TSM announce “Hjelte” series following Melee player Leffen

TeamSoloMid have announced a new documentary series focusing on the Super Smash Bros. Melee player, William “Leffen” Hjelte. The series, simply titled “Hjelte”, will be 3 parts long, and will focus on Leffen’s time at EVO 2017. According to producer Andrew White, it will be “covering before/after Evo as well as exploring the Melee scene as a whole”.

While the primary focus is on Leffen, we see that in the trailer there is also a focus on his friends/rivals in the community, as shown by interviews with people such as Team Liquid’s Hungrybox and Cloud9’s Mang0.

The Top 5 Hypest Moments From EVO 2017!

WARNING: If you don’t want spoilers for any matches in top 8/grand finals because you haven’t watched EVO yet, I’d advise NOT reading this article.

Evolution 2017 concluded a little under a week ago, and every single game had a ton of hype behind it. Whether it be Guilty Gear, Melee, Street Fighter, King of Fighters, or any others, every game had at least a few moments that made you go “Damn, I love this game!” Every time EVO comes around, you know it’s time to get hype. Because EVO is more than the biggest fighting game tournament in the world. EVO is a celebration of fighting games as a whole! So join me in celebrating how amazing these games we love get, and let’s count down the top 5 most hype moments of Evolution 2017.

5. JDCR’s Comeback Against Jeondding (Tekken 7 Winners Semifinals)

(starts at 12:45)

Tekken 7 is a game full of a lot of various, small hype things that come together to make the game exciting, rather than a game that has a few hype things that just tend to happen frequently. Generally this means it only truly gets hype when you have players who know how to abuse these small hype things to their greatest potential. One of these small hype things is called a “low parry”, where if you press down-forward on your controls, you parry a low hit and can capitalize with a combo after. On an unseeable sliver of health, JDCR low parries Jeondding’s about-to-be-game-winning low, and lands a combo with just enough damage to take the match, and the set.

4. Salem’s Game 10 Victory Over ZeRo (Smash 4 Grand Finals)

(starts at 39:49)

Smash 4 is a mixed bag for me. Sets are either really fun, or really lame. EVO top 8 definitely showed that. But luckily, the game that lasted the longest wasn’t boring at all: ZeRo vs. Salem in grand finals. Both players were playing out of their mind, and game 10 was one of the most intense moments I’ve seen in Smash 4. Bayonetta down a stock AND in kill range only after taking Diddy’s first stock. And while Bayonetta is a character known for her 0-to-deaths, this is also ZeRo we’re talking about. Salem won, game 10, tournament point for both players.

3. T4M7’s Double Perfect Against Ogawa (Guilty Gear Pools)

(starts at 8:15)

The White Lion of Japan showing that Leo is more than you think. Every time he lands a hit, the crowd freaks out. Outside of top 8, T4M7 left a path of destruction behind him, most notably sending Ogawa, EVO 2015 world champion, into losers through a double perfect. This monster made it all the way to grand finals, where he finally lost to Omito. And while T4M7 was definitely a monster throughout all of top 8, I think that his double perfect against Ogawa — The former EVO 2015 champion and arguably the best Zato in the world — really goes to show that he was the star of the show throughout all of EVO.

2. Ryusei vs. Fenritti (BlazBlue Grand Finals)

(Highlight at 25:34)

I typically don’t watch BlazBlue, but I always make the exception for EVO, because it’s where it gets the most hype. Every year it’s been a main game, something amazing happens, and this year is no different. This time, we got to see Ryusei decimate all of top 8 with his incredible Carl Clover, and Fenritti (Fenrich) also decimate top 8 with his incredible Jin Kisaragi. The point of maximum hype came when both of these players ended up against each other in grand finals. Both players played out of their mind in every set they were against each other. Each match was a total slugfest, and even though I was rooting for Ryusei to take it all (which he did), I also couldn’t help cheering for Fenritti as well. As amazing as Ryusei’s pressure and offense was, I really have to give it up for Fenritti’s impeccable defense while taking Ryusei’s onslaught of attacks, as well. This is the outcome you get when you take two players who are masters at their character.

