As I mentioned, this weekend I was in Frankfurt for the FFM Rumble, one of the biggest fighting game tournaments Germany has to offer.
The event opened for “the public” on Saturday, 11am. I arrived at about 1pm and never left the building until the event was done, so unless some amazing shit went down during the 2 hours I wasn’t there I think I was able to witness most of the important stuff.
After I told the organizers I was there I was free to play casual matches, watch others play or do whatever until the main event started, so I just took a look around for somebody to play against and only seconds later I was playing my first games of the day. If you were willing to play, you could do it. Everyone was open for some matches and the atmosphere overall was pleasant. There were a few sour faces from losses, but mere moments later they’d be back to smiles, ready for more. Meanwhile, Elwood Blues, a great “Guy” player in Street Fighter IV was beating me up pretty well (in-game only, luckily), but I was doing better against one of the stronger players than I’d have expected and I was having a good time, as Elwood and I got along great.
Then, the Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition qualification pools started. Everyone was assigned a group in which they would play everyone, with up to 7 players per pool. Before my first match (I was the first one to play in my pool) I messed up my button configuration, so I pretty much gimped myself for the first match in a best of 3 scenario. I felt like I recovered pretty well though, as I felt like I was winning afterwards and indeed my first set went up to the final match, final round, in which I had a huge chance to win with a relatively easy combo, but I proceeded to drop it like the biggest moron ever born, leaving myself open to lose the set. 2 of my other sets went similarly, where I felt like I should have won, but screwed up badly at some point or other. Two of my enemies were just better than me though: TR Halibel and a Dutch Guile player. Either way, I only ended up winning one set against a Honda player and ultimately didn’t make it out of the qualifying phase.
At the point that was over, almost all pool matches had been played and the online stream of the event had been set up and was looking for someone to commentate the matches and whatever else would be shown. They were looking for someone who speaks English fluently and knows the games well enough. I felt qualified and offered myself and just got the “o.k.” like that. I was spending basically the entire rest of the day in the commentators seat, only leaving for toilet breaks and for a few matches during the special Holland vs Germany 7vs7 SSFIVAE Team event, where one of the Dutch players, Garzett (who was commentating alongside me for a while) wanted to team up with Elwood Blues for commentary, as they had been friends for a while then. After the SFIV team event came another team match between the Dutch and the Germans: A 5vs5 Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 tournament, where the losing team was whoever lost all of its members, meaning if everyone but one player on one team loses, but then manages to defeat all of the other opposing players, his team would be declared victorious and excitingly enough that is exactly what happened, as Healing Care (a.k.a. hlcws) went on to tear through every single participant on the Dutch party.
After that, the day was pretty much over and only casuals remained. Luckily, I spotted 2 dudes playing King Of Fighters XIII, which was horribly underrepresented at the event (one of its few flaws), so I got a couple of games in with them, as the day slowly came to a close. Participants that were too poor/stingy to sleep at a hostel or hotel were given the option to sleep in one of the adjacent rooms. I was one of those people and I regret my decision, as we were left to sleep on hard flooring with nothing but a sleeping bag (unless you brought more with you). Also there was lots of snoring. So much snoring. You might say I ended up not sleeping too much or well.
The next day started up at around 11am with casuals again as the organizers were setting up the UMVC3 and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike OE brackets. I got 2 “byes” in UMVC3, which means my first 2 opponents never showed up and I was declared the “winner” by default. I lost my first actual match, was sent to the losers side of the double elimination tournament, won a match there (which made me happy, as I did it with Phoenix Wright) but then quickly lost the following one, which meant the end of my UMVC3 tournament. That is pretty much how my SF3 experience went as well, except I only got one “bye”.
The first thing that went on stream that day were the SF3 finals and while I love that game and I know it a bunch, I didn’t feel qualified to commentate that one. After that though, when SF4 brackets were being streamed, I got on commentary again and spent the main part of the day there. The brackets had lots of exciting matches and commentating them was a lot of fun. The grand finals of the SSFIVAE tournament were some of the hypest matches I had seen all year. After that the top 4 of UMVC3 were streamed, which were crazy, crazy games and a ton of fun to watch as well.
Then the crowd was thinning out, the winners had been declared, all prizes been given away (there was a raffle, too, but I got nothing out of it) and the hype was steadily settling down and that’s when it was clear that the event was almost over. At roughly 8pm on sunday, FFM Rumble #5 was over and I made my way to the station, with fond memories of my second fighting game tournament ever. I’m most definitely coming back next year and if you know what’s good, so should you.