This entry is dedicated to Raymus, the best Claw player in Singapore.
I took my first match against a Chun Li player from Malaysia, 2-0, moving on to face Leslie, Canada Cup 2011 1v1 1st Runner-Up, in the next bracket.
I wish every tournament game I played was like that first round against Leslie where I was thinking faster, reacting faster and clutching it out... But unfortunately, I'm not a top player because top players do jaw-dropping magic rounds like that... Throughout the entire tournament, every single match, all of the time.
In my all honest opinion, Xian, Leslie and Gackt are playing on a whole different level here in Singapore. But I always add, that just below them, there are at least 20 really talented players, just threatening to topple them at anytime.
But where are these really talented 20+ players, giving the 3 of them a run for their money, week in week out? That I do not know... You probably should give them a call.
I think Dixon and Shogoku were the MVPs of the tournament. Dixon has not played competitively since... Yet coming back like he had never left, and showed that he had in fact, gotten better. I was thoroughly impressed.
I'll put it out there now, not like it's a big deal, but I don't see myself playing tournaments on console anymore, no matter how big the prize or stage is. Playing this arcade tournament today, reinforced that opinion.
Because I could feel the tournament pressure in the arcade setting, I was getting buzzed. The desire to win, to perform, comes to me like a rush of blood to the head. I was making better decisions, quicker decisions with sheer precision, my eyes were looking out for more things all over the screen, yet my reactions were keeping up, point for point, and there were times where I sat down and... basically... Just, it felt like, OK the time is now, to mauled my opponent... A natural air of confidence, to know that you're taking on someone on a cabinet that's probably the best in the world, Viewlix, (Not having to worry if the monitor's going to be lagging, or things like PS3 timing or Xbox timing, sticks etc...) even when you lose, you find yourself, blaming yourself, for everything that you could have done but didn't.
All of which, I've never experienced in a console tournament before, since playing competitively, back in '09.
Tournament fees are expensive because they help finance the event and provide some form of a stake for you as you play. I would like to see you still throwing those 5 random Uppercuts if fees were $120 for a single elimination tournament.
The reason why I'm talking about this is... I've organized numerous tournaments from the '09 era all the way up till the end of 2011, some of which single-handedly, some of which with other renowned key figures in the FG scene, not just for the Street Fighter 4 game, but various... We sat through hours upon hours upon days upon weeks of brackets, from exclusive 16-Man invitationals to 5-Man team tournaments x 16 teams to 1v1s 64-Man brackets... Watched the beginner of the beginner come from that to being arguably the best Bison player here in Singapore, watched countless finals played between Xian, Leslie, Gackt and Ganguro, each and every time proving a notch better than the previous finals... And what I can say is different about then and now? Back then, we had the hunger for success and the willingness to learn and better ourselves at the game.
We could play from morning till night, stopping for meals and tea, analyzing our games, then going back in to work on it. Even when the arcades were closed by midnight, we could sit at coffee shops and talk about the game, sharing knowledge, for hours, then going back the next day, to work on it. If we played badly in a tournament, two days later, we would find ourselves, back in the arcade, working on the areas that caused our downfall, gearing up for the next tournament.
The people from then, are still the same contenders now, the same players are still fighting the same players for the top spot. The newer players however, from what I observed, have shown no desire to win whatsoever, or even leave a mark. As they sit, they don't even look like they could make you sweat. And when they drop combos, make a bad call, lose the game, they could laugh and smile about it. "It's just a game." - the amount of times I've heard this...
If you have the will to compete, and you want to become a serious, tournament player, not just the guy who signs in to PSN and scrubs his way out of games with cheap tactics, it's not difficult at all and practically achievable by everyone.
Koji has made so much progress since starting out in his first tournament back in 2010. He trains hard, puts in long hours, does his research on frames and setups and hitboxes, asks the opinion of senior players to improve his game and takes it in diligently. It has paid off for him, he played a good tournament yesterday and even managed to finish somewhere in the Top 16 at least.
On a closing note, I would like to say that I've forgiven Raymus for stealing all the players and bringing them to play SC5 and betraying Street Fighter, for he said nice things about me on stream yesterday... Actually come to think of it, whenever he did get a chance to speak on stream during my games, he always says nice things about me. He is a good man.