Japan Report start

Discussion in 'Junky's Jungle' started by akiralove, Aug 30, 2001.

  1. akiralove

    akiralove Well-Known Member

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    Guess I'm gonna finally get around to typing my report on my trip to Japan. I'm a tattooer by trade, and I got the chance to go to Japan for most of the month August. Of course I was working a lot, but in the off times, when I wasn't at dinner or drinking with work people, I tried to squeeze in as much VF4 as possible.

    The bulk of my trip was spent in Sendai, about 2 hours north of Tokyo by train, but I landed in Tokyo, spent the night there, stayed in Sendai about 3 weeks, then spent another 5 days in Tokyo with my friend Tetsuya Wada (some of you NYC guys remember Tetsuya I'm sure).

    Before going to Japan, I had played quite a bit of VF4 on the test versions popping up in different CA arcades, but this was one of the first test versions, and it featured no Vanessa, Dural, was missing 4 of the final stages, many of the final moves, and had a substantially different physics engine in some ways; most notably in float situations.

    The day after I got to Tokyo, I was able to get to Akihabara; to my pleasant suprise there was a Sega game center right in front of me! I went inside to check it out, and scoped the layout of the floors: there were 5 floors, and the 5th floor's sigh read : 5F Virtua Fighter! A whole floor of only VF! Needless to say, I was stoked as I hopped in the elevator and headed up to what sounded like VF Heaven!

    When I got there, I found that the 5th floor was substantially smaller than the rest, but it was indeed only VF. There were about 5-7 VF 2 and 3 versus city set-ups (if I remember correctly), and back behind these I could see about 15 people gathered around 2 vs.city machines (vs. city is two back to back arcade units that are linked for vs. play fighting games). Actually, VF4 cabinets are called "Net City", but this was my first glimpse of VF4 in Japan. I quickly bought a card from the vending machine, 500 yen (about $4), and waited to play.

    While I watched, the first thing I noticed about this version (one of the last test versions, very close to the final) was all the color. The CA test versions had seemed very saturated with blues, yellows, reds and browns. The final had a lot of greens and purples happening, and the new stages, The Great Wall, Dojo, and Cave seemed kind of dark and moody, but in a cool way. And the characters, orange Jacky's, green Sarah's, and Vanessa looked pretty cool. I had to wait about 15 minuites to get a chance to play (in Japan, since there are 2 sides, people wait on each side for an opening; so if someone on your side is winning, you might have to wait a while), where I lost to a pretty weak Sarah, but I was just happy to play and try out my card. After that, I decided to leave, as I was with my host, who had waited the whole time with me (and he didn't care about VF or Akihabara at all), and we had to get to Sendai that afternoon.

    Once in Sendai, I had to wait about 3 days for VF4 to officially release. I messed around with T4 a little in the meantime, but was pretty let down by it. Finally VF4 started to pop up in the 2 big game centers near the tattoo shop, and the fun began.

    On VF in Japan:

    As I'm sure everyone knows, VF is way more popular in Japan; as are arcades in general. Most of the arcades in Sendai was 2 Net City set-ups; Kani Sports Land and the other Sportsland I visited in Shinjuku had 4 each (8 seats). One play is 100 yen (about 80 cents by the current ex. rate), and no arcades give tokens, so no special bonuses with large bills.

    There's kind of an interesting social dynamic that exists there regarding playing. In the US, since there's generally only 1, sometimes 2 machines at an arcade, people tend to play as soon as an opening appears; sometimes putting quarters up or whatever. But the general consensus is that if you're there to play, you play, right? In Japan, players tend to hold off a little more, watching quite a bit, and hardly ever rushing in to play. So while there might be a crowd of 10 around 2 set-ups, only 4 or 5 of those people might be actively playing, and others might only play 2 or 3 times in one hour, even though they could play more.

    People watch and talk to each other very attentively, discussing what's happening between fighting players. Some people do this for hours, not playing once. Good players! This is basically the norm at serious spots, big family places with a lot of UFO catchers and horse racing games all on the same floor with the video games tend to be a little more casual and players don't hesitate so much. These are the good places to practice, and boost your rank if you care about that stuff. Those spots are also good if you wanna fight the CPU, or try a new character. If you go to a serious spot, there's not much fucking around on the game; people are there to test their skills. And watch, heh..heh.

    The same kind of logic also applies to Japanese players using their cards. At this point, there seem to be three kinds of general catagories of card users. The first are pretty much low level players, but enthusiastic VF fans who know how to play and aren't cheap; they're just usually not big winners, and tend to have low win %'s on their cards. These guys use their cards pretty much every time, and almost always have a ringname, and may belong to a team. If you have a ringname, it'll show up on the screen below the small portrait of your character's eyes, in a little window that says ringname. Team icons, like small cartoon drawings of a skull and crossbones, or toast with an egg over easy, or a shooting star; appear under the ringname. I get the feeling that the team icons are selected from a list of available images on VF.net. Seems like these players are beginners who are enjoying the cool features of VF.net, and are trying to boost their win %, so they use the card a lot. Usually if you beat these guys by a good margin, they won't challenge you again... like "of course I shouldn't fight you, you're better; I should play with someone my own speed". I've hardly ever seem this kind of thing in the US.

    The next group are players who fight a lot, and tend to be strong, but use the card only occasionally, so as not to bring down their %. Most of these guys have reached the beginnings of the "dan" or black belt ranks; and usually DON'T have ringnames or belong to a team, although there are a few exceptions. At a hot VF spot, most players are these guys. They watch a lot, talk to each other, but use the card only if they think they've got a good chance of winning. Or sometimes, they'll loose without the card, then use it next time like " now you'll see my REAL Kage: Izumi!". Personally, I hate that attitude. While I'd rank myself with these players in terms of skill (I'm a NiDan, or 2nd deg. black); I use the card every time I fight. I think it's lame to try to feel people out without the card, then use it when you think you can win. I don't really care if I loose to a certain player and it's recorded on VF.net. If you beat me that's your right, so I like staking my rep every time. I also like that I have almost 700 versus fights on my card...heh. A Lau player about on my level had almost 2000, and he was a SanDan.

    Another group of people are those that don't use cards at all, the logic being they aren't good enough yet (which I respect); or that they want to wait until they think they'll have almost all wins... pussies. Currently my friend Tetsuya has almost quit using his card, saying that he doesn't want to come off like he's trying to say that he's strong because he has a good rank or a high win %. He just wants to play anonymously.

    Lastly, there are the big guns. These are the really strong players, like Segirl, Oyaji Sarah, Chibita, etc. These guys basically use the card every time, and have high ranks. When I saw Chibita play, he used the ring name "Neo Tower", and was GoDan (5th deg.); Tets told me Oyaji Sarah is NanaDan (7th deg.), but when I saw him, he didn't use his card. Segirl was Sandan (3rd deg.). These players usually go on big win streaks and have good win %'s, that's why they have high ranks. They have no reason to be afraid of using the card, and no reason to be timid about asserting their presence in the world of high level VF: most of them are already well known, and those that aren't want to be on that level. It has to be said that a lot of the famous players of VF3 and 2 are not necessarily highest level currently. I saw "Masked Hijitetsu", and was told by Tets that's he's of average strength right now, as was Shinjuku Jacky when Tets met him.

    Friday night at Kani Spo in Shinjuku is the hot night for VF in Tokyo as I understand, and the Friday night I was there would seem to support this idea. There were probably 20 people on each side of the 4 machines watching and waiting, and all talking in groups about what's happening. Seemed like a lot of people met there for the playing, and hung out in groups, taking turns playing. Segirl was streaking on the first machine, with a couple of strong Shun players going on the last 2. Again, at this time, many people who fought a lot during regular times just watched and talked, for hours. It's almost intimidating, like they're saying only certain players should fight then, and it can start to rub off on you. I really regret letting this get to me when Chibita was playing, and didn't fight with him. His Lion was the SHIT! Next time, I'm not gonna care. I only had a limited ammount of time in Japan, and I shouldn't waste it.

