Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Learning to Fly

Earlier in the week, I drove to Numata which is the town next to mine. This town, which is about a 40 minute drive, is the closest place to where I live with an arcade. They actually have 2 arcades and they both had Accent Core (though the Sega World only has a one sided cab with one set of controls, meaning you can only play one player). These arcades never have comp at all and are pretty much worthless to go to unless you want to play arcade mode vs the computer. However, I wanted to see if they got Blazblue because I could at least go there and practice combos and learn stuff even without having human comp. Much to my disapointment, neither of them had gotten the game. On top of that, the other arcade that actually had a few fighters and a regular AC cab, had replaced all of their fighting games with purikura machines (those photobooth sticker machines) so that arcade is pretty much completely worthless now. At least while I was there I found a nice PS3 Virtua stick high grade used for 2800 yen which is a great deal! Ill be using that to play HD remix started next week.

I started off the weekend this time on a Thursday. There were no classes to teach on Friday so I took the day off. I headed to Shinjuku at Vegas for Blazblue casuals. Nakamura was there and I got to play against his Taokaka a bit. He beat me like 5 or 6 times in some close games and I eventually beat him. I dont know the matchup well at all yet since I had hardly fought any good Taokakas at this point but I learned a lot just from these few games. After I beat him he said he had some business to take care of so he said goodbye and headed out. I played a bit more and eventually Rod (Honnou) came and he was with this girl named Mai (not to be confused with all the other Mais I have mentioned in this blog). He had plans to go eat with her but said he would meet up with me later.

After playing a bit at Vegas it was sorta dead so I went to Sportsland. Shoot was there (he works there). While I was playing, Shoot told me how to do Rachel's astral finish (which is sorta like an isntant kill in GG). During the final round of the match for both players, once you get full meter and health is less than 30% or so, just do down down down B. Its slow and doesnt seem very practical to use yet but over time, people may find a use for it. I havnt seen anyone actually use an astral finish in a match yet. Rod (Honnou) met up with me while I was playing at Sportsland, and after a few games he went to Current because he was to meet up with someone there. I told him I would catch up with him in a bit. He later emailed me saying Maiyuko was there and was asking about me. After winning a few games and waiting for a challenger but not having anyone play against me, I headed to Current as well.

At Current, it was very much like a typical Friday as far as turnout, but seeing as how it was a Thursday I was surprised. I talked with Maiyuko for a bit and this other guy named John who is a friend of hers as well as a photographer who does photo work for Monty at metal shows. In addition, there was this fucking WASTED English dude from Wales there. He looked about my age, pretty skinny. I forgot his name but Jackass is a fitting name so Ill call him Wales Jackass. He came up to me all wasted and started asking me all kinds of questions almost like he was trying to start a fight. I knew this guy was wasted cuz I already witnessed him fall off his bar stool a few times and also saw him like playfully slam Rod with some weird wrestling-esqe sorta move. He said something like "I think you look like a pussy". He was trying to say stuff that would offend me but I knew this guy was a joke and actually found it amusing. I told him he couldnt say anything that would piss me off and eventually he gave up and said he was a pussy too. Then he said he wanted to arm wrestle me. I was just like.. um sure why not. He was like "If you beat me, Ill kiss you." Im like "no thanks dude, I dont want that shit" and then hes like "ok if you beat me ill buy you a drink". At this point I was wondering if he was hitting on me.... I arm wrestled him and beat him pretty much for free... twice. Once with each arm. Afterwords I was like, dont worry about the drink. He was like "no no, I promised I would buy it". Except he never did! LOL what an ass. He took my hat and put it on and then went and sat at the other side of the bar. A few minutes later I got up to use the bathroom and as I passed by him I stole it back. I didnt talk to him after that the rest of the night. Everyone else at the bar had some good laughs at this guys expense.

The rest of the night I just talked with a few people, mainly John, and his Japanese friend and business partner Juniya. Rod spent most of the time there playing some DS strategy RPG but I dont remember what it was called. After the bar closed, Rod decided to go home. John, Juniya and Maiyuko were gonna go get food and I was hungry so I joined them. We went to this small dart bar over right by Vegas and my usual manga kissa and the place was called Sector 7-G (note The Simpsons reference). We got some food there and another beer and talked about various stuff and then at maybe about 6 am we headed out. It was only like a 15 second walk to the manga kissa. How convenient!

Next day (which was Friday), I woke up and headed right to Vegas. Some people were already there playing BB. I got a 12 win streak until I finally lost to a bang player. This was like one of the first decent Bang players I ever fought. I had already beat him a few times but he got a win on me eventually. Then I got 5 more wins and lost to him once more. I played a while longer and eventually Rod showed up. A little later we were getting hungry and needed a break from playing so we went to go get some food at this awsome indian resturaunt near Current and came back. A really good Litchi player was there and she had a 20 win streak but I beat her and ended it.

After a while I was getting kinda owned by some really good players so I decided to take a break and play some Accent Core. For the first few matches I felt all off and rusty because I hadnt played it yet all weekend and my brain was fixed on BB mode, but I eventually adjusted back. Theres this one orange Ky player whos there often and hes pretty good but I dont know his name. Rod was having some trouble beating him and seemed to be getting a little annoyed, saying that the guy pisses him off. The guy eventually played against me and I lost to him too, but I rematched him and eventually beat him 4 times in a row and he gave up. During the last match against him, I decided to be a cocky asshole and I taunted him after one of the rounds, giving him 50% tension. I then proceeded to perfect him that round and he never got to use any of it LOL! After that, MK (the Johnny player) challenged me a few times but I beat him without any loses and he also played his Sol against me which I beat as well. He had one of those Sols that likes to DP way too much. Then a bunch of other people played me and among them was this one guy who was kinda scrubby. I was being kinda a dick and taunting him a lot. At one point he tried to actually IK me with Ky LOL! After that, I constantly went into IK mode and tried to IK him with Faust, and after it missed (of course, beacause Fausts IK is slow and worthless) I just beat him anyway with no super bar LOL. I eventually got a 20 win streak soon after, Matt showed up all late. We were actually ready to head out soon because it was already late but Matt wanted to play a few games. At some point in there, Nick showed up too in order to meet up with us before going to Current. No one beat me yet, and I went to go use the bathroom and Rod took over my game. Orange Ky came back for some more and when I came back from the bathroom, Rod was fighting him with my Faust. It was a close round but Rod lost. I took over after that but I ended up losing to him. I didnt really care cuz we were gonna leave anyway.

After that, we all headed to Current. The Wales Jackass was there again but this time he didnt say anything to me the whole night and left pretty early... good shit! To be quite honest, I dont really remember much about this night. I just remember it being a pretty typcal night at Current which is fine, but nothing to really mention. Rod was playing that DS game again and realized that he didnt save it fromt he previous night. Also, I busted out N+ on my DS and showed Matt who never played before. He tried to beat this one level for like 20 minutes and kept failing, and then I beat it in like 1 minute lol.

After Current closed, Rod and Nick went home, but I went with Matt to PSY. A tyical night at PSY as well. A few of the PSY late night regulars were there including Request Man who was just drinking at the bar.

After they closed we got food and then I decided I would go try staying at Matt's host family's house since it was a long weekend and I wanted to get some quality sleep and a shower. It took a while to get there since we had to take a few train lines and the place was sorta near Akihabara. Eventually we made it there. The place was pretty big actually. It was like 5 floors and the family owned the whole building. The family owns a vegetable company. Matt lived in a room on the top floor. There was an extra futon for me to sleep on so I got some good rest.

I woke up the next day and took a shower and then the host mom made us some breakfast and we chatted for a bit. Overall it was nice cuz I got some sleep, the food was good, and the host mom was nice, but I felt a little awkward staying there cuz I didnt even know them. I probably wont stay there often since it takes a while to get there and I usually just wanna pass the fuck out ASAP after a long night of drinking, but its nice to know its there if I need it.

