Only a relatively small fraction of fighting game fans have the courage to put their skills to the test in tournament play. In today's Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter d0m shares his first frustrating experience.
My spirit is absolutely crushed right now. I participated in my first fighting game tournament yesterday, and my feelings about it are difficult to put into words. I was excited until I sat down for my first fight, at which point a serious case of nerves kicked in. I've always been confident in my ability because I win often playing online, however tournament goers are a more dedicated subset of the general online populous so I expected tougher fights and wasn't sure if I would measure up. There was also the element of pressure due to the stakes and venue, whereas losing online is of little consequence. However I focused and won round 1, and all of my apprehension vanished. I took the rest of that match easily, and proceeded to win my next 3 as well.
I was at the semifinals for my pool, when it was decided that I could no longer use my controller of choice (standard ps3) because it had Bluetooth (despite me having been wired in with USB). I was forced to check out one of Capcom's pads with 6 face buttons on it, only 2 shoulder buttons, and a d-pad inferior, in my opinion, to the Dualshock's. Anyone who plays fighters above the casual level knows how fucking important muscle memory is when it comes to execution. I had about 20 minutes to acquaint myself with this new method of input, but 20 minutes was never going to undo the hours spent with my ps3 pad. To make things worse, my fight using this thing was on the big stage/screen and on the live stream, so everyone got to watch me drop combos and get opened up repeatedly. I remember hearing people yell "BLOCK!" and "FINISH YOUR COMBO LOLOLOL" , it sucked. Somehow I managed to win my first fight on stage, but it wasn't satisfying because I no longer felt like my true abilities were on display, it was a struggle. I lost my second match on stage, and I wasn't surprised (I was more surprised I managed to win even 1 with that damned pad). No fight money for me :-(
Now I'll never know how far I might've gotten with my true abilities. That is what hurts more than anything, not the act of losing itself. I dread watching the stream archive when it is released and hearing the commentary over my garbage performance. FRAK!
Side note: Alot of famous players there, that was cool.