March 11, 2018
My brief appearance on AbemaTV's Agenai! Friday
Friday, March 9th, I was invited to appear on "Agenai! Friday" (Episode 7), a show on AbemaTV. What is AbemaTV? It is a live streaming service that adopts the model of TV, and streams content on various channels at a specific time. You can also access their backlog of shows for free. I like their "Ultra Games" channel, which has various video game content. If you haven't tried AbemaTV before, check it out - there are many channels, and they have a lot of original content. They also have lots of Anime. It is all in Japanese, so that might be problematic, but some of the gaming stuff is understandable.
One of the shows that I like is called "Agenai! Friday", which is a show about games generally, but often has people playing in a contenst using Street Fighter V. They will do different events for different games, but often will have amateur challengers play against their competitors. The times I've watched, they have had Itabashi Zangief and Tachikawa as their professional players, and also Kuramochi Yuka on the show. If you don't know who Kuramochi is, I first heard about her at EVO Japan. She was a reporter for the Japanese stream, and interviewed some of the players and attendees there. I didn't realize that she is a glamour model until I followed her on twitter, and the pictures she posts pretty quickly makes it clear that she works in the glamour industry in Japan. She does play video games, and has a good R. Mika, so I assume she is on the show because of that, and to give a bit of beauty appeal to the audience.
I started watching Agenai Friday when I heard that Itabashi Zangief is on it - he's a player that I really like and have followed for a long time. How does the show work? Usually it opens with some general introduction - the MC is another Japanese Talent, Kendo Kobayashi, who chats a bit with the others on the panel. They might talk about a new game for a bit, but in the second half they introduce the challengers who will play their stable of pro players. If the challenger wins, they get a cash prize - usually about $2000 USD (200,000 Japanese yen, I'll just use USD with 100yen/dollar). If the challenger does not win, that goes into the prize pot, up to a maximum of $10,000. So that is a pretty nice prize! The Street Fighter V set is best of 5 games, so the first person to win three games.
I've watched the show a few times, and some of the challengers have been people that I recognize or know from the weekly Street Fighter event called Fighter's Crossover Akihabara (FCA from here on). I usually go every week, if I can make it. Last week, I was approached by a Mr. U., who asked if I would like to be on the show. We talked for a bit, and I told him that I wasn't very good at the game - I'm ok, generally a Gold/Platinum level Zangief, but in Season 3 I'm trying to play other characters. He thought it would be interesting though, so I agreed. This is likely a case where I'll be playing the role of "hey look, a foreigner who can speak Japanese!" but that is fine. I really like the fighting game community, and one of the things I would like to do is make it easier for English speakers to learn about the Tokyo Fighting Game Community (FGC from here on) scene. So I'm happy to go on a show and talk about whatever, but maybe I can get a few words in about how great the FGC is, and also talk about how anyone - old, young, good at the game or not - can join in, have fun, and make friends.
So the next week on Friday I showed up to the Abema (actually Openrec) offices, and met with the other people on the show. Usually there are two challengers, but this time there were four. Hidemichi, who is also a regular at FCA, Kindevu, a well-known strong FGC player who isn't a pro (yet?), myself, and Utahiroba Jun, who is a rock star - the bassist for the group Golden Bomber. He is a big Street Fighter V fan (and very good) and apparently wanted to be on the show.
We heard about how things were set up, how the show would go, and then headed over to the studio. The place was smaller than I would have thought (never having ever seen a studio of any kind before) and got ready. We set up our controllers, played a game or two, and then stood on our marks and waited for the show to start. Us four challengers lined up, we had these white boards that we wrote our name/tag, age, and occupation on, and Kendo asked or commented on each of us. Then they transistioned the show into the competition segment.
Since Hidemichi was on the previous weeks' show, he was up first, and the rest of us drew lots for order. Utahiroba Jun was first (and he was super happy about it!) Kindevu was 3rd (and he was super sad about it!) and I was second, and didn't particularly mind either way. I really want to see Kindevu go back on the show because he could potentially win it. I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell, although I'm pretty confident that I could win a set against Kuramochi.
While Hidemichi got ready for his set - the competitors also draw lots, and he was to face off against Kuramochi first - the other three of us went back into the production room to watch. Hidemichi lost the first game, but came back to win the next three, and then face off against Tachikawa. It was lots of fun watching back in the production room, and the place went nuts when Kuramochi won the first game. After that, Tachikawa was randomly chosen as the next player. Hidemichi got one game on him, but in the end Tachikawa won.
Utahiroba Jun was up next. Usually the challengers just play individually, but Jun asked if he could bring Kindevu out as support. Kindevu is a well-known strong player, and Jun knows him. He was really happy to meet him, and the whole time we were waiting Jun and Kindevu were talking technical aspects of the game, points on different matchups, things Jun should look out for if he played Itabashi or Tachikawa. I've been playing SFV since it came out, and I follow the tech and frame advantage / disadvantage, but as an old (and old-school) player, I don't pay as much attention to that stuff as I should. I prefer to play a few matched online instead of spending time in training mode (I usually get about 2 or 3 hours a week to play games) so I'm not the right guy to talk to about those technical aspects of the game. Kindevu and Jun definitely are though. So Jun asked if he could get Kindevu to come out as support, and the production team thought that was a great idea. Mostly, I think, because Kindevu's name in Japanese means "Golden Fatty" and Jun is a member of the "Golden Bombers" rock group. That makes for a fun gag on a show like this.
For some reason, they then thought that I should go out too, so I did. First up was Kuramochi, again drawn by random lot. She was not happy to face Jun, because he's very good and in a previous event they had played each other and he totally demolished her. Jun didn't show any mercy this time either, and his Ken ran pretty roughshod over Kuramochi's Mika (who still is better than average). Normally, after the loss the MC would have the other competitors draw lots to see who Jun would play next, but since Itabashi Zangief hasn't played in a while (Tachikawa keeps getting randomly selected) Kendo sent out Itabashi. Jun was really getting hype, and I could really tell that he is used to the Japanese "Talent" style of playing along with the MC / other guests on panel shows. He was talking up his game, he called out Tachikawa for being a rude young kid earlier when he won his matches, and just generally brought a lot of energy to the studio. He played well, and got a few rounds, generally keeping things competitive against Itabashi's Abigail. In between rounds he would reach out and rub Kindevu's belly (because he looks a bit like a fat Buddha golden statue, and rubbing their bellies gives you good luck) and once or twice rubbed my bald head. For luck. He's a real showman.
The show is only an hour long, and the show ended before their set did. We played out the remainder of the set and that will probably show up somewhere eventually. Overall it was really a lot of fun, it was super exciting to cheer Jun on, and just seeing how these shows work was interesting. One of the taglines on this show is that people who are watching the show could come on the show and compete for the prize money. One of the things I enjoy most about the FGC is that it was born from the arcade culture, where all you need to play is a quarter and you can play anyone on the machine regardless of level. All sorts of people can be a part of the FGC, and while we might not all be great players, we can all have fun. In actuality, I think it is very rare for someone to actually beat the show's pros in a first to three set, but I love that they open that opportunity up to people - myself, or a fan from a rock band, or a regular at the weekly local (Hidemichi) or a well-known strong unsponsored player.
If you are interested in fighting games, I think they are a very accessible type of video game to watch. The big health bar at the top of the screen goes down, and the winner is the one who has some health left. That is pretty easy to understand, even if you don't know what is happening on screen. If you are watching shows like this, and think it looks fun, try to go to a local event near you. Most local scenes are happy to see new people and help them get better.
February 18, 2018
Daigo's Panel on Money and Games in Japan
Today, Daigo streamed a panel discussion about Money and Games. It was super interesting. I just wanted to watch for my own purposes, but I took a few notes, so I guess I'll put them out there. Some disclaimers: I'm just a guy living in Japan, and Japanese is my second language. So I might be wrong on stuff! These are really just my own notes which I took for fun, and I'm not a great writer or analyst so what you see is what you get. I skipped a bunch of stuff, but took some notes on comments I found interesting.