    I feel I learn faster playing than watching anyway. A good player will quickly change their pattern against someone who's wise to it, so I try to learn just getting my feet wet, and find it works better for me. Not that it isn't enjoyable to just watch these guys play, but I always find myself thinking that I'd be getting stronger if I were playing.

    I'm gonna do this in parts, so you guys don't have to read too much at once, and I don't have to type so much at once.

    Spotlite
     
  2. ice-9

    ice-9 Well-Known Member

    Next time, I'm not gonna care. I only had a limited ammount of time in Japan, and I shouldn't waste it.

    Hell yeah! That's the attitude!

    Thanks for the cool report Brian, looking forward to your next installments. Was your ring name "spotlite" in Japan? Heh heh, I wonder if anyone would've recognized that name there...
     
  3. Hayai_JiJi

    Hayai_JiJi Well-Known Member

    I'm jealous:) Good report I cant wait for the next part. I am thinking about packing my bags moving to Tokyo and becoming a true VF bum.

    Under the surface of the most jaded cynic lies a dissappointed idealist- George Carlin
     
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Excellent report. Thanks for taking the time to compile your thoughts and experiences. A whole floor of VF does indeed sound like heaven. Too bad they just got rid of the VF4 test machine here in London. I'm patiently awaiting the arrival of the final version at the end of September.

    Keep up the good work. Looking forward to your next report.
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thanks for the report! In the next installment(s) can you maybe write about what people think of VF4 so far in Japan? thx.
     
  6. Shadowdean

    Shadowdean Well-Known Member

    Sigh..and I can only pray that maryland gets a single vf4 machine...any arcades in boston or springfield get them?

    "Victory can be anticipated, but not assured" Sun-Tzu
     
  7. Tot

    Tot Active Member

    Hello Spotlite,

    I am a Japanese living near Shinjuku. I know about Shinjuku a lot because I go there often, but it was really interesting for me to read your report.
    You decribed the VF.NET card part very well! I think I belong to the first type. I am using Lei and I started using the card even before I got no idea about Lei. I had something like 1 win 35 loose at the first time. Yes, I was ashamed to use my card at that time but I kept using it and my winning % is now about 46%. Now I am shodan(1st degree black belt).
    I found a interesting information about the ranking system. This applys only after black bet.
    There are win point and loose point. When you play against a player who is same rank with you and if you win, you get +1 point to win point and -1 to loose point. If you loose, you get -1 to your win point and +1 to your loose point. If you got +4 win point and when you play agaisnt the same rank guy, this fight will be a promotion. If you win, you get higher rank.
    If you get +5 loose point, for the next time you play against the same rank guy and loose, you get depromoted.
    I got a chance to be promoted twice last night in Shinjuku but I got let down twice against this Jacky player... hehe.
    Now, Kanisupo got 7 pair VF4 machines and other sportsland (we call it nishisupo and nishi means west) has 9 pair VF4 machines.
    I also understand your feeling playing against famous players. Now in Kanisupo, most players are over 3 dan and I feel like I am even not qualified to play there. Last night, my brother who is shodan played agaisnt Chibita's Lion(7dan) and he almost won the fight.. yeah I guess Chibita was not so serious.. he also played against Bunbunmaru's Vanessa and lost straight.
     
  8. ice-9

    ice-9 Well-Known Member

    AARGH!!! Must...control...urge...to fly to Japan....and play...
     
  9. Adio

    Adio Well-Known Member

    Thank you Tot and Spotlite for your opinions. You and Spotlite both describe a tense atmosphere regarding the VFnet cards. It's interesting how people are worried about their reputations as gamers. Even more so with the cards, as your opponent can see how good you are by just looking at your stats. Interesting. Tell me, who are the most popular choices these days. I seem to here a lot about Lei, Shun and Lion.

    Adio..
     
  10. nascarbryant

    nascarbryant Well-Known Member

    Thanks it's always nice to hear something from the japanese VF-Scene.....

    nect time you should kick chibitas(Lion)-ass after all your a genjin, you don't have to follow japanese-rules :D
     

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