The Irish anime convention circuit started this last weekend with Akumakon in Galway, and as is now the standard for all Irish conventions, there were plenty of fighting game tournaments on show. This was Akumakon’s second year running and it was a pretty hefty improvement over last year, however that’s not to say everything went entirely smoothly.
There were tournaments scheduled across the weekend for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition v2012, Blazblue Continuum Shift 2 and a retro tournament for Marvel vs Capcom 2 on Dreamcast. Unfortunately there was some technical difficulties tuning the Dreamcast into the TVs and the MvC2 tournament was replaced with an Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 event instead.
Before I get started on the nitty gritty of this event I’d like to first remind you that this is only Akumakon’s second year running, and as an anime convention the focus of most of their growth was placed on the anime side of things. With this is mind, please try to be a little lenient with your opinions. The Games Room was definitely better this year, but it still had plenty of problems that will hopefully be ironed out in following years.
Firstly, I was contacted several months before Akumakon to give recommendations of tournaments to be held and what rules those events should have. This seems to be the trend with conventions in Ireland lately and it’s great to see RandomSelect acknowledged as being knowledgeable about these sorts of things. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the con additional rules had been made to the fighting games, specifically ‘Oni Akuma’ and Phoenix being banned from SSFIV and UMvC3 respectively.
It’s kind of a shame that after the effort of discussing rules back and forth over email for several weeks the rules were altered anyway based on local opinions. Thankfully after further discussions with the very amenable Games Coordinator, these rules were dropped before the tournaments.
The next big issue with the tournaments was the format they were run in, and this is almost entirely my fault as I drafted the tournament ladders – so apologies in advance! I misread the timetables and thought there was 2 hours for each event, but there was actually only one hour for the tournaments and then an hour of casual play, during which there was supposed to be no tournaments.
This resulted in my having to do some fairly spectacular surgery to the brackets on the fly in order to fit the events into the time allotted. BBCS2 was run double elimination, but the losers bracket had to be cut down to single games instead of best out of three. UMvC3 was hit the worst as it had the largest turnout and resulted in the first leg of knockout games being best of three and every game afterwards – including the finals – being cut to single games. SSFIV was spared most of this as it was allotted three hours to itself on the Sunday.
However, as I said, this mess up was not entirely my fault. Each tournament being given a single hour to run was madness. It’s unlikely that in the best of conditions tournaments in any format will fit into such a short timescale. At an anime convention where people are coming and going constantly and organisers are trying to wrangle crowds and keep track entrants it’s basically impossible. Add into the mix a drastic shortage of equipment – there was only a single Xbox available to run games on – and tournaments get bogged down very fast.
Either way, the tournaments went ahead sort of intact. The first winner of the weekend was Xinkai who defended his BBCS title from last year, using his Platinum to beat out a sleep deprived Chueytoo in the finals.
UMvC3 saw two new faces in the finals with Huzelos from London and Valormeer representing Cork. Valormeer’s incessant aggression from his team of Vergil/Spencer/Taskmaster saw him take the win decisively.
The SSFIV final was between Sairus and Xinkai and despite his opponent’s bribes and requests to use his unpolished Makoto for the match, Sairus took down Xinkai’s Sakura without a reset.
Unfortunately the sheet with the results for all the events was lost, so no names were announced for the closing ceremonies and I can’t remember who won the Smash Bros tournament. If anyone does know, let me know in the comments!
I know this write-up paints quite a dreary image of the con, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom!
- Replay Games from Co. Down kindly supplied an arcade cabinet with both SSFIV Arcade Edition and King of Fighters XIII on it which saw a lot of use throughout the weekend.
- The Games Room had a massive projector set up for an Xbox (though the lag was a little too much for tournament usage) which always seemed to have a crowd playing some form of fighting game on it.
- The convention’s Xbox was fully patched with most DLC which is a rarity at cons. The BB tournament in particular had many intense matches, which alas were not recorded.
- Finally, there were several new fighters in attendance whom had never heard of Random Select that were very interested in the prospect of future tournaments. If you’re one of those players, welcome aboard!
So in conclusion, Akumakon wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either. I’m willing to cut the con some slack as it’s still in its infancy, but there’s a couple of things that’ll need to be addressed for next year: longer time slots for the tournaments and more consoles. Hit those two marks and they’ll be well on their way to a travel worthy Games Room.