My TLDR version of the steam was:
- JeSU (the Japanese eSports Union) that licenses pro players didn't do great outreach to the community when they launched. They do seem to be moving in the right direction, listening, and are willing to work with the community to help improve things. I'm optimistic. My preference would be to change the morality laws to just get around the main issues (not collecting fees from participants for pot money) but even if that happened I can see how a body like JeSU still might be useful.
- I think that it is possible, under this new system, to have open tournaments that anyone can enter and still have a pot. It sounds like that would work by granting a pro license to the winner on the spot.
- I'm still concerned that because of this system, we will see many more invitationals in Japan instead of large open tournaments, but time will tell.
Who are the people at the round table? Players:
- Raya (a young player that Daigo is teaching). This is what the "info card" for him said: "A young SFV player. He didn't come up by his strength, but in an audition with one of Umehara's projects. He is the one that made Umehara stop wearing Crocs. He's here not to give his opinion as a competitor but as a member of the community." That said, I've seen him at the weeklies, and he's good.
- Nyanshi, the director of Topanga. Very involved in large scale tournaments, he ran the SFV side of things at EVO Japan 2018.
- Kagecchi, he organizes the weekly SFV event "Fighter's Crossover Akihabara" at Akihabara Esports Square.
- Hameko, Chairman of EVO Japan, does lot of commentary, etc.
- Nishitani Akira (NIN) - designer of Street Fighter II
- Hamamura Hirokazu, former editor of weekly Famitsu, current President of Enterbrain. Represented the new JeSU esports organization that issues pro sports licenses in Japan.
- Akahoshi, a well-known Zangief player from SF4 who now works behind the scenes at Yubiken
- Gama no Abura, a well-known commentator. He was also wearing a Button Mashers shirt, so he might be involved in that. Button Mashers run the logistics for some of the larger and better-run events (IMHO). He also is involved in the orerevo series of events.
- Umezaki, wasn't listed on Daigo's tweet about the panel, but he runs Detonation Gaming, one of the top level gaming teams in Japan. He was the first to sign a foreign player on an "Athlete Visa".
My complete notes follow.read more (2615 words)
February 2, 2018
Fighting game events in Tokyo, 2018 February and March
It seemed like it was useful to track the fighting game events going on around the 2018 EVO Japan tournament, so I'm going to also keep track of things that are going on in February in the Tokyo area, to the extent that I know about. This isn't a comprehensive list, but feel free to contact me if you want me to add anything.
- SFV event (Fighter's Crossover Akihabara – FCA) on Wednesdays at Akihabara ESports Square (the place) starting from 7pm.
- On Friday there is usually a SFV event at Studio Sky.
- On Sunday there is usually a SFV event at Studio Sky.
- Shot Bar Lucy has different events on different days, and usually on Friday night is an all-night event featuring various games.
- The Plaza Capcom at Kichijoji (Map) has the Capcom eSPORTS Club which has free SFV setups, and often runs events.
February 1, 2018
Japan Pro Gaming License quick translation
Translated from http://chigesoku3.doorblog.jp/archives/52891378.html
It was announced 2018-02-01 that the "Japan ESports Union (herein-to JeSU)" was founded. This is the birth of a new union with cooperation of a variety of existing esports organizations and game maker organizations.
JeSU is involved in running the 2018 Japan Game Party that will be held on Feb. 10th and 11th at Makuhari Messe which will be the first of its kind to host tournaments where pro licenses will be issued.
The definitions and regulations for issuing a pro gamer license have also been announced. A pro license will last for two years, and one will need to attend a class to obtain or renew the license. For existing pro gamers they developed a system of "Issuing licenses to guaranteeing authorities", and it is believed that many fighting game pro players will be able to obtain a license in this manner.
- Pro Gamer Definition
- Has the consciousness of a Professional (tl note: Japanese way of saying "takes it seriously")
- Follows the values of sportsmanship in their play
- Devoted to improving their technical skills on a daily basis (tl note: Only lab monsters allowed? What about players with HEART?)
- Contribute to the growth of e-Sports domestically
- Persons Eligible for License
People fulfilling the qualifications below can be granted a license.
- Those who pledge to uphold the conditions mentioned in the pro gamer definition above
- Those who have obtained excellent results in tournaments that this association has officially recognized for game titles that this association officially recognizes (tl note: no clear definition of what placing is considered good enough)
- Those who have taken the lecture that this association indicates
- License categories (2 types)
- "Japan eSports Pro License"
This license is applicable for those over 15 years old, who have completed their mandatory educational obligation. * People under 20 years old need their guardians' permission.
- "Japan eSports Junior License"
This license is applicable to those between 13 and not yet 15 years of age to whom there would be value in having a license. * They are able to receive non-monetary prizes, but can not receive monetary prizes. * With the agreement of the licensee and their guardian upon reaching age 15 a Pro License can be issued.
- About issuing licenses in non-regular conditions "Issuance of licenses to guarantors of results". To take into account past performance since license issuance begins, we will issue pro licenses or junior licenses to people who have shown exemplary performance in past tournaments for officially recognized titles. * The IP holder will need to agree to the license issuance.
- Treatment of Teams
- Team license issuance.
If a team has an official legal entity, and the IP holder approves, a team license will be issued pending approval of this association. * However, additional rules and regulations along with paperwork will be required.
- If a team has at least one person that holds a license, then that team will be able to participate in officially recognized tournaments. * However, the prize can only be rewarded to the license holder.
- License expiry
- Licenses last for two years. * License renewal will require an e-learning course.
- Management of License Issuance
- Licenses are issued on a per-title basis.
- Based on the three items below, this association steering committee will play the games, and decide on what the eligible titles should be. (tl note: I'm not translating this wrong AFAIK, but man I hope I am wrong.)
- The game itself must have competitive play
- The game must have been on sale for and/or been operating for more than three months.
- The title must be scheduled to appear in tournaments
As of Feb. 1st, 2018, there are the 6 titles for which pro licenses will be issued:
- Winning Eleven 2018 (PS4/PS3 Konami Digital Entertainment)
- Call of Duty World War II (PS4 Sony Interactive Entertainment)
- Street Fighter V Arcade Edition (PS4/PC Capcom)
- Tekken 7 (PS4, Xbox One, PC Bandai Namco Entertainment)
- Puzzle and Dragons (ios/Android Gung Ho Online Entertainment)
- Monster Strike (ios/Android Mixi)
January 30, 2018
Thoughts on EVO Japan 2018 from a volunteer
Table of Contents
I've been playing Street Fighter for a long time. I first encountered it in probably 1991, in the back of Aljon's Pizza in West Windsor, New Jersey. I didn't know what was going on, but I loved it. At one point, I figured out how to do Guile's flash kick: you had to block down for a bit, then wiggle the joystick from the back corner to the front corner, then back to the back corner, the up and a kick. In those early days, if you knew how to do a move, you didn't tell anybody and you kept that tech to yourself. Ever since then, I've been playing some version of Street Fighter, or Darkstalkers, or some fighting game.
Ten years ago when I moved to Japan, I was pretty busy with post-doc research, and then I joined a company, and threw a lot of my energy into that, then I got married, we had a kid, and while I was playing online matches (THawk in all the SF4 versions, Zangief in SFV) at some point I wanted to get back into the Street Fighter community. So I started to look around, and found out that Twitter is where all the information is now. So I set up an account and started looking around. I actually first found out about the Tokyo FGC from the Jump In Podcast when Kim 1234 mentioned that there is a weekly gathering at Akihabara Esports Square. I've been going ever since.
When I saw on Twitter that EVO Japan would be a thing, I knew that I couldn't miss it. So I signed up when that opened, and then I also volunteered to help out as volunteer staff. I was pretty sure I wouldn't get out of pools, and since I know Japanese well enough I thought I could contribute to making the event better in some way if I joined as staff. I was pretty excited when they accepted my application, and I was in.
I took two days off of work – there was an organizational meeting on Thursday the day before EVO that I had to attend, and of course I needed to be free all Friday. I had to work out childcare arrangements for my son, and did that. So what are my thoughts overall?
1 The Good
Overall, I had a great time at EVO Japan. It was exhausting - I had two 12-14 hour days on my feet the whole time, didn't have time for lunch either day, and was running around like crazy. It was really fun though. I really enjoyed meeting with and talking to other fighting game fan enthusiasts, and the atmosphere in general. I loved that there were side tournaments, some of which were run on arcade cabinets. I wish I had time to watch some of the USFIV tournament. Writing this up, I'm a bit sad that my list of good things is much shorter than my list of things that can be improved, but that is not a reflection of my overall experience. I had a great time, and would absolutely do it over again in a second.
- A huge turnout for lots of games. I primarily play and watch Street Fighter, and there was immense turnout for that game.
- For the number of people, and how much reliance there was on volunteer staff, things ran well. I don't think there were major mix-ups, and things went smoothly for the most part. Almost all the volunteer staff were themselves FGC players, and it really showed in how the community pulled together to pull of this logistically intimidating event.
- Lots of people from all over the world came, and I think really enjoyed Tokyo.
- Lots of places to eat / shop near the venue. Some 24 hour places too.
- The event was streamed on Twitch with English commentary. Also, a second stream from Capcom Fighters covered most of the Street Fighter matches with English commentary.
- I liked the exhibitor booths that were there, and the preview of Soul Caliber was great.
- A really great atmosphere for all players involved - people were friendly and approachable.
- Entry was free. Free. Are you serious!?
2 The Bad
While I really enjoyed EVO Japan 2018, and have nothing but good feelings about it, there are some things that can be improved. I really think that these are improvement opportunities, and in no way do I buy into the theories that the event was run for advertisers or media (I've been reading things like that on twitter). I'm not hooked into the world of the TOs and runners for this, but I know that some of the people involved on both the US and Japan sides are themselves home-grown FGC veterans and enthusiasts.
One thing you need to keep in mind about EVO Japan is that Japan is a country that loves their laws. In particular, there are laws about gambling that make it impossible to collect an entry fee and also have a pot to payout to the winners. I'm sure there is some way around this, but Tokyo Cup didn't have a prize because of those laws. EVO Japan was free to enter - which is amazing - but I think because of that, they had to gather most of their capital from advertising and exclusive streaming agreements with e.g., OpenRec TV and AbemaTV. I think the overall size of the venue was due to the overall expense, and also since this was the first EVO Japan, an underestimation of interest. (The Sai tournament did happen last year, but I feel like that wasn't a proper estimator for the interest of an EVO Japan event).
So here are some things that I think could use some improvement.
- The venue was a bit difficult to find. I'm more or less fluent in Japanese, and I had some trouble finding the venue. Once you make it to Sunshine City, getting to the Convention Halls is still quite a hike through the shopping complex. You get dumped out onto the first floor, and you have to know that Hall A and B are on floors 3 and 4 (I think). I should have talked to someone about putting up signs in English telling people where to go.
- The venue was too small. Running pools on the first day - about 2500 SFV entrants - was tough. We had one machine for each pool (this is ok) with about 8-10 people per pool. There was nowhere near enough room for 8-10 people to stand around the machine, since we had eight stations on a table, and another table not too far behind that. It was very hard to get to your pool if it was in the middle of the table.
- There weren't enough seats in the venue to sit down. As a volunteer I was on my feet 14 hours a day, and that is expected, but there wasn't enough seating for people in general.
- Overall, I don't think the organizers did a good job of communicating in general, and in specific communicating in English. When I volunteered I thought I would be involved from a much earlier stage crafting signs, information, templates, things like that, but I didn't hear anything about organization at all until the day before the event.
- Confusion over pool numbers. On the first day, the stations were numbered with three digit numbers, but pools were denoted as (A|B|C)##. It took me a while to understand what the relationship between the pool numbers and station numbers was. A future run should have a simpler to understand system, like "Morning XX", "Afternoon XX", "Evening XX" where XX is the same as the number on the station.
- Confusion over where pools were for people that made it out. There was a lot of confusion over where players should go once they made it out of their pools. As someone running one of those pools, I didn't know until about 10 minutes before I ran the pool. The best advice I had to give people was to wait by their station for someone to call your name. This is something that was addressed on the second day where with Tekken people got cards that said what pool they would be in, so I'm glad to see that an adjustment was made.
- Confusion about what time players would play. This is something that generally happens I think, but I wasn't able to tell people when they would play. I just ran the pool in Winners up to Winners Final, and then ran the Losers. I'm not sure what could be done here. I think it would be great if Smash.gg could integrate a notification system to call players when they are up or when they would be the next match.
- Volunteers were not organized in any way. I expected that a few days before the event, I would be told that I am running pools XX and YY, and where and when they were. That didn't happen. We gathered in the morning right before the tournament started, and were told to just go stand in front of a station. Confusion was the order of the day. That said, I think we did manage to run all the pools and there weren't many problems with it, but it was not what I could call planned or organized.
- No breaks for Volunteers. Since we didn't have a schedule, we just were left on our own. I had to leave early one day and couldn't run an evening pool, so I just informed the blue shirted guy and took off. I hope things went well. It would have been better if we had volunteer schedules, so I would have had time to eat.
- Not enough exhibitor booths. I liked the booths that they had. There just were not very many. I wanted to buy some of the specialty stuff, like the nice Sanwa stick, but it sold out pretty quick. Also, as a volunteer I had no time at all to actually look at what they had.
- No artists alley? I can't believe they didn't have a big artists alley to feature all the great anime and manga art in Japan. The crossover potential is huge. It boggles the mind. There was one booth selling a manga which I bought (and got signed!) If there is another EVO Japan I really think they should think about getting a much larger space for exhibits and artists.
- No organized after-parties? I've always wanted to go to Bar Fights. I didn't see any Gooteks out there setting up fun stuff to do. I know BAS was setting some stuff up, but that is more or less personal connections and friends going out. I would not have the stamina to go out and do something, but I'm sure many other people would be interested. Especially because the tournament ended early for a US tournament. Why did it end early? The last train! So events have to run on time or people might get stuck far away from home or hotels.
- Talking about hotels, was there a venue hotel with a discount rate? Another missed opportunity.
- Not nearly enough planning for who does what for the volunteers. I mentioned this before, but I'm shocked that we were able to pull this off with the lack of planning we had. In the morning of the first day, the volunteers were asked "What game do you know?" and then they went and ran those pools. This is something that can be determined ahead of time.
- Not enough casual setups. I saw this complaint on twitter a bit. I know that it was possible to play casuals, but all the setups were used in official capacity at one time or another (aside from the BYOC area - which I was glad they had space for).
- Not enough sticks to lend out. In most of the events in Japan, they are either held at an arcade (so you don't need to bring a stick) or setups are provided with sticks (because who wants to lug that stuff on a super crowded train to work just so you can go play a bit on the way home?) We had some people who didn't have sticks, and I think there were only about 6 or so available to lend out. There wasn't a system for that either. Of course, I think some good can come of that, because that forces people to talk to others in their pool and see if they can find a stick to borrow. In Japan, having an excuse to talk to someone is often necessary to start conversation, so that might have helped start some friendships. I know when I went to WNF last year, I didn't have a stick, and since Salilou let me borrow his stick I've really wanted to pay back that favor, and we've become friendly since. I suspect many Japanese were expecting that they wouldn't need to bring a stick though, and I certainly didn't see any official communication about that.
- Really hard to watch matches. If you wanted to spectate pool matches, or later on streamed matches on Day 2, there was just no good way to do that. At some point a projector was set and that helped a bit, but the place was jam packed.
- Lack of coordination between the EN streamers and TOs. I ended up being the intermediary between the stream station for US Twitch on Day 2 and the TO. I only did that because I wanted to be involved in the SFV stuff day 2, and when I went to talk to the stream staff, they didn't have any plan for how to move forward. So I stepped in and tried to help out. This is also something that really should have been worked out far in advance.
- On the second day, since I noticed that there was confusing over who to talk to if you only spoke English, I recommended that we put on tags or stickers or something on people who were bilingual. We then split our group up (all eight of us!!) over all the games that were running. Those were some ghetto tags too. I hope it helped a bit.
- Not enough tickets for the finals. Not much more to say about that.
3 The Personal
The rest of this post is probably not interesting to people, but please do read on if you want to hear about things that just got me super excited.
