Ten-years to the day, the Mega Drive Championships were founded: away in England three college students gathered to begin a 16-bit legacy. On 8th January 2011 the competitions celebrated their latest expansion. In what was the first Mega Drive tournament in 2011, Portuguese warriors met, not in the usual surroundings of Lisbon, but 300km away in Porto, where the retrogaming shop Press Play was also rejoying in the one-year anniversary of their opening.
Regretably, a number of the Lisbon regulars were unable to answer Porto's call, but, in response to the exodus, a handful of new recruits stepped up to take part in some awesome 16-bit gaming. The atmosphere was positive and passionate and for five-hours of intense battling, the competitiors put their skills to the test, knowing only the strongest would provail. In a double elimination format the challengers duelled.
João proved the stats buffs correct, being the best ELO rated (something to do with chess) player of the three experienced participating players, he took advantage of the inexperience of his competitors and waltzed his way through the winners bracket. Wiht a 100% win record in his home games and 50% in his away games, this sort of form was always going to be difficult to beat. Pivotal to his title win was an unexpected victory over Hugo Vieira on Golden Axe 2, half an hour before overcoming Marcus Nunes in a nail biting encounter of Micro Machines '96.
Hugo has battled in many previous tournaments and has amassed a large experience on a number of games. In the past he has proved himself as a competitative player, but has never really established himself among the elite. He took advantage of the relative lack of experience from his competitiors, in spite of dropping out of the winners bracket following a bad game pick against Marcus Nunes. Yet, dropping into the losers bracket did not spell the end of Hugo's tournament. The loser's final saw him go head-to-head with Marcus Nunes and earn a payback win to secure his place in the grand final. Against João Pires in the final two, Hugo selected two fighting games; Super Street Fighter 2 and Golden Axe 2. It was on the latter that proved fatal to Hugo's title ambitions.
Marcus is renowned as a skilled gamer across a number of platforms and the Mega Drive proved no different. Comprehensive victories on a wide array of games propelled him into the winner's final. Up until this point he has tasted just one defeat, however, he was beaten by João Pires to fall into the loser bracket and by Hugo Vieira to finish the competition in third place. The question arises, how would Marcus fare against the more experienced members of the Lisbon Tournaments?
Cristiano was largely anonymus during the tournament, but was exeedingly efficiant, non-the-less. He felled competent opposition, adapting quickly to games, until he was relegated to the losers bracket by Marcus Nunes. Owing to time constraints, Cristiano was not able to fully flaunt his skills, in spite of having penetrated deep into the losers bracket. He is the best ranked debutant with an ELO ranking of 9th.
Having been thrown into the lion's den when debuting in the invitational team tournament, and performing as poorly as expected, this experience served him well, will some anticipated interesting skills on fighting games. It makes us wonder what will come next...
Sérgio was clearly one of the best prepared newcomers at the Thirteenth Tournament. He showed a massive amount of skill on International Superstar Soccer Deluxe and left the competition undefeated on the game. Whether or not this record would hold against Lisbon's members, with João Pires and Dário Pelixo also jostling for national supremacy on this title, will hopefully be decided at some point in the future. Showing a good all round performace, with commendable displays on both sports and fighting games, will more experience he will certainly become a threat to all members on the Portuguese Mega Drive scene.
His dominant performaces on Speedball 2 have risen the question, would this man be competition for Germany's Sebastian Sponsel - recognised as Europe's Speedball 2 master? This was the sword that cut him through the early rounds, until defeat against João Pires, on Streets of Rage 3, cast him into the losers bracket. He dominated in the lower group and left the tournament with a very positive image and the wonder of how he might perform in future Mega Drive tournaments.
Franck displayed some very similar skills to his brother, Jonathan, albeit with some differences in game preference. Fortune did not favour Franck on the day and, in the first round, drew him against the eventual tournament winner: João Pires. With a good knowledge across an array of games, had the draw been kinder he would have been able to better flaunt his skills. Maybe next time!
One of the most enthusiastic of the newcomers, whose participation sadly ended with a no-show! Despite being dropped into the losers bracket, he showed considerable skills on Dragon Ball Z and Mortal Kombat 2.
A classic example of bad luck on the draw. Following a nice first round win before being demolished by a strong Sérgio Lapa in the winners bracket. He couldn’t be found afterwards for the losers bracket and only showed up to watch the final (probably unaware of the double elimination format) which was lamentable since he could very well play a major role against the other losers bracket protagonists.
In spite of a positivity, Hugo was uncompetitive in his game selection. The array of games picked matched no strategy and a narrow first round win was followed by defeats against heavy competition and thus his fate was sealed.
Pedro proved himself to be a Mortal Kombat 2 specialist, but with the absence of any safe second selection assured a certain fate. If he were to increase his game versatility he could find himself making much more of an impact in the competition.
André is a rare specimine, a competitior who is younger than the console itself. He has a penchant on Micro Machines and used his talent to plough through the losers bracket, where he eliminated some very strong competitiors. He possessed a number of tricks on other titles, but it was a Dragon Ball Z tiebreaker match against Jonathan Costa that eliminated him from the tournament. We hope to see his skills return for future competitions.
Bruno was cursed with an unfortunate amount of bad luck at the Thirteenth Tournament. The draw did not go in his favour, as he was selected against one of the few experienced Mega Drive players in round one before facing Franck Costa in the losers bracket. He’ll have a chance for payback next time!
He wasn’t the console’s biggest fan and he never hid it but above-average knowledge on fighters and vast retrogaming experience garnered profitable results.
Very enthusiastic, it was a pity she left the tournament with a single game victory – at Sonic 2.
Video of the Grand Final (27 mins)
There were clearly top 4 popular games on this tournament: Micro Machines 96, Mortal Kombat II, Super Street Fighter 2 and Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe. The former 3 games are no surprise as they’re benchmarks of a whole generation, but the latter is very unexpected! As the Costa siblings spread class on the game through the tournament, the desire to compete on it spread through the tournament like a plague and could well become a quirk that will make the Porto Tournaments stand out for future generations. The near absence of World Cup Italia '90 was a big surprise. Other common games that picked up interest were, expectedly, Sonic 2 and 3, Streets of Rage 3 and Mega Bomberman. And so ends the first Porto Tournament, the Thirteenth Mega Drive Championship to be held in Portugal, and although dominated by those who strut their stuff in the Lisbon competitions, it is only a matter of time before those indigenous to Porto establish themselves as credible contenders to their southern rivals. Let's have some photos next time though!!