I sat down with both Andry "MAGUS1234" Kane and Anthony "Crackfiend" Nguyen at the last NorCal Fuddruckers tournament to get their thoughts on the tournament and new players entering the scene. For more interviews with players such as LPN, PhillipinoChamp and Kaizer be sure to check out our YouTube Channel!
Since fighting games have come back into the main stream, it seems like all I hear lately is "I want a high-def 2D game that gives me a diverse set of characters, promotes aggressive game play and has solid netcode." Well, ARC System Works and Aksys Games have answered your prayers, kids—enter BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger.
Rebel 1 - ACTION!
Over the past six or so years that I've been active in the competitive fighting game scene, I've always tried to give Guilty Gear a chance, a game that BlazBlue is often compared to, but it never seemed to click with me. For whatever reason with every release there seemed to be this barrier of entry that I couldn't get around. Perhaps it was the cast of characters (I never could settle on a main), the complex game play system or maybe even the fact that the competitive scene was so far ahead it seemed hopeless to get into it.
I assumed I would have a similar experience with BlazBlue, but after playing it over the past two months or so I can say that is not the case. With it's rich HD 2D graphics, interesting set of characters each with their own unique "Drive" moves and easy to pick up combo system I found myself looking at the clock and wondering how 6 hours had already passed each night I would play it.
Yes, you have been warned, this game is very addictive. As mentioned before, the game heavily promotes aggressive game play, so once you learn a few combos and mix ups with your character, you will start to see that there is seemingly an endless amount of rush down options at your disposal.
For instance, when I first picked up the game I settled on Ragna to get a grip on the game play system and after learning about his simple B button to C button chain combo I soon realized either on block or hit I could continue with numerous other follow ups to continue to pressure my opponent. Following C with D, his two hit Drive move, I could either cancel out of the hit and dash in or simply cancel the hit with quarter circle back and D which acts as a defensive barrier to give me a little breathing room before rushing back in.
This is just one simple example of how you can mix up and pressure your opponent with Ragna. You will find similar strings and set ups for virtually every other character in the game that you will continually want to add to and refine. The fact that there are so many ways to approach and engage your opponent—ground dashes, air dashes, Rapid Canceling special moves; the list goes on and on—is just one of the many reasons I've been interested in the game for this long. No staring contests in this game, it's all about the rush down in BlazBlue.
It seems people can be a bit intimidated by BlazBlue with all it's air combos, life bars and meters, but the game is a lot easier to pick up than it looks. Most aspects of the game, with exception to the wake up game, are fairly easy to understand and execute.
BlazBlue uses a 4 button layout for attacking, A B C and D. Buttons A through C are more or less normal attacks that each have variations depending on which direction you press on the joystick while attacking. D is your character specific Drive move that has it's own properties that are vastly different than the other three buttons.
Throwing is a big part of BlazBlue and is performed by pressing B + C. This feels pretty awkward at first due to the button layout and having been trained for so long to press another set of buttons to throw in Capcom games. However, the throw break window is fairly large in this game so it doesn't take too long to get used to breaking throws.
As far as movement is concerned, you have a ground dash, back dash, super jump, double jump and air dash. All of these different movement options allow you to attack or retreat from your opponent in many different ways.
To give you a quick break down of the HUD in this game, at the top of the screen you have your life bar, and below that you will see a Barrier Gauge. You can hold back and A + B to perform a push block, which will give you some space between you and the attacking opponent, and as you do this the Barrier Gauge will deplete. You can also press all 4 buttons to perform a Barrier Burst that will use up your Barrier Gauge completly. This is more or less a combo breaker to get you out of damaging combos and give yourself another chance to bring back the round in your favor.
In the middle of the screen between the two life bars you will see a guard meter. As you block your opponents attacks, this meter will fill up and once it reaches max you will be guard broken and unable to defend against attacks for a short time.
At the bottom of the screen you will see your Heat Gauge which acts as your super meter in this game. Once the meter reaches 50% you can either perform a Distortion Drive (super move) or a Rapid Cancel. A Rapid Cancel allows you to cancel out of a special move much like a Focus Attack Dash Cancel in Street Fighter 4 or a Roman Cancel in Guilty Gear and is executed by pressing A + B + C upon impact of a special or normal move. Once the Heat Gauge is at 100%, in certain situations you perform an Astral Finish which is more or less an epic super that finishes off your opponent.
