Category Archives: EVO

The Australia Adventure: Part 1 – Getting that Visa

It’s being a while, how has everyone being? Anyway, last weekend, I was in Dublin to attend an all nighter to watch the finals of EVO 2012. For those of you who are wondering what EVO is, it is basically the world’s biggest fighting game tournament and happens yearly in Las Vegas. The finals happen on a Sunday night and like last year, the Irish scene organised an all nighter in a gaming cafe to watch said finals ( and play some games while we’re watinig as well. ) It was a good night, though to say the least, I was pretty bushed the following day for obvious reasons!

However, with the end of EVO 2012, I now had to follow through on something I said to many people I would do the ‘ Tuesday after EVO. ‘ Well, yesterday was the Tuesday after EVO. So, it was time to finally do it.

For those who follow me on Twitter, I tweeted about this yesterday. Posting the following the image:

I was finally applying for my visa to go to Australia!

I had being all talk before but now I was going to make things more solid and certain. I took my time filling out the form, paid the fee and then sat back and waited it to process, checking it several times before I went to bed later that night.

I woke up to this email this morning;

Yup, the visa had being granted! And with that, the first step has being completed. The next step now is to book the flights and inital accomadation, though I’m gonna leave that until closer to my chosen date of departure ( Mid – November, shortly before the deadline. )

Hopefully, nothing bad will happen between now and then that will prevent me from going. However, having taken the first step, the whole thing is now real with this. Stay tuned for future updates on this.

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People Who Inspire Me – Juicebox Abel

No Self Promo ChallengeThis post is a part of a series of posts I will be making every Thursday for the month of February as my contribution to the No Self Promo Challenge. Despite the title, we can decide our level of involvement. As part of my contribution, I decided to write a series of posts about people who inspire me or have otherwise have a positive impact on me and I feel more people should be made aware of.

Eric Albino, better known as Juicebox Abel, is an American based fighting game player, best known for acting out special moves in the ‘ Street Fighter ‘ series of games. These are called Juicebox dances and pretty funny to watch, especially when you see the reactions of some of the other players who fall victim to them. The way he puts it is that video games should be fun and that game, after all is a silly exaggerated cartoon and he treats it as such.

However, there is actually more to Juicebox than this. For one thing, he strives to help others improve their general fighting game skills. He previously had a podcast called Juicy Bits where he would go over various scenarios that a typical player would find themselves stuck in and provide tips on how to overcome these and improve your game.

He also recently started doing podcasts which are called ‘ Juicy Bits – Straight From the Box. ‘ While he generally just plays various video games ( most notably King of Fighters 13, Street Fighter 4 and various other miscellaneous games when he is bored ) he is willing to dispense some tough love if someone asks him for advice on how to improve. I have done this myself because I knew I could get something truthful out of him rather than some wishy washy bias from my local players.

He also finds it very annoying that the fact that so many players, particularly those who play online a lot, almost always do the same thing over and over, which owing to less than stellar internet infrastructure, results in them wining a lot. This does NOT help them as in an offline setting, these same people will get slaughtered by people who know what they are doing. He merely wishes for a more progressive mindset.

He is also very much himself, he doesn’t feel the need to pretend or put up any fake nonsense to make him look tough or bad ass ( trust me, people who try to act tough and bad-ass just end up looking like ass-holes, which is something I don’t particularly like and also puts off a lot of people. ) He simply himself and a lot of people like him for that, especially when you consider he is more than willing to give advice to help others improve and become better players in the long run.

This is Juicebox Abel and he is my favourite fighting game player, he inspires me to be myself always and to become a better fighting game player.

The Evo World Championships, The Irish Fighting Game Community and How A Sense of Belonging to Benefit You Greatly.

Well, the last weekend was insane and no, it wasn’t because I was drinking, it was because I was watching the EVO World Championship series, which took place in Las Vegas during said weekend and most of my time was taken up either watching, talking about or following the event, which culminated with me travelling up to Dublin with 2 of my fellow fighting game members to an all nighter in a gaming café to watch the finals.

