Big thanks to @halifax and @smozoma for putting this thing on. They say, "if you build it, they will come", and that's all well and good, but someone still needs to build it, and you sure do lots of the heavy lifting. I mean look at Metaverse. Their budget is basically... their entire budget more than YOUR budget, and we almost had more active users over the weekend than they did!
Arrive at Pearson airport super early, 9am Thursday, same time as Scribe. We meet up and share an Uber to a random Internet cafe because our airbnb doesn't allow entry for another 7 hours LOL. We end up paying $20 in Chinatown for an hour of internet and two sodas. We don't even use the Internet. We end up firing up my laptop and playing exis for about 2 hours. Nobody says anything to us except a non-english speaker who mumbles "you guys.... smart" as he sees us playing on our own computer. I'm still confused, but we nod and continue. Scribe won 4-3 in the BO7.
We head back to our airbnb finally, and szpak meets us there with BEER! But even better, he brings a perfectly sized CRT tv. We jam out another 20 exis as TecmoJon and KingRaph finally arrive. As an aside, moving from CPU to CRT was a shock for both scribe and I. I didn't ask others, but it felt different than online. As a plus though, it went away pretty quickly, and nearing the start of night 1, and I can say that scribe, myself, and TecmoJon were all feeling pretty good. Raph having only played a few times in the previous few months was a touch leery. But frick, he's starting from a different place than us dregs. We run out to get some minor groceries and supplies for the next few days, and then head to Waves Gaming for night 1 of 2v2 and some early group play.
I personally didn't play any round robin games that night. I was just walking around, taking it all in. Saying hi to the likes of corbett, mr. T, thrillhouse, kgman, sebspakaze, for the first time IRL was amazing. I think I hugged everyone. Maybe everyone but corbett, kgman, and sebe. They just didn't strike me as huggers. Apologies if I'm wrong, hug me twice next time if you want. Thinking that from the typically accepted list of top 10 NHL94 Sega players, the only 3 missing were schmidt/plabax/seth/tick, odds were stacked against me. But still, those guys better be there next year.
Raph and I were called to do our 2v2 matches and we were off and running. I didn't jot down any of the games, but we crushed mr. t and Thrill in the round robin, but on our way to the finals, they gave us the biggest scare. we were up a few late, and they kept coming back. with 10 seconds left, somehow mr. T gets a semi-break, flips in the PERFECT rebound try, and grabs puck....... crossbar. everyone watching couldn't believe it. whole place erupted. The finals was vs. scribe/corbett who also had a good time on the way to the finals. Sadly it was only a best of 1. It was so quick and done, we didn't have a chance to really even try new things and learn from mistakes, but was I happy to win it? OH YEAH!!! next year, I'd like it to be a blind entry process where you just enter and you're matched with an automatic partner (skill based matchmaking). It could even take up an entire half day. such a high entertainment value. have its own dedicated stream. Anyways, thanks Raph for the carry, but it was more about HIS raw skill; we had amazing chemistry and made some cool plays and saves.
The other 2v2 started going then, as well as some Sega matches. everyone was wrapped up at the moment, so being at Waves was pretty cool because I could just hop onto one of their gaming computers and play some rocket league. it felt way better on their comp, so now i'll be going through that rabbit hole to find out what's wrong with my comp. probably time for new vid card.
When we were all booted out at midnight, I screamed "HEY EVERYONE! WE HAVE A VERY SERIOUS DISCUSSION THAT NEEDS TO OCCUR. IT'S ABOUT TO CLOSE, AND WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT WHERE WE'RE ALL GOING AFTER THIS." nobody said s**t. So feeling like the dude that held up his hand for a high five and was collectively shunned by 30 hands, I said nothing more. NEXT TIME, I would like there to be a planned but optional event after each day because degenerates exist that want to get 4 hours sleep each night because we can sleep when we're dead, and we travel with the boys to PARTY!!!!!!!
A small consolation was that we headed back to our airBNB, got a few more hours of exis and conversations with scribe, tecmojon, and Raph, and had a nice decent sleep.
WAKEY WAKEY toast and bac-ey. I woke up the boys with some coffee, and some bacon/tomato sandwiches, which incidentally was quite better than day 2 breakfast of choice for Raph..... unbuttered brown toast. we hopped off BRIGHT AND EARLY to get to the vent already like 15 minutes late. haha. Sorry Halifax. and I mean it. at 1015am you could already feel his stress. I could read his eyes and face "oh man, no way I'm gonna pull this off. way too many events, not enough time". But in no time flat, we had our intros, country photos, and group brackets ready to go, and vague instructions on what to do. Being adults, we eventually found our way to a TV, found an opponent, and started to play. I do think there's an opportunity here for some of us to bring our 10+ aged children next time, and have them work each group. Making sure there's no downtime between systems. That's what caused us to go so much later. Halifax can only call so much. Downtime between games is ok, but not like 10-20 mins. Take a piss, grab a beer, 2 mins, get your next game done.
Anyway, I digress. Here's what happened to me in the round robin.
Game 1: Fella named LHX. I think I heard he was a 95 guy perhaps. He chose QUE/DAL. I picked DAL because I know how to use their unique players better, at least that's what I told myself. This guy caused havok like no other. I was down 1 early, and he just kept slapping it from all angles and checking well. It took me until midway through to find my bearings. I was able to get a couple slappers, eased up on myself, and then I think I got a pass shot, and I knew it was going to be a good day. WIN 4-1
Game 2: Gentleman named Handzus. The name sounded very familiar. He picked LAK/DAL, and having just PLAYED as Dallas, I thought let's mix it up. So I figured I'd run standard Sandstrom at C, but after he pumped a few one timers wide, I subbed him for Robi at C, and was able to mount a comeback to win 4-2.
Game 3: Ben Fisher - He starts talking right away about how he's not good as some of the other guys, and hey, that's both the point of these things, but also can be a downer for some. I would like to see some changes on this in future to keep these things going and growing. Anyway, I'm away this time, and call STL/WSH - he picks WSH (sadly), but I figure I know enough about STL to bring in a win. Again I go down, but this one is more high flying andback and forth. I end up winning 6-4 in a fun one.
I played Robert as well, but I messed up my notes and forgot what happened, but I won. So I was 4-0 and feeling good, but knew I had two hard matches still left.
Game 5 - don't need to say much. It was angryjay93, and probably the most hilarious thing happened. we were talking about all his games being 6 goal wins so far, so my goal was to be the first. I set a micro goal of getting the first goal. I actually DID get the first goal, and made a HUGE save near the end of P1. he yawns audibly, I chuckle, and he gets 7 in a row and we are at the 430 mark of third. he says "are we done here?" and we both laugh and I say no f**k you, we finish. I get one back, but lose 8-2. He chose the matchup of PHI/EDM. I took PHI and he Klima'd me with 6.
Game 6 - szpakman rolls on over to play my final round robin game. We normally go pretty even online. I call the "bait" matchup for TOR/CGY, thinking I know how to neutralize him with TOR, but I was just wrong. he rolls me over 4-1.
I finish the round robin at 4-2 and I'm on my way to the upper bracket. What I'm NOT expecting is for them to say "first round playoff matchup is danTML vs. kgman". my stomach dropped. the kgman that went 6-0 and +31 gdif? I REALLY wanted this to be on stream, but they kept saying we were behind, so we had to just play. I tried to stream and record, but the TV we were on was so tiny, that the phone had to be too close and just got in the way. I thought he was getting antsy to play, so I just said f**k it.
Game 1 – I pick WSH/HFD, he goes WSH and wins 4-2. It was close, nice plays all around, but I thought I was in it still. I realized I needed a little something extra by this point, so I head outside and have a quick hit of my cannabis vape. Heartrate slows, focus intensifies. I run back in.
Game 2 – he picks WPG/LAK. I chose WPG for the speed. He played McSorley which was odd to me (weight bug), and I think I was able to overwhelm the team with speed. Still, I'm up 1 with a minute left, and ice it twice. Then, 15 seconds left with goalie pulled and Gretzky at C, Gretzky floats the slowest one timer over Essenza to send us to OT. Early in OT, I do a rebound goal with Davydov who was on fire, and he pots it for the win. I run outside for another hit.
Game 3 – I pick EDM/PHI. He picks EDM. It’s clear from the get-go that Klima isn’t functioning well. For anyone who knows Edmonton sans Klima, they are akin to maybe like a SJ or OTT. Anywho, then Klima takes a penalty, misses the net… It’s 1-0 for me after 1. Early in 2nd period, Klima gets injured for game. Lights out. Pot a third one late, but kgman had trouble figuring out what to do against a speedy Eklund. With nothing working, the game coasts to an anti-climactic 3-0 win.
A few came to thank me for sending him to the losers bracket, making their upper bracket path a touch easier.
Next up was Sebe. It was a glorious overtime loss, to send me to the loser’s bracket. I suggest you watch it here though. You can speed through the breaks. I took a cannabis break after game 1, but I was gone so long because I thought someone stole my phone (hint: it was streaming our game the whole time LOL) https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1626263850
After losing that, it was time for Smozoma in the loser’s bracket. This time, I wanted to do a reverse Toronto bait, choosing PHI vs. TOR, but Smoz screwed it up and took PHI. Another intense overtime loss, and the sad reality that my day was done finally set in. This was on the KO94 stream on that day around the 5 hour mark. The best part was like 7mins into OT, and yet another crazy save or miss, I hear someone in the crowd say "WHAT IS THIS GAME EVEN?!?" and I lol'd so hard.
After the loss, I was feeling pretty down. I put my headphones on and played rocket league for a couple hours to calm down, and then it dawned on me that I can play rocket at anytime, but this was my only chance to make some more connections and watch some amazing 94 action. So that’s what I did. I went around challenging ppl to exis, watching some streams, commenting, cheering, and having a grand old time. I gained a ton of respect for @Bob Kudelski this tourney. I care about SNES bud. It's a worse game, but because I like you and all the others who play it, I care too!
I tried again to get everyone to go to a bar or out for sushi, and nobody spoke up, so I figured everyone was tired. By the time we got back to our Airbnb, it was nearly 2am. I warmed up some bacon, and brought out the ketchup chips and all-dressed chips, and we stayed up another hour just talking about our nhl94 theories, while raph jotted down ideas for his podcast. That might have been my favourite hour of the entire weekend tbh. All in all, most of the NHL94 guys seem like very mature and well-adjusted men, but also very fun-loving and polite. And I offered tons of free weed to everyone I met, but only @Stantonator responded positively by offering me some of his in return haha. I order my weed by asking what will put me to sleep. He asks for the strongest.
We wake up the next day to a message from Raph saying he left to airport and wished us well. The rest of us chatted another 2 hours while we waited for Airbnb checkout time. We had to leave szpak’s CRT TV in the garage. I figured they wouldn’t notice until we were ready to grab it. Instead, they nearly immediately text me a picture of the TV and leftover beers LOL. Oh well.
I went to the airport early and started writing this. Only funny things there were running into Halifax at a nearby gate, and Scribe randomly giving me the edibles he didn’t eat, and I took them without considering travel limits. So I walk up to the security screening and say “I’m concerned about the amount of cannabis I have on me.” Ended well though, but really it's just hilarious from like 3+ years ago where I'd be in jail right now.
All in all, I had a great time and I learned SO MUCH that I want to use forward and hopefully join the team of Halifax and smozoma to help provide some needed administration and acceleration. I have SO many ideas, but I want to wait until everyone does their write-up, and everyone does their survey, and then incorporate my event and marketing ideas into things, and see what I can do. Had a wonderful experience meeting everyone and playing some games with NO LAG!!!!!!
I'm in for every event from now on. Nothing will keep me away, except the cold cold hand of the specter of DEATH (knock on wood).