Once you are knocked down you can quick rise, which is an important and advanced aspect of BlazBlue. You can also quick rise forward or backwards depending on where you want to position yourself on the screen.
Negative Warning is another interesting game play aspect that actually penalizes a player for being too defensive. if you run away and turtle too much you will see red streaks along your character and the text "Negative Warning" will appear on the screen. At this point you will end up taking more damage than before so be sure to stay active and always be pressuring your opponent to avoid this status change.
What really makes BlazBlue so special and fun to play is it's unique cast of characters. This is really the first time where I've been very torn on who to pick up and play considering no character in BlazBlue plays like any other and yet they are all so interesting and full of depth.
As mentioned earlier, each character has their own unique set of Drive moves which adds a lot to their individuality and game play. Ragna's Drive allows him to steal life from the opposing player and bust out some insane juggle combos in the process. Rachel can control the wind which will manipulate not only her move set but the positioning of the other player on the screen. Arakune can curse his opponent which allows him to send bugs flying all over the screen that in turn set up some very dangerous combos and corner traps.
So as you can see, even though there is a basic game play system in place, no one character plays the same and you really have to rethink how to approach each character when you pick up someone new. This adds a lot to the replay value of the game and also makes knowing match ups extremely important if you want to be a competitive player.
When starting out with BlazBlue, I personally recommend that everyone pick up Ragna at first to get a feel for how the game works. He is fairly straight forward with some very easy combos so you will find yourself able to compete right off the bat once you have a couple combos and mix ups down with him.
After sometime with Ragna I started to branch out and I have now settled upon Arakune. Due to his insane zoning abilities, high/low mix ups and a virtually inescapable corner trap I figured he would be a good choice for me. What can I say? I love cheap characters in fighting games.
I started to rack up the wins with Arakune using the tactics I learned from the tutorial DVDs included with the game, but before long I started to run into some very skilled V-13 and Rachel players who made me realise that there are no free wins in this game. Even with Arakune, one of the most powerful characters in the game, there is still a serious need to understand every aspect of the opponent and what they are capable of.
Right now I am trying to refine my Arakune game, but looking forward I would really love to pick up Rachel. After that, who knows? Like I said, every character is worth sitting down with and learning some basic combos and set ups.
Raising the Bar - Online Matchmaking and Netcode
I've been lucky enough to spend a lot of time playing BlazBlue online and it is truly one of the most impressive aspects of the game itself. Of course, the most important thing is: does it play smooth online? After playing people on the West Coast, East Coast and even out in Japan, I can say that in my experience so far it plays much smoother online than any other fighting game released on console thus far.
Keep in mind it wasn't always this smooth. When I first started playing online, anyone who wasn't on the West Coast seems to have a bit of lag, but since Aksys Games has rolled out an updated patch for the game everything runs much better. Once you start your match online, the pre-fight load screen will look like it's lagging a bit, but once the match starts it's extremely smooth. I'm not sure what they did with the netcode in the update but it works and that's all that matters.
As if smooth online play wasn't enough, BlazBlue contains more options for creating lobbies and playing others online than any other fighting game out there right now. The lobby system allows to create custom rooms and rotate through and play everyone that you invite, but as an added bonus, those who aren't playing can spectate and chat about the ongoing matches.
Another interesting aspect of the online play is you can reassign your spot to another player even if you are up next to play. So for instance, if you have a fat win streak but receive a phone call, you can give up your spot to another player and let them battle it out with someone else in the lobby while you handle your business. This is just one example of the many innovative aspects of BlazBlue's online match making system.
When playing a Ranked Match, you can simply have the system search for an opponent for you. Once the system finds the opponent you will see their "player card" that displays their main character (character who is chosen the most), win ratio, level, number of incomplete games among other interesting details about the opponent. After the match is completed, win or lose you will be presented with details of the match such as who landed the first attack, whether or not you used your barrier burst and how close you are to the next level.
Let's not forget that you can save replays of your online matches as well. This is not dependent on your rank or anything else - every last match that you play you can save to your system. This is obviously an extremely welcome feature within BlazBlue in that not only can you view epic matches that you won, but also analyze matches that you lost and figure out where you need to improve.
All in all, BlazBlue has raised the bar for online play for a fighting game. We can only hope other developers are taking note of all the options within BlazBlue's online match making system and implement many of the same features into future fighting games.
