Ch 5: First European Championships in Machine dance - The Positive Gaming Story

05 - 12 - 2012

Ch 5: First European Championships in Machine dance - The Positive Gaming Story

Chapter 5 is exclusively focused on the first European Championship in machine dance, which we organized in 2004. For us a very important event, and for players too, I'm sure. And it will give business people and others an idea of how we got started on an international level with tournaments, this was just the very beginning of such tournaments and events for us. Check it out! :)

During 2003, we had organized 8 national tournaments on Euromix 2 in Norway. The top 3 players of that year, if my memory serves me correctly, were Tom, Duff and Snute. Snute and Duff were really the ones fighting to win the last tournaments of that year, and would be among the best players in Norway for years to come. The tournaments were organized in a pretty informal way. I was personally managing all of them, with the help of Daniel and others from the community. We managed to get a strong and dedicated core of people to practice, participate and help, and it was really a great time period for us. From each location where we had machines, new players joined forums and showed up for tournaments.

One of the most inspiring factors about all this was to see how playing on a regular basis would not only lead to many teenagers losing weight, which it definitely did, but also to find new friends and gain a kind of self-confidence many of them never had before. Most of the active players were what one can categorize as geeks, and as most will know that word has a different meaning now than in the 1980s. This was a group of generally very smart and kind teenagers, and it was really a pleasure to work with them and create a group they felt part of.

There was a lot of excitement about the upcoming first European Championships in Machine Dance. Most of the international discussions took place on the DDR UK forums. We offered all of the communities in Europe to sponsor the trip for their national champion, so it would be a tournament where as many of the top players as possible could participate. UK and Italy had most top level players, followed by Norway. Most of the other countries had few or no machines, but we wanted to include as many as we could. In the end, players from 10 different countries participated, with the majority of the players coming from Norway and Sweden.

The excitement had built up on the forum discussions, and the main favorites were Lion from Italy (the winner of the European test tournament mentioned in chapter 4), as well as Ryosuke and Stelisevil from UK, and we had hopes for Snute and Duff from Norway, along with others. There was one more Italian player coming called Dex, but he was not expected to do as well as Lion.

At this time, all communities had males and females playing in the same tournaments, and although there were some incredibly good females, they never got up to the very top of the list in these first tournaments.

In total, I believe there were 56 participants from 10 countries. I was one of them, and also the main organizer. No one ever objected to this, since I never favored myself or any players in any conscious way during a tournament, just trying to create a safe, fair and fun environment for all.

"Vikingship" - the Venue

The event took place in the same venue as where the first Norwegian Championships were organized in 2003, namely in the “Vikingship”, the Olympic ice skating hall in Hamar in Norway. Most of the Norwegians were there for “The Gathering” anyway, the huge annual LAN party that was organized at that event. The foreigners who came for the event also participated in the LAN party to some extent. We put up 3 Euromix 2 machines at the end of the hall, both expert players and beginners came to play throughout the whole 4 day event. The tournament was organized on the 3rd day, which is a Saturday, always Easter Eve at the “Gathering”. We started at 10 in the morning, and after the first few hours about 20 players were out of the tournament. I had miraculously made it on to round 2, after almost fainting when I played Healing vision (angelic mix), since I still hadn’t learned how to do “crossovers” at that time, and used “brute forcing” instead. I was lucky with my group, and barely made it on. I was kicked out easily in the 2nd group round, but finished 36th I think :).

Lion was getting top scores on almost all songs he played, and seemed to be the biggest favorite. The other 5 players mentioned above all did well, and after many hours we ended up being down to those 6. We had all players play the same random song in each round towards the end, and one self- selected song, then added the scores together for that round. The players were not allowed to select the same self-selected song more than once in the tournament, so some strategy was important.

Lion had come in 6th place in the round before there were 6 left as far as I recall, which meant he had to select his song first. He did very well, but he was saving his best song, Max 300, the one he knew he would get the most points of anyone when playing. Unfortunately for him, all the other players chose Max 300 for that round, and they all beat him in that round. Lion was out, and suddenly it seemed totally open! Snute and Duff were still in, the Norwegians were cheering for them.

The biggest favorite at this point was probably Ryosuke from the UK, but he was the next one to go, in a very close round.

When there were 4 players left, we moved the tournament onto one machine, and this was placed close to the stage at the event. Somewhere between 500 and 1000 people were watching while the last 4 players competed against each other. I dare to suggest that few of the opponents had experienced many more exciting things in their lives! I was talking on a mike, and explained a bit between each song to all spectators, so they understood what was happening. I had never spoken in front of so many people, it was an amazing experience all in all.

Snute from Norway was the next one out, only 13 years old and number 4 in a European Championship! He usually always beat Duff, but somehow Duff stayed on.

Dex from Italy somehow managed to stay on as well, as did Stelisevil. They all showed amazing skill and focus, I’m sure they did personal records on many of the songs. We asked them all to say something in the mike. Duff and Stel were both short and clear, Dex didn’t speak English so well. Dex said something like “My dream is Norway. My good friend Lion is very champion”. He was shocked to have beaten Lion.

The 3rd place went to Duff, a fantastic result for him, and appreciated much by the audience. In the end it was down to Dex and Stel, Italy against UK. Dex pulled through once again, and ended up winning…it was very close, and of course Stel must have been frustrated to be so close, but again…2nd place in the 1st European Championships, not a bad feat!

And Dex just couldn’t believe that he had won, our first European Champion! He was all smiles, and I believe we all had a special day :).

I decided to only focus on this event in this chapter, since I consider it such an exciting and important event in PG’s history. These international tournaments were going to turn out to be crucial for the future of PG, and laid the most important foundation for our further development. The event in 2005 was even more special for us as a company, but I will get to that in later chapters :).

In chapter 6 I intend to start describing the first contact with Konami about international cooperation as well as our first steps towards developing our multiplayer dance game concept. Stay tuned for more of the PG Story!


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