I'm not particularly good at Street Fighter. I've got a Platinum/Gold Zangief, and a Silver Rashid. I really enjoy spectating Street Fighter though, and am familiar with most of the players and commentators. I love living in Japan, but I'm married to a Japanese woman who doesn't really care for games, so I can't talk to her about those things. It is very easy to get homesick and miss things from America (Pizza is one of them - hit me up if you want to know the best NYC style Pizza places in Tokyo). I really enjoy listening to UltraChenTV, The Gauntlet, and The Jump In on my commute to work. So meeting some of the people behind those things is something I was really looking forward to. While I also would like to meet players, I worry that top players are going to be preoccupied with preparing for their games, so I don't really want to bother them.
3.1 Commentators *
I was very excited to have met some real luminaries from the commentary world. UltraDavid from the UltraChenTV show and commentary fame took the time to chat and take a photo. I ran into James Chen on Day 1, but was in a real rush to get home so I could pick my son up from daycare. I actually butted in to his conversation with MajinObama (sorry about that!) to get a picture. I also met Sajam and Tasty Steve together. Last year I went to WNF in July and met Sajam there, and he was a really nice guy then. Steve is the most excited and hype person I have ever met. Both great guys. By the way, if you are interested in learning more about a variety of fighting games, check out The Recipe on CrossCounterTV. They talk about a bunch of different fighting games in an easy and accessible way. I also ran into skisonic who is another commentator that I enjoy.
I sometimes hear people talking about who the best commentators are, and I just don't get that entire conversation. There is such a wide range of information and ways to express yourself that I can always find something to appreciate with the different commentators out there. I absolutely love when Zhi and MajinObama are on the mic because of just how "inside baseball" their discussion of Japan can be. I'm actually watching the Twitch replays of the Jump Off right now, and having a desk of 4 people talking about a variety of games is just so much fun.
What was a unifying theme about all the people I interacted with at the event is that everyone was kind, and we all have a shared passion about fighting games. You just can't under-sell how important that is.
3.2 Cosplayers *
I met some commentators, that was cool. I also met some cosplayers! That was cool too! First up, I snuck by the SNK booth before the event opened and got a picture with some of the cosplayers there. When I was running pools on Day 1, there was a Laura cosplayer in a pool behind me, and we chatted a bit. Very friendly. I was worried she might give me a knee to the groin. I also ran in MissShinoBee as Elphelt. I have GGRxd but I am just terrible at that game. It is beautiful though, and it is really nice to see that brought to life. Finally, I got a shot with Cory Bell in Sakura cross-play. That outfit is amazing. I think he could have gone into a Konami arcade and actually worked there for a bit before anyone figured it out.
3.3 Game players *
I met some players! Marn was in my pool, and had I won my first match I would have had to play him. Of course, I didn't. Still, Marn was really nice. If he has a bad rap, I don't know that would be. I met Justin Wong! He has been writing up a lot of cool stuff about his adventures in Japan, and he has got some great information. I always like to see people who appreciate Japan come out here. I met Oil King! His fashion is on point. I took a picture with Infiltration (the EVO Japan winner!) and Gllty! I didn't talk to either of them much, but Gllty is a regular at various Tokyo events and puts in real work. She's great. Infiltration seems like a nice guy too. I met up with Cory Bell, a Zangief that I've been following for a while. He's a fun guy.
I met Powell - this is a relatively unknown guy outside of Japan, but he's a Master Ranked Cammy from Nagoya. He came by the Esports Square event on Sunday and I got to chat with him a lot. He is a hilarious guy. He was talking about how he wanted Tokido to win so he could say he was the only one to have beat him. He also talked about how he was able to pull the ladies after his tremendous performance, but when I asked him how many he said "Uh, I took like, 3 back to my hotel!" I don't buy it, but this is one fun guy to hang out with.
3.4 People I didn't expect to meet *
One thing that surprised me is that some people came up to me and introduced themselves. There is absolutely no reason anyone should be interested in me, but I guess because of my Twitter Account some people know who I am. My goal with that twitter account is to make information about fighting game events in Japan more accessible. If I had known earlier about what was going on in Tokyo, I would have been much more involved from the beginning. The way things used to work though is that players hung out in specific arcades, and you just had to know what they were. E.g., everyone knows about the Shinjuku East Gate Namco, but how did you learn about that? I also think it can be very intimidating to approach famous players when you are just some random Joe Donuts in the silver league. So what I'm trying to do is put out information about FGC events in English as I see it fly by on Twitter.
Which also makes me want to mention that I think Twitter sucks as a general communication and archival medium. I've been running this blog of mine since 1999, and if I ever want to find anything on it, it is indexed and I can get back to it. I can write more than 100 or 200 characters or whatever. I can put cogent thoughts together to form a cohesive argument. Twitter is not good at any of that. But Twitter is where everyone is at. That said, check out Burning Meter for archiving and adding your own FGC tech. I'm much more optimistic about that kind of approach. Sadly, once it gets popular hosting will cost too much and it will probably die (unless they go the advertising route, which I am fine with).
So, I use twitter, but I'm not an ardent fan. I was surprised then when Jun-ichi of Fighting Games ESL fame came up to me and introduced himself! I've been following him for ages and his tweets are an invaluable resource for people looking to learn Fighting Game Japanese. That said, man, I should put a webpage together of all his tweets or something.
I also met HiFightTH who puts out amazing clips for fighting game action all the time. I can't believe he does all of that himself. I met The Sentimental Typhoon who also translates interesting stuff every now and again. I met FubarDuck who made me think that maybe I can make some positive contribution to the FGC. These were all unexpected meetings, and I really enjoyed chatting with these guys. There are also other people I follow that do interesting translation on twitter, and I hope I get a chance to meet them in the future too!
3.5 I met Seth Killian *
Finally, I know I made a separate section for this, but I met Seth Killian! I've known of this guy (and Bob Painter, and Graehm Wolfe, and …) and a whole bunch of other since I started with street fighter from the venerable days of alt.games.sf2. What a nice guy.
I also ran into one of the Cannon brothers, and I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know if it was Tom or Tony. He even told me, but I've since forgotten. These guys (well, Tony I guess) single-handedly developed GGPO, the best online fighting games latency hiding system out there. Super crazy.
That said, I'm terrible with names. One day, HDJammerz stopped by Akihabara Esports Square, and I asked him if he was Infectious. Ugh.
3.6 Super Hype Games *
I saw some great games. One that sticks in my mind was on the first day, when I saw Cory Bell's Zangief take on junjunmjgirly's Ken. junjunmjgirly is the bassist in a super-popular rock band who is into fighting games. That match was super fun, because everyone watching was totally into it. While I was doing my volunteer duties, I didn't get to see many matches, but I'm watching stuff slowly later on in the archives. Just being around all these great games was lots of fun though.
3.7 Sunday casuals at Esports Square *
On Sunday, since I couldn't get tickets for the finals (who could!?) I helped Kagechi set up for a casual session at Akihabara Esports Square. He set the place up so you could relax and watch what was going on the big screen easily, and also planned to do 500 yen all you can eat takoyaki. A lot of people stopped by. In fact, a record setting number, and we actually had to turn people away so we didn't run foul of fire hazard regulations. Kagecchi was super bummed when James Chen and UltraDavid stopped by but had to be turned away. About 170 people came by, when on a usual night it is closer to 60. It was lots of fun, and the Takoyaki was great. I had a great time chatting with players from around the world and Japan. Verloren and Powell ran some pretty intense mirror match Cammy sets, and it was generally just a fun time all around.
If you are even in Tokyo and have time on a Wednesday night, drop by Akihabara Esports Square from 7pm. It is always lots of fun, and they are happy to see new people there.
3.8 Final words *
I had a great time at EVO Japan, and really hope there is another one. I think there are many things that can be improved, and if I'm in any position to do so I will work to the best of my abilities to help. I think overall people had a great time, and I'm convinced that Japan is a great destination for major tournaments because it is a great tourist destination in its own right, and has a long connection to fighting game history.
Some of the problems I think stem from the lack of really large tournaments in Japan because of the gambling laws, and also because traditionally people have just run their own tournaments in arcades in a kind of off-the-cuff manner. Events like EVO really need a lot more forethought and planning - and I'm not saying that didn't happen for EVO Japan 2018, but I think there could be a bit more.
I had a great time, and I hope you did too. If you ever come to Japan, feel free to hit me up on twitter or otherwise. Have fun, and watch out for overheads.
December 27, 2017
Fighting game events in Tokyo around the EVO Japan timeframe (that I know of)
I'm super excited for EVO Japan. It will be my first EVO, but I'm not sure that counts. I've been living in Japan for the past ten years, and regularly go to the Fighter's Crossover (that's the name) Street Fighter V weekly event at E-sports Square (that's the place).
I want to gather information about events that will happen around the EVO JP timeframe. I'll ask people I know - I personally only know much about Street Fighter - and keep this post up to date.
I'm not going to list EVO Japan or side tournaments here, but if you are interested see the EVO Japan side tournament section. There is Anime Evo Japan, which includes MVCI, and I was surprised to see a SF3 Cooperation Cup special.
The arcade scene is vibrant, and you are likely to find competition at any arcade, but some are more well known than others. You might want to check out
- Mikado Arcade, Map Takadanobaba
- Taito Station Shinjuku East Exit, Map
- Various arcades in Akihabara, Club Sega, Hey!
- Various shops in Akihabara like the retro game store Super Potato, Map
- Play Spot Big One 2nd, Map. Out in Chiba, but good place for 3rd Strike or Melty Blood. (Thanks Arlieth!)
- Game Newton, Map. Lots of ST setups.
- Your Warehouse, Map Kawasaki (For the crazy design)
- Game Bar A Button, Map
- This JP travel guide with a list of arcades and the scenes they are known for, compiled by 310.venom
- Maybe a maid cafe or something? They're everyhere in Akihabara.
- This Sagat themed store about Saga-ken in Ginza 3F commn ginza, inside Ramo Frutas Cafe. Operating from 2018-01-22 to 2018-01-28, 10am - 9pm.
|2018-01-05 Fri.||Multiple||Shot Bar Lucy All Night Games||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||Shot Bar Lucy 11:30pm - 5:00am SFV / Tekken / others|
|2018-01-05 Fri.||SFV||Friday Sky||Studio Sky, Map||2pm - 8pm via @fridayskyjp|
|2018-01-06 Sat.||SF3||Cooperation Cup||Hulic Hall Tokyo, Asakusa-bashi|
|2018-01-07 Sun.||SF3||Cooperation Cup||Hulic Hall Tokyo, Asakusa-bashi|
|2018-01-07 Sun.||SFV||Sunday Sky||Studio Sky, Map|
|2018-01-09 Tue.||KOF||KOF Tuesday||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||From 19:00 to close|
|2018-01-10 Wed.||SFV||Fighter's Crossover (FCA)||Akihabara E-sports Square, Map||Regular weekly|
|2018-01-10 Wed.||MVCI||Marvel Wednesday||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||Also board games|
|2018-01-12 Fri.||Multiple||Shot Bar Lucy All Night Games||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||Shot Bar Lucy 11:30pm - 5:00am SFV / Tekken / others|
|2018-01-12 Fri.||SFV||Friday Sky||Studio Sky, Map||7pm - 11pm|
|2018-01-14 Sun.||SFV||Sunday Sky||Studio Sky, Map|
|2018-01-14 Sun.||VSAV||Mikado Savior via @mikadosavior||Mikado Arcade, Map||Sign up 14:-15:00, single elim tourney|
|2018-01-14 Sun.||SFV||Shot Bar Lucy SFV Event||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||From 12:00pm to 8:00pm. 3000yen, 2000 after 3pm.|
|2018-01-16 Tue.||KOF||KOF Tuesday||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||From 19:00 to close|
|2018-01-17 Wed.||SFV||FCA Casuals day||Akihabara E-sports Square, Map||Update to S3 on PC|
|2018-01-17 Wed.||MVCI||Marvel Wednesday||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||Also board games|
|2018-01-18 Thur.||SFV||FCA Casuals day||Akihabara E-sports Square, Map||Update to S3 on PS4|
|2018-01-19 Fri.||Multiple||Shot Bar Lucy All Night Games||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||Shot Bar Lucy 11:30pm - 5:00am SFV / Tekken / others|
|2018-01-19 Fri.||SFV||Friday Sky||Studio Sky, Map||7pm - 11pm|
|2018-01-19 Fri.||Tekken7||Bakushi's Tournament||Namco at Sugamo Stn., Map||Casuals run by staff named Bakushi, from 19:00|
|2018-01-20 Sat.||SFV||FCA Casuals / Open tournament||Akihabara E-sports Square, Map||Casuals from 12:00 to 21:00|
|2018-01-20 Sat.||Multiple||Shot Bar Lucy Practice Session||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||Shot Bar Lucy probably from 17:00|
|2018-01-20 Sat.||Tekken7||Female character tournament||Namco at Sugamo Stn., Map||Casuals run by @take6919, from 14:00|
|2018-01-20 Sat.||GGXrd||Mikado Tenkaichi Budokai3||Mikado Arcade, Map Takadanobaba||Redeption bracket from 2pm, stream, @joniomikado27|
|2018-01-21 Sun.||Tekken7||Chloe only tournament||Namco at Sugamo Stn., Map||Casuals run by @hibiki961, from 14:00|
|2018-01-21 Sun.||SFV||FCA Casuals / Open tournament||Akihabara E-sports Square, Map||Casuals from 12:00 to 21:00, random 3-3 tourney|
|2018-01-21 Sun.||SFV||Sunday Sky||Studio Sky, Map||From 2pm to 8pm|
|2018-01-21 Sun.||Multiple||Shot Bar Lucy Practice Session||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||Shot Bar Lucy probably from 17:00|
|2018-01-23 Tue.||KOF||KOF Tuesday||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||From 19:00 to close|
|2018-01-24 Wed.||SFV||FCA Casuals||Akihabara E-sports Square, Map||From 19:00 to 23:00|
|2018-01-24 Wed.||MVCI||Marvel Wednesday||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||Also board games|
|2018-01-24 Wed.||Tekken7||Wednesday Tekken7 @ Namco Sugamo||Namco at Sugamo Stn., Map||From 20:00|
|2018-01-25 Thur.||SFV||FCA Casuals||Akihabara E-sports Square, Map||From 19:00 to 23:00|
|2018-01-25 Thur.||Multiple||Fighting Games Festival||Studio Sky, Map||13:00 to 23:00, 2000yen for 2 hours, 3000yen all day|
|2018-01-25 Thur.||Tekken7||Tekken7 Ladies @ Namco Sugamo||Namco at Sugamo Stn., Map||From 17:00, run by @meee5otk ladies only?|
|2018-01-26 Fri.||SFV||Shot Bar SFV Event||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||1pm - midnight, 3000yen, 8pm - 2000yen, 2 drinks via LucyFightClub|
|2018-01-27 Sat.||Multiple||Fighting Games Festival||Studio Sky, Map||13:00 to 23:00, 2000yen for 2 hours, 3000yen all day|
|2018-01-27 Sat.||VSAV||Vampire Savior Monthly||Mikado Arcade, Map Takadanobaba||Via @Kengallon|
|2018-01-28 Sun.||Multiple||Fighting Games Festival||Studio Sky, Map||13:00 to 23:00, 2000yen for 2 hours, 3000yen all day|
|2018-01-28 Sun.||SFV||Special FCA||Akihabara E-sports Square, Map||From 13:00 until later. Kotatsu + Takoyaki + casuals.|
|2018-01-28 Sun.||Multiple||Mikado Arcade viewing||Mikado Arcade, Map||Normal arcade. DO NOT use stools / cabs for viewing.|
|2018-01-28 Sun.||Multiple||Special event||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||From 13:00 to midnight, 3000yen, 2000yen from 18:00.|
|2018-01-28 Sun.||VSAV||Vampire Savior Free Play||Play Spot BIG-ONE 2nd, Map Saitama||500yen from 14:00 to 17:00, 200yen from 16:00.|
|2018-01-29 Mon.||Multiple||Fighting Games Festival||Studio Sky, Map||13:00 to 23:00, 2000yen for 2 hours, 3000yen all day|
|2018-01-30 Tue.||KOF||KOF Tuesday||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||From 19:00 to close|
|2018-01-31 Wed.||SFV||Normal FCA||Akihabara E-sports Square, Map||From 19:00 to 23:00|
|2018-01-31 Wed.||MVCI||Marvel Wednesday||Shot Bar Lucy, Map||Also board games. From 17:00.|
|2018-01-31 Wed.||Tekken7||Wednesday Tekken7 @ Namco Sugamo||Namco at Sugamo Stn., Map||From 20:00|
October 31, 2017
Tokyo's Fighter's Crossover -Akihabara- 100th Anniversary Team Ratio Tournament-Fighter's Crossover- Akihabara is a weekly gathering, usually on Wednesday, at Akihabara's E-sports Square for Street Fighter V players. It is organized by Kagechhi, and this weekend he ran two tournaments celebrating having held 100 of these locals. The second event on October 29th was a "Ratio" Tournament. You build a team of 2-3 people, and can spent a total of 11 points on your team. Each character costs a certain number of points:
- 6: Ibuki, Akuma, Rashid
- 5: Guile, Karin, Cammy, Zangief, Necali, Boxer
- 4: Birdie, Dictator, Urien, Lara, R. Mika
- 3: Abigail, Ken, Dhalsim, Chun-Li, Nash, Claw, F.A.N.G., Menat, Ryu
- 2: Alex, Ed, Kolin, Juri
The winning team was Noguchi's Guile, Yossan's Juri, and Crusher's Birdie. I have no idea what their team name means. ("Demanding receding hair" - it looks like there is a twitter account with that name.)