As enjoyable as it is to battle it out with others, there of course is always the need to practice your combos on a dummy, and that is where training mode comes into play. Much like the online match making system, the training mode in BlazBlue goes above and beyond what is typically seen in a fighting game.
The amount of options available to you is pretty overwhelming at first; there are about 6 different pages of options within the training mode. This will allow you to manage the training dummy to prepare you for all sorts of different situations that may occur in a real match such as tech rolling forward or back wards or escaping an attack string that is not a true combo.
You can also set the dummy's life to either recharge or simply completely deplete so you can see how many combos it takes to actually kill off the opponent. Once the training dummy dies off, there is a quick pause and they will be at full health again. Subtle aspects of the training mode like this will help players refine and develop their game in the long run.
By now you may be thinking to yourself "Wow, Haunts, you sure do know a lot about this game for only playing 2 months!" but I will admit I did not figure out most of this on my own. The limited edition version of BlazBlue comes with a phenomenal set of training DVDs that were put together by the pros over at DustLoop.com.
Each character has their own section for strategy, combos, explanation of moves among other little tid bits of information to help you level up your game. To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been released for a fighting game on this level.
After watching each characters video it's very easy to jump into the game and start using them the way they should be played. This helps a lot with getting right into the game and feeling comfortable with your characters move sets so you do not feel the need to just mash out attacks hoping for the best. This is just another example of Aksys Games going above and beyond for their fans and their dedication to bring new players into the fighting game scene.
Although I am sure creating these DVDs was an insane amount of work, I hope other developers follow Aksys Games lead and provide similar tutorials in the future. Whether tutorials are offered in-game or on a separate DVD, this is a crucial aspect of being able to easily pick up and play a fighting game such as BlazBlue.
Although BlazBlue is an excellent game, just like any other fighting game in it's first iteration, it is not with out its faults. The main aspect that needs to be improved is character balance. There needs to be some changes made to some of the top tier characters such as Arakune and Rachel or maybe some buffs added to some of the lower tier characters such as Tager.
I am not an expert at the game but I can already see that some characters such as Tager have a very, very difficult time competing with these top tier characters due to their incredible zoning abilities. Again, I am still relatively new to the game so I am not sure what specific changes should be made to remedy this, but there are some areas that need to be tweaked to balance the game.
Also keep in mind this is more of an issue with high level game play. At a a low level or even intermediate level of play it will be hard for most people to see these imbalances between characters so don't let this stop you from picking up the game.
I also would love to see more characters added to the roster. Even though each character is a lot of fun and is very unique, the over all roster is fairly small compared to most fighting games. Adding new characters can always mess with game balance, but with such a small roster in BlazBlue, a handful of new characters would be a welcome addition.
One last, small gripe is about the sound effects, which I personally find to be a little over-the-top. The English voice acting is fine, but there is a sound effect for virtually everything in the game. For instance, anytime you land a counter hit you will hear a woman yell "COUNTER!". With BlazBlue being such an aggressive game, counter hits are a very common occurrence so this can get a little annoying after a while.
Overall BlazBlue is the complete package when it comes to fighting games: interesting and enjoyable set of characters, smooth online play, solid user interface and a robust set of options. Throw in the tutorial DVD and soundtrack and it makes it difficult to think of what else ARC System Works and Aksys Games could add to improve the game.
BlazBlue is also a welcome departure from what else is currently on the market with it's fast paced aggressive gameplay and 2D graphics. So if you're looking for something fresh and new to add to your fighting game collection go out and pick this up as soon as possible so you don't miss out on the limited edition version of the game.
iPW SCORE: 9/10
With over 170 entrants trying to prove themselves before EVO, over $1500 on the line and the top floor of Fuddruckers which felt more or less like a sauna made this NorCal's hottest tournament yet! NorCal has come a long way since the first Fuddruckers tournament with the level of play from all players much higher than most of the country is probably even aware of at this point - Las Vegas, here we come!
Street Fighter 4
1. John "ChoiBoy" Choi (Ryu/Sagat)
2. Ricky "Hello Kitty" Ortiz (Rufus/Chun-Li/Balrog)
3. Anthony "Crackfiend" Nguyen (Balrog)
Street Fighter II: HD Remix
1. John "ChoiBoy" Choi
2. Graham Wolfe
3. Jason Cole
Some highlights from the tournament:
- Out of towner Jason Cole made a surprise visit, placing well in both HDR and Street Fighter 4. This is a good first step towards creating a major tournament in NorCal! ( SoCal - where you at!? )
- John Choi taking 1st place in Street Fighter 4 and Street Fighter II: HD Remix.
