Justin Wong, Kayane Disapprove of This Year’s SBO

Space Battle Opera (SBO), or Tougeki, is arguably Japan’s premier fighting game tournament event. Some would even say that it at least matches EVO. This weekend, however, SBO has earned some complaints from even the few of the most seasoned players, and its more than just a “Why is it one game a match?” complaint.

Justin Wong came made some unfavorable tweets about SBO that quickly gained attention. He brought up how the outdoor setting produced a glare on the Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 cabinets. He also noted since the tournament is being held “in the middle of nowhere” with a bad network connection, the cabs lagged badly. Justin made it clear that he would still compete this weekend but made it clear that this will be the last SBO he goes to. “I will never come to SBO ever again,” the former EVO champion declared. Update: Justin won in UMVC3, becoming the first American to win an SBO title.

Long time SoulCalibur player Kayane also let her issues with the event known. She reaffirmed Justin’s comment about screen glare but stated more problems such as the intense Summer heat, handling of accidental pauses, not being able to use one’s own arcade stick, the distance between the venue and Tokyo (and cost of the commute), and the high venue fees just to watch, let alone play.  Kayane childhood dream of playing at SBO turned into a bad dream.

Another common complaint for not just this year’s SBO but for every year’s SBO was the one-game match tournament, single-elimination format. Many non-Japanese players are used to the best of 3, double elimination format and are not trained for one strike and you’re out. Holding best of 3 qualifiers in the US does not help the case. Some players are suggesting that SBO be changed to “international” format. But SBO was not meant to be an international tournament in the first place. It’s like changing the Super Bowl from one game to best of seven because other sports are doing it.

Tournament format aside, Space Battle Opera was not up to par for those who were there. If the high-levels players are complaining, it’s hard to argue otherwise.