Monday, April 3, 2017

Matthew Reports - Shawnanigans Presents FFF: Foolish Fools in a Fools Tournament

With SakuraCon two weeks ahead, I needed to "warm up" and get back into the groove of reporting as well as editing both photos and videos before heading out to Seattle Easter weekend. And what better place to do that is at a...

Pump it Up tournament?

This tournament, hosted by Shawnanigans and was held at Strikes Unlimited up in Rocklin, CA, was billed to be a dandy as people from not only NorCal were showing up but the best from across the country, some even as far as Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Massachusetts.

Unfortunately, I forgot when the tournament started actually started when I booked my tickets for Ghost in the Shell two weeks ago after taking advantage of a Crunchyroll promotion (thanks Ryan!), so by the time I actually got to the venue they had gotten far in the Lower Speed Division, which was one of three divisions being represented; the other two being Freestyle and the Upper Speed Division.

Even on the Lower Speed Division, the song choices were difficult and it's not easy not only to be physically fit and conditioned to make those movements on a consistent basis but also be knowledgeable in the charts themselves - a Single 17 (S17 for short) can play dramatically different than a S19 or even a Doubles 17 (D17 for short); not to mention, songs from previous games are in play, some dating back to the early 2000s.

The final two of the Lower Speed Division watching the chart for their song
Eventually that portion of the overall tournament finished up, with awards and a portion of the prize money as well as motivation to compete in the Upper Speed Division - in essence, this was their graduation ceremony and now they had go to compete in the big leagues. Certainly, they are ready for it.

Top 3 of the Lower Speed Division posing for photos
Now comes the fun portion of the evening: Freestyle. Freestyle is judged a tad different than just overall score and grade, you also have to look good with your routine and and get the best crowd reactions, but you still need to score and get a good grade.

The judges going deliberating after a freestyle performance
And in Freestyle, everything is legal including have a chair on the pad, sitting on it, and going full roast mode.

This is not that performance, but this one was a crowd pleaser
Jonas would take the Freestyle crown with his near-perfect routine involving a 999 BPM chart that only a USPF veteran like himself would pour hours into practicing and knowing where to place all his props and where his movements had to be at off of the pad.

Top 3 of Freestyle posing for photos
Finally, we get to the main of the event of the evening: Upper Speed Division, or as I called it "REAL DANCING HOURS." The charts get insanely harder, and even during the qualifying round just to reach Top 16 bracket I was amazed by the footwork the participants had as it reminded me of fighting game tournaments and the handwork I would see on gaming pads or sticks.

The amazing footwork on display
Top 16 would be sorted out but the participants were complaining about uneven and oversensitive pads during the qualifying round. Before bracket play started, Shawn and his crew rolled out a tool bag NASCAR-style and went to work fixing the machine.

Shawn working on that oversensitive pad
This gave me some time to legitimately get something to eat, talk to Nate about Sakura-Con, and talk to Ryan about potentially reviving an old idea of his to only miss Top 16 and some of Top 8.

The Upper Speed Division took a very long time but in between that were some tense and tight moments that you would expect from a tournament.

Winning by 200 points was a memorable moment from the tournament
John Tran getting love from the NCWO crew after advancing
The Championship Match was a classic, with John Tran and Matt Miller taking all five songs to determine a champion.

Top 3 of Upper Speed Division posing for photos
It was almost 2am and we had finally finished up their entire tournament.

The group photo in two shots
Big props go out to Shawnanigans for organizing this national tournament and for me to write, take some photos and videos for this event & for Strikes Unlimited for being awesome hosts - providing internet, water, and motivation to come back here to host more tournaments like this in the near future.

Random photo of DeKree to finish out this report

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