In the town of Amherst, Nova Scotia, over 20 of the best Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Street Fighter X Tekken players from across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia amassed at The Gaming Edge video game and hobby store to attempt to take home the title of Downtown Showdown champion. PSU was on hand for coverage of the inaugural event.
Street Fighter was by far the most popular and most practiced game at the tournament as 20 players in a double elimination bracket fought for the title. Talking to the competitors it was obvious this was not a Mickey Mouse event as half of the field traveled a few hours to come here just for Street Fighter. Event organizers were also happy with the turnout as it was a new event at a new venue not on the regular rotation for the region. Speaking with the organizers throughout the tournament they were excited for future events as the town’s location is central between the region’s major cities, allowing for a neutral venue and cheaper travel cost for all interested competitors.
After over two hours of competition Andrew “Kawagawaga” Dobson faced off against Justin “Rick Lazer” Adams in a fierce matchup. Having played Vega the entire tournament, Kawagawaga made a metagame choice to switch up and play Blanka against Cammy, having the advantage of dictating terms from the winner’s bracket. The move almost cost him early as Rick Lazer was able to take a quick two match lead, prompting Kawagawaga to switch back to Vega. After the audible he was firmly in the driver’s seat winning three straight matches and winning the event in style with a super move, much to the crowds delight. Throughout the tournament there was not a single, dominant character in the field as there was little overlap between competitor’s choices. Everyone from Rufus and Guile to Ryu and Hakan were chosen.
(From left to right: Jon Perry, Andrew Dobson, Justin Adams)
After a grueling first tournament, six competitors played in a single round elimination battle of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. A lot of different characters were being used, with Hagaar and the Resident Evil cast getting picked the most for competitor’s teams. The Street Fighter tournament was a lot more jovial and cheerful due to the double elimination structure whereas the tension could be cut with a knife during MvC3. Lose once and you are finished and the looks on competitor’s faces showed it. Kawagawaga and Rick Lazer showed their multi-game expertise making it to the finals against each other again. Revenge was not in the cards for Rick Lazer as Kawagawaga did not metagame and was all business, easily dispatching his opponent as if it were another day in the office.
(From left to right: Justin Adams, Andrew Dobson, Dave Andrews)
The quickness of MvC3 gave way to another double round elimination marathon in Street Fighter X Tekken. Eight players squared off, proving that in this event Street Fighter is the game of choice for people. Tekken characters were used quite a bit too, which was a surprise as all participants were in the Street Fighter tournament. When asked some said it was strategy while others said they wanted to have fun and try something new. Once again Kawagawaga made it to the finals, this time facing off against Deron “Skaz” Skazalski. The Skaz could not deny Kawagawa the treble as he was dispatched in style. A special shout out to Rick Lazer for finishing in third place, missing out on a finals showdown trifecta.
(From left to right: Deron Skazalski, Andrew Dobson, Justin Adams)
After an impressive display of multi-gaming skill I sat down with Kawagawaga for a quick interview.
Lasombra: How much preparation did you do for this event?
Kawagawaga: I did very little specific preparation because I didn’t think I would come to the tournament. I practice a few hours each day though.
Lasombra: Having played with Vega for the entire Street Fighter tournament why did you switch and use Blanka in the finals?
Kawagawaga: I knew Justin (Rick Lazer) would play Cammy and I had good luck using him but he smoked me in the first two matches so I switched back.
Lasombra: Even though you were coming from the winner’s bracket, how was your confidence level after losing the first two matches 2-0 and 2-1?
Kawagawaga: My confidence level is always low. After losing the first matches I thought I’d give Vega a try. If I lost the round I would have been a wreck.
Lasombra: What is the next event you plan on participating in?
Kawagawaga: There is a Maritimes major competition in April in Halifax and I am planning to go to it. It all depends on the money situation.
Lasombra: How do you feel winning all three events?
Kawagawaga: Pretty good. It definitely wasn’t easy. There were some surprises in the player quality and the high turnout. To be honest I think I got lucky in some matches. Shout out to the venue and giving us the chance to show our skills and I hope there are more in the future.
Today’s event showcased three popular games in the fighting scene. But talking to competitors and audience members it became increasingly apparent that other titles could bring a high turnout rate as Super Smash Brothers got a lot of requests, as well as some players asking for Persona 4: Arena, Mortal Kombat and even BlazBlue.
Due to the distances between cities in the region it will be interesting to see in future events if some areas produce better players in specific games than others. Of the 20 competitors in today’s event, 10 were from Springhill, four from Truro, one from Halifax, one from Sackville, and four from Amherst. Home field advantage helped no one as Kawagawaga and Rick Lazer proudly represented Springhill with three top 3’s each. Jon “One Eyed Jack” Perry represented Halifax in the Street Fighter top 3, David “Dave” Andrews gained some prestige for Sackville in MvC3, and Deron “Skaz” Skazalski did Truro proud with his finish for Street Fighter X Tekken.
Speaking with the owners of The Gaming Edge, they were adamant at wanting to make this a monthly event and help grow the fighting game scene in the region, as well as expand into other tournaments for Call of Duty, Rockband, DDR, and whatever the regional scene has a passion for. With a diverse stock of video games from all systems and hobby games like Magic: the Gathering and Warhammer, at the lowest prices in all of the Maritimes, they told this reporter they want Amherst to become a dominant force in the Maritimes for gaming competitions of all kinds.
Overall the tournament was a fun and entertaining time. The staff and organizers were friendly and on the ball about everything, lots of room for participants and the audience to watch the games, and even free play areas set up in other parts of the shop where people were displaying their skills in other tournament games like NES Tetris, Super Smash Brothers and Mario Party. Competitors were fiercely competitive but friendly, and at a $5 entry fee the price was low enough that a first-timer could cut his teeth without breaking the bank, while someone traveling from afar would win a prize worthy of the journey.
Written by - Dane Smith, Japan editor for PlayStation Universe. When not out on the streets of Nagoya wondering why no one is looking for a Yakuza-style showdown, he can be found cracking open the newest RPG to hit the shelves. You can follow him on Twitter or read some of his past musings.