- MAGUS1234 sending Jason Cole to losers with C. Viper and overall dominating in many of his matches through out the tournament. His performance also sealed his spot on the NorCal 5 man team for EVO!
- Over 170+ players entered SF4 - that's more entrants than the Devastation tournament in Arizona!
- Andrew "Lamerboi" Nguyen making 5th place using Guile... on a PAD!
Here are a couple videos from the tournament itself - keep an eye on the iPlayWinner.com YouTube channel for more match videos and player interviews!
Thanks to SaikyoStyle for submitting another video from the tournament!
I Got Next is a fighting game documentary put together by Ian Cofino who followed players such as Justin Wong, Gootecks and L.I. Joe as they travel all over the country competing in Street Fighter 4 tournaments. I had a chance to check out the movie not too long ago and really enjoyed all the interviews with both new school and old school players. The editing is top notch, the movie is filled with tons of hype from tournaments such as Final Round and Sinsation and it does a great job of showing all the different mind sets and aspirations of these different players. If you are into fighting games, this is something you must see, do not miss it!
Also, if you're like me and the movie leaves you wanting more, don't worry - there will be an extended cut that follows the players up until EVO that will be available later this year!
Match between Daigo and Mago in a recent TRF Tournament. I'll let the play speak for itself.
It's that time again. Norcal's largest monthly tournament is back, and as the flyer says, it just got hella bigger! First of all, the tournament IS NOT capped at 128 people, so everyone who makes it to the event will be able to participate. Anyone who has the availability to attend should go to this event for the following reasons:
- Ricky Ortiz, LPN, Haunts, John Choi, Magus1234, Tharimrattler, A-Rival, old school legend Graham Wolfe, 1up's Richard Li (the only game journalist who is good at fighters), Coopa, Young Legend, Crizzle, Chunksta, myself and many other top players will be in attendance.
- $10 entry fee. Hence, if 150 people joined, the total pot would be $1,500!
- John Choi will be looking for candidates for the EVO Regional Exhibition 5v5 for HD Remix/SF4
- Many travelers from all over and outside of California will be attending this event, and rumor has it that Jason Cole is possibly attending this event! You never know what big names may show up, so take a chance and come by!
- The Red Bull Girls will be back in action passing out Red Bulls!
- EVO is the next major event after Fuddruckers, so this is your final chance to prove your worth before competing on the big stage!
There's nothing to lose and so much to gain. Can you prove your worth and shut down the recent placers of NorCal's finest tournament? With that being said, I recommend everyone attending to pre-register for the tournament by clicking on the link. Till then, here's the trailer created by iPlayWinner crew member, Farid Rouya (Eph). LET'S GET HYPE!
SDTEKKEN announced today that not only is Tekken 6 slated for an October 27th release, there will also be a limited edition bundle that includes the game and joystick. The joystick is manufactured by HORI and it's not clear yet what parts are used within the stick, but the stick is wireless, which is a first as far as I know. The bundle will cost 149.99 so my guess is stock HORI stick with Sanwa buttons! Either way, hopefully the joystick turns out to be easy to mod.
Oichi from VersusCity.net put together a dope combo video featuring his main, Taka-arashi. As I understand it, all these combos were taken from actual matches in the arcade and compiled for this video. In Japan, with VF5:R you can download your matches from the arcade directly to your computer so that is how he was able to put this together.
Episode two is up and this time we interview Gootecks (http://www.gootecks.com) and Oichi (http://www.versuscity.net) on training others in fighting games. This is a fairly controversial subject these days within the community so we wanted to debunk some myths and talk about how this helps new players break into the scene. We also discuss how to practice on your own and how there are schools in Japan that teach people Virtua Fighter among other entertaining topics.
Check it out and sound off in the comments to let us know what you think!
