Friday, June 19, 2015

Q Attack, Round 14 - Are eSports Better Viewed Live and in Person?
Tiger and Rabbit were spectators for the Arc System Works tournament finals hosted at Sakura-Con 2015 in Seattle, Washington. They talk about what it’s like to watch fighting game matches live and contemplate whether the Evolution Championship Series should be their next destination.


Rabbit: We’re here today to discuss part four and our final entry in the “milk our Sakura-Con 2015 weekend for all it’s worth” series! So, what’s on our agenda this time?

Tiger: The BlazBlue Experience with special guests Mori Toshimichi, the Designer for the BlazBlue series; Ueda Kana, voice of Rachel Alucard; and Kondoh Kanako, voice of Noel Vermillion.

Rabbit: They showed a lot of stuff at this event, and we didn’t even stay for the whole thing!

Tiger: Yeah, they started about an hour late, it was around 10:00pm on Saturday, April 4th, when things got underway and it was supposed to be a three hour panel. We left around midnight; I was too tired to stay for all of it.

Rabbit: What we did see was pretty cool though. They previewed the anime BlazBlue: Alter Memory which is directed by Tachibana Hideki and produced by Hoods Entertainment.

Tiger: Admittedly it seemed like a crazy mess of a story from what we saw.

Rabbit: Who buys a fighting game for its story anyway?

Tiger: Uh… I got Persona 4 Arena for its story mode.

Rabbit: You’re terrible. I’m the one that’s supposed to be the story hound, not you.

Tiger: I also got it to play as a fighting game; I know you aren’t into fighting games at all.

Rabbit: They take too much practice and I usually get bored with them pretty quickly. When we had lots of people to play with, they were fun, because you could do your own mini tournaments. It’s not as fun when you don’t have the numbers playing.

Tiger: They also showed off the new mobile game called BlazBlue: Battle Cards.

Rabbit: They sure are expanding into everything with this brand, aren’t they?

Tiger: Didn’t they do a visual novel too?

Rabbit: XBlaze Code: Embryo was a prequel to the main BlazBlue series. It also got a sequel called XBlaze: Lost Memories, which I’m kind of surprised they didn’t mention at their booth since they were really pushing everything BlazBlue. I picked the first game up on Vita but I haven’t played it yet.

Tiger: After peddling their wares, we finally got to the main event, the BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend finals!

Rabbit: I don’t think that name is long enough.

Tiger: This game hadn’t been released in North America when Sakura-Con took place, so it was really awesome to see this in action and on the PS4 no less. Some notable participants in the tournaments were Spark, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II EVO 2011 Champion; DSMoove12 who placed 7th behind Spark; and GameClucks|Nakkiel, an officially sponsored player. They even had commentators from the local fighting game community calling the game.

Rabbit: DSMoove12 stuck with Noel Vermillion, the same character he used at EVO 2011. Though they had to restart the first match because someone had left the settings on Stylish, the 1st match up of the semi-finals finally began.

Tiger: OMG! There was one round where he literally had only a pixel of health left and his opponent was one hit away from a perfect. But DSMoove12 was able to go on the offensive and win the round!

Rabbit: You’re so excited, did you drink caffeine today?

Tiger: It was exciting!

Rabbit: It’s like we’ve switched personalities…
Tiger: Hey, watching those matches live was exhilarating. You got to see the players, watch the match, and hear the audience cheer throughout the event. It’s a great experience, almost like a real sporting event.

Rabbit: DSMoove12 was able to move onto the finals. The second semi-finals match up proved to be much more interesting.

Tiger: With Huey253 sporting his Noel Vermillion against GameClucks|Nakkiel’s Litchi Faye-Ling, the table was set. I actually like playing with Litchi when I do play BlazBlue, though Rachel is my favorite, so it was awesome to see a highly skilled player show off her abilities as a character.

Rabbit: Man, Nakkiel owned Huey throughout this match up. Every time you thought Litchi was in trouble, she would find a way out of it quickly.

Tiger: Nakkiel definitely used Litchi’s staff effectively, giving Huey’s Noel no time to make a move. I think it was the last round where Huey could only defend, it was brutal.

Rabbit: I think Nakkiel got a perfect in there too.

Tiger: Nakkiel did go on to face DSMoove12 in the finals.

Rabbit: I was really wondering how it would turn out. DSMoove’s Noel dominated his opponent but Nakkiel’s Litchi seemed to have that character all figured out. Who would reign supreme as the Sakura-Con 2015 BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend Champion?!

Tiger: It was a back and forth battle, with Nakkiel and DSMoove splitting the first two rounds.

Rabbit: It was do or die time.