 

‘ Woah, slow down Adrian! What the hell is the EVO World Championship thing all about!? ‘

 

OK, I guess I should elaborate more then. EVO is a video games tournament, specially a fighting games tournament, think of Street Fighter and that sort of games that are played. As I mentioned, it takes place one a year in Las Vegas and attracts players from not just America but from all over the world, including Japan, Korea, Australia, England, even Ireland had people playing there to name a few. The event is also streamed, though given the time differences, it wrecked complete havoc on sleep patterns as the good matches only started happening at 4am Irish time on the Friday night / Saturday morning!

 

As I mentioned, I travelled up to Dublin on Sunday for an all night gaming session in a gaming cafe with other members of the Irish Fighting Game community so that I could also watch the finals at the same time with a group of like minded people. It was Hype! ( Hype = Extremely exciting ) My voice went hoarse from shouting at the stream so much and I was jumping around like an idiot cheering at some of the matches ( video proof is here – I’m the guy in the white t-shirt sitting behind the guy with the beard to the right. )

 

I’ve being a part of this community for over a year now, truth be told, fighting games were always something I had a passing interest in but with the advent of Xbox Live and Street Fighter 4 – I was able to find and connect with other Irish players which is how I got involved myself. Well, actually to make a bit of a story out of it, it stemed from pretty much an impulse buy of a version of Street Fighter 4 and an xbox live card to get online again, the rest was history.

 

Unlike other online communities in the past, this was one where it was actually possible for me to meet up with the people I talk to online in person – This was unheard of from me with other communities I was part of in the past. Going to my first tournement where I made my first public appearance in the community was a nerve-racking experince but after that, it became so much eaiser and I’ve gone to enough events and tournaments now that I’m not phased about it at all.

 

The main thing I’ve gotten out of all, apart from getting really good at Street Fighter, is the community aspect. I mentioned in my last post, I’m an introvert who doesn’t really have many friends who I had something in commom with. Before I joined this community, I can tell you there was a lot of anger within me. Anger at the world, authority, my family, my peers. Basically, I felt I had nothing in commom with anyone I knew and if I did, it was typically online and those people were too far away from me to ever meet up with them.

 

This made me upset and there was times I wanted to lash at those who caused me so much grief, trying to change me into of what they thought I should be and not seeing examples of people thriving being similar to me, it was a miserable experince. While I had overcome the feeling of there being something wrong with me many moons before, I still had no feeling of belonging to anything.

 

In short, things fucking sucked. Then I join this community and over the course of a few months, I noticed the anger I had felt had begun to fade. I think going to that first tournament was the turning point for me. The community was no longer just a online group – they were real people right next to me, playing me and quite frankly kicking my ass ( as they would do to all first timers in general. ) That was the sucky bit, losing badly those first few times but over time, I’ve gotten a lot better but that is beside the point.

 

The fact that my anger was fading had huge effects in other areas of my life, I began to open up more to people, got closer to my class group in college and began to feel that anything was possible for me. I’ve become more bold and less likely to look for permission to do something – I’ll just do it anyway. I’ll do things not for popularity or attention or a piece of tail but more because I want to. Basically, I’ve become more open that I ever have being.

 

If you told me 2 years ago that I was to find my sense of belonging in group of Street Fighter players, I would have looked at you strangely because of all the lecturing I had gotten in the past from peers about how playing video games was bad and that I needed to ‘ man up ‘ and all that crap that I believed BUT as I learned, the universe has a way of being ironic – The thing that gave me a new lease of life is the same thing that others had told me would ruin me!

 

The lesson is simple: We all strive to belong to something. If you feel you can’t find what you truly belong to, you will be more likely to be a shut out to the world and less open to the goodness that is in everyone. All you need to do is find that one that makes feel alive when you do it, it could be anything, be it something commom like sports or something off the beaten track ( Of course, I don’t recommend criminality or other illegal activites. )

 

Once you find it and it may take some time, it will make feel alive inside and then all other areas of your life will light up. It is really that simple.

 

P.S. One of the items of my Infinity List is ‘ Go to Evo. ‘ This is the tournament I was referring to. I am now seriously considering going to Evo 2012.