We decided to go play at Akihabara since it was close by. They have 5 cabs, and they are now set on 3/5 rounds, so its a great place to play. Lots of people were there playing, though I dont know who most of them were. I played some games and was doing so-so. It felt like so many players were already so far ahead of me and I was getting slightly frusterated, though seeing as how I can only play on weekends at these guys can play every day, I guess its to be expected. I know ill catch up eventually.

I decided to take a break from BB and play more GG. A little before this, Matt had to duck out for a bit to handle a private ekaiwa English lesson and would return about 2 hours later. There was this Eddie player who was beating lots of people. I played him a few times and lost because once again I was in BB mode and it really fucks with my execution. I need a few games to adjust before I can go back to GG and play at 100%. Once I got adjusted again I was able to beat him a few times and we went back and forth for a while. I think he was friends with Ogawa cuz they were talking for a while too. After I got tired of playing the Eddie player enough times, I decided to go back to Blazblue.

This time I was doing much better in general and got a few mini win streaks. Matt eventually returned as well and we played against various people for a bit longer. We got a message from Rod who wanted to meet us in Shinjuku, so we left Akihabara and headed over there.

We met Rod at Shinjuku Sportsland for some games. As always, Shoot was there working. He was giving all of us various advice about our characters while we were playing. We mostly played a few matches against eachother and a few various people. I think most of us were going fairly even from what I remember. Its nice to see we are all picking up the game at a fairly even pace as of now.

After playing for a big, it was time to go drinking. Earlier in the day, Rod went to a Shiina Ringo concert (she is a very famous Japanese pop/rock artist and is also who the Guilty Gear character I-no is somewhat based off of). He went with Tomoko (the current regular) and also had dinner with her. He promised to meet her at Current (she was waiting there for him). However, tonight was the birthday party for Nozomi (another regular) at Zin (where she works). Matt and I decided to go to Zin and Rod headed to Current. We planned to meet up again later.

Zin was absoloutly packed! The most packed I have ever seen it... to the point where you could hardly even move and there wasnt really anywhere to sit for many people. Most of the people there were actually regulars from Current since they are all friends with Nozomi. We stayed there for a bit and had a few drinks and I bought Nozomi a shot of Wild Turkey for her birthday and drank it with her. After staying there for maybe an hour or 2, we got an email from Rod saying that Current had a fair ammount of people there so we decided to go check it out.

It ended up being about the same ammount of people that were there the last 2 nights. Rod was sitting with Tomoko who was already all tired and sorta passing out. The 2 of them were getting pretty cozy sitting with eachother and at one point started making out. It seems Rod has sorta made a choice as to what girl he wants to pursue (appearently lately Ayami has been being a bit... cold... I guess you can say, and doesnt really talk with us much anyway). The 2 of them eventually fell asleep on eachothers shoulders. SPG Chris (who was at Zin earlier) was also there drinking with some people. Chip was also at Zin earlier but all of a sudden showed up at Current not long after we got there. Also, that one blonde girl Kirstie was there with some friends but they left to go to some trance club or some shit. We were thinking of going somewhere else to drink since Current kinda cleared out towards the end, but we ended up just talking a lot with Current staff and ended up staying till a little before closing. Masami and Mogi told us that the party at Zin would probably go late and they said they were gonna go there and drink after closing up the bar, so Matt and I decided to go back to Zin to drink some more. Before we left, Matt asked Rod if he was gonna take Tomoko to a love hotel in Okubo for some good times. Rod was just like "Matt, sometimes you just say the most inapropriate things" or something like that. Kinda funny.