SDTEKKEN is running a contest until the end of this week where you can win a free copy of BlazBlue! The contest requires a bit of creative input, so be prepared to do a little work for your chance to win free copy of the game, you lazy bums! That's right, you'll have to pull yourself away from grinding for GP and submit an image or video of yourself holding a sign of some sort that says "THE WHEEL OF FATE IS TURNING". Check out the contest rules below.
via SDTEKKEN.com :
The wheel of fate is turning!!! REAL TALK! Do you want to win a copy of BlazBlue and receive it before anyone else? Yes? Well, enter our “Wheel of Fate” contest by submitting either a picture or video of you with a sign that says “THE WHEEL OF FATE IS TURNING!” The most creative entries will win a copy of BlazBlue for the console of your choice (Xbox 360 or PS3)! Click below for full contest rules!
SDTEKKEN x AKSYS GAMES “Wheel of Fate Contest”
Step 1 = Compile a video or image with you/a friend holding a sign that says, “THE WHEEL OF FATE IS TURNING!” Be creative!
Step 2 = Send that image/link to CONTEST@SDTEKKEN.COM !
Step 3 = PROFIT! (Or we just send you the game early…)
"LB made being gay fashionable." - Jeff Tanaka.
I could tell. Not only had a string of pseudo-homoerotic jokes come during his stay at Davis, they stayed after he left. In a sense, LB has made his mark. Oh, god. Not again. No homo. A week before today was the Davis team tourney--the first Davis team tourney. The hometown peeps were still unsure of what to expect and with the SBO qualifiers on the same day, it wouldn't be logical to expect a big turnout. Logic: that word sure went to hell and back.
So, where's Davis?
To everyone who doesn't know Davis, don't feel bad. It's a small, agriculturally-based town between Saramento and San Francisco (it's just 30 minutes away from Sacramento). The life of the town revolves around the college campus, or UC Davis. There's not much else to say. The food's great, since it comes directly from the area around us. The nights are boring unless you are 21 and over (the bars always seem lively). It's a college town, but whenever I ask residents what they do for fun, they usually say, "Go to Sacramento." Funny thing: when I ask Sacramento people what they do, they say, "Go to San Francisco." I've yet to ask what San Francisco people do.
6/1/09, the Monday before the tourney:
It was early in the morning and for some reason or another, I messaged LB about Japanese styled clothing. At this point, I still thought he was Japanese. I mean, Hyung Lee. That's clearly Japanese, right? Anyway, I keep talking to Daigo, I mean, LB, and the conversation starts tangenting from clothing to calling him Dadigo: "Okay want to make a bet?" I tell him. "I will call you Dadigo several times at the next tourney, so people can hear it. We're both going to get weird looks." LB responds, "You will get weird looks. I will get a look of awe." And then an idea popped up: "But I sure as hell won't call you Dadigo unless you beat me in a money match."
And so the idea was born. We continued discussing the idea and it evolved into this, my initial post on the SRK PacNorth Forums:
I'm calling you out on a money match for skipping out on the interview at Fuddruckers. Here are the terms, you fake:
1) 100$ on the line.
2) We play at the Davis tourney this Saturday in SF4.
3) If I win, you got to answer as many stupid questions as I have for you in an interview AND you cry on camera, got that?
4) First to 5 matches. Round will consist of best of 3.
5) Loser has to call the winner "Daddy" or "Dadigo", if I lose.
6) If I lose, I got to drink two bottles of Soju during the tournament (first one has to go down immediately.
Staged drama. But it wasn't enough. It had to be more serious, so LB suggested I post out "logical" reasons for my hatred, and so I did. More and more people began to ask us if this was real. LB kept his part of the deal and affirmed it. I, on the other hand, had to let a few people know for added hype.
"Hey, you're Haunts right? Welcome to SoCal... Man, I've never been so nervous for a tournament as I am today.." says Mike Ross as I am checking out all the equipment for the SBO Quals live stream.
"Yeah, it should be pretty crazy..." I say casually, not knowing that this will be one of the most intense tournaments of my Street Fighter career.
Rewind three weeks, I approach MAGUS1234 , NorCal's best C. Viper player, asking him to go to SoCal with me for a week and three days to level up in Street Fighter, possibly check out E3 and gather content for iPlayWinner. Just a few days prior to that we discussed competing in SBO Quals to try to win a free ticket to Japan anyway, so after thinking it over for a week or so, he finally contacts me and says "Yeah man, lets do this, it will be a grind but sometimes you just have to do it."
What is The Grind you ask? Well, like in any RPG game there is always the need to grind it out, have a ton of battles in high level areas to gain EXP points and level up. Whether people realise it or not, this is required in Street Fighter as well if you expect to be a decent player. Except unlike video games, when and where you level up, and the reasoning behind it isn't as simple as rising two digit numbers. Really, you are the main character and all these battles take place at actual locations like Keystone, Denjin Arcade, Arcade Infinity, EVO and all the other random dungeons you may encounter along the way.
This was more or less our thought process for going to SoCal: MAGUS1234 and I felt we needed to seek out other styles to take our game to the next level.
First off, thank you to iPlayWinner's cameraman, thxyoutoo, for recording and providing video coverage of the tourney. The turnout was the biggest Davis has ever had with 18 teams (54 people) and a pot of $214.20 going to first place!
1 Jewish Coopa Force (Andrew [Bison], Tanaka [Ryu], and Coopa [Zangief])
2 NME (Mark [Sagat], FilipinoChamp [Dhalsim], and James/Taunt [Rufus])
3 Choi-C-V (Eric Choi [Rufus], Crizzle [Zangief], and Kyle [Ken])
Capcom announced today that Tatsunoko vs Capcom is coming to North America for the Nintendo Wii. This is official news which I received from Haunts today while he is in LA preparing for the SBO Qualifiers. For those of you who don't know, SBO (Super Battle Opera) is one of the largest annual tournaments which takes place in Tokyo. On a side note, let's hope Haunts does well and makes it to the top!
Capcom's popular and critically acclaimed 'VS' fighting series is getting an all new next generation introduction. TvC pits Capcom's characters against Tatsunoko Productions anime superheroes. This clash of heroes face off in two-on-two battles for the ultimate 2D tag-team battle.
There are plenty of new surprises for the North America release, but that information won't be released until we get the next update! In the meantime, check out this Chun Li combo video!
Here are some updates on the North America release of Tastunoko vs Capcom:
- An online mode is currently being explored for the title.
- There will be 5 new characters in the North America release.
- The game will be released this winter.
Are you guys excited yet?
It's that time of the month again folks! The NorCal team ends the month with another major, as we expect to cap the tournament at 128 people again. Spots will be taken on a first-come first-serve basis, so if you're not there early to buy your spot, be prepared to bid for your spot! As I've said before, if you're from the area, make it out. If you're not from the area, figure a way to make it out. This tournament typically brings out the best of NorCal, and it's anyone's money for the taking! If you're new to the scene and worried about not placing very high in this tournament, just come out to hang out with the iPW crew! We'll show you guys the ropes, run you down on how things work, and show you guys what the scene is all about. There will be no articles on Saturday/Sunday because everyone is attending tournaments and events, so I will see you guys on Sunday, GET HYPE!
Here are the top 3 results!
1st. Ricky Ortiz
"Try this on for size!" A handsome man in his early thirties put on his best Ken impression and took the stage. Or, he would have taken the stage if it weren’t for a crew of six individuals, all ready to defame this impersonator. One of these individuals, a haughty Asian man in J-pop clothing, had a plan. He called for the easy button, and so it was set: Operation Make Voice Actor Look Silly.
Flash back to twenty minutes prior to this event and I'm here in front of this booth, signing my name on a sheet unbeknownst to the rest. A sheet so small--so hidden, that I couldn't possibly lose. I bid 20 dollars to face the voice actor of Ken Masters: Reuben Langdon.
"He's not really Ken Masters. Just a voice actor." Now, we’re back in present time, and I’m here out of a crew that bid from a max of 115 dollars to a low of twenty (mine). We get called one by one and show them, best out of three matches, how Street Fighter 4 should be played. Taunts ensued, ideals pursued, Youtube approved:
With a little gas, a little practice, and a lot of luck, maybe you can fight the next famous voice actor! A shout out to Mr. Langdon for doing this for charity and his good sportsmanship. Also, thank you to Milkiseph, Ninjai, and nussliw for providing the videos! Look forward to Crackfiend’s podcast with Mr. Langdon later! To learn more about the charity and Mr. Langdon, go here to see his blog on Fanime.
If you're not familiar with Fanime, it's an annual anime convention located in the heart of San Jose. Every year, it is held “for the fans, by the fans” and it continued this tradition onto 2009. Sure, fans are wild and things do get occasionally awkward, but if Fanime has anything right, it’s that the very thing that repels people away is what brings them in. Yes, that’s right. This love/hate relationship with the fans is what does it, at least for me. You never know if you might meet the scariest stalker or the coolest cat (both of which I met).