There were two teams with two people, the other 30 had three people. The top 8 teams were:
- 1: "Demanding Receding Hair": Noguchi (Guile) Yossan (Juri), Crusher (Birdie)
- 2: "displeasure120%": Kichi pa-mu (Zangief), Hagejin (Abigail), GAMEtoHITO (Dhalsim)
- 4: "We have all 5!": Azuma (Urien), MON (F.A.N.G.), Yukimayu (Laura)
- 4: "Bison Line": Vanao (Boxer), Reiketsu (Menat), yuba (Nash)
- 8: "Your opposition is all snacks": Kinoko Boxer (Boxer), Takenoko no Sato (Chun-Li), Gafuro (Nash).
- 8: Ratio 9: DNG Tachikawa (Dhalsim), Rolling (Ed), AW Nemo (Urien)
- 8: Team Tachikawa Parasite: Ikahara (Cammy), Takeuchi John (Rashid)
- 8: Torikizoku F Pro Group: Willy (Dictator), EmuEmu (Zangief), Gerand (Kolin). Torikizoku is a chain of bars.
Other interesting teams: "It's Ryu! Ryu!" with three Ryus. "Low Cost" with a 7 point team of Ryu, Kolin, and Alex.
You can watch the entire five hour tournament here.
I really enjoy how Kagecchi tries different things - different formats, sets up different tournaments (beginner tournaments < 7500 LP, platinum and up tournaments, completely open tournaments) and works to foster a sense of community. If you are ever in Tokyo and looking for some Street Fighter, stop by sometime. Check the schedule and drop by. If you see an old American with a beard, say hi!
Tokyo's Fighter's Crossover -Akihabara- 100th Anniversary 2-2 Team Tournament-Fighter's Crossover- Akihabara is a weekly gathering, usually on Wednesday, at Akihabara's E-sports Square for Street Fighter V players. It is organized by Kagechhi, and this weekend he ran two tournaments celebrating having held 100 of these locals.
While most people are watching Canada Cup, I thought it would be fun to write up a little about this more local street fighter action.
First, an overall summary of what happened. On Saturday, Kagecchi ran a 2-2 team tournament. There were 48 teams for a total of 96 people. It was a single elimination tournament, Waseda-style, 6 pools. Winner of each pool goes to the top 8, with two more teams coming from a playoff between the remaining 42 teams. The overall winner was the "Million God" team of Kin-devu's Zeku and Suiha's Chun-Li.
If you want to check out all the teams check Kagecchi's blog post.
This highlight from team Power Harrassment and the 3rd Generation E-sports brothers is pretty cool (<1 minute.) You can watch the entire 6 hour team tournament here.
I'll call our a few teams I thought were interesting.
UltimateJohn: Vanau (Boxer) and Takeuchi John (Rashid) lost in round 2 of pool 2.
The "Anti-Nauman team" had Fumity (Akuma) and Anman (Urien) come out of Pool 1.
Pool 5 had "Team Guilty" with Yossan (Juri) and Machbo (Necali) lose out in round 2 to pool winner "Power Harrassment" Noguchi (Guile) and Nanai (Dictator).
Pool 6 had team "All 1 Ed" with DNG Tachikawa (Ed) and tool (Ed).
It also had team "New Skills" with Kichi pa-mu (Zangief) and EmuEmu (Zangief).
September 25, 2017
2017 November 23 Red Bull Tower of Pride SFV Tournament in Tokyo, JapanThis November, Red Bull is running a very interesting Street Fighter V tournament in Tokyo. The format is unique, and looks like a lot of fun. You can find the website here: https://www.redbull.com/jp-ja/events/red-bull-tower-of-pride but all the information is in Japanese. I've translated the details page, and rules and regulations in case anyone is interested.
read more (1198 words)
June 10, 2017
RAGE Volume 4 grand finalsThis weekend (July 10th, 2017) was the RAGE e-sports Street Fighter V grand finals. I didn't have a chance to go, but am watching it afterwards on openrec.tv. I thought I would keep some notes as I watch the archived video. You can sign up for a free openrec.tv account easily enough, and a free account is able to watch archived videos once (seems strange that they only let you watch once, but that is enough for me.)
When I checked out the live stream, they had an English and a Japanese version, but I'm watching the Japanese version just for fun. Check the videos portion of the rage-esports account if you want to watch too.
They said this tournament (which has spanned a few weekends already) has the highest payout of all domestic Japanese tournaments. If you assume 100yen to the dollar (close enough, but it is actually a bit more) then they are paying out over the top 8 finishers, $20,000 for 1st (plus a Tag Heuer watch), $5000 for 2nd, $1500 for 3rd and 4th, and $500 for 5th through 8th.
By the way, in Japan none of the local weeklies have any sort of payout, since it would be viewed as gambling here and runs afoul of some laws.
I really like the production values here - very nice produced interviews before the matchups where they talk about their character, what they are doing, and a bit about their opponent. I didn't know much about Ponzaman or Mishie so that was cool to see.
In Momochi's introduction I love how he explained that he wants to be the strongest in Japan, and since Daigo uses Ryu and he wants to beat him, he thought using Ryu's rival Ken would be a good idea. And he thinks Ken looks cool.
Overall results, for those who are curious:
1. GRPT|Fuudo (R. Mika)
2. AW|Nemo (Urien)
3. GRPT|Haitani (Necalli)
4. DNG|Itabashi Zangief (Zangief)
5. Kichipa-mu (Zangief)
5. Mishie (Laura)
7. FOX|Momochi (Ken)
7. Ponzaman (Rashid)
May 15, 2017
Tokyo Offline Party 5A few months back I went to Tokyo Offline Party 4. Tokyo Offline Party 5 was this weekend, and I wanted to go, but was unable to due to family obligations.
What is Tokyo Offline Party? It is an event run by Buttonmashers and Shinobism, Momochi and Chocoblanka's company. Tokyo Offline Party 5 had a 3 on3 Street Fighter V tournament, and might have had some other stuff going on as well - there was a Hearthstone tournament at Tokyo Offline Party 4.
Chocoblanka posted up a few pics on twitter, this one talking about how they partnered with Red Bull and were able to use Red Bull hall in Shibuya for the event. She seems to be pretty happy about how there was room for casual setups, and nice sofas to relax in. She also talks about a casual setup for ladies only which is a cool idea, and I think they ran a ladies only side tournament that she was in. I didn't see results for it though.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to look through the results and talk a bit about who as there. The main stream was on momochoco's channel, and the sub stream was on the shinobism channel.
