Monday, August 10, 2009

Godsgarden, meetings with top players

Godsgarden was a truly amazing night, probably the most exciting gaming experience ever. The level of play was truly great and the atmosphere at the place was awesome as well. It was held at this place called Loft A, which is usually a bar, but on the night they installed about 19 PS3s with Joysticks.

Me and Rchan had ALOT of problems finding the place, and once we did it seemed like there was a 'challenge Mago' segment underway. With no warmup games whatsoever and tired from finding the place, me and Rchan decided to challenge him anyways. Little did I know that our matches were on the live worldwide stream, and judging by some of the comments on various forums, we didnt make a very good impression. Oh well, lesson learnt. Never play on a livestream if youre not ready.

During the event I managed to meet lots of people, both from Japan and the US. I met Kuni, a Japanese player and who also translated for Daigo when he was at Evolution 2009. Heres a video with him.

I also managed to talk abit to Uryo, TKD and Tokido. All were very nice people. Tokido, a top, top Akuma player, turned out to be a really nice guy with above average English skills for a Japanese. Guess these Todai dudes really are smart! TKD seemed like the kinda guy who'se aloof and enjoys a good laugh. At first, I didnt know it was TKD when I sat down next to him to play him. But once I saw some of his block strings, I immediately asked him if he was TKD and it turned out that I was right! Uryo is also very very nice and probably has the best manners of anyone Ive met here so far.

I also managed to meet a whole bunch of American players: Haunts (who runs], Magus1234, Marn,"Face", Yosuke, Alex from Sweden, Kim1234 and Fubarduck, who runs ArcadeUFO in Texas. I also ran into a good friend of mine from Korea, D.B.Koopa, who is Koreas best Third Strike player. Turns out, hes staying at SBO Japan Qualifier, Ichi's house. Me and Rchan then had dinner with him and his SBO partner, probably the best Blanka in the world right now, Mizoteru. It was really funny seeing Rchan ask Mizoteru what character he played. I was like "I guess he plays a decent Blanka" in my head lol. Mizoteru seemed quite surprised I knew who he was, sying that hes probably the "20-something" most famous player in Japan. Blanka players will disagree, having watched many of his videos online.

Anyways, there was a tournament held to determine 4 extra players that would be part of the Godsgarden event proper. I was put into a very tough group featuring Bon Chan, Gashuku and a top Ryu player who I see around Daigo often. I ended up losing to Bon Chan AND Gashuku on the big screen so more internet humiliation for me lol. Rchan, on the other hand, repped Singapore much better with a convincing win against an SBO American Qualifier, Fubarduck. He also took a round off Itabashi Zangief and got him down to half life in the last round, and that after missing an ultra after Balrogs headbutt. Go Rchan!!

Both of us didnt make it out of the pools, with Itazan progressing from Rchans pool and Gashukuo progressing from mine after beating Bon Chan. The rest, as they say, is history with some of the greatest SF4 matches ever seen played in front of my eyes. In case you missed the live stream, here is the recorded version.

Mago eventually won the tournament, narrowly beating a very, very impressive Viper by Uryo. Apparently, hes by far the best Viper in Japan now, way ahead of other famous Viper players like Dashio.

Anyways, considering this is Monday night and Godsgarden was on Friday, this post is pretty late. In between then and now, I managed to hit up one of Japan's top clubs, a House Nation party at Camelot in Shibuya, with Rchan. Im not much of a clubbing person so the experience was alright for me. On Sunday I went to Jesus Lifehouse Church. As some of you may know, there are very, very few Christians (about 1%) in Japan, so it was a pleasant surprise to be able to see that the sevice was quite packed, filled with enthusiastic young people on fire for Jesus. Not to mention Japanese Christian girls (I like girls who dress conservatively for some strange reason) who speak perfect English are HOT, lol.