1. Punk vs Tokido (Street Fighter V Grand Finals)

By far, the most hype moment in all of EVO this year was grand finals in Street Fighter V. Punk has taken SFV by storm these past few months, taking tournament after tournament. And at the young age of 18, he’s pretty much become the prodigal son of the community. Tokido has been a part of the FGC since before Punk was even alive. The flavor of this set was amazing. Who would win it? The rising star, or the old grandmaster? Everything was on the line for both of these players.

Punk cracked under pressure, and Tokido took full advantage of it, winning the set. He had won a ton of tournaments before, but EVO is different. I’m sure the entire time he was playing he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. Normally I’d share this video at a specific time to give an example of how good the play was, but this is a moment best enjoyed as a whole. This is why people watch fighting games: the emotion that comes with them, and the stories that they create. At the end of the set, both players were on the verge of tears for two completely different reasons.

eSports Finally Come to Disney XD

You read that correctly. For the first time this year, Disney will host Top 8s of both Street Fighter V and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U at EVO 2017 on Disney XD. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen eSports on TV. In 2015, ESPN hosted the Dota 2 International on their channel.

While it’s not the first time we’ve seen eSports on TV, it is the first time that Disney channel has put it on one of its hallmarks. Aimed at a young teenage audience, Disney XD is generally the TV channel we think of when it comes to the demographic that gravitates towards Minecraft. (More on that in another post, though.)

via My Nintendo News

After all, this demographic is already watching eSports on the Internet. There’s no shortage of teens competing in local tournaments, either. In all, this move on Disney’s part just seems to be a way to sensationalize eSports players. For the long run, it’ll expose eSports to a mainstream audience and give kids people to look up to, no matter their talents.

In my opinion, it’s good to see Disney branching out from making everything they put on their network into a forced pop singer. It’s a huge improvement, if you ask me.

 

Cover image via smash.gg.

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More Games that Especially Deserve a Digital Re-Release

A few months ago I wrote a short list of games that especially deserve a digital re-release. The key word here is “short” because there’s many more games than I listed that deserve to be re-released on an online gaming distribution network like PSN, Steam, the Nintendo E-Shop, etc. Some, however, deserve to be re-released and therefore made much more available to players more than others. Most notably games that are harder (read: more rare/expensive) to obtain despite being well-loved, therefore making it difficult for both old and new fans to play them. As the gaming market starts to lean more and more toward digital releases, it’s important that these games don’t get left behind–which they currently are. So today, to remedy this, I’d like to draw your attention toward more games that especially deserve a digital re-release.

 

 

Super Smash Brothers Melee

via venturebeat.com
via venturebeat.com

Go back to 2001 and Super Smash Brothers Melee was the talk of the town. Everyone had it, everyone loved it, everyone played it religiously. Today? Less people still have it even though everyone loves it and the competitive scene for Melee is still very much alive. This game is 15 years old, yet it’s still played at EVO.
Because it’s on the Gamecube, there’s no way to practice online for it–which really sucks for players wanting to play other players that aren’t in their fucking house–let alone hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Normally I wouldn’t call this such a big deal, but because the competitive scene for Melee is still very much alive it’ll definitely affect you if you can’t practice effectively.
This game is still incredibly beloved and widely played–both competitively and casually. In fact, that’s what’s made it so expensive these days–it’s not that it’s a rare game by any means, it’s the best selling game on the Gamecube, it’s just that nobody wants to give their copies up since it’s the staple of the Gamecube library. Considering that 3 Smash games–2 of them being very well received, no less– have come out since Melee and yet Melee is still arguably the most popular Smash game out there should speak in volumes. Nintendo would make buckets of money if they re-released it and gave it an online feature. No balance patches, just let us play it online. That’s all it needs.

 

Blood Will Tell

via hardcoregaming101.net
via hardcoregaming101.net

Often called a big hidden gem on the PS2, Blood Will Tell is a highly underrated game that definitely deserves a re-release. Have you ever heard of Osamu Tezuka? If you have, good. If you haven’t, have you ever heard of Astro Boy, Black Jack, or Metropolis (2001)? Then you’ve heard of Osamu Tezuka. Although Tezuka is well-known for being called the “god of manga” or “godfather of anime” what a lot of people tend to forget about him is that he also made a story for a video game, too: Blood Will Tell. The game is based on one of Tezuka’s manga, Dororo. For reasons that aren’t completely clear, it’s considered to be a somewhat rare game and prices tend to run in the $50 vicinity. Between the lack of accessibility interested players have, the fact that it was inspired by a Tezuka manga, and the fact that it’s a Sega game, it genuinely surprises me that this game hasn’t already been re-released in one way or another.

 

Ninja Five-O

via hardcoregaming101.net
via hardcoregaming101.net

If you know even the first thing about collecting rare GBA games then you know about Ninja Five-O. This game is, without a doubt, the most rare and expensive game on the GBA. For reasons that aren’t completely known, Konami didn’t distribute many copies of this game–very unfortunate for them because this game is constantly showered in praise from the lucky few who’ve had the opportunity to play it. To find even a cartridge of this game is an incredible find, but to find a copy complete in box in 2016 is almost unheard of. Especially in the midst of the tough times Konami’s been going through since the start of all the drama that erupted between them and Hideo Kojima, the cancellation of Silent Hills, and the exposure of their horrendous business practices, it makes me wonder why they haven’t bothered trying to get a re-release of this game on the Nintendo E-Shop yet–clearly it’s a well loved game that would sell just fine with lots of curious players who’d line up to play it.

 

Super Mario Sunshine

via youtube.com
via youtube.com

This one kind of speaks for itself, honestly.

 

Pokemon XD Gale of Darkness

via gamefaqs.net
via gamefaqs.net

The year is 2005: The Pokemon 2000 movie is still fresh enough in everyone’s mind, Pokemon Emerald came out not too long ago, and what looks cooler to a young Pokemon fan than Shadow Lugia? I remember watching the commercial for it and desperately wishing I had a GameCube even if this was the only game I could play on it–it looked incredible. 11 years later and there still hasn’t been a Pokemon game quite like Gale of Darkness–by which I mean, an RPG. For that matter, there were no console Pokemon games for the Wii U, so it’s been a while since we’ve seen a Pokemon game on console. Like the other games on this list, it’s expensive (such are the highlights of the GameCube library) and loved by those who have played it–making it only harder for new fans to play it.

Especially in light of the recent surge of new Pokemon fans this year (from all the 20th Anniversary events and/or Pokemon Go) I definitely think there’s a lot of merit in re-releasing this game, both for old fans who want to relive it and new fans who are intrigued by it but don’t have $90 on hand to buy it–and that price is assuming, of course, that they already have a GameCube.

 

Hopefully when the Nintendo Switch arrives, a GameCube library in the Virtual Console will arrive with it. Especially considering how much more Nintendo-focused this list is compared to the last one, don’t forget to leave comments on games that you think especially deserve to be re-released. Like I said on the last list: The common thread in these games is that they’re hard to obtain physical copies of: They’re all rare, expensive, and at least 10 years old. If you have any other major reasons you’d like to see a certain game or a group of certain games getting  re-released for, be sure and let us know.

The Shine 2016 Experience

This is going to take a bit of a different turn from what I’d typically post. That may or may not be a good thing. As some may know already if you follow me on any form of social media, Shine was this weekend. To preface this article, Shine was the first major tournament series I attended. I’ve been to and hosted small local tournaments, but this was different. I walked in almost uninitiated with the Smash Bros. community as a whole; I knew about a few high-level Melee players and that was it. So, without further ado, let’s get into it. This’ll be more of a reflection article rather than a review or something similar.

About a week before the event, a few of us here at The Lifecast decided we should try and spring for media badges. It’s a local start up event, we’re a Boston-centric start up thing. Maybe it’ll work out. And it turns out: it did. So the day before the gig, Dan, Adam, and I went to get our badges.

Badge pickup was really pleasant. Since Dan and I were there for (almost) strictly media, we got to check out the space before the event started. The setup of the venue was roomy enough to accomodate row after row of setups, a spacious main stage and audience area, a few merch booths, and a backstage area which has caused a bit of controversy in the past few days. We had a discussion about it in the latest episode of our podcast, though, so I won’t detail it here.

During the event, there was a lot of time to walk around and really see what was going on. From what I understand, competitors didn’t feel rushed into their next match. The whole thing was timely and surprisingly organized. Nothing started earlier than its designated time and nothing ran late. Overall I’m really impressed with the ability to have a set schedule and stick to it for such a large, first-time-run event.