The overall winner was "Wonder Project J" from block P with duke (Urien), Majorboy (Kolin), and ty_ty (Dictator). I'll run down the winner of each block, and any other notable players I know.
Block A was won by the group "タイステ星" which I guess is short for Taito Station Stars, referencing an arcade. The group consists of Alienware's Nemo (Urien), inco (Birdie), and Nishikin (Necali.)
Block B was won by "Power of Darkside" with Initial Kyousou (Laura), Mizuha (Chun-Li), and MOV (Chun-Li).
Block C was won by "Trashbonbi Style" with trashbox (Birdie), bonbi (Kolin), and Shiki (Ibuki).
Block D was won by "Mimorin's Bodyguards" with Gafro (Boxer), Mishie (Laura), and Oremo (Ibuki).
Block E was won by "The Young'uns" with Nauman (Ken), John Takeuchi (Rasheed), and Haitani (Necali). Nauman was joking on Twitter that Haitani said he would totally join the young kids teams, and he did.
Block F was won by "GunMaruGuchi -Revenge-" with Gunfight (Alex), Marko (Karin), UGPs Mizuguchi (Urien).
Block G was won by "Ponpoime" with Ponzaman (Rasheed), oppoi (Ibuki), and Harumy (Ibuki).
Block H was won by "Melty Blood Army" with Menma (Akuma), Garu (Boxer), Surume (Necali).
Block I was won by "Detective N suppressors" (?) with DNG Tachikawa (Ibuki), Fumiya (Boxer), Kobatake (Claw).
Block J was won by "Super Big Brothers" with PSK (Cammy), Kichipa-mu (Zangief), and Macchi (Cammy). Kichipa-mu is a really fun Zangief - he was at the recent KVO x TSB SFV team battle and got second place, largely based on his Zangief play.
Block K was won by "This players had been deleted." with Syogepi- (Ibuki), Tyler (Zangief), Deletemonster (Karin). This pool also had Crusher (Birdie)'s team with Nanai (Dicator) who are both quite good, and apparently a team with Echo Fox CoolGrayAJ.
Block L was won by "LP Fraud" with rintaro (Chun-Li), Takaroom (Karin), and sasajima (Rasheed). This block also had Shinobism's team of Momochi's pupils, Yamaguchi (Ken), Haku (Guile), and Johnny (Karin) who lost out early on.
Block M was won by "Blue League PR Dept." (?) with Deo (Laura), Agomi (Birdie), Azmx (Urien).
Block N was won by "These characters were balanced by kindergartners" with Kindevu (Urien), Vanauo (Boxer), Ando (Urien). There was a team with Reiketsu playing Cammy, so maybe not the well-known Claw Reiketsu.
Block O was won by "Pon chichi's" with Ponchi's (Claw), Bower (Kolin), and rinta (Akuma).
Block P was won by "Wonder Project J" with duke (Urien), Majorboy (Kolin), and ty_ty (Dictator). This pool also had a team with GameWith's Eita (Ken) but they didn't make it.
January 14, 2017
Tokyo Offline Party 4, and a bit Itabashi Zangief commentaryLast weekend I went to the Tokyo Offline Party 4 event at Haruimi Passenger Terminal. I didn't have a team, so joined two others who needed someone to fill out the 3 vs 3 Street Fighter V team event. I was matched with Eleichi and Ryo, two nice young gentlemen. I had played with Ryo once or twice at the Akihabara e-square events, so that was nice.
I had a lot of fun at the event. Our team (満足) lost in our first match, but we had a good time, so no problem.
I really enjoyed watching some of the Zangief play. Kichi pa-mu in particular was lots of fun to watch. I've been going through the stream a bit, and thought it would be neat to see what Itabashi Zangief had to say while he was on commentary.
https://www.twitch.tv/momochoco/v/113487600?t=05h38m01s Itabashi Zangief hops on the mike to talk about Zangief. Tokido shares commentary with him. I'd like to give a loose translation of what they are saying. Someone asked Itazan to hop on the mike because "Kichi pa-mu", a Zangief player, is currently on. Kichi pa-mu was super fun to watch - his Zangief play was a bit crazy, and was super exciting. Where this clip starts, he just beat Oosu's Karin and Fuudo's Mika from Fuudo's team (World of Tanks.)
I didn't get permission from anyone, and this is just a loose translation. I'm no fubarduck and don't translate in any professional capacity, so any mistakes are my own.
Tokido: I'm commenting now, but our other commentator, Kazunoko, has changed.
Itazan: I was summoned.
Tokido: Yeah, there's a Zangief match now. Just how strong do you think Zangief is now?
Itazan: (Laughing.) You think so?
Tokido: Just how strong do you think he is now?
Itazan: I've been using Zangief for a long time now. So. I think we might have an argument about this.
Tokido: I think he's super strong now.
Itazan: I've heard a lot of people think that. But yeah. A big thing is that Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li got weaker. It's important that he can beat them now.
Tokido: It wasn't all that bad before but, on the other hand, now I think Guile is a real problem.
Itazan: Yeah, there are some new problems.
[The match with Chun-Li starts here.]
Tokido: I think he can do ok against Chun-Li.
Itazan: If he gets close. Ah, he got close. Yeah, that's it.
[Zangief won the round. There isn't any substantive commentary. Kichi pa-mu wins, and Tokido is called out to his match. Another person comes to do commentary.]
Person: Zangief's really strong.
Itazan: [Itazan smiles] Well, you know, he's ok. Kichi pa-mu was strong so he won. You should praise him.
Itazan had a few other things to say, but mostly just joking around. It's really fun listening to all these players (Tokido, Itabashi Zangief, Kazunoko, just seems like whoever is around that Momochi and Choco can press into service for a bit) comment. I've got to watch the final four with commentary - it was lots of fun in person but I want to hear what Momochi and Choco have to say.
Anyway, lots of fun. If you are a street fighter fan in Tokyo, definitely check out the Tokyo Offline Party when they run the next one.
September 7, 2016
Street Fighter V at E-sports Square in Akihabara, Tokyo
On Wednesday I went to e-sports Square Akihabara for the first time. I've been meaning to go for over a year. It is an e-sports Cafe, and every once in a while (once a week?) they run the "Fighter's Crossover" event. That currently seems to be focused on Street Fighter V, which I enjoy. It is out in Akihabara, a place where I almost never go any more - even though I would like to. Akihabara has changed since my seminal memories of the place when I went at the young age of 13 - there were electronics everywhere, and not a maid or anime thing in sight.
The e-sports Square is a quick walk from the Akihabara JR Station. I didn't know anyone there, but the staff were welcoming. You just have to sign in with a little bit of information (in my case, name and age.) They didn't need proof of my age, but I guess that would change if you were younger-looking.
They give you a little card on a lanyard that tracks when you enter, and you can charge drinks and food to it as well. You pay on the way out. They have two hour, three hour, and all day plans.
When I got there it was pretty empty, but after an hour or two the place filled up. I think there were close to 40 people. They had about 30 SFV setups - most of them were head to head, so you had your own screen and played someone sitting across from you with their own screen. There were LP limitations on some of the setups, so there were some systems for beginners, some for intermediates, and the rest were unlimited. The signs said that you should play best 2 of three, and the beginner and intermediate machines only let you have a 5 game win streak. The other machines were winner stays on.
I had a lot of fun, and I'm going to try to go back in the future. Late night Akihabara on a weekday is pretty crazy. There were lots of lights and some maids were still out. That place is weird.
January 17, 2009
I really hate ZangiefActually, Zangief is totally my favorite character. I love him. This guy apparently doesn't though. A rap from Balrog / M. Bison's point of view. Really funny. Man, I want to go play some SF4.
