Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tecmo Madison XI - Appocalipps Now

My Saturday started out with an AM Sausage Crunchwrap from Taco Bell.  I finished up packing for Madtown and waited for the 513 to arrive in Naptown.  The Vogts and Hake arrived around 10:30 AM.  Chris and I positioned the TV and NES in the Chevy Traverse.  The cigarette power converter worked like a charm and held up the duration of the trip.  Daboy arrived around 11.  We left around 11:30.  Hake took the wheel with Matty V riding shotgun.  Lefty, Joey, and Daboy were in the back and Chris and I were in the middle.  Games ensued in the Traverse Tournament.  Here is the rundown of the games:

I took down Chris in a MIA vs RAMS in OT 17-23.  
Lefty beat Joey in a PIT vs T.B. in OT 16-10.
I beat Daboy in a MIN vs CIN 21-14.
Lefty beat Chris in a Bills vs PHI 14-21.
Joey beat Daboy in a DET vs DAL 28-14.

At this point we learned of major shake ups in the Madison bracket.  Buzzsaw out of my group, Jeff B., and Lucas S. out of the tournament.

Lefty beat me in a SEA vs N.E. 6-10.
Chris beat Joey in a K.C. vs DEN 17-10.
Daboy beat Lefty in a G.B. vs N.O. 21-24.
I beat Joey in a WAS vs DAL 24-6.
Lefty beat Joey in a JETS vs PHX 21-14.

At this point we stopped for gas and Hake swapped positions with Chris as Chris began driving.

I beat Hake in a RAI vs CHI 10-24.
Daboy beat Joey in a ATL Vs CLE 24-21.
Lefty beat me in a CIN vs RAMS 7-17.

We arrive in Madtown around 4:30 local time and check into the infamous Super 8 East.  When we arrive, large and in charge, assistant manager Scott tells Chris that his room has one Queen bed and they were only reserved for one night instead of two.  After some dancing, Chris got two full beds and the second night.  My transaction was a bit smoother and after check in we dumped our stuff off and decided to go eat.  There was a Hooters close by the hotel and we proceeded.  Our server, Angie asked us what the big occasion was and I replied that we are professional Nintendo players.  Then we had to explain the whole Tecmo thing.  Good eats and good times led us to the Badger Bowl for early registration.

Paid for my bracket and then said some hellos.  Met SirTed and Gripsmoke from the west coast for the first time.  Very laid back chill guys.  So cool seeing/meeting the online guys for the first time. Met both of the Tecmo Bo's.  Met noonan as well.  Very enthusiastic individual.  Great for Tecmo. Good dude.  Saw many of our buds as well.  Too many to name drop, but you know who you all are. I think a few played some games, but we split much earlier than last year and headed to the gas station for some booze.

Games ensue at the Super 8 which no one will be going to next year because it is too far from the venue and mainly because of assistant manager Scott.  Even Mort commented in the decline of service there.  Stay tuned for next year.  I was able to beat Daboy 35-7 in a T.B. vs MIN.  This gave me the courage to call the eventual matchup involving T.B. in the championship game.  I played Matty V in a PIT vs CLE matchup winning 28-7.  He took CLE and I asked him if PIT would be fair enough.  He said yes.  Then all I hear for 3 quarters is how unfair the matchup is (it may be).  During this time I slammed four 16 oz 8% malt beverages in about an hour and a half.  Top that off with Flo who comes in with a Chicago exclusive Marlort's, 40% by volume.  Between the room we nearly finished the entire bottle.  O'Dell, Hendershot, and Barhoover were there as well. Back to Marlort's, WORST SHOT EVER.  Horrible aftertaste that wouldn't leave with a chaser.   By this time I'm nearly out.  I played Daboy in a K.C. vs MIA and won 17-14.  Have no clue how that happened.  I moved to the bed and assumed my death-in-coffin position with hands clasped and passed out.  Other continued to play and I believe room 115 did not go to bed until 6 AM.

