Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Excerpts from Time Traveling - Operation 2 - Café Life

The scenic café life. Somebody’s here to open the store, somebody’s here to buy us lunch. Somebody’s here to lend a hand, during these nightly rush hours. A bizarre coming together of individuals, banding together for a common goal. Then after, to each his own, we came and then we're gone. Sat atop the mini fridge in the kitchen out back, for what seemed like 5 minutes, were years... going by. The other girls and boys who came and went, watched the many strange people, smile over classless food. They say service wasn’t all that great here, i say unto you, service isn’t all that great anywhere... And now it's gone... The coming together of bizarre individuals, banding together for a singular cause, coming and going to each his own, there and ever after, nobody said to keep in touch, the some who did, probably never meant it, but the memories were great, and that’s good enough for me.

Excerpts from the Memory Bank - Mandatory Imagery


I imagine seeing her again. Magically appearing at my workplace, saving me from mandatory services, with that smile of hers. I’d say,

“What are you here for?”

And she'd look at me so eagerly, wondering the exact same thing, yet unable to speak.

I imagine this to be true and I’d imagine it so hard to make it true.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vise Vords from the Vice Capt. - Thirteen Steps

2006-2012

Today, I waved goodbye to classes past, present and future, with a tear in my eye as lovely boys and girls applauded and bid me adieu. Saddened by our untimely end, the memories as early as June Holiday Harvest to The Big Green Help, up all the way to Cubism, I'll keep, attached and close to my heart, forever and ever. I hope that I may one day come back, to inspire a new generation of children, because education is limitless, an endless eight, and I still have so much more to pass on.

With ♥,
Vice Capt.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tournament Aftermath and Thoughts - Of Frauds, Balls and a Whole Lot of Other Fun Stuff.

"Handsome fighters never lose battles."
This entry is dedicated to Raymus, the best Claw player in Singapore.

We played an arcade tournament today, a major, first of the year, and first since... A good 6 to 8 months ago.

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.

If you want to play this game, then take it seriously, respect the competition, respect the game and respect the players. Until you're proven, I don't see why you should be paying $10 registration fees for a major and coming in there throwing 5 Uppercuts for nothing just because you can't block a string of normals thats not even causing you chip (Damage). In return, your opponent deals you a 200-300 plus damage combo on your way down. Can you take?

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.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Excerpts from Time Traveling - Operation 1 - Ice Cream

Today, at about 10.30PM, I stopped by the ice cream shop around my workplace, hoping to get some Cookies N’ Cream. To my surprise, most of the flavours had already been kept in the chiller, and I was left in uncharted territory, between good ol' Vanilla and exotic Mango. i was greeted rather enthusiastically,

“HELLO!”

Said the ice cream girl, friendlily.

(She reminded me of someone from across the street.) 

Startled somewhat by her ardent demeanor, I ordered a Mango gelato after much deliberation. As she proceeded with my order, I began to feel bad for not reciprocating her eagerness in a way she might have preferred, I decided to start a conversation.

“What time do you usually pack up?”

Her eyes were cemented to the scooper. Mine? They weren’t even focused.

“Erm… Usually at 10.30?”
(Scoops away...)

“But I came up at 10.30, and everything was kept already!”

I said in a tone that tells of amateurish seduction.

 With her eyes still glued to the task at hand... She replied,

“Next time you come by in the morning and tell me what you would like... Then I won’t keep that particular flavour away at night.”

What did you just say.

“Wow, you mean I can reserve? That’s cool!”

She laughed as we walked towards the cashier station. I paid for my ice cream and left, staring at my small little cup, exploding from side to side, top to bottom, with a mountain of Mango gelato. Ice cream girl, you made my day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dear Clinton,

Self-Explanatory

Dear Clinton,

Even though we don't get to see each other much these days, or sleep in each other's beds, spending the night playing "First to 10s", and waking up in the morning to workout together, I just wanted you to know, that I cherish and miss the times that we spent, unemployed, working for A'nuberak, giving Mastercard "things" to town and beyond, camwhoring amidst selling Apple computers at I.T Shows and of course, sharing our favourite drink from Gong Cha, the Lemon Kamquet.