Matt and I arrived back at Zin and now it was still full of people but not as crazy as before so it was much more comfortable. I decided to do 3 snus at the same time and 2 of them were soaked in rum, so I was just buzzing my ass off and was still enjoying some good drinks. Mogi, and Masami showed up soon after as well as Chip and we all had good times drinking together. All of a sudden, at some point, Masami and Yonei start taking off their clothes and ended up trading what they were wearing. It was actually pretty hilarious seeing them in eachothers clothes. Also, Mogi bought an entire bottle of Jack Daniels and was sharing it with lots of people. At about 7 am, the party showed no signs of ending. I could have drank longer but I was getting a bit tired and Matt was on the verge of passing out. I also wanted to play some good games of BB the next day so we decided to just leave. Matt was too lazy to go home so he just went with me to the manga kissa and slept there.

The next day we woke up and the only thing on our minds was playing some BB right away. I was actually supposed to go to Ikebukuro on this day to pick up some SF Alpha 3 DVD that this one guy on SRK paypaled me money to buy for him, but I completely forgot! I didnt even realize it until right before I typed this blog entry. Maybe I can still get it for him next weeekend, otherwise ill just give him his money back. Anyway we headed to Vegas for a bit but then we were getting hungry so we went to get some all you can eat Shakey's pizza lunch buffet.

After that we went to Sportsland cuz its right near there. Rod met up with us at some point while we were at sportsland. There were several good players there, and among them was a very solid Arakune player. This was pretty much my first time fighting against a really solid Arakune that knew what he was doing. Its funny cuz it turned out to be Kiro, the yellow Faust player. Rod tried to beat him several times and I think Matt maybe tried a few as well. Kiro eventually got this big win streak. I tried a couple times too but failed. Eventually I managed to beat him in a close match with a time over and ended his streak. I really felt lost and didnt know what was going on half the time against that character. Once you get hit by the curse, you just get hit by that random garbage and I havnt gotten used to when it hits and the conditions related to it, but its still early. I also need to get used to blocking Arakune as well when hes in my face. Its an interesting match because Rachel can hit him from full screen with her projectiles and can keep him off, but he can just teleport to the other side once you get near to try and rush him down. The match seems to go bad for me once I get cursed as its very hard to hit him. I know Rachel can deal with him though so I just need more experience. There honestly are hardly any Arakune players right now. The most common played characters seem to be Jin, Noel, Rachel, and some Ragna and Litchi too.

Also, while we were there, I asked Shoot who people are generally considering to be the best Blazblue players so far. He said that the top players right now are probably Inoue and Yume (the Sol player). Both of them use Ragna as their mains. He also said this one other Ragna player was top but I forgot his name. After that though, he said FAB's Tager is up there as well, which doesnt surprise me. Seems Ragna is extremely good and I honestly hate fighting him (and Litchi) the most so far in this game. Whether Ragna ends up dominating in the long run, or just for the short term because he seems pretty easy to pick up, remains a mystery.

We all just played for the rest of the day there and at some point I had to duck out and go to the ATM cuz I ran outta money. I wasnt playing all that great in general today though cuz I was just extremely tired from the long weekend and not much sleep. I played 2 more quick games against Matt, I won the first one and lost the 2nd one and then I pretty much had to leave cuz the last train was coming soon. I headed out and passed out the entire way home on the train.

I feel like I learned more this weekend about the game for sure but I have a huge urge to keep learning more. Theres so much I need to learn still about things my character can do as well as how to fight certain matchups. I wish I could play the game during the week, but theres really nothing I can do about it. I look forward to playing a lot more again next weeknend. Next weekend will also be my very first Blazblue tournament, so I am looking forward to that as well. At the same time I still love Guilty Gear but am a bit concerned about the scene. People still play it, but Blazblue is, of course, getting much more attention, which is to be expected. I just wonder if Blazblue really will end up "replacing" Guilty Gear, or if they honestly can co-exist with both of them having healthy scenes with lots of interest. Only...time... will tell.

"Well the good old days may not return
and the rocks might melt, and the sea may burn..."


Anonymous said...

I love Tom Petty

Unknown said...

I think BB will eventually replace GG, assuming there won't be another GG coming out.