Well everyone, another event is in the books! The weekend was an absolute blast, and a blur as it was over in a blink of an eye.
I'll start with my experiences, and then conclude with my list of people to thank. If I've inadvertently missed you, please provide the necessary verbal cross check so I can right that wrong. Tagging is a bit hit or miss for me, so I'll mostly avoid that.
I started out hitting the road about an hour and fifteen minutes later than normal Friday morning, but Hank, Carter and I arrived without incident at The Moxy at the exact same time Leif Erikson. We proceeded to start taking over the the main area of the Moxy lounge by the bar. Multiple Genesis consoles, including an Analogue Mega SG, Analogue Super NT, and Retro USB AVS were all in play. We also had multiple CRT's on hand, and a 2v2 station was setup with our special rom. Leif and I stepped out to scout out Pourhouse. When we arrived I knew immediately we had made the right decision. The place just screams "bros day away". After discussing staging locations for equipment, stations, etc, we returned to Moxy to get our gaming in.
EA was already at the bar with his scarf. I suggested he get himself a smoking jacket to complete the look. Kevin Cabarello also was there, and not long after, Tyler Votaw from St Louis, Jason and Shannon from Madison, Chris O from the greater DC area all arrived. Angryjay93 and Raph alsoeventually arrived. Chris had a bud(Rob if memory serves) show up from LA. Our Canadian friends Jer, followed by a later arrival by DANTLM7 and SeventiesLord also spent time with us Friday. Darik Aho also joined us. Later in the evening, DPS, Mort, and Phil from Chicago's DMEN Tap league arrived.
Hank was bound and determined to compete in Tecmo and Dr Mario for most of the evening. Chris O took me to the woodshed in a couple exis, but I fared well against Darik and Leif. Jer took me down a couple times in close games. Jason from Madison took me down in a game where I gave him some superior talent, but the game was close.
2v2 was a blast, but I wanted to make sure more people had a chance to play it. It seemed to be in use most of the night. I had to turn in earlier than most due to the responsibilities and early start for setup at Pourhouse.
The area outside our bubble transitioned into something resembling a night club with all of the Friday night business. It was a hopping scene, but I decided it was best to dismiss Carter to the hotel room for the night, as there were adult things taking place.
After mingling I finally went to the hotel room to call it a night.
This is a stock photo, but this was our room config. No one in our room knew how to play guitar unfortunately.
Onto Saturday :
We got to Pourhouse super early around 7 AM. Hank, Mort, and Darik were around to help, along with Angryjay93, and the staff members at AV 4 You, owned by Leif Erikson. Their truck was packed to capacity, filled with technical goodness we'd enjoy for the entire day.
I recorded a quick video just showing the venue pre tournament as we all setup.
Above is a photo of Leif and Carter testing out the game feed and layout with the amazingly talented producer Noah! It took awhile, but there was a lot to do. By about 11 we were just about ready to get started. I finalized the groupings based on everyone was there. For the 1st time in our history, every person who said they were coming showed, and we even had an extra unexpected guest, which was awesome! After forming the groups for Genesis, it was onto the opening ceremonies. Leif recorded this special moment. Oh Canada was also performed prior to the Star Spangled Banner, but only the US anthem came with pyrotechnics, and constant applause from Blackhawks fans.
After the anthem we went over the expectations for the day, and into group play.
We were able to get lots of group play Genesis games covered on stream with commentary. They can be viewed here :
We split the brackets into a 15 player "Pros" bracket, and the remainder of the field played for the "Joes" consolation prizes. You can view the stream for the Genesis Pros bracket here :
We had some breaks in between games, but the scene switching helped from Noah our producer from AV For You.
The big surprise of the day was the performance of Mort, coming back from a 6 goal mercy rule loss in game 1 to defeat Leif Erikson in 3 games.
EA also showed some promise and appeared to be on fire. Ultimately both EA and Mort were unable to get past either AJ or Raph to advance to the finals. EA took 3rd place for Genesis.
Ultimately Angryjay93 overcame Kingraph in the finals in a very good 3 games series.
With a small army of helpers, the SNES consoles were all setup ready to go before the end of the Genesis tournament. After a brief pause we got started. People enjoyed things like the custom arcade brought by Leif, or played pickup games on their own. We also gave away a ton of stuff all day long.