January 2, 2009
MAME Frontends in UbuntuI have been interested in getting MAME running on my desktop again. I never got SDLMAME working on Fedora 8 because performance was terrible. For some reason, under Ubuntu with my Intel GMA3100 onboard video things work well enough to play pacman at least (and probably others, SFA2 seemed to work well, but as always SSF2T was too fast) so I wanted to see what the state of MAME Front Ends for linux was. (Oh, also I have to run in the software render mode to get the tab menus to show up, otherwise they are garbage. Once things are set up though I don't need the menus, so back to hardware mode which is fast.)
kxmame doesn't believe me that my sdlmame executable is a MAME executable, it complains that it can't find any MAME instance and errors out. So that is enough time spent on that one.
kamefu refuses to find any of my roms. So that one is out.
wah!cade seems to work, but it uses bitmaps for the default UI and on my 24" monitor I can't read anything. So I stopped play with that for the time being.
Two more I am looking at are Lemon Launcher (probably won't install it unless I can't get AdvancedMenu to work) and AdvanceMENU which is my current best hope. There is a description of the install process here. So far installing AdvanceMENU has been a real pain. this thread has helped me fix a few SDL errors and of course I had to install a lot of stuff to get this to compile.
Once compiled I couldn't get it to run well: I added sdlmame as an xmame emulator, and had to make some init files for that. But it would freeze when trying to launch a program. I am now checking on the configuration used by Piapara, a bootable ISO that runs advancemenu and sdlmame to see what they use. To do that I had to create a boot cd, mount the iso in a loopback filesystem, then mount the app.img in a loopback filesystem. Finally, the relevant setup info they use is:
emulator "MAME" mame "/usr/bin/mame" "-inipath /mnt/pendrive/sdlmame/ini" emulator_roms "MAME" "/mnt/cdrom/sdlmame/roms" emulator_flyers "MAME" "/mnt/cdrom/sdlmame/flyers" emulator_altss "MAME" "/mnt/cdrom/sdlmame/snap"So they set up the emulator as a mame emulator. Ok. I'll try that.
Also, a new discovery: using the sdlmame option -gl_forcepow2texture fixes the menu corruption bug that I was seeing. So yay for that! Actually on further investigation I also needed to set the filter to 0 and (remove bilinear filtering from output, which makes things look more pixelated and better anyway) and enable gl_glsl in the sdlmame config. It seems to be working well now.
I haven't got advancemenu to work though. I have all these great artwork cabinet and screenshot files, but I can't get advancemenu to launch sdlmame. Ah well. That is enough time spent on that today.
Annoyingly Super Street Fighter II Turbo still runs too fast. Tapper runs well though, so that is good enough.
February 27, 2008
Street Fighter IV on Test in Akihabara 2/29 - 3/2I keep up with a few blogs via Google Reader, and recently came across this entry about Street Fighter IV going on public test (Japanese). I'm a big Street Fighter fan, but pretty much only Super Street Fighter II Turbo or the new mix-and-max Hyper Fighting Anniversary Edition. Great games. (A brief side-note: last night for the first time in about a month a stopped by the Shibuya Game Kaikan on the way home from work. It is my favorite arcade in Japan: 50 yen games, 3 of the Anniversary edition games, an old Hyper Fighting machine, and there is always great competition there. Sadly, much better than I am. I hadn't been there in a month or two, and they moved the SSF2HF:Anniversary (how is this supposed to be abbreviated??) to the back. Not a problem. But I think they changed the cabinets they were in, because the sticks on all the machines were horribly loose! They were awful! I can usually do a dragon punch 90% of the time (I'm no expert) but I was only hitting them like 10% of the time on one machine! It was awful!) So the relevant bit from the SF4 article:
そして！ 今週末、2/29～3/2には早くも第二回ロケテストが開催！ 今度は秋葉原の駅前にある「Hey」というゲームセンターで開催しますので、 皆さん、引き続き奮ってご参加くださいね！！ お待ちしています！They did a first public test of SF4. Great. But now, this week, they will test SF4 in Akihabara. That's like a twenty minute walk from where I work. They start testing on Friday, and will continue through until Sunday. I think I am going to have to check that out. They will test at the arcade HEY (I don't know that one offhand) and give the address and link to the HEY website. There is a little "Access Map" button that will pop up a map, and I think I know where it is now. I'm really looking forward to SF4 because it is supposed to continue on in the SF2 tradition (no parries or air blocking I hope!) and from what I've been reading about it, it sounds like it will be good. Since this is a SF2 post, I also want to say that I really, really hope that the new HD version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo gets released in arcades over here in Japan. I think that is probably unlikely to happen, but it would be great. The information on re-balancing from David Sirlin's blog has been really interesting reading.
・住所：東京都千代田区外神田1-10-5 広瀬本社ビル 2-4F 【店舗HPは、コチラ】
December 23, 2006
No force on Earth can stop one hundred Santas!!Santarchy gathering in Shibuya. Since it is close by, I decided to stop by and check it out. I've got plans already - I'm heading to my friend Watanabe's place this afternoon for a Christmas party, so I couldn't join in on the Shibuya Santa fun, but I did think it would be worth it to snap a few pictures. Maybe next year I'll try to join in. Since I went all the way to Shibuya, I stopped by the Shibuya Game Kaikan for a few games of SF2. There was someone playing Hyper SF2 Anniversary Edition, so I joined in with my Zangief. I took the first game against his Ken, then two more matches against his Ryu. He beat me, and then I tried again with Zangief, but he put the machine on speed 1. Speed 1. I haven't played this game so slowly for ages. It was impossible. Well, I had two more 50 yen pieces, so I switched into Ryu mode. We played soooo slowly. It was close. It could go either way, but I lost. One more game with Ryu, one more close loss. It was soooo slooooow. We were pretty evenly matched, although he probably plays many more characters than I do. I only play Zangief well, along with some reasonable Ryu and THawk impersonations. Still, it was pretty fun. Overall I think I won about as many as I lost, so not too bad. Also, I saw all the Santas.
October 21, 2005
SF2 scene at Shibuya's Game Kaikan
On Friday I decided to head over to my favorite arcade, the Shibuya Game Kaikan, and play some Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting Anniversay Edition. Over on Shoryuken.com they call this one AE (Anniversary Edition) but I wonder what it is called in the states: there already was a Hyper Fighting over there.
Anyway, I got to the game kaikan at about 8pm, after a nice Little Spoon (my favorite Curry chain in Japan) dinner. Now, I love Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and I really like AE as well, since you get to play older versions of characters against the new ones. It's a fun game. Unfortunately, the past 8 years in New York didn't do much for my head-to-head skills. I probably only played ten or twenty games the whole 8 years in New York, despite having a ST machine available at the Chinatown Fair. So I tend to get my ass kicked. I probably win about 10% of my matches at the game kaikan.
I'm posting this a few days late, so I can't really comment on how I did. I think I won once with my T. Hawk, who I'm trying to get into playing shape. I'm trying to learn how to option select the crouching jab into piledriver, but I'm still not very good at that yet. I probably lost 15 times at least though, so I don't think an analysis of my play would be ver interesting.
I did, however, chat with a nice salaryman who plays a throw-happy grape Dhalsim. He's pretty good, but not great because I can hang with him to some extent. He was happy to chat with a white guy about SF2 though, so we spent quite a while talking strategy and commenting on the other players there. Two really stood out: a ST Zangief using the held-button black color, and a massive E. Honda who was nearly unstoppable. The Zangief was really good, and I thought that at least initially I could take him with my crappy Ryu, but that wasn't the case. His play was pretty limited, in that he didn't show much variation, but was very good at what he did. He would SPD at very, very long range. Whiff a roundhouse, receive a SPD. He also used the hopping punch from out of range to get into range and SPD. I've seen that before, but he was just really effective at using it. He knew the ranges really well, stayed far enough away to use the Lariat, invite a roundhouse or forward, the SPD you. I didn't think he was anything special, but he ran up a pretty good win streak, so I changed my mind as the evening went on.
The E. Honda was another story. He was just massive. I hadn't seen many E. Honda's there before, so this was pretty interesting to me. He used Honda's charge butt-drop move often, and used it to cross-over, then would tick into the command throw. He used the command throw really well, much more frequently than I had ever seen it used before. He would get at least two a round it seemed like. He also used Honda's super to get four hits off consistently, which is something that I wouldn't be able to do. He didn't ues the super often though, and of course was a master of the jumping fierce to wiggle over fireballs and such. Anyway, it was an impressive display.
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