Insert's Game trip to Evo Japan and Arcades!

14/02/2018

EVO Japan 2018 - A journey for Fighting Games

Hello everybody, my name is Carmelo. I am the manager of Insert Game” in Germany and I want to tell you about my trip to Japan during EVO 2018. I hope you’ll enjoy this. :D


As soon as the announcement for EVO in Japan got public, it was an easy decision when I had to plan for my next trip to Japan.
I joined up with 5 friends and we planned to have a trip through the country, going from the Kanto region all the way down to Kyushu. Of course the trip wasn’t solely FGC-related, however I will focus on the impressions I had playing in Arcades as well as my appearance at EVO.


First stop in Osaka, meeting with two of the KOF XIV players in the Cross UpGaming bar.

It’s a nice place which I highly recommend to all KOF, Street Fighter and Marvel players if you happen to plan a trip to Osaka. They’ve got arcade sticks for all stations there, so there’s no need to bring your own controller(s). They offer a Nomihoudai” course (basically an All you can drink” event) lasting for 60min, 120min and so on, during which you can choose between soft drinks or alcoholic ones. Pricing then varies depending on what set you pick.
They don’t rely on charging you for your table and you aren’t forced to order drinks all the time as long if you choose to order drinks à la carte instead; like they do in other game bars. They even offer some snacks dishes such as Karaage or french fries. However, the staff doesn’t speak English whatsoever, so you better be prepared to learn some simple sentences for ordering with the waiter. If you want to get more information on this place, follow them on twitter or get in touch with Tetsuro. He is a regular guest there and happens to be fluent in English. Contact him on twitter and he will gladly help you get in touch with other players.

 

 

Tokyo:
Our Train had some huge delay in Time so we missed most of fridays event at EVO due to the Snow falls between Tokyo and Osaka. So we decided to skip EVO altogether on that Friday and instead strolled around, absorbing Akihabara's Game Shops. In the evening, me and Dracula went to visit a popular KOF XI gathering spot, namely:

 

Sega Playland Shinjuku Carnival:
This place is packed with a lot of classic games such as KoF 2002 Classic, so if you are into gems from the olden days I recommend dropping by. The local players welcomed us very kindly, excited about the meeting and we went through a lot of matches together. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a free-play pass at this arcade, but a single round is only 50 yen. Just make sure you are prepared to face some real strong opponents or you will end up losing a lot of money. ^^
Big Thanks to: Kyun Takuya, Ryouji, zanmakuro, Sagawa and all other guys for that great experience. Playing against such skilled players couldn’t have gotten us more motivated to reach for the next level!

 

 

Saturday, January 26th.

Finally, our first steps at the holy grounds of Evolution Japan!
Even though the building itself was huge, it ended up being rather complicated to find or so we felt. The halls were divided in two areas. I got the impression a lot of people were having trouble finding the right-hand side building. The halls were packed with people and space was sparse in between the tables/stations. Some of the staff seemed overwhelmed with their brackets, helplessly staring at them for longer periods of time before giving out instructions where to take place, or how to proceed with subsequent matches. For example, I was ten minutes late for my Tekken pools. So I’d talk to staff hoping to learn if I was still on time or when my first match would start; I was told told to wait a second. In the meantime I was chatted with a Korean guy which, after 45 minutes or so, asked when it was my turn to play. I’d answer, the staff had advised me to wait for instructions. He went ahead approaching staff, who then told him I had been disqualified. So, ultimately I had waited almost an hour for nothing. (laughs)

This chaos turned out to be a huge problem and I hope it’ll be solved in other events. Many staff members wearing English” speaker badges on their shirts either couldn’t speak English at all, or at least were nowhere near fluent. On top of that, ambient noise was fairly loud and it I could barely understand them. Official announcements during the pools often times would blend with the noise, rendering it impossible to make them out at all, and the ones broadcast in English language were just as hard to understand. I highly wish this issue will be worked out, helping foreign players finding their pools a tad easier and I also hope for staff to approach obviously lost players proactively if they seem to be running into problems.
As for me, I didn’t get to play a single match at EVO, but one of our members, Klotz”, managed to make it out of pools on winners’ side. Along with Archorawl” (France) playing in the same pool, they both advanced to the next round.
Their following opponents simply were too strong for them to survive yet another round. Facing Kazunoko” was just too much for Klotz”, and his next opponent waiting on the losers’ side sealed team Insert Game’s fate. Nonetheless I felt it was very exciting to see one of our own boys and other European players compete in the tournament and do as well as they did. I hope that Europe as well as US players will return for the next EVO. What else was there to see at EVO Japan? A lot of nice merchandise was on sale, but unfortunately most of the stuff, like backpacks and especially things like T-shirts of bigger sizes, were sold out by Saturday.

Well, we had a nice chat with the developers of Omen of Sorrow”. We got to test the game and gave some feedback in exchange. They will be at Gamescom this year, so we’re eager to see what progress the game will have made by then. If you happen to be interested in the game and feel like giving it a shot prior to release, visit Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, drop by their booth and don’t forget our Insert Game booth as well. ;)
Arika had a small booth  themselves, where you could play some Fighting EX Layer. Akira Nishitani himself was there too and I was able to take a picture with him. Besides the Main Games there were a lot of Arcade Cabinets in one of the Halls running Tournaments for CVs2 for example. I saw the coop cup  organizer Matsuya-san and had to approach him. After thanking him for all those events he keeps running we took a picture together. What else did we get see?


