Monday, April 20, 2009

National SF IV Tournament report for JOUR61

I thought I'd post this up just for preservation's sake. I'm not really that happy with it, and I'm sure I can do a better write up about the event (maybe tomorrow) but before I do that I'd like to get the pictures Jenna took off of her camera.

The following is just the write up I did on the National Street Fighter IV Tournament Finale for my Journalism 61 class. I did it way too late at night and I don't think its very good, so we'll see how the next draft goes.

Justin Wong of New York won Capcom and Gamestop’s National Street Fighter Tournament yesterday in San Francisco, besting the top contenders from around the country and then facing off in exhibition matches with the best players from Japan and Korea.

“Everyone’s a threat, I practice about three to five hours a day, but I haven’t played Daigo on Street Fighter IV yet,” Wong said speaking about Daigo Umehara, who many consider to be the best Street Fighter player in the world.

The tournament bracket consisted of 16 players from around the United States. The two favorites of the tournament, Wong and Mike Ross of Los Angeles, CA, faced off in the final round with Wong emerging as the victor.

At the start of the tournament there were clearly stronger players who dominated over others, but as the bracket thinned out, matches grew longer and players were more resistant to making the first move for fear of retaliation.

The first round of the tournament went by quickly with two matches being played at once. The crowd gathered around the stage and cheered when long combinations of moves were made or when the competitors pulled off particularly spectacular finishes.

The finalist from San Jose, CA, Chris Barnes played Balrog. Fighting his way to the final round of the national tournament proved a large payout.

“They flew us to San Francisco and put us up in a hotel for the weekend and even gave us some cash to spend. At the hotel we got to play around a little bit for fun. I played the Korean champion but I haven’t gone up against Daigo yet,” Barnes said.

Barnes lost to another Balrog player in round two, but the rest of the tournament provided extremely close matches between very skilled competitors.

In the end though, Wong and Ross squared off for the title of best Street Fighter in America. Both players were reluctant to attack waiting to instead react to their opponents move. After very dominant rounds, Wong would get into his opponents face to big crowd reactions.

With Wong’s victory, the international exhibition matches began giving the crowd even more excitement with big moves and even bigger wins. Daigo Umehara ended up being the overall victor of these exhibitions, even beating Wong in a four round to none shut out.

In attendance was Sony Format QA Ramon.

“The turn out is good and that means good game sales. Capcom, Sony, Microsoft, all businesses involved benefit from community events like this one,” said Ramon.

When asked about whether or not he had been playing Street Fighter IV at all, Ramon said that several tournaments had started up around the office.

Also in attendance was San Francisco native Carlo.

“These guys are hella good, I’d get owned,” Carlo simply stated in reaction to the international exhibition matches.

Overall there was a large crowd with everyone feeling generally friendly. Before almost every match the competitors would shake hands or exchange friendly gestures. Even during the international matches players shook after their battles.

“There are a lot more people that I would have expected,” Jenna Jue said. With several stations set up for playing Street Fighter IV, the crowd could get in on the fighting action as well.

In the end, observers could tell that everyone felt in on the action, the crowd’s roar, the celebration of the winners and smiles on everyone’s faces showed that the Street Fighter IV community shared a good time.

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