Tiger: DSMoove went on the offensive right off the start and was able to pin Nakkiel’s Litchi in the corner without her staff. Noel kept chipping away at Lichi’s health but then suddenly…

Rabbit: Litchi was able to break free and tried to use her special when…

Tiger: Noel dodged it and unleashed her own special, winning the round and the match! DSMoove12 beat GameClucks|Nakkiel and was crowned champion!

Rabbit: It was definitely an exciting match to watch and the crowd went wild when he dodged Nakkiel’s special.

Tiger: It was an awesome match up and I was glad that DSMoove12 won. I thought he did a nice job adjusting to Nakkiel’s Litchi. He was definitely less defensive than Huey’s Noel and went on the offensive right away.

Rabbit: They do say that the best defense is a good offense. Don’t feel bad for Nakkiel though, he won the BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma finals beating fwVista.

Tiger: It was nice to see Mori, Ueda, and Kondoh all congratulate the winners as well.

Rabbit: After the awards were presented, we got to hear a bit from the special guests before moving onto the Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN- finals.

Tiger: We don’t play Guilty Gear which made watching the matches a little harder and in all honesty, there really wasn’t a question of who was going to win this.

Rabbit: The only close match up was Sytha’s Zato-1 against See Me In +R’s Ky Kiske.

Tiger: Ky Kiske took the first round by a very slim margin and then was dominated by Sytha’s Zato-1.

Rabbit: Veteru’s Sol Badguy had no trouble at all winning against his opponents, even pulling out a couple of perfects. He easily won the title of GG champion.

Tiger: I was impressed with how easily he dodged everyone’s special attack too. I don’t think he got hit once by those moves.

Rabbit: After all that excitement, the awards were presented and then Kondoh Kanako gave a performance. We left shortly after that.

Tiger: I love how ecstatic she was that the character she voices won the tournament.

Rabbit: It was fun seeing Noel Vermillion herself congratulating DSMoove12.

Tiger: I still hate Noel though. Man, that character is a pain to fight against.

Rabbit: I felt bad for Ueda Kana because no one used Rachel Alucard.

Tiger: Well, she did remedy that eventually. Man, was she ever popular. There was a huge turnout of Fate/Stay fans, and if you didn’t know, she’s the voice of Tōsaka Rin.

Rabbit: Lots of love for all the special guests that night.

Tiger: *sighs*

Rabbit: What’s the matter?

Tiger: I’m just glad we’re almost done with these posts from Sakura-Con.

Rabbit: Why?

Tiger: Because they contain so many freaking macrons. I’m getting tired of them.

Rabbit: But I love macrons, they go well with coffee.
Tiger: *shakes fists* Macrons, not macaroons. Anyway, did you enjoy watching the matches live? Do you think it was more enjoyable than watching it online like we do for EVO?

Rabbit: I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it more, yeah it was fun but probably about the same for me as it is when we stream EVO’s content. I mean, I’m not really into watching eSports, I just don’t get them. For one, I’m not sure if they are even truly sports. Yes, they train and compete, and yes they are quite talented but I wouldn’t drop a couple hundred on tickets just to see them play like I would for an actually sport such as hockey. I don’t know, it’s strange watching someone play a game when you can just play it yourself. Out of all the games we do watch online, fighting games are the most entertaining because I know I will never get to that level, so it’s fun to see those highly skilled players duke it out but I don’t think I’d go out of my way to attend an event like this.

Tiger: I can see your point that if you aren’t interested in the game, it would be hard to watch people playing it. I know the Dota championships are held in Seattle also, which would be easy for us to attend, but since we don’t have an interest in the game it’s not worth spending the money to go see. However, fighting games are a totally different genre that was built around the rich history of martial arts and competitive boxing. How could you say that it’s not a sport?! No, those who train to become competitive fighting game players are at the apex of gaming’s echelon. They are the best of the best and represent the true abilities all gamers seek to hone. Their championships are sought by many but achieved by few. It’s exhilarating to witness and makes me want to strive for that level of commitment in all the games I play.

Rabbit: ^shakes head^ I take it you like watching fighting game tournaments in person? You sure did yell enough during those matches.

Tiger: Of course! I think we should try to go to EVO 2016. Tickets aren’t expensive, the only thing that will be pricy is the airfare and I’m sure we could make it work.

Rabbit: Why would I want to go to that?

Tiger: To see the best players in the world compete against each other in games like Ultra Street Fighter IV, Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN-, Super Smash Bros., Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat X, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Tekken 7, and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax!

Rabbit: Wait, Smash got two slots at EVO this year?

Tiger: Yeah, you should have heard Anthony and shidoshi from A Generic Video Game Podcast talk about that, they weren’t too pleased with the decision.

Rabbit: That’s a lot of money to go see other people play video games; I mean why not just spend it on ourselves?

Tiger: You know EVO is held in Vegas right?

Rabbit: ^shocked face^ Why aren’t we going this year?!

Are eSports Better Viewed Live and in Person?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit


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