Bandai was present with Soul Calibur 6, but you were only allowed to play if you had a pass. If invited players with said pass wouldn’t show up, people without a pass would get their chance to play. This mechanism, however, was somewhat annoying. We stood there in line for almost an hour, waiting for our potential turn, but ultimately, we didn’t get the chance, leaving empty-handed.
SNK had a pretty big booth, were they were selling a lot of the merchandise from their online shop; my credit card could barely take it. They also had a test station set up, showing off the new character Oswald accompanied by some cosplayers who’d mimic the new SNK Fighting Game Heroines.


Sanwa Denshi had a small Booth where you could purchase Sticks and Buttons.
Besides this there wasn't really much to see in the Halls.
And Hori Promoted their newest Arcade Stick "Osidian".
After the pool matches we left EVO. Not beeing fast enough buying tickets for the Finals on Sunday, this was the entirety of EVO we got to experience. Despite that, I really hope this event will again be held for years to come.


 

Saturday evening we went to the Taito Hey! Arcade in Akihabara

 

This is a famous spot for Super Turbo, if you are looking for competition in this classic, this is the right adress for you.
Besides Fighting, Racing and Rhythm Games you will find a lot of Shoot emup's and Brawler Games at Hey!
If you ever wanted to sit in a classic Darius cabinet oder have a nice round of Ninja Warriors, this is the place to be!

 

Sunday we went to Kawasaki, which is about 40min by train from Tokyo to pay a visit to:

 

"Anata no Warehouse"
This is a Kowloon themed Arcade Building.
The Entrance and following 2 Floors look like a replica of the infamous City of Kowloon in China.
We were just amazed how much details were put into this. Anata no warehouse is 5 floor Building. The first 2 Floors are loaded with Classic Arcade Games: Fighters, Shooters, Racing. The following floors are filled with UFO catchers, Card and Rythym Games. The Last Floor ist filled with Dart, Table Tennis and Pool Billard Tables. You can easily forget time in this huge and loud envirorment.

 

Our Last Arcade experience in Tokyo was:

 

Takadanobaba Mikado!
The Mekka for all Guilty Gear Players in the World.
For Klotz's sake we had to go there and pay tribute to the gods of GG.
He was lucky on this day, a lot of famous Players were playing like: Teresa, Ogawa, FAB, Rion, Ain and a few more.
Also a few foreigners made their apperance at Mikado like Archrawl, Ken Deep, Dracula and a few more I didn't know.
Mikado isn't just about GG by the way. There is also large quantity of classic FG'S running there like, 3rd Strike, KOF 98, 2002, FF Special and Samirai Spirits. A lot of 2D Shooting Games ans of course Brawlers. Our highlight clearly was the 4 Players Coop of Darius Burst. If you ever go to Japan play this, you won't regret it! Even though there is a PSP or PC version of this, it is simply not the same Game like in the original Cabinet.
This was our last day in Tokyo, satisfied with shopping bags filled with goodies and Games we left Kanto and retuned to our "Home Turf" Kansai.

 

After returning to Osaka we were looking forward to another meet-up with the KOF XI community.
By their suggestion, we went with KO HATSU Arcade since KoF XI is regular Game there.
KO HATSU is a small place filled with fighting games from the old days, i.e. a lot of SNK Games.
Games like Mark of the Wolves, KOF 98, Fatal Fury Special and Buriki One were up and running this particular day. If you are striving for competition in one of these classics, look no further.
I met up with four KOF XI Japanese players: Nori, Grid, Mashiyo and Gildan. Again, with my friend Dracula, we got to take a shot on the local KOF XI community. Needless to say, we got a very warm welcome. After getting introduced to all guys we played a few games and went for dinner. This time around we were able to pay for as many matches as we liked, since KO-Hatsu offers a free play course. If I remember correctly it was 600 Yen for an hour. During matches we pondered a lot about the game and we even got to take a glimpse at the infamous KOF XI Master Guide. Alas, it’s all written in Japanese so in order to engulf yourself in this wisdom of strategy, you have to be able to read japanese very… well. Anyways, we’ve had a very nice evening there and I recommend visiting KO Hatsu if you are a fan of classic fighting games.

 

 

Regarding my Fighting Game experience the trip ended with going to: Yagoto Port 24 Arcade


This is the no.1 KOF XI spot! I met up with Sawakoro, he is a regular at our Xi broadcasts, and thanks to him I got to meet almost the entire XI-community in Nagoya. I was the only guest on that day, so luckily I got to play a lot of matches; in fact, I think, it was an almost ten hour lasting session. During that entire time, we only went for two breaks - lunch and dinner. Both of which were amazing, by the way.

It was very thrilling, playing so many different characters and play styles. I really was forced to adapt fast in order to keep up with them. We played in FT3-format, but regardless of the outcome, loser has to get up and wait for his next turn, I was allowed to play the next set. There were some very strong opponents there this day who’d really show me my limitations, both in skill as well as game knowledge. I was able to win some Games here and there but that really got me pumped up to level up and get stronger.


I was very humbled by the kindness everyone’s shown and I hope I will get the chance to pay that hospitality back someday. This was my 4th trip to Japan, but it was the first time I actually got to meet people from the genuine local fighting game scenes.
I can say no less than Thank You, Danke Danke, ありがとうございます”.
To everybody I met during my trip, making this the very best experience I’ve had thus far in Japan.
It was a great experience and certainly an unforgettable trip. I wish to get the chance to meet you again on my next trip.
I hope you enjoyed this read, have fun the Pictures I took!