The entire weekend really piqued my interest for competitive games in general. I asked so many questions but I’m glad I did. Not only did I find something I’m really passionate about in photojournalism, but experiencing Shine made me want to keep up with a community I had only scratched the surface of before.

And I guess that’s all there is to say about that. It was surreal. Below you can find the curated pictures I took over the weekend. We’ll have other media, including interviews with ESAM of Panda Global and Shi Deng of Big Blue eSports, coming within the next few days so stay tuned for that.

All images featured in this post and in the album below were taken by myself.

 

Smash and the FGC: Both Sides are in the Wrong

Drama happens all the time in whatever community you look at. It’s a fact that you just have to deal with. As of a few years ago, Smash has been getting into the spotlight more and more as a competitive game, and for good reason. Not only does its competition get really intense, but the games are incredibly accessible, and generally easier to follow than most other competitive games. Sadly, Smash has obtained this reputation in the FGC for not being a “true fighting game” for almost no reason other than it being different. This whole debate between whether or not Smash is a true fighter has been going on for literal years.

Though, as of late, it’s gotten worse. Not only are Smash players being verbally attacked at basically every chance someone gets, but members of the FGC who encourage Smash and allow them good treatment at tournaments, such as Alex Jebailey, organizer of Community Effort Orlando, who I have seen multiple people on social media openly go after, are attacked for essentially being “smash sympathizers” and also get disrespected by members of the FGC. Basically, everything I’m talking about with community disrespect from the FGC can be summed up in this Redditor’s letter to the Smash community (WARNING: tons of harsh language). Now, before you say anything, yes, I know that post is from r/Kappa, and while r/Kappa is a generally toxic place anyway, this letter still does a good job at showing many people outside of r/Kappa’s position on Smash as a game.

The conflict between the FGC and Smash doesn’t stop there, though. It also spans into actual tournament organization. Smash 4 was handled horribly at EVO. Hardly any setups per pool in the 2nd or 3rd largest tournament there, some setups not having all the stages unlocked, inefficient space for the size of the tournament, and more. Smash 4 had it the worst at EVO.

These are just two accounts of the FGC’s disdain towards Smash; there are many more. And all of them are acting like god damn children.

Now that we know a bit of the FGC’s side of the conflict, let’s look at how the Smash community responds to it. Spoilers: They’re acting just like the FGC; like god damn children.

Let’s look at CEO 2016. Smash players drowned out the awards ceremony for Guilty Gear Xrd by screaming “Melee!” constantly, not only disrupting the event, but completely disrespecting the players who put in just as much effort, if not more, in their game of choice, just like how those Smash players do in their own game.

As for responding to the fiasco at EVO, the way they treated it wasn’t much better. The community has every right in the world to be mad at the organizers for messing up as badly as they did. That said, the community had lashed out in a way that only harms them and the reputation of their community. Yes, EVO was a mess, and yes, you should be mad about it. But what you should be doing is not whining about how you’ll never go back to it, and instead try to work things out in a civil manner through connecting with members of the community that want to support you, because they are there.

This kind of behavior, from both the FGC and the Smash community, is completely unacceptable. Not only does treating games like this completely undermine all the hard work and effort the members of each community put into their games and events, but it also horribly damages the look that competitive gaming has today. Do we want to be seen as a group of kids who just argue about video games all day, or do we want to be seen as actual competitors in something much bigger than we could imagine? Do we want respect, or do we want to be looked down upon? Because right now with the way the communities are acting, the outcome is not respect. This kind of drama is what holds back competitive gaming as a whole, because instead of working together to improve the overall scene as much as you can, you feud and nitpick and piss and moan about how wavedashing isn’t as demanding as doing an FADC. In order to better the community as a whole, this fighting needs to stop entirely, and we need to work together to make both Smash and the FGC as great as they can possible be.

I love competitive gaming; I love the sense of community it brings to people. We need to strengthen this sense of community as best we can, and it’s impossible to do so if all that’s happening is people being pushed away from both sides. The only way we’re going to reach the point where both communities are working at their best is by having both sides get off their high horses and get it through their thick skulls that everyone is playing their games for the same reason: For some good matches and some good fun. To improve themselves and each other.

To get hype.