So even though we may have different views on Street Fighter X Tekken, remember that, I will always be your Natural, and you will always be my Liu Zi Feng.

With ♥,

Jon

放さないで

I pee like a laser beam

Untying my rain boots, I wonder
Could you use the red from wounds,
to pain a rainbow?

Just then, she walked over with two umbrellas hand in hand.
She said,
"This one is for you, open it up and put it over your head."
I said,
"Why? Aren't we going to share?"
She said,
"No. I'm going to impale you from the chin up and you're suppose to shelter the sky from raining blood."

I am a patient man but I hate to wait.

放さないで

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Game Review - Street Fighter X Tekken a.k.a FU★K SFxT

"For Ono-san, the day SFxT was launched, was the greatest day of his life. But for me? It was Tuesday."

Today, I got my hands on the highly anticipated, Street Fighter X Tekken (SFxT) game, that combines 2 of the biggest franchises in Fighting Games in a crossover series much like Marvel vs Capcom (MVC) and Capcom vs SNK (CVS). I played it for a good 3 hours, trying characters like Poison, Juri and Rufus, but ultimately worked more on my original team of Bob and Sagat (America's Funniest Home Videos). At the end of the session, I thought to myself...

"This is one of the worst games, not just Fighting Games, but games in general, I've ever played."

I'll be fair, I'll tell you what I thought was good. I think the large character roster and seeing the iconic Tekken characters rendered in the Street Fighter engine is a very nice sight. Updating old favourites like Hugo and Rolento and introducing Poison to the new graphics was very generous, it would make any fan of the Street Fighter series smile from ear to ear.

As a game itself... Or rather as a competitive Fighting Game, a game that's gonna be loaded with top prize money and big name players, a serious, competitive Fighting Game... Don't waste my time.

The name of the game, Footsies.

Vanilla Street Fighter 4 (SF4) was the first Fighting Game I played, seriously and on a competitive level. Through months of hard work learning the game, often with the advice of fellow players from the scene, joining numerous local tournaments looking to improve myself somewhat, I've come to a conclusion as to what (I think) Vanilla SF4 is about and what it has taught me.

I've been trained to protect the space in front of me. To protect it with the tools that I'm given, my 3 punches and 3 kicks and my Special Moves. Knowing the range, speed and recovery of these moves helps to keep my spacings between me and my opponent as to what is "safe" and what is not. I've been trained not to jump, as a means to start an offense, or just purely out of randomness, for not just at high level, even a mid-tier average player has decent enough reactions to Anti-Air you consistently in a match. I've been trained to tech throws and have strong throw gameplay as it leads to the more advance scenarios like Frame Traps and Option Selects. Throwing in SF4 is at least 1/3 of the game. If a opponent blocks, you throw him, it's as simple as that. If he jumps, you Anti-Air him. The lesser his options for movement, the higher your chances of winning the match.

Risk and reward, action and reaction, cause and effect.

Wakkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

All that was changed at the start of Super Street Fighter 4 (SSF4), an updated version of Vanilla, which introduce characters from the Alpha and Third Strike series. These characters all came loaded with tools that allowed for better rushdown, mix-ups and setups. The game was still ok then. When Arcade Edition (AE) was released, Yun, Yang and Fei Long took the entire game, shined up all my fundamentals real nice and shove it up my candy ass. Hong Kong Fighter 4 disregarded the mid-screen game with their infinite ability to break that space with Dive Kicks, Lunge Punches and Chicken Wings. AE Ver. 2012, Seth... End of days. Vanilla Street Fighter as we know it has now been reduced to nothing more than a guessing game.

Playing SFxT for the first time, I was looking forward to see what the game can do in terms of combos and crossover attacks. 5 games in, 1 Rolento, my mind was fucked.

