Thursday, November 17, 2011

Northwest Majors 3

I've posted previously about the fact that Ryan plays video games competitively, particularly Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter AE. There is an entire scene devoted to this, with heroesvillains*, stars, and champions. It can be very much like following baseball or football once you know the personalities behind the players. There are live streams showing the games and even commentators!

Many of our closest friends here in Washington are fellow competitors, and so I really enjoy the tournaments even though I'm not so great at the games myself. (Although the Northwest Majors 3 Mortal Kombat champion, Duncan Tonningsen, has offered to tutor me on the character Kitana and I'm going to take him up on it). I cheer on friends and players I follow, and delight in the dramatics of finals.

The Seattle gaming community really came together for this. Brent Cleary set it up, and it became a matter of Northwest pride that it go down well, and I feel like it really did. Though there were some hectic moments as everyone shuffled players into their pools, Robert Plummer kept a cool head and organized the chaos like no other with the help of Eric Liggins. Frank Caraan, Kriangkrai Buapetch, Mandel Scott, and many others shined on the stream and explained the matches with equal doses of knowledge and humor. I volunteered to help out getting people registered and selling raffle tickets at the front table and had a great time.

Folks loved our art! We had some print requests in person and emails from the stream. It was wonderful to share our work with the public and see people's reactions in person.

While our pal Duncan won Mortal Kombat, Filipino Champ won Street Fighter AE AND Marvel vs Capcom 3! He was such a nice guy. I know there are videos and threads out there painting him as salty or cocky or whichever, but he was a total sweetheart all weekend. He bought, like, half of our raffle tickets benefiting the Seattle Children's Hospital and he was friendly and funny every time I dealt with him. Some people get portrayed so unfairly.

However two of our Marvel vs. Capcom 3 players, Rat and Rowtron, came so close to beating him, it was painful. There is this one character called Dark Phoenix who until a few days ago was ridiculously unbalanced. He played her, and although he won it became very frustrating for the audience knowing how difficult she is to beat vs the actual skills of Rat and Rowtron. It will be very interesting to see the next big Marvel vs. Capcom event now that she has been modified. 

You get to see my artwork all the time, here is some of my husband's.
Rocket Raccoon
Ryan signing his Rocket Raccoon print the night before the majors.
The artwork displayed in the hall.
Ryan's prints.
Our buddy Matt's prints.
Some of my prints.
Zafo (Ryan) and Bokkin prepare to face each other to move onto the next round.
(When they played the actual video game, Bokkin won).
Rob sifting the crowds into pools.
Frankdadank and Super Joe clowning around.
Gootecks reading over the brackets.
Mike Has Cookies showing off his shirt, while Zafo and Bokkin continue
the stare down.
Mortals preparing for Kombat.
The raffle, you can see me three in from the left.
Myself and Jenna chatting between selling tickets
to win that pile of arcade sticks behind us.
Filipino Champ winning another prize!
Myself jumping into a crowd shot.
Our commentators, and the stream set up. 
A shot of the audience enjoying finals.
I feel like our commentators are on a level of sportsmanship that some of the other regions have not reached, to be honest. And I will explain why: We watch a lot of the California and East coast streams whenever regionals are held, and often times the commentators drive me nuts. Everyone talks about how they want a wider audience, and then what do they do? They speak only to the most technical fans, the players themselves. It's like watching baseball and having only the catcher and the pitcher talk about the game in inside jargon.

Our commentators not only speak to the well versed player, but also to the folks who may not have ever seen Street Fighter before. That's how you build an outside audience: let them in on the fun. You know who can play baseball? A very small number of people. You know who watches baseball? Millions of people who enjoy when the nuances of the game are broken down in terms they can understand by charismatic commentators who are fun to listen to and respectful of the players. I think the other streams would be much more entertaining if they had someone like Frank Caraan commentating rather than the drunk loudmouths they usually put in the chair. (No, seriously, sometimes it's the worst train wreck to endure).

Not to mention some of the country's other commentators are seriously disrespectful and drop the f-bomb-gay-slur all the time, and this is 2011, not a Mississippi back porch in the 1950s. Nothing tunes out potential sponsors and fans like ignorance they can't comfortably share. How are you going to send a video with that junk on it to anyone?

"Hi, I'm emailing you this awesome clip of Ricky Ortiz** winning a match, just ignore the idiots speaking on it who keep freaking out that he likes Lady Gaga...Also this isn't safe for work...Also, I don't think they actually hate gays...But yeah, I don't know what their deal is...Oh, yeah, no they're REALLY loud, don't wear headphones when you watch this...Um, do you still want to see it though?"

I'm just saying, growing a sport, even a virtual one, starts and ends with audience interest.

And I now will primly step off my little soap box and conclude with a video of fun and love from the Northwest Majors 3 that is super fun to share! This past weekend was such a blast, and I look forward to the next big tournament.

*(I'd like to note even though I used Daigo for the villain link, I actually really like him).
**Ricky Ortiz is awesome. He may be my favorite Street Fighter player.

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