Seventieslord won the Roenick 3 way challenge!
Due to time constraints coupled with the lack of ranked SNES players, we decided to go with a Swiss format. We had 16 total players. The top 8 advanced to an opening 1 and down round, followed by a 2/3 series for semi and finals.
Kingraph took his revenge beating Angryjay93 in 2 games. You can see the entire SNES broadcast here :
Above is video of Raph hoisting his trophy for SNES in slow motion with the pyrotechnics going off around him. Mort took down DPS in the 3rd place series, final game played on stream as well above.
We had a ton of help tearing down, and it went smoothly. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I have a ton of people to thank, in nor particular order of importance.
1) The Shield donated much of what was given away as prizes. He was at the first 4 tournaments in Green Bay, and always was finishing near the top. He could not attend this year, and wanted to help make the event memorable. He's known more for his Tecmo prowess, but has always been one of our biggest event supporters. Make sure to thank him if you see him.
2) Charlie Bravo again made the Lord Manly's Cups for this tournament. They looked amazing, and this single touch has really propelled our image over the years. As we wrestle to find the balance of accessible entry fees, yet large enough to warrant a draw, we recognize that this single repeatable badge of honor is coveted, and there is non other like it in retro sports game tournaments.
3) Tom Jenkins of Cleveland Gaming Classic introduced me to the contacts at Hyperkin and Big Play over the past 18 months or so. His connections and encouragement have been tremendously valuable.
4) Hyperkin for their donation of equipment and support of our event.
5) Big Play Podcast for having us on
6) Pourhouse and their staff for allowing us to hold the event there, and all of the support that came with it
7) The army of volunteers that helped out that I could see, Darik, Hank, Mort, Angryjay93, Ed Hammes, and anyone else I didn't see setting up or tearing down equipment.
8) Kingraph, having the #1 ranked Genesis player in the world at your tournament from half the country away 3 years straight really helped bring legitimacy to what we're doing, and provided competition at the top against Angryjay93. Congrats on your continued success in our tournaments, and in your own back out East.
9) Angryjay93 is now the only paying player to have attended all five Edge of 94 tournaments, dating back to when we were "King of 94 WI". I have no words that can adequately thank you for believing in what we're doing. You're a class act human and champion.
10) Tom Stahnke the Retro Sports Gamer has continually supported us in person and behind the scenes by allowing us to broadcast to his viewers, expanding the ever growing audience of NHL94 streams. He continually encourages his players to get involved in the events we run, hosted us for a satellite tournament in Chicago, and even has put my son and I up multiple times at his home. Thanks for being a great friend bud.
11) Popsic Art did a tremendous promotion for us with their framed NHL94 art. I hope many of you decided to take advantage of this.
12) Up Down barcade donated the Fanny Pack of Tokens ultimately won by EA. When you're in town, check them out.
13) Creative Edge Productions/Edge VR Arcade hosted us the prior 2 years, and even though hosting events there was no longer possible for us, they still gave us an amazing promo video that I was able to record a voice over for.
14) Again, EA surprised me with a cartridge signed by the entire tournament. This always touches my heart.
15) Thank you to everyone who contributed on the mic for the stream in some fashion. You all know who you are. I hope to expand tournament involvement with this in the future.
16) Leif freaking Erikson has done something for us that I can't possibly measure. The stream, the pyro, the cameras, lighting the audio, the professional CRT displays, the holographic image, everything was beyond top notch. AV For You has propelled us beyond where we could have gotten on our own. If Leif wants exis, you give Leif exis. He's earned every single one of them.
I feel that these thanks are so inadequate when typed over a keyboard. I was truly emotional on my return home, overcome with joy and gladness that everything went as well as it did. There are obviously areas to improve upon and there always will be. For the first time, it just felt right. I had always felt like we missed a critical mark that was holding us back somehow. Leif helped us break through that glass ceiling, and the sky's the limit. I know this was long, but I'm forever thankful for the memories we've created. If you contributed in a positive manner and weren't recognized, it wasn't intentional.
May the year 2021 come soon! Please share any pictures or your own thoughts on this amazing weekend!
Peace and thanks,