I now think, Fei Long's Rekkas are actually ok, they are punishable, with good reactions and knowledge of frames, you can punish even the first hit of Rekka.

How to punish Rekka? - Unanswered, Since 2008!

Unlike Rolento, who can go for all 3 hits and it's virtually unpunishable, on block, does chip damage as well. He has superior aerial and ground pokes, some providing multiple hits, wall dives and overheads, a crouching light punch far better than Fei Long's (How is this even possible) and a crouching medium kick that links into Ultra and other combos.

In this game, everyone jumps for free, there is no reliable Anti-Air, not even in Sagat's Tiger Uppercut. I can see Rolento jumping on me, turn a Heavy Tiger Uppercut and watch my Sagat fly up into the sky like Superman, Rolento whiffs his attack and lands behind me waiting for punish.

Throwing in this game is useless. Throw range is shorter than an average person's dick. There are no tick-throw setups because spamming light attacks come out faster than cum.

In this game, everyone backdashes for free, or maybe half the price, there are no Option Selects to catch backdashes, or maybe I'm not skilled enough to find them in 3 hours.

The attacks recover so fast, mashing Uppercuts in between block strings? That's suicide.

What is Pandora Mode?

In AE, Seth was considered a rubbish because he had so many mix-ups that even 4 year olds can do, a superior Uppercut and a Spinning Piledriver (SPD)... that's bad right? I have to guess where to block, I have to block correctly, can't backdash because of the Tandem Engine, can't keep blocking too or he might come in for a SPD... But ok, his health is what... 800? I can take him out if I make a few good guesses and punish heavily, happens maybe 1 out of 10 times...

In SFxT, Zangief is build like a tank, has a Lariat for Anti-Air, the SPD is his trademark move, a Target Combo(s) and EX Green Hand to chase down backdash. Maybe Seth is quite balanced after all.

Law from Tekken? He comes with Fei Long's jumping heavy kick, the exact same animation, the perfect Air-to-Air attack... And because this is SFxT, you can just keep jumping! Neutral, front or back... You choose! Moves on block that are unpunishable too, and if hit, lead to big follow-ups. Fuck off!

Hugo can slap you 3 times and you'll be at half HP. What the fuck is there is a safe jump after his SPD, and you don't even need to buffer anything, just hold your joystick up forward!

"A,B,C Easy as 1,2,3!"

Every character has a Target Combo, just press A, B, C, that leads to a tag from your partner and even more combo opportunities. Which is enough to win you your matches. You don't even need Fireballs or Messiah Kicks.

When you put it all together, there is really no need for Yomi (Mind Games) in SFxT.

I see where the trend is going, I see what Capcom is trying to do. They are making their games "Beginner" friendly and appealing to ALL gamers, not just the hardcore competitive Fighting Gamers, the introduction of this "Target Combo Tag" thing, is prove of the matter already. It makes perfect sense for someone who has bad execution but really wants to play Cammy... Or Megaman for that matter, ANYONE! YOU CAN PLAY ANYONE AND IT'S THE SAME!

Poison - Just about the only thing I can find joy in.

I really can't seem to take this game seriously.

Take my word for it, anybody can play and be good at SFxT. You can buy this game as a Christmas present for your friends and family and don't be surprise when they become better than you at it with only an hour of practise.

Regards,

Friday, March 2, 2012

Excerpts from the Memory Bank - Scripts

Our lives are not scripted, but we live it that way, structured, formatted and diplomatic. I make a parody of it by keeping to the same lines, answering them questions with the same lines, I repeat myself, I repeat myself to the death. Everything, funny things, romantic things, soon you’ll come to find, that I’m actually a very boring individual, like a firework that goes bursting into the night, for 40 whole hours, over and over again. It then becomes a loud, irritable stain in the sky. The rebellion could only move me so far, within my own capabilities, I am at most, a scab.