Arcades from around the area brought life to the E-gaming room. Fighters like Tekken 6, Blaz Blue, Third Strike, Marvel vs Capcom 2, and, of course, Street Fighter 4 were readily available and played. Even if you weren't a big fan of fighters, there were consoles that could be played free of charge and other arcade classics like Dance Dance Revolution and Para Para to play. And if that's not enough, then the tournaments might just be for you. The Street Fighter 4 tournament (sponsored by Play N' Trade) had a turnout of 102 players and even players like Scunsion could make it!
Enclosed here are a few interviews I got with the players Ninjai (a participant in the event with Mr. Langdon) and LPN (a competitor in the Fanime Street Fighter 4 tournament):
Coopa: How long have you been playing Street Fighter 4?
Ninjia: Since it came out in the US. My friend and I didn't reserve it, so we went all around San Jose to look for a free copy. We went to Gamestop, Play N' Trade, GameCrazy, Target, even Toys R' Us. Most of them said they were gonna get their shipment in tomorrow, which was kind of weird since it was supposed to be out THAT day. But we went to a GameCrazy back on Blossom Hill and they had leftovers...so we got lucky.
Since Street Fighter IV came out I'm sure we've all heard it from someone close to us: "Aren't you playing this game just a little too much?" My excuse is that I'm "working on the website!" and it's worked fairly well so far, but I think my girlfriend is getting a little fed up with the non-stop gaming as well. I just hope she doesn't end up putting me on blazt like the girl in the video below!
I finally had a chance to play King of Fighters XII last night and practice up for the big KOF Tournament next weekend in LA so I thought it would be a good idea to post up my initial impressions of the game. Bear with me in that this was the first time I had played a KOF game since like KOF '98..or maybe that one time I played 2002 in the arcade and got stomped by some 14 yr old kid, but anyway, yeah it's been a long time. Also, outside of SNK's website and a few threads on SRK, information on the actual game play system is fairly sparse so I didn't have much of a reference while playing.
Visually, as most of you know the game looks great. Everything from the backgrounds to the characters to the special effects have a ton of detail and it definitely gave me the sense that I was playing GAROU or SF3: 3s due to the fluid animation and speed. The visuals in KOFXII were quite refreshing since I've been playing Street Fighter 4 and BlazBlue so much over the past couple months. BlazBlue and Street Fighter 4 look great of course, but many of the animations in King of Fighters XII are much more fluid than anything else on the market right now.
The game obviously plays differently than CAPCOM and ARC System Works games and it took me a minute to get used to the controls, button layout and combo system. I found doing combos for certain characters (Kyo, Kim, Ryo) was far easier than combos with some other characters (Leona, Elizabeth, Iori) due to their more straight forward move sets. In previous games Iori has always been one of the characters on my team but they changed him so much that I really had no idea where to start with him. Kyo on the other hand, (another character I like to play in KOF series) was far easier to pick up and grasp since his move set is largely the same as previous games. Overall the majority of the cast was fairly easy to pick up and play, especially the grappler characters like Goro.
Probably the most satisfying aspect of King of Fighters XII is the Critical Counter system which is far easier to pick up than I had originally thought. It is essentially a custom combo system that activates when you land a standing Strong Attack (C) on counter hit and have an active Critical Counter meter (which depletes over time - nice touch to keep things somewhat balanced). Once you land the Strong Attack, you will see a large flash and a pause that indicates that its time to well, serve up a massive beat down to your opponent! You can easily link together any attacks you want and finish off with a super. There are a ton of serious combos you can do, linking multiple special moves and what not, but even if you are new to the game you wont have any problem creating your own sick looking combos.
Tonight Sony is starting a weekly Street Fighter 4 HOME Game launching event where you can gather with other Street Fighter fans in the HOME universe and well, talk smack and try to roast each other! Sounds fun right? Right!
This is a great way to unite all the SF4 players on HOME and it's really just the beginning in that they have plans to bring in special guests down the line! Hmmm.. I wonder who that could be? :)
Big ups to SCEA Community Manager Jared Rea for making this happen! Here are the details of the event, check it out.
WHAT: A weekly Street Fighter IV game launching event
WHERE: The Mall, 1st Floor at the PlayStation Home logo
WHEN: Every Saturday from 8PM to 12AM PST