At 5 AM I woke up to ice on the window and cold air blasting my lungs.  The night before the smell of Tecmo at night promote an air conditioner on tilt, but that did not get shut off.  I went downstairs for breakfast and it was warmer in the elevator foyer than it was in our room.  Ate in peace all alone with my waffle and OJ.  Heard a young African American was shot and killed by a police officer in Madison that night before on the news while I ate.  Showered up.  Put on the Hulkamania undershirt with Wayne Haddix not so Creamsicle jersey.  The last time a wore this in tournament play was my first Madison (Tecmo VII) were I made my best finish in the Sweet 16.  Superstition logic here thinking that if I wore Haddix I could reach my goal of Sweet 16 this year.  A few of the Vogts were struggling with the contents of their stomachs.  Five of the seven of us are waiting in the Traverse.  Chris comes out of the hotel room and with large upswings of his arms is screaming, "Come on, let's fucking go!" while walking in the parking lot. The Traverse was jacked and ready for Madison Tecmo XI Apocalipps Now.  Then Matty comes strutting out.

Traverse crew roll out to Gangsta rap and arrive at the Badger Bowl at 9:30.  Readings from the Book of L.T. accompanied by the acknowledgement Tecmo Memorial Graveyard featuring deceased Tecmo NFL athletes and Sobhi.  The Madison crew are second to none when thinking of stuff like this.  Speaking of graveyards, on to group play.

My first game I match up with Tony S. "The 8 seed".  He was the only player with a previous Madison record that I did not scout.  He wins the flip and calls the matchup.  MIA vs S.D.   Apparently he hardcore scouted me and tried to trap me with S.D.  It worked.  I took the Chargers and couldn't do shit in the first half.  His playbook took out Byrd and he was very methodical in play calling.  He ran early.  I had nothing.  He was up 21-7 early in the fourth quarter.  I got a quick long run score with Butts to make it 21-14.  I full kick.  Bring him to a fourth down and he converts it going gutsy in his own territory.  Then I call his play and bring him to 4th and 9.   He punts.  I had Wayne Walker in EXCELLENT at WR 1.  Heavy doses of Butts with two timely long YAC from Walker.  I score with four seconds left to send it to OT.  I win the toss and move the ball the best I did all game.  TD making the final 21-27.  Tony played well.  I honestly felt he was the most skilled in the group.  Great game man.  If I was on the receiving end of that I would be sick.  Dude handled it with class.

Game two I played Matt T. from Perrysville, MO.  I've played Matt T. before. Solid player with one of those deceiving losing records.  He knocked off KampHuna8 at Madison last year.  He plays good players close, but just comes up short more times than not, which the record indicates.  He got the toss.  Ugh.  I knew what was coming.  He called BUF vs GIA at Midwest and played me close.  He called GIA vs HOU.  I wanted the Giants, but I didn't want to get carved up by Moon.  I practiced pass progressions on COM in the hotel with Moon.  I took Oilers.  Bad decision.  Matt goes up 7-0 after chewing the entire first quarter and some of the second quarter converting a 4th down in the process.  My first possession I got pinned inside the five.  He called me twice.  I was forced to punt. His second possession he converted two fourth downs including a 4th and 3 run up the gut which I stuffed Meggett in the backfield (Childress), but got ghosted.  This was the game breaking play.  He goes up 14-0 at half.  Second half I score and then hold Matt to a FG making it 17-7.  Moon scores again and the Oilers force a punt with 16 seconds left and Matt wins 17-14.  GG.  Nothing to be said here.  He won and played well.  I played fine.  He was the better player this game.

Game three and now the pressure is on.  Lose and I miss the big dance for the first time in five trips. Beef Juice on the menu.  Jake is another one of these guys who are solid for Tecmo.  He runs the Tomczak Bowl in Iowa in December each year.  Passionate and knowledgable.  I finally win a toss and call DET vs S.D.  Knowing I love the Chargers he takes S.D.  Jake called my play somewhere between 35-40% of the game.  When he didn't the Charger drones were killing me. I finally resulted to putting Barry in at RB instead of WR.  Wouldn't you know it, nearly every player including Barry was in BAD.  After electing to not kick two or three FGs I find myself tied 7-7 with three minutes to go.  I sneak in with Barry making it 14-7.  On his next possession he threw an INT and I am able to score a garbage TD for the final 21-7 score.  Great defense Jake.

Game four I have the pleasure of playing Tony S. again.  He wins the toss again and calls PIT vs RAMS.  I gave him PIT for two reasons.  1.  I couldn't afford to get down early with the Steelers. 2.  If he used the same playbook, Kevin Greene would be chomping at the 8 bit to lurch.  Sure enough he did and the game was less stressful than the first.  Plus the RAMS got a few picks too.  Final score was 0-21.  Tony will get out of group play next year.

Game five was a rematch with Matt T. for the losers bracket championship.  Win and your in. Asking for advice, Hake and others suggested going with two teams I am most comfortable with.  DEN vs S.D.  He took the Chargers.  Defense was stout.  Called many timely Butts runs.  Able to mix and match with Elway and Humphrey.  I think there was an INT.  I was able to force a few punts and win 24-6.  Great games Matt.  Segathonsov ended up winning Group 23 with an undefeated 3-0 record.  Nice work.

Between the group play and elimination bracket was the costume contest.  Just like group play, the costume contest gets better and more skilled each year.  This year the Tecmo Bunny came drunk and annoyed the crowd.  John B. starred as El Tecmo in a Lucha Libre mask and Browns jersey.  Two guys came as the hunter and the dog from Duck Hunt.  No one stole the show like Chris H. aka Tecmo Ninja; aka ninjachessmaster as the Mighty Mighty Bomb Jack. Chris had the Super Bowl half time dance and audio.  He then started throwing out "matchup bombs" to the crowd.  Chris H. won the costume contest by crowd applause.

Took the 10 minute break to woof down a half pound cheeseburger and fries.  Next they announced the round of 64 matchups.  Wouldn't you know it?  I opened up against my pool champ Sega.  I win the toss and call CHI vs RAI.  He said that he refused to give me Bo and his friend said, "So you are going to give him Neal?"  First play... JJ INT by Carrier.  I remember two punts and maybe a fumble as well.  Bears run with Bailey and toss to Neal for a 26-0 win.  Great tournament Sega.

Round of 32 I play Joey V. fellow Traverse member.  We set up our play books and then they wanted to switch us to the stream TV.  I won the toss and called CIN vs DET.  Joey took DET.  I ran heavy with a GOOD James "I feel GOOD" Brooks.  Lions broke some long runs.  I had the Ruble dive going this game.  The difference here was a lack of pass game from the Lions.  The Stream can do the talking, but Joey and I were dripping when the game was over.  Round of 32 Joey V.!  You made your goal.

Sweet 16 I played the winner of SirTed and O'Dell.  I watched their game.  O'Dell was up 6-0 in fourth with the JETS.  Ted had the Steelers with a 4th and 20.  Ted had multiple receivers open. O'Dell got popped and Strom tossed to WR 2 or TE more open than BFE.  DROPPED!  Both players dropped their controllers and doubled over.  Unbelievable.  So I get O'Dell in the Sweet 16.  I won the toss and called S.D. vs WAS.  I figured O'Dell would take the Skins, but I would get my B.J. ;) Crazy start.  I was forced to punt.  Eric throws a pick to O'Neal.  I lost the ball somehow and Eric went up 7-0.  I tied it at 7.  I get O'Dell to punt and score to go up 14-7.  Eric connected on a long JJ and ran one in with Byner to tie it at 14 early in the fourth.  I got the ball after the kick with about three minutes left.  I ran clock and scored with 1 second left to win 21-14.  Maybe one of the better games to watch all day.

Elite 8 I get Orenga and the Orenga Posse.  I was 2-0 against Orenga coming in, but never faced the Posse.  Between my game with O'Dell and Orenga my Traverse crew and some other online garbage formed the Psych Ward.  They strategically came up with response chants for the Orenga Posse. Some examples were "We got buns" after Orenga Posse would do their Anaconda score chant. Another was Tecmo... Psycho... followed by the horror movie squeal from Alfred Hitcock's Psycho. The noise was so intense I felt like I was making out with Orenga when I was talking to him.  The stage was rocking with the sheer amount of people jumping up and down similar to Cameron Indoor stadium.  Killing me to use that reference.  Several times my ears were ringing, but knowing my crew was behind me fed me good vibes during the game.  Orenga called PHI vs MIA.  I took MIA because I didn't want Tony to exploit the quick game.  I don't know if it was the Psych Ward or what, but my defense was lights out with Offerdahl containing QB Eagles.  Got a solid arrow trick to Jensen before my first score.  Game was back and fourth during the first half and I brought in fat ass Scott Mitchell, heaved it up, JJ, and grappled tossed MAN defender for the 7-14 lead.  After half, Oregna ties it up on a solid drive.  I quick strike the next possession all the way down the field and run in with Sammie Smith to go up 14-21.  Orenga threw a pick and I capitalized with another score.  Orenga brought in McMahon and benched QB Eagles to connect on a CC to WR 2.  Game ended once I punted away for the 21-28 win.  #psychward>orengaposse

Elite 8 Part Deux was against Josh H.  Josh always beats me.  Chet always beats me.  Josh always beats me.  Chet always beats me.  Yes I said it twice.  I win the toss and call CIN vs CHI.                   Josh takes Da Bears.  I was getting crushed early.  Josh was on with the pass.  I could not catch up with Harbaugh's killer PS.  Thankfully I had Lewis Billups in my secondary.  Two picks!  I stayed close and was able to nab a 10-7 lead in the third quarter.  Josh takes a 14-10 lead with a little over two minutes left.  I march down the field and with four seconds left call pass 4 Z Slant to hit WR 2 for the win 17-14.  Lesser Holzbauer Monkey off the Back.

Final 4.  Wow.  James T. Skunker Best in World repeating Final 4 two years in a row.  I had a candid conversation with Toolie about our kids and then some short discussion on Skunker strategy.  This conversation solidified my K.C. matchup vs CHI.  I figured he would go Chiefs and was stunned when he took the Bears.  I fumble early in the game and get down after holding him to a FG.  I also countered with a FG of my own.  Early in the fourth quarter I kick a long FG to make it 7-6. Then Derrick Thomas doesn't go into EXCELLENT, but into PSYCHO condition (quote from Mattrick Swayze).  I started rushing the QB and made a swooping move to catch Neal in the back field.  On another play I get a near safety with DT and a horrid, sailing out of bounds pass is JJ picked to set me up for my only TD and leading 13-7.  A lucky break?  Absolutely!  Horrible QB throwing after being blitzed?  You bet!  A last chance heave to Bailey is connected on a JJ and Skunker is just outside the red zone.  Another toss is thrown down low and picked off.  A few runs and then a punt runs it out for the 13-7 win.  Can't wait to watch the stream.  Great game James.  EDIT:  after watching the stream I am very frustrated with my play.  By far my worst game of the elimination part of the tournament. With that being said, I will go out on a limb and say this was James' worst game as well.  I did make enough plays on defense (held CHI to 28 rush yards on 10 attempts) and the second long FG was huge in the outcome.  Nonetheless, I will take it.

I also had the pleasure of speaking with Ashman from Texas.  One word to describe this man, genuine (with a Texas drawl).  A great conversation with him.  I hope to get to Texas for Tecmo someday.  I now go to the cabin room and wait with Matty V. to go over matchup strategy with the three remaining players Daboy, coconuts622, and Skunker.  The wait was an eternity.  David T. came in to join and we discussed an interesting trend about tackling after touchdowns in the end zone.  Apparently someone says if you tackle in end zone you lower condition level next quarter for said player being tackled.  DT said he didn't believe it, but with the Bills on two different quarters with two different players it was "proven true".  Brudogg, can you confirm this?  After what seemed like an eternity and fighting off some drunkards it was time. I was about to face fellow onliner coconuts622.  Josh A. and I have played several times before.  The championship was an all TTC (Tecmo Team Cup) final.  One league member lost in the round of 64, one league member lost in the Round of 32, three lost in the Sweet 16, one lost in the Elite 8, and then coconuts622 and I in the final.  Three did not make the trip out.  That means eight of the 12 league members made the bracket and six were sweet 16 or better.  Safe to say this is the strongest league running.

