Monday, April 27, 2015

Stone Age Gamer Franchise Bowl - Salem, Ohio

I took the day off of school so I could go watch my son perform at his living wax museum as the Fly Guy (a book he read for class).  I then grabbed lunch with my wife and daughter. After a haircut, mowing the lawn, and a shower I was ready to pick up the rental car and embark to Salem, Ohio.  When I went to pick up the car at Enterprise, the car was not ready. After being much later than I anticipated, I found out the gas was on empty.  Forty-five minutes into my drive the ABS and traction control lights came on.  Remind me never to buy a Chevy.  The car only had 588 miles and it was brand new.  The lights stayed on the duration of the trip.

Sometimes riding in the car to Tecmo tournaments can be the best part about the weekend.  That is when you have a group of buddies.  For five hours it WS me and the road.  The Sirus XM radio helped, but riding alone is brutal.  I arrived in Streetsboro around 9:30 where I met the Tecmo Ninja as he was gracious enough to take me in for the weekend.  We went to Applebee's for some late late grub.  Chris paid for my meal.  We went back to his place and fired up the NES.  We played about six or seven games before finally going to bed a little after 3 AM.

The next morning, we had breakfast at his Italian restaurant with tournament director Ryan M.  Along for the ride was Chris's daughter and a friend.  They were troopers all day and were probably bored out of their mind.  When we arrived at Stone Age Gamer headquarters I went into sensory overload.  Arcades, Players Choice machines, every console imaginable, games, accessories, and even boxed Atari stuff.  I was in retro collecting heaven.  After perusing the store and wiring on participants, Ryan began explanation of rules and format.

The tournament began with the Tap-Off competition.  Using brudogg's Juice-Off Rom, each competitor got one shot to get the top score.  I didn't know what to expect.  I know Louis is right there with me.  There were a lot of unknowns.  Ninja got a 56 with a very inconsistent method the night before.  He told me that Ryan M. got 62 with the same method.  I went against another competitor and scored a 50.  Everyone gave their attempt and Louis also got 50.  There would be a Tap-Off between the two of us.  We went head to head.  I got a 49 while Louis only managed a 45.  I received $20 and a very nice trophy.

Next was pool play.  In my pool was Ryan D., Dan C., and Kyle D.  Going into this tournament I did spend a bit of time thinking about my team.  I built a team with pieces I like to play with.  I went with DEN QBs, RAI WRs, KC RBs, and RAMS OL on offense.  On defense I went with Bob Nelson, Darrell Green, and Martin Mayhew.  Planning my team was really my only preparation.  I didn't practice with the team except for the online CULT league which had a few variations from my actual roster.  I also did not play any console games prior to this tournament besides the Ishtar before with the Ninja.  So going in I knew I wasn't going to be at my best and I had no idea how the other teams were as I did ZERO scouting.

My first game was against the Giants and Ryan D.  First I do want to say that I think Ryan D. is an above average player.  I also don't want this to come out the wrong way. This was the most annoying and boring game of Tecmo I have played in the past five years.  I lost 38-28.  Every score of the Giants came at the expense of a long JJ from Ken O'Brien to Mark Duper or an extremely long CC.  In this game he literally Back and B'd the entire time.  I did lose a fumble before half which gave him a FG and he got the ball right after half.  That was essentially the difference.  Elway threw two wide open passes that were dropped.  Okoye stepped out an inch to early on a fourth down run.  I also foolishly went for it twice on 4th down deep in my own territory.  As you can see, I brought in Kubiak in the second half and just mimicked the Back and B out of frustration.  I think the gods got even in his next game as he lost four fumbles and threw a couple of picks in a losing effort.  Good job Ryan.  It was nice to meet you.

My second game was against the Packers and Dan C.  He had the 49ers QBs and WRs.  I was like ok, so if O'Brien and Duper just did that to me then what is Joe and Jerry going to do?  Thankfully Joe threw for 16% completions as I called pass the whole game.  In this game Okoye could not be stopped as he popcorned the Colts to a 37-7 win.

My third game was against the Oilers and Kyle D.  He had QB Eagles.  Mayhew got an early pick the Colts jumped out to a 21-0 lead at halftime.  The Oilers stormed back forcing a punt early on Colts first second half possession.  Slowly, but surely Kyle scored making it 21-14 in the fourth quarter.  Elway foolishly threw an angle pass to the RB after having a solid drive, but a diving cut screen LT picked it off.  QB Eagles scrambled his way to a game tieing TD late in the fourth.  In OT the Colts won the toss and had a great drive.  I want risking a LT blocked FG so it was TD or bust.  I managed to do so for the 27-21 win.  I finished second in the pool and advanced to the Tier 1 bracket.

Between the pool play and the main tournament everyone was encouraged to leave and go eat.  Many did so.  When they returned they did the drawing for the custom Tecmo themed EverDrive.  Matt/Luke C. was the winner.  That was so awesome.

I drew the winner of the EverDrive in my first game of the tournament.  More dropped passes and more going for it on 4th down in my own territory found me down 0-14 early.  I also lost the first 2 or 3 taps in the game so I had to go to my secondary method.  After I switched I was able to win the rest of them and pulled myself even to a 14-14 tie.  The Steelers got a TD with 2:00 left to go up 14-21.  Since I already checked conditions at the beginning of the fourth I thought it would be gained the rules to swap Elway for Kubiak for the last second JJ attempt.  So I had to work quick with Elway.  I had a brilliant drive and made it inside the 10 with six seconds left.  No open receivers formulated and the pass fell incomplete.  Good game Luke.

In the elimination game of the loser's bracket I took on Ryan D. and the Giants again.  In this game there were not as many CCs and JJs, but two of his three scores were on them.  The big play of them game was when he was up 7-14 and I made a great drive inside the five.  I called pass 1, scrambled to the top with Elway, and threw to RB2 wide open in end zone.  Quick thumb got the best of it and and over press led to a Giant INT.  He then got the ball after half and that was it.  

Ryan M. took home the Tier 2 championship while Jim. L. double-dipped the Ninja to take home the Tier 1 championship.  Jim and Chris made a pact to split the winnings before the second championship game.  Jim did just that.  Good guys that group.m good to see fresh faces and new excitement for Tecmo.

After the tournament Ryan M., Chris, and a local eatery Miller on Mantua.  We then went back to Ninja's place and played about 6 or 7 original rom games.  Good times.  The next morning pulled out, drove bored out of mind back to Indiana, went to my sons  baseball game, and went out to eat with my family.  Capped the night off with Tecmo Talk Radio.

It could have been the lack of sleep, it could have been the lack of prep work, but it was probably my piss poor play and decision-making.  I do love the uniqueness of this tournament.  It is fresh and makes for interesting play.  With that being said, it is not Tecmo Super Bowl.  Nothing compares to the original 28 teams, calling matchups, and being fully prepared about the game.  Once in a while, yes these are great.  For several tournaments I probably won't do it.

I want to thank Ryan M. for putting on a great tournament and coming up with this great idea on EverDrive's.  Stone Age Gamer is the best.  The grab bag full of stuff was worth the entry fee and the gas money alone.  I picked up several great games for my collection.  Andy and Ryan from Stone Age Gamer were so accommodating and had a vested interest in the tournament.  Everything was low key and Tecmo as usual.  Even though the trip was boring, I am glad I went.  Big thanks to Ninja for taking me in over the weekend and showing me some Streetsboro hospitality.  Indy tournament is next.

Long Live Tecmo