Monday, September 28, 2009

TGS Continuum Shift

On Friday, I was asked last minute to work late and help coach a student for an upcoming English speech contest. As a result, I didnt get off work till like 6 and ended up having to take a way later train than usual to go to Tokyo. When I checked the time, it said that I would have an 80 minute transfer wait at Takasaki station, so I knew I pretty much could count getting casuals in out the window. So to make the most of it, on the way to the station, I bought a whole 750 ml bottle of whiskey and a bottle of coke. Before getting on the train, I drank like almost half the coke, and then poored whiskey in there to fill up the rest of the bottle. By the time I made it to Takasaki I was already pretty lit up. Since I was anticipating an 80 minute transfer, Andy said he would come to the station and have some food with me while I waited. He had some things to take care of so he wasnt going to go to Tokyo till tomorrow morning. It turned out that the website I checked the times on was all wrong and the transfer time was only actually like 12 minutes, but since Andy came all the way and I was already getting pretty drunk, I just said fuck it and had dinner with him anyway. We had some burgers at a place in the station I never heard of and I forgot the name, but they were tasty and a little expensive. We ran into 2 other random Takasaki ALTs that were there eating but I dont really know them. After eating, I headed off on the rest of way to Tokyo, but before getting on the train I mixed another one of those half whiskey coke bottles for the remainder of my trip.

When I arrived at Shinjuku, I think it was maybe like about 11 pm. I was going to go to Current but on the way I just couldnt fight the urge to play some casuals anyway even though I was drunk, so I just stopped in at Shinjuku Sportsland. I started off by playing some SFIV and played this really good Dhalsim with lots of BP. I took a round on him but I lost cuz its a bad matchup and I dont know it too well either, plus that guy was really good. Then I played some GG against some Bridget and beat him like 4 in a row. He eventually squeezed a win on me and then I rematched him, won and then he quit. After waiting about 5 minutes and having no one challenge me, I just left the machine and played more SFIV. I managed to beat like 2 people, I think one was Ryu and one was Akuma. Then I lost to a Chun player. While I was playing I got a mail from Antti who said he was at Current and wanted to drink with me. I was satisified enough for now and was still pretty drunk so I figured that was enough games for tonight and headed to Current.

It wasnt too packed but there were a few people there. I said hi to Antti and his girlfriend and then I went to sit with Chibi Testament in the back who was there with that same random British guy from last weekend, a friend of his, and some other girl. Chibi Testament was all asking about Emmet but he couldnt come this weekend cuz he had to work Saturday. After a while, I went to sit and talk with Antti and his girlfriend and pretty much just chatted with them for the rest of the night. Antti found out some bad news today that even though his contract for his job still had 2 years left on it, they told him that since the company is having financial trouble that he might get transfered to an entirely different country in about 6 months. It would suck to see him go if it does end up happening, but its still early so we will see what happens. At some point, Antti and Masami just had a random arm wrestling match for no appearant reason and Antti won. Then me and Antti arm wrestled and I somehow surprsingly won even though I figured Antti would destroy me. After that, it was getting near 3 am and I wanted to get going so I could be at the Tokyo Game Show when it opened in the morning at 10 am, but Antti kept convincing me to have another beer... like 4 times in a row lol... so I stayed till like 4:30 and then finally left and went to sleep at the manga kissa.

Things actually worked out well because the next morning when I woke up, Andy told me he overslept and would be running late as well. I took the train over to Makuhari Messe and after waiting in line and stuff I finally got into TGS at about 12:30. One of the first booths I saw was the Capcom booth but I was disapointed to see that no new info about the rumored upcoming Super Street Fighter IV had been revealed. This is my 3rd time going to TGS now and it wasnt all the much different than other years. There really isnt much reason for me to talk about actual news that was there because plenty of internet news sites and blogs have already gone into great detail about that. I did see a lot of awsome cosplayers though and I took lots of picutres of just about everything I saw so it would be better to just let those do the talking. Andy showed up maybe about a half hour after I arrived and we walked around together the rest of the time there. I would say the game that impressed me the most was MGS Peace Walker. The trailer looked fantastic and I am really hype about the game. FFXIII looks pretty cool too I guess. The lines to play any demos were pretty long and I didnt really feel like waiting in them, espesially after last weekend at Fuji Q LOL... plus you can DL alot of these demos online so I can just play them later.

