IdiotCat @ OHN9 – OzHadou Nationals

OzHadou www.ozhadou.net

Last week was the first time I had ever gone to a competitive games event. I have to say that it was a very interesting and cool experience. OzHadou Nationals is a fighting game competition organised by the OzHadou team and the Australian fighting game community which, I have to say, was a lot bigger than I originally thought- okay, well I didn’t really know there was one in the first place. But it was a nice surprise!

I got to the event pretty early with a a few of my friends who were competing. I was too much of a wimp to enter as a competitor (plus I’m really not that good at the games anyway), so I just went as a spectator. The official tournaments being held were for Super Street Fighter IV, Tekken 6 and Marvel vs Capcom 3, but there was an area near the back for D.I.Y tournaments too. A couple of projector screens were set up, one for SSFIV and one for MvC3 – The Tekken tournament used the actual arcade machines that people brought in. I was pretty surprised when I saw a couple of guys wheeling them in!

It was pretty dark- OOOH TEKKEN MACHINES.

Like I mentioned, I got in pretty early so there weren’t that many people around. Two of my friends have actually been to competitive gaming events before (One is like a damn Pokemon Master), but the third had never been in one. Freaking out and nervous he was. I couldn’t blame him as I would have been freaking out too. Actually, even though I wasn’t competing I still felt nervous. There were friendly greetings all around the place and it was evident a lot of people already knew each other – the ones who didn’t talk much were apparently new faces. As some people passed by, my friend was commenting on who they thought might be  Humanbomb, the best Street Fighter player in Australia, pointing out a couple of the interstate players, etc. The warm up matches were friendly and there was lots of laughter and joking around.

I had a feeling this was just the calm before the storm though, and I was kind of right. As time drew near for the tournaments to start, it was kind of strange, but I could almost feel the competitive energy from people. Practice matches were rounding up and everyone was checking out which pools they were in. As a person who was new to this kind of thing, it was really very intimidating. As I was just a spectator and not a competitor and not part of the community, I found it really hard to try and talk to people in general. The friendliest crowd felt like the Tekken group – at least I got an acknowledging nod and smile from someone next to me when I was watching the practice matches, but that isn’t to say that the Street Fighter and Mavel vs Capcom groups weren’t friendly, they just seemed much more focused – I didn’t want to disturb anyone watching matches.

Angled shot of the MvC3 setup. And the many people I didn't want to disturb...

When the matches actually started, the energy levels of the place seemed to multiply. People were taking seats to watch and you could feel the tension and excitement from everyone – it was really cool. I love experiencing that feeling a close community gets when they all have a common interest. The Street Fighter 4 tournament had the most spectators, although a lot of people were floating around from place to place. A lot of competitors had entered in more than one tournament as well.

To be honest I’m writing this based off notes I took on my phone. But my notes have kind of stopped because at this point, I was really into watching the matches. I started with watching the Street Fighter IV matches first. Some people got hammered, but there were a few matches where it was really close. Execution of moves and general gameplay was freaking superb. I had an amazing time watching everyone. I eventually drifted to watching the Marvel vs Capcom 3 matches and they’re just as super fast paced with high energy; there’s just no other way to describe it. I went to check out the Tekken matches after that and I didn’t enjoy them quite as much as the other two, but it was still cool. There was a formula to the wins, it was pretty much as soon as one character was launched into the air, that was it. All the competitors had mastered their super long string of combos, and once you’re in the air you can’t do anything but lose. Maybe that’s why the winner is whoever gets to three wins first (or two perfected matches), instead of best out of three like Street Fighter.

The SSF4 projector. I was sitting pretty close to the front. YAY

After the whole event I was mega hyped to play some fighting games. I went straight to the arcades with my friends and played some Tekken. I think I might practice and enter a tournament one day if I ever feel I get good enough. It’s a shame I didn’t get to talk to as many people as I wanted to, they all seemed like fantastic guys and I could honestly talk about fighting games till the cows come home (as you can see from this article which has got to be one of the longest I’ve written).

If you are into fighting games and in Australia, you probably should check these tournaments out if you haven’t already. Once I gain the courage, I’ll try to get involved in the community and get way better at playing these games.

To the Australian fighting game community, even though I was just a spectator and didn’t get to talk to many of you guys, you’re all amazing and I could watch you guys play all day! I had an awesome time at OHN, and if I decide to compete one day I’d probably have an even greater time.

About the Author

I'm just your regular gamer! Currently working in the game industry as an artist. I love all manner of things cute, colourful and crazy. I also love lemons quite a lot. c: