Throughout the course of the year, Australia has a lot of wide and varied tournaments serving gamers’ competitive needs. But none are as competitive or as fierce as those held by the fighting game community, which enjoyed a stellar 2012 by having some of the biggest and most unique events seen in the country.
The first nationals for the year, OZHadou 11, looks set to continue that tradition, having been selected as an official qualifier for the Evolution global fighting game championships at the Paris Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, in July.
I spoke to some of Australia’s most talented fighters ahead of the event and asked them what their expectations were, who to keep an eye on as potential darkhorses, what Australia’s chances at the world finals in Las Vegas were — and just exactly why they love fighting games so much.
3rd for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 at OHN 2012 and one of Queensland’s best UMvC3 players:
I expect OHN 11 to be a fun, exciting, and entertaining time. As with the previous years they always deliver a high quality tournament. Ziggy, Yang and Yousseff make this easily the best major for Australian Fighting Tournaments except for Shadowloo Showdown of course.
The Road to Evo qualifier hasn’t changed my preparations toward the tournament. I take every tournament seriously and with a high level of preparation. Even though the EVO points are a nice incentive there are many other reasons for going to this event. The biggest reason I think for people in Australia to go to OHN is more about pride. And to prove who are the best at their respective game and who is the best state.
Without giving too much away from our scene, there are 3 Queensland players that I will not be looking forward to meeting: 2 players from Victoria and 1 from NSW.
Thomas “Nefelious G” Body is the most decorated player for Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. He didn’t lose a single tournament to anyone in Australia in Marvel vs Capcom 3, he only lost to [foreigners] at Shadowloo Showdown (Tokido and Mago) and at EVO (Clockwork and ChrisG). He is always a threat in this game and will be a really good match if I come up against him in [the] tournament.
Tyrone “OmegaRed” O’Toole aka is the Wolverine master only to PR Rog in the [United States]. His rushdown is relentless and unforgiving. He was the highest placing QLD’er at [Shadowloo] with international guests coming 7th in the tournament. I only hope that someone else takes him out and not me. Tyrone is currently my pick [for] OHN11.
Stefan “Solid Stef” Materazzo. What can I say about the kid. He is a beast to say the least. I’m going to nickname him the Interstate Killer. As he has won all of the recent majors at interstate tournaments. He will be a hard challenger and will expect new stuff from him as well with his strange team and ridiculous setups.
Michael “ToXY” Guida is what I believe to be the most versatile gamer at the highest levels. Any game that he touches he always excels at it. Recently he clean-sweeped all three fighting games in NZ for UMVC3, SF4AE and SFXT. He is always someone you need to keep an eye on and be wary of and will expect to see his name be in the top 8.
Arnold Samau (from NSW): He is a beast, the fact that he won [UMvC3 at OHN 11] last year is reason enough to look out for him. But this year lets see if he can still hold the crown. The underrated players that I think will perform better than expected will be Peter Pham “Fish” and Tri from QLD.
Australia is viewed by foreign countries as a good country, but not the best. If we were ranked by the other countries in the world I think a good estimate is probably around 5th-10th at fighting games. This is mainly because they don’t get enough exposure to our gameplay at fighting games in general. And its because that the other countries simply have a higher population than Australia in a more condensed area. So naturally they have more players than Australia.
I think if our top 10 Australian players were to enter EVO… I think there is a good chance that a fair few could make it through to the top 32. And that’s really good considering that at EVO there are usually over 2000 competitors for the one game.
One of WA’s best SF4: Arcade Edition fighters, 4th place finisher for KOF13 at 2012′s OHN
Every OHN provides a great opportunity to meet new players as well as catch up with friends from other states and I expect it to be no different this year. It’s going to be exciting to see how Melbourne’s Marvel players fare against QLD and Syd. These states have been proven powerhouses but Perth is bringing their best Marvel players this year. I am hoping we can cause an upset. In terms of KoF13, it has always been Colin (Colonov) versus the rest of Aus. A couple of us have been secretly training hard for this event. Expect some upsets!
As for [SF4:AE], ever since Johnny (HumanBomb) returned to HK, the throne has always been up for grabs. I expect players like ShangTsuang, ToXY, Robsux, AfterDeath to do well as they consistently have.
Other countries tend to view us as a “Free” country not due to our skill level (which we have improved heaps over the past few years) but based on international performances. They would need to play more international players as well as watch and study heaps of videos. Our community is a lot smaller than many other countries, and this puts us at a disadvantage.
With the discovery of unblockables in SSF4AE, the metagame has evolved into a game of counter-picking. Outside of Japan, it’s very hard to main one character and expect to win every tourney. KOF13 is slowly growing in Australia, I hope OHN 11 will encourage others and many original/old school KOF players to pick this game up.
(I love fighting games because of) the mind games, combos, and because of how it’s never the same each round/game. It’s a skillful game of intellect, dexterity/execution and reaction. Each character has a fixed set of moves, and if you delve down deeper, you will find information like frame data, hurtbox, hitbox, etc. Studying this will give you an edge, and pits you against your opponent in a high level of rock, paper, scissors. Magic pixels in the game during tournament makes some rounds super hype. Being able to show off your combos or outwit your opponent gives great satisfaction.
Colin “Colonov” Tan
Winner of the KOF13 tournaments at ButtonSmash 2012 and Battle Arena Melbourne in October
I’m expecting [OHN 11] to be a jam packed event. We’ve seen the fighting game community grow from year to year, and this year will be no exception. OHN never fails to deliver interstate rivalry at its finest, and with the way things have been going so far, this year will certainly not disappoint.
I’d like to see more cohesion and readiness to setup meets for more sessions. Given that arcades are a dying industry, most of the gameplay casual gamers get against others is online. Of course this is less than optimal with lag issues, which is why it’s so important to be able to play others in person.
On a larger scale, I’d like to see more major tournaments and more sponsors backing these tournaments. Even having on average a major every 2 months in Australia would ideally not only boost interest, but would give players something to work towards in the short term.
As [KoF13] is arguably the most balanced fighting game out there being played right now, character knowledge plays a big part in success as a player since every character in the game is viable. Internationally though, it’s mainly the Japanese, Koreans and Central Americans are the ones innovating new approaches to the game and its engine, which is a very refreshing take [on] the game indeed.
It’s not just the competition and hype that comes from it, but it’s also the people you meet and the relationships you forge with fellow players, even if they live halfway across the globe. Together we form communities, communities that support and encourage growth of not just how a game is played, but also our personal lives as well.
You can find out more information about OZHadou and OHN 11 through their website.