360 version, the PS3 patch should be available by the street date July 28, 2009."

The game doesn't feature much of a story except for a generic newscast type cut scenes that play between the five matches that make up arcade mode. Aside from that all that is left is versus and practice. The focus in KoFXII is obviously the offline and online versus modes and the latter isn't much use right now. Hopefully a patch will come out and I can give this game the review it deserves, but until then it's offline only for me, and unless I have a friend over, there's just not that much to do.

Friday
Jul242009

NORCAL 5 on 5 QUALIFIERS

As many of you know, since I'm sure you watched the stream, NorCal held a qualifier for the final spot on the 5 man team for the 5 on 5 exhibition for EVO. The two who were battling it out for the spot were Filipino Champ (Dhalsim) and LPN (Bison). Each of them had to play not only eachother, but the other 4 members of the team to qualify for the spot.

We were able to record all the matches and now that the exhibition is over, I've decided to post them up to YouTube. Here are some of the better fights, and be sure to check our YouTube Channel for the rest.

Thursday
Jul232009

SAGAT, WHERE YOU AT?

Art by Death By Soda Can

EVO2K9 has come and gone and Sagat was no where to be found in the Top 8 for Street Fighter 4. Seems a little odd for a character that even CAPCOM themselves consider to be overpowered to begin with right?

For all the complaining that goes on in forums about how he is "so broken" and needs to be nerfed you would think at least one Sagat player would break into the top 8. Granted there were over 1000 people who entered EVO, so anything could happen, but he is EASY MODE right? How hard could it be?

There were plenty of Akuma, Rufus and Ryu players in the Top 8 but that does not make those characters better than Sagat, not on paper anyway. This also seems to be the case not only at EVO, but many many tournaments in the US that led up to EVO. For months I'd check results and it was pretty rare to see a Sagat actually win a tournament and very few would even be in the top 8. What the hell, isn't this guy TOP TIER?

So what could it be? What makes it so hard to grab that #1 spot with Sagat?

His size and lack of mobility is a bigger issue than many people care to recognize. When playing characters like Ryu, Akuma and Balrog, if you are not careful and let them get close to you, it's a lot harder for Sagat to create distance between him and his opponent without committing to something like an Uppercut or Tiger Knee. Also, since he is so tall, once he is a sitting duck like that, its much easier to cross him up and keep him locked down compared to the rest of the cast.

For instance, Akuma's far standing Roundhouse, a two hit move that leads to some of his more damaging combos, actually hits twice on a low blocking Sagat instead of just once like it does on many other characters. This may not seem like a big deal, but in a match up like this where Sagat has to hunt down a run away Akuma, something that is counter intuitive to his overall gameplan, this is just one more thing that will test your patience.

His slow walking speed also makes it harder to play footsies and be tricky with him because you can't play with ranges as easily as some other characters like Ryu and Balrog. It's more about throwing a ton of Tiger Shots, hoping your opponent makes a mistake and capitalizing on it with your max damage combo. This is fine if you are an extremely solid player, but under pressure it can prove to be difficult to do everything absolutely by the book in clutch situations.

Another point that was brought up to me by a friend of mine is that Sagat is the very first match up that most people learn. No one wants to lose to a Sagat and it's crucial to learn the Tiger Shot game and everything else in his arsenal to even stand a chance. I highly doubt most players put in as much time playing against say Abel and C. Vipers as they do Sagat and this shows at tournaments. I will watch players go up against some of my friends who play these more unorthodox characters and look completely lost, but soon as they meet up with me in the brackets it's like they've been playing the match up for years.

So what do you guys think? Are these valid reasons for Sagat not winning a ton of tournaments or should us North American Sagat players  stop complaining and just practice more?

Tuesday
Jul212009

EVO2K9: RYU COMBO VIDEO

Majestros from Sonic Hurricane put together an awesome Ryu combo video for EVO this year. I was lucky enough to catch it when they aired it live at EVO, but if you missed it, it's now online to check out.

...and yes, we're back after a long weekend in Vegas! Stay tuned for more videos and write ups from EVO2K9!

Tuesday
Jul142009

For the New Challengers

So, you're new to the scene? You're on that Street Fighter IV hype with everyone else? Then please keep reading. There are a few things I'd like to address.

Hopefully after you've finished reading all this, you'll know what it means to be part of the competitive fighting game scene.

Choosing a Character
The tricky part about writing on this topic is that it always leads into the tier discussion. Really, the target audience I'm writing to are people like this. My response to the thread is on the first page. To summarize, you must ask yourself the question Ryu is always asking himself.
Why do I fight?

The answer is on you. Think about it in your downtime and try out the whole cast. Do your research and see what every character is capable of, as well as their general gameplan. Which style of play suits you best? If you've tried all of this and still can't come to a decision, keep playing. I'll admit this is a natural process for many, but in the end, we all have our reasons.
"Some people play to win and others play to play."

While we're on the topic of characters, let's talk counter-picking. Sure, it's a fine strategy and it's normal to see in both online and tournament play. It's actually considered as part of the American school of thought in competitive Street Fighter goes since our tournament standard is typically best two out of three games. But there won't always be the opportunity to counter-pick, so it is wise to root yourself in one character and know them inside-out. Lastly, doing random select is unheard of in high-level tournament play (unless it's the theme of a particular tournament, of course). Everyone tends to try to play their best in tournaments since you’re playing for keeps.

Personally, my stance on tiers and counter-picking goes somewhat against the grain. If Alex Valle and Kuni Funada don't believe in tiers, then that's good enough for me.
I respect anyone that goes straight to their character on the selection screen every time by giving them my best in return. I actually think that counter-picking isn't too far away from ability insecurity, but that's another discussion.

If it's in you to pick a character based on their tier placement, don't let me stop you. The same goes for counter-picking. Everyone has their own ego and it really shows in the fighting game community. Whenever you play against someone, you’re playing a completely unique entity. What I mean by this is that no one plays Sagat the same exact way that haunts does. Or no one plays the same Sagat as Mago. If you’re a Sagat player, no one plays him exactly like you. All players have their own unique playstyle and thought process.

Tournaments and Competing
Just as everyone has their own playstyle, everyone has their own belief on how to approach a tournament. Some players try to play as much as they can right up until the tournament starts. Some players read guides and study match footage videos in preparation. Some players believe it’s best to take a vacation before a big tourney.
Even Daigo has his own idea of how to think of them.

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