Today, me and Rchan hit up Big Box again. Today was the craziest day at Big Box, with more famous players around. I finally got to see TKD play in casuals, and tell you something, watching him play casuals and in tournaments are two different things, considering Fuerte CAN showboat when not much is at stake. Some of his blockstrings were crazy and I hope to share as much about the character as I can when I get back. Ok, lets see who was there today.
Shiro, Daigo, Iyo, Fuudo, Itazan, TKD, Mago, Akimo, Nemo, Beru-Beru, Ojisanboy, Mach(I think), Dashio and Mizoteru. Mizoteru in particular, had the longest win-streak of the night! Go Blanka players! And against the likes of Daigo etc too. There was also a Master-Ranked Claw player who was very, very impressive. I lost 2 games to him. =(

However, I manged to win a game against both Iyo and Fuudo today. Needless to say I couldnt win everyone else, but hey, I dont get a feeling that all these players are a level too far above me, or GDLK as some people would put it. I got that feeling when I played Third Strike here 2 years ago, but many people have been saying that in Street Fighter 4, the level between Japan and the rest of the world isnt THAT big. We Singaporeans only need to clean up some aspects of our game in order for us to be ultra-competitive against the top players from Japan. In fact. if you stuck our top 5 players here in Japan for a month, Im very sure they will be able to compete at a Grandmaster level by then. I guess one of the biggest take-aways Ive gotten so far from this trip is the confirmation of how human all these players are. Watching their videos, you get the impression that they either have special reactions or have amazing IQ's or something, but they dont. As Itabashi Zangief also said in an interview here, they just have a better community, with more players and better information sharing. They also treat each game session very importantly, always trying to find the best setups and the optimum damage potentials for their characters in all situations. They also choose a character and they stick with it, through thick and thin, not paying attention to the tier lists at all. (after all, we pay attention to the tier lists made by top players but we sometimes forget that that these top players are just humans beings and their judgements are purely subjective!) Its because of Akimo that Mago rates Honda B tier now. Its because of players like Itabashi Zangeif that somehow keep Zangief at Tier A, despite times when you may think some matchups are impossible.

The Japanese play the game to maximize their skills as a player and maximize the potential of their character at all times. Its not really about winning. If you maximize the potential of the player and the character, winning will come naturally by itself. Ive taken this philosophy to heart in my trip here. Of course, my goal is to Qualify for SBO this Thursday, but thats not as important as becoming the best Fuerte player I can possible become.

The best examples are Iyo and Shiro, really. I can tell that both these guys come to the arcade after a long day's work, with a slightly tired look in their eyes, dressed in business suits. They also arent at the arcades everydayday. In fact, many top Japanese players only hit the arcade once a week. Yet, somehow they are playing their characters at an amazing level.This is good news. Because that means that its not a matter of how much time you put in the game, which is a hard variable to change. We go to work, we study. Those things cannot be sacrificed for a game like SF4. So if its not time, then we're talking about variables that CAN be changed easily. Well, over the next few weeks Ill be talking about these variables in detail but I hope everyone has a rough idea of what Im talking about.

So yea, I hope this is an encouragement to all Singaporean players. We have the smarts and the signs of a top community already. We just need to take the extra step to clean our game up and push our characters to their limits. Mago couldnt even get a win at Big Box today!

In conclusion, yesterday, I had 2 games with Mizoteru's SBO partner, Ichi, who plays Sagat. In the first game, i beat him 3-0. In the second, I lost 3-1. After losing, I went over to say "Good game" to him and he looked completely shocked! "THAT was you??" He asked. I nodded my head, and then he said "I never knew a foreigner could play at this level." I smiled at him and thanked him, such praise coming from a top Japanese player. And then I thought "Man, I would love to see the look on his face when he plays Peihoon!"

you can discuss this post on in this thread


  1. Amazing write up lang, agree with so many things in this post (the part about Japanese Christian girls who speak perfect English too, obviously.) but yeah im really stoked at the way you guys are reppin singapore, but even more excited at how our community's gonna benefit from the stuff you guys are learning over in japan.

    I for one can hardly wait to learn all the fuerte stuff you've been picking up thse few days. man wish i was there. haha.

    i think things are looking great for our community. i feel that we have a lot of things in common with the japanese (hectic lifestyles, asian traditional culture), but i also believe that if they can play sf at this level, so can we.

    i'm definitely hyped man. all the best for SBO!


  2. Thanks for sharing your experience! I truly appreciate and agree with your philosophy at the last fourth paragraph. OMG! Mizoteru's blanka had the longest winning streak at Big Box amongst the grandmaster players. Please really really help me get some tips from him.

    Wish you and all the Spore reps; Rchan, Ganguro, Cody greatest luck for SBO and 5v5!!!!


  3. Amazing writeup. I like the way you mentioned about maximising the character that you are using rather than just concentrate on winning games. That is so very true. All the best for the SBO Qualifiers ! Remember, "We are better than them!"

  4. really amazing this player is the beast.