22nd July 2010

The clock is ticking: Only two months remain until the big event; the 2010 European Mega Drive Championship. With the date looming nearer, the host nation, Germany, is bracing itself for the hot competition. Thus, the Third German Mega Drive Championship will be the most important to date, set to find the best players this country has to offer. For the first time the Championship Trophy will be in Europe’s heartland and the representatives of the host nation will be looking to dominate the feirce battle and win the title upon their home soil. When Germany entered the 2008 European Mega Drive Championship with no competition at national level – there were only four players willing to travel and they formulated a small contest to determine which of them would travel to England. Since then much has changed and the national championships have increased, sporting a field of 18 competitors in its second incarnation. Now, in 2010, with Germany the host of the 2010 European challenge, more competitors than ever are trying to secure one of the three sacred slots within the German Mega Drive squad. The Third German Mega Drive Championship, held once more in Nuremberg, on August 7th 2010, will determine its composition. More players then ever have issued their challenge, their will to represent their country on an international level. The tournament promises to become an interesting challenge, with the Top 6 competitors from the last two competitions battling for the illustrious honor. While there will be more repeat entries as well as a few players joining the fray for the first time, these contenders are considered to be the hottest aspirants for the title – and a qualifying spot on Team Germany.





Richard Neumann

King Richard, as some affectionately call him, has been a top contender in the German championship circuit right from the start. After having finished 3rd in the first tournament, he safely secured the title this year after defending champ Tobias Berg and last years second-placed, Valerian Essinger, were unable to attend. He was also a member of the inaugural German Team at the 2008 European Mega Drive championships. Particularly skilled in Sonic 2 and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Richard is a Retro-Gamer by heart, preferring Sega’s 16-bit powerhouse over every other console in existence.

Chances: Richard dominated the second tournament, competing in the final stage in 5 of the 6 games played there. After qualifying for the German squad to participate at European level in 2008 and 2009, his chances of making the cut are very high. However, his title at the German Championships was won in absence of the two players who had bettered him in 2009. With their return, he will have a tough time extending his reign another tournament.

Chances of Qualifying: (Very Likely)



Tobias Berg

The Third German Mega Drive Tournament will see two former champions, twice European team mates, facing each other as foes once again. After missing out on the Second Mega Drive Championship, former champion Tobias Berg is back to seek vengeance - setting out to reclaim the sovereignty he established at the First Tournament. Another member of the 2008 and 2009 German European Team and also is the best ranked German competitor at international level so far. With his proven skill of physically mashing buttons faster than an active turbo button can achieve, Tobias strikes fear into the hearts of any opponent in a Mega Drive wrestling match and boy does he like his wrestling games!

Chances: Tobias is a very hot contender for the title in the 3rd championship. He dominated large parts of the first tournament and is considered to be one of the strongest players on European level. After forfeiting the title when missing out on the 2nd championship, he now returns with a vengeance.

Chances of Qualifying: (Very Likely)



Sebastian Sponsel

When in 2008 England called out to other countries to establish teams and expand the European Mega Drive Championships, Sebastian Sponsel stood to be counted: The prime intention of Jerry once more kicking some Tommy butt, he set out to find other volunteers to join him in his quest. The road to success was a bumpy one, but in the end, four volunteers competed for the three Team Germany places. Sebastian narrowly managed to secure his position on the team with a tie-breaker victory. At the First Tournament, Sebastian missed the last round (and the chance for direct qualification) by a narrow margin, only to join the battle for Europe once more as a last-minute replacement. At the Second Mega Drive Championship he played strongly, finishing second, behind Richard Neumann. His lack of skill in any installment of Micro Machines, however, proves to be his Achilles' Heel time and again.

Chances: While organizing the first German Team on an international level and participating in the European Championships twice, Sebastian had always scraped into the selection. While certainly skilled in some genres, he isn’t that well-rounded a player as Tobias or Richard. After his strong outing in the 2nd tournament, however, he might just manage to make the cut once more, and even have a shot at the title?