One thing that was pretty awsome was the merchandise area. Most of the lines were also extremely long for these but the most awsome booth of all had like no line whatsover... and that booth was the Hori booth! They had all kinds of awsome new arcade stick models for sale as well as new versions that arnt on the market yet that look absolutely amazing. They also had this cool electronic device that you could put over your index finger that allowed for hyper fast button presses. Doing Blanka standing jab and comboing into fierce electricity would be so much easier if I could use one of those LOL. They were also selling Real Arcade Pro T-shirts and I totally bought one cuz the design was cool and they were only 1500 yen. I also bought some plushy Yoshi dolls for Ryoko. The place I bought them had like plushies of just about any Nintendo character you could think of for sale. The Square and Capcom merch booths had like 45 minute waiting lines but after looking at the catalouge of what they were selling, there was nothing I really wanted so I didnt bother with it. I almost got this awsome Sega Saturn shirt from this one booth but they were sold out of my size.

At some point we got food and I bought these crappy 200 yen fries that sucked. The rest of the time we pretty much took picutres of all the awsome cosplayers. I wont describe them because you can see them on my pictures page. One thing that dig shock me though was when we were outside at the cosplay area I randomly ran into DIE-chan and Shouji! They were just there chilling. I asked them if they knew about the new BB location test today in Akihabara and they said they were planning to go there after TGS as well so they said they would see me there.

After doing a little more walking around with Andy, we pretty much saw everything we were interested in seeing. I was pretty disapointed that there was no Ark Systems booth there at all this year. We left TGS at around 4 pm cuz we had enough and wanted to avoid the big crowds that would be leaving all at once at 5 pm when the event closed.

We rode the train back but then we parted ways somewhere on the way. 2 of the other Takasaki ALTs, Cameron and Eli, were coming to Tokyo and going to another one of those international friends partys with the all you can drink for a few hours. Andy had agreed to go with them but quite frankly, I really wanted to go check out the BB loketest so I headed to Akihabara HEY by myself and told them I would meet up with them later at Current after I saw enough of the loketest.

When I got to HEY, I shocked to find that the line for the loketest to play stretched the entire length of the 3rd floor and then went down 2 whole flights of stairs on the staircase. There must have been over 75 people waiting in line. At 3-5 minutes per match (since everyone was pretty much just testing stuff out and trying to let the clock run out much as they could to get their time's worth) I estimated the waiting time at like over 3 hours or something. I would have liked to try the game out, but while standing in line, you cant even see the game until you get near the end of the line, so I figured I would much rather watch than wait 3 hours to play like one match. I guess if anything at least its good to know that theres a lot of hype for this game. I remember when I went to the TvC loketest before, the line was almost non existant. I stood off to the side in an area where a few more people were watching. Most people were using Noel and Ragna and I saw a decent amount of Arakune. There were a couple of characteres I didnt see like Nu (who is now called like Lambda-11 or something) and surprisingly Jin. At some point I went and bought a pen cuz I didnt bring one and I even took a crap ton of notes about some of the changes cuz I was gonna post the info online, but at this time, when I came home after this weekend I found that on dustloop, people had already found out all the information mostly from Japanese blogs and stuff so theres no reason for me to talk about any of the system changes here on my blog. You can see the changes here on this thread.

The staff was being really annoying and didnt want people standing around watching cuz they said we were blocking the escalator but even once we cleared a path the guy would come back and start bitching at us to move. I was totally out of the way, mostly leaning against a Demon Bride cab that no one was playing on anyway. I noticed most of the Japanese guy standing around were just ignoring this guy so I just pretended not to understand Japanese and continued to watch. The guy was totally getting stressed out but he still didnt do anything about it, LOL. After watching for a bit, I decided I would play a little GG. I won a few and would glance over at the BB cab which I could easily see from where I was sitting at the GG cab, so I got to make some observations. Also, while I was playing, DIE-chan and Shouji arrived and waved to me but then I think they went to go stand in line. Then no one was playing me on GG for a while so I continued to watch a little longer.

Eventually at around 9 pm, I had been watching the loketest for several hours, and that international party had ended so I decided I should leave and head to Current. Liz wanted to meet me there for some drinks and I was gonna meet up with Andy and the other guys there too.

When I got to Current, a few regulars like Ayano were there and I chatted with her and Mogi for a bit. Eventually Liz showed up and after that, Andy and the other 2 guys came and they had 2 girls with them that they picked up from the party. They were planning on going clubbing in Shibuya and this one place called Pure. From 11 pm to 5 am, the cover was 3500 yen but it was all you can drink all night long. Normally im not so big on clubbing, but Current wasnt all that packed aside from some random people cuz Ayano went home early, and it would be way cheaper to drink there instead of at Current all night and Im sorta trying save money cuz im a little broke these days, so I decided I would go with them. We stayed at Current for about an hour and a half and then headed out. Liz had stuff to do early in the morning so it was me, Andy, Eli, Cameron, and the 2 girls that all went.