I felt like a professional wrestler walking out of the back and into the arena.  A sea of people were seated and in prime position to watch the big screen for the title game.  The ceremonial coin flip was tossed high in the air and coconuts622 called it tails.  It was heads.  I called S.D. vs T.B.  Thinking he would prefer T.B., I figured he would take S.D. to keep them from me.  He did.  Now the setting was set.  Donning the Haddix jersey, I would be controlling Haddix.  Fitting for a championship win.  I am not going to comment on the title game.  You have to watch the stream, but it will not disappoint. All I can say is both of us played a strong game.  Josh A., we showed some people we could play today.

When the smoke cleared I was mobbed by wave of people nearly going to the ground with MV and Hake.  The score was 13-10 Tampa Bay and I seriously just won Madison.  Wait.  I thought when you go to Madison you will not win.  Surreal.  Mentally and physically exhausted.  Twice during the tournament (O'Dell and Orenga games) I had finger and thumb/wrist cramping.  Dave M. brought me to the stream with Knobbe and Bailey and asked for a quick interview for 170 viewers (450 at peak) viewers.  I kept it short and simple.  I told my son that this win was for him and he helped me by practicing the past few weeks.  All day long he was emailing me between games and he was watching the stream from home.  During the interview I got a little emotional thinking of him as he was supposed to come with me this year.  I felt like I could not let him down.  I wanted this so bad, not necessarily for me, but for him.  Mission accomplished.  My Tecmo Christmas actually did come true.

Tecmo Psycho, "You just won Madison, where do you want to go?"  I am going to Denny's.  Picked up the tab for the Traverse crew because without their support I am probably not winning this thing. Got some Champ Slamwhiches and some Champion Pepper to drink.  Back to the hotel for sleep.  I couldn't.  It was hitting me then.  Spent about 90 minutes going through Twitter, Facebook, and texts from family and friends.  I can't express how grateful I am for the outpouring of support during and after the tournament.  On Tecmo Cloud Nine.

Woke up early the next morning with little sleep.  Showered up and down for waffles again.  For the second day in a row, all by myself.  A great time for reflection.  Hake was gracious enough to drive the entire way home.  Hake is a good dude.  I also enjoyed sleeping with him as well.  While the ride back felt much longer on the way up, the ride home was a happy one.  We stopped at an Arby's.  I wasn't feeling food, but I was feeling a need to drop a load.  I walk inside and looked at everyone and told them to take their time because I was taking a champion-shit.  When we returned to the Traverse we found out that Matty set up a Twitter account for Daboy.  Maybe more shocking than my tournament win.  The remainder of the trip was looking at social media and me writing most of this blog entry.

Winning Tecmo Madison has taken countless hours of COM vs COM, MAN vs MAN, online ratings prep, online scrimmages, online league games, scouting, playbook experimentation, discussion with friends, and the Tecmo Team Cup League has validated why I spend so much of my extra curricular time on Tecmo.  This one day was worth all of that time.  You definitely would have found me doubting myself getting out of group play.  I will also say that something clicked and for about 8.5 games of Tecmo I felt like no one could beat me.  After the beginning of the game with Orenga, I had no butterflies.  I felt calm and good.  The stars also aligned.  After not getting many call opportunities in group play, the only time I did not get to call a matchup was against Orenga in the Elite 8.  The last second score on Josh H., the JJ INT on Skunker, and the ability to have a 90 minute break to rest a cramping left hand and weak right thumb were all essential.  Daboy also took out Chet.  I know some will say that this was just a lucky streak, but I have believed in my ability (at times) for quite a while now.  I did not foresee winning this tournament, but I will justify my win.  There are only eight people in the world who can say they have won a Tecmo Madison.  I am the ninth.  For this one day I can say that I was the greatest Tecmo player in the world and damn it feels good.

No name drops, but the entire Tecmo Madison Crew (including the live stream and commentators) are the greatest assembly of video game entertainment in the world.  You guys and gals are awesome and have no idea what void you fill in worthless nerd lives all around this great country.  We can only pray to the Tecmo gods for Tecmo Madison XII... He Haddix Me at Hello.


Tecmo Madison XI Champion 
Tecmo Psycho