Chances of Qualifying: (Likely)



Valerian Essinger

The opening phase of the First German Mega Drive Championship saw an intense battle in Group B where three contenders valiantly fought for the two advancing positions. From the flames and rubble of battle emerged newcomer Valerian Essinger, who forced tournament founder, Sebastian Sponsel, into a last-minute draw on an away-game. His strengths in 4-way-multiplayer titles proved to be key to his success. In the end, Valerian secured 2nd place, but, due to scheduling conflicts, had to forfeit his Team Germany spot for the 2008 European Championship. The vice-champion chose not to compete in the Second Championship, citing the lower number of chosen games as a reason. With the Third Tournament returning to the original structure used at the First Tournament, Valerian has decided to join in with the 16-bit duelling once more.

Chances: While Valerian hasn’t competed on international level (yet), he is considered to be a very strong contender. This assumption stems not only from his second place at the First Mega Drive Championship, but also from the fact that he is the long-time sparring partner of Tobias Berg. His strength in multiplayer games, which had been a weak spot of Team Germany in the European Championships so far, might prove to be his big advantage this time around.

Chances of Qualifying: (Likely)



Matthias Schütz

Next to Richard and Sebastian, no other player has been part of the German Mega Drive Championships as long as Matthias. In 2008, he had been the fourth player (and possible replacement) to attempting to qualify for that years European Championship, but lost the direct spot after a tie-breaking match. Poor performance in Multiplayer games and some bad luck prevented him from advancing into the finals at the First German Championship, though his Street Fighter II-battle against later champion, Tobias Berg, would be one of the most exciting matches at the event. At the Second Tournament, Matthias showed a decent performance in every genre played, which netted him his best rank yet, a commendable third place.

Chances: The opposite of Valerian, failure to score in multiplayer games was what prevented Matthias from ranking higher in the First German Championship. With the Second Tournament missing those, he managed to prove his worth and climb to the top of the field. The oldest member of the German Top 10 has a few very strong genres (mainly Beat’em’Ups) and is a versatile player, however, he has a tendency to lose his head under pressure. Should he manage to keep his cool in tight situations, Matthias might just have a shot.

Chances of Qualifying: (Moderate)



Julia Klenert

Julia first joined the German championships in 2010, but instantly left her mark. She was one of six competitors to reach the final round in a tournament mainly dominated by Richard Neumann and Sebastian Sponsel. Interestingly enough, in a field consisting of 15 male and 3 female contenders, two women were amongst the six finalists. Julia managed to net more points and went on to face the eventual champion, Richard Neumann, in the final round of “Micro Machines 2”. Her efforts netted her a joint fourth place (along with Michael Barz) and the reputation of being the best female player in the German tournament circuit.

Chances: Compared to the other contenders in this list, Julia has less experience under competition conditions. The Second Mega Drive Championship also gave her no opportunity to show her capabilities in multiplayer events. However, she still has a chance to grow under pressure and is considered to have a good shot at reaching the finals. Should she be able to make a stand in the opening stages, she might just upset the table and become the first female competitor at the European Championships.

Chances of Qualifying: (Probable)



Alexander Klassen

Entering the tournament at very short notice is Alexander Klassen. Late entries seem to be his special quirk: At the First German Mega Drive Championships he literally entered the tournament at the last minute. In a strong outing he managed to place himself in the upper tier, finishing on 4th place. Seemingly satisfied with the result, he passed his chance to replace Valerian Essinger on the European circuit that year to Sebastian Sponsel instead. After skipping the Second German Championships, many had believed Alexander to have turned his back on competitive Mega Drive gaming, but, like a phoenix raising out of its ashes, with only a week remaining to the tournament, Alexander announced his return, reaching out for a place among the top players once more.

Chances: Finishing in 4th place at the First Mega Drive Championship, Alexander would have been the prime candidate to replace Valerian after his withdrawal from the German European Team. Alexander declined and then spent almost a year in obscurity before announcing his return. It remains to be seen whether he has managed to retain his skills, or if his strong outing iat the First Tournament was merely a fluke.

Chances of Qualifying: (Probable)



There will be a number of players at the Third Mega Drive Championship who will throw their hat into the ring for the first time. Others may return for a second time but haven’t assured their appearance yet. There will be room for upsets and surprises, promising for an array of awesome in what will be a very exciting Third Tournament. Germany is once more on the road to Europe…