We found the place quickly and it ended up being pretty good actually. I drank Tequila cokes all night had a ton of then but was feeling great. The club wasnt huge but it filled up pretty quick. The music was pretty generic typical club music, which I dont care for, but was drunk enough to not give a shit. The best thing about this club, was that they had a small stage with a dancing pole, and throughout the night, young sexy girls who worked for the club would come on and do some pole dancing in pretty skimpy outfits. I got lots of pictures of them as well haha. Most of the night I just sat at a table and chilled with Andy but I did a little dancing towards the end of the night as I got drunker. Eli and Cameron mostly chilled with those girls they came with, though Camerons girl left early (she was the cute one) and Eli was totally just being the wingman cuz he was stuck with the not so cute one and was regretting bringing her along lol... but I think they both had fun anyway. We left like at around 4:30, got some McDonalds (but got there too early for breakfast which sucked cuz I wanted that Mega Muffin set as usuall). Then after eating, Andy and I left and found a manga kissa nearby. We could have drank more but we wanted to hit up the location test again tomorrow at a decent time.

The manga kissa was nice and I got lots of sleep and a shower so I felt pretty refreshed. After waking up, we got some quick Wendys and then headed back to Akihabara. At first, we thought the location test was over because the cab wasnt where it was the day before, but then we found it in the back by the SFIV cabs near the staircase. This time they had 2 setups instead of just one. The line once again stretched down the stairs but I think it was shorter today for sure than it was on Saturday. Andy considered waiting in it but we both opted not to because it was just really long and they had a nice big TV to watch it on by the stairs and we could stand there and watch. Once again the staff was being really annoying and kept telling us we couldnt sit on the stairs and had to stand even though I see no reason why sitting would be bad... infact if we sit its easier for everyone else to see... the staff at HEY is a bunch of assholes. Anyway, once again the characters that were played way more than anyone else were Noel and Ragna. This time throughout the day I eventually did see every character get used but I only saw Nu like once the entire time for a brief while. I saw a few players I knew there like Bleed and Masutani. I think at one point Masutani played a Bang mirror match against who I think might have been Dora. People were actually getting kinda hype for it. The guy who I think was Dora won and then he fought against a Hakumen player and won be going into Bang install mode and running away the entire match and winning by time over. It looks like there is literally nothing Hakumen can do in that situation.

A few other personal observations I made were that I really like the new character artwork, the poses are nice and everyone looks more serious. I also noticed there was like hardly any or like no new colors, though this might change upon final release. The new announcer sucks balls. The old one was serious and cool and this one is all happy sounding and just sounds like someone who cant act even though you dont even need to be able to act to be an announcer and somehow she fucked it up anyway. Overally I am glad to see that most of the really powerful stuff was nerfed and weaker characters got buffed. I anticipate this version being much better of a game. I also am glad they nerfed Arakune because playing him before felt kinda braindead and now I think I will enjoy playing the game more. Also, Tsubaki looks like a pretty cool new character. She has tons of special moves, is pretty fast, seems like some of her pokes have decent range, and she has the ability to charge her specials and also cancel them into other specials kinda like how Jam can do it with her kick specials. I might give her a try but will probably still play Arakune.

At maybe around 5:30, Andy wanted to get going because he had some stuff to take care of. I was gonna go with him but if I took that train I would have like a 45 minute waiting time at Takasaki so I opted to stay later and take a train that had a lesser transfer waiting time. I played some games of GG after feeling I saw enough BB. I beat some Anji like 6 in a row and then this one Eddie came along. Every match I played against him was like super close but he beat me like 4 times in a row while also beating a Slayer and Dizzy player in between. He eventually had like 10 wins, and he felt solid but so beatable and most of the rounds I lost were like over something dumb like an execution mistake mostly related to the stick being too springy and messing up my FDCs and getting accidental double jumps out of it. It was approaching the time I needed to leave but I was getting a bit annoyed and REALLY wanted to beat this guy before I left, espesially since he had like this cocky smile on his face. The final time I played him, I just was straight up in his head and won 3 rounds straight. I had like 5 minutes left to make it to the station so I just got up and left as soon as I won.

I made it on the train and then when I got to Ueno I made it just in time for the next Takasaki line train. BUT... it turns out I fucked up. When I looked up the train time on my phone, I wrote down the time I was supposed to leave Takasaki, but I thought it was the time I had to leave Akihabara, so as a result, I took a slightly later train which was non express and I ended up getting to Takasaki with 47 minutes left before the next train back home. I was kinda upset but there was nothing I could do about it so I got some food from the conbini and ate and waited. I eventually ran into this one guy named John who is a Numata ALT and he was on his way back from Tokyo so we rode the train together. He was telling me about this weird running/drinking club he is in where people just make random trails, follow them and run for hours, and drink beer out of random items like plungers, bed pans, and tennis ball cans. I it sounded pretty fucked up but it was entertaining to hear about on the way home I guess.

That pretty much sums things up for this weekend. I dont think theres anything special going on for the next weekend or so but if something worth typing about comes up I will update again.

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