MLG in CBus: June 4th, 2011

By Jonathan Barnes, 7 years ago is making its MLG debut here in Columbus. As a new entry into MLG’s competitive catalog, it isn’t occupying the same main stage as some of the other entries. While the game may not have the glamour position of Halo: Reach, or Starcraft 2, it is being supported this weekend, so much so that several pros have made the trip to Columbus in addition to a rep from NetherRealm.

Since the MLG Mortal Kombat tournament is in its infancy, it has a different set up as well as a different qualification style. Simply put, anyone can sign up for the tournament and take a shot to get into the final bracket. With several console/monitor set-ups in the area, all anyone has to do to enter is sign up with the MLG judge, sit down and start taking on challengers. The top eight win streaks will make it into the finals to compete for $1000 in cash prizes on Sunday.

Among the pros competing this weekend is Carl White, aka “Perfect Legend” who won the Mortal Kombat tournament at Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament 7 Resurrection last weekend. Perfect Legend started his qualifying run today and ripped off a streak of 40 consecutive wins, taking on all-comers (and never dropping below half of his life bar), before standing up with his top eight qualifying finish all-but secured (The next closest were 32 and 20).

I managed to get an interview with Perfect Legend after his qualifying.

OBJ - How does it feel to come away get 40 wins and step away without being beaten?

Perfect Legend - It feels alright. It feels pretty good. I just wanted to put up a high number that I don’t think anyone will reach so I can walk around and be lazy for the rest of the day.

OBJ - You’re easily in the top eight and you spent most of your run playing with Kung Lao. Is there any particular reason you enjoy working with Kung Lao?

PL - His movement. He moves faster than the rest of the characters in the game and I can play a very fundamental based game. It’s easier for me to read opponents with Kung Lao than it is with every other character.

OBJ - Another interesting thing about your play style is that you’re one of the few gamers who plays on the game pad and not a fight stick. Is there any particular reason you prefer the pad over the stick?

PL - Realistically, my thumbs are quicker than my wrists. On the D-pad you can do certain motions quicker with your thumb than your wrist. So, it’s easier for me to react to stuff and not have to think too much about steps ahead. I can react to everything instead of having to be ten steps ahead of my opponent. So it’s a lot easier (for me). That’s why I’m on a pad.

OBJ - We have a pretty hardcore community at TrueAchievements. Do you have any pro tips for our gamers who might be looking to get a bit more serious or competitive at Mortal Kombat or any other fighting game?

PL - Try to find the basics of the game, not just character move sets. It’s more on the best way to control space. That’s what fighting games are really about. It’s like an extra level to chess or checkers. You either have to control the air or the ground. Just make sure whatever character you pick, you figure out how to control space well with them and do it in the safest way possible so you can’t be punished.

OBJ - What’s your all-time favorite fighting game?

PL - The game that got me into competitive fighting games is Dead or Alive 3 and, of course, Mortal Kombat 2. I played (Mortal Kombat 2) a lot in the arcade when I was, like… five. So I grew up with MK. Really, I like everything. I’m a fighting game player, so I just love every fighting game I play.

OBJ - Are you looking forward to Tekken x Street Fighter and Street Fighter x Tekken?

PL - No. (laughs) Street Fighter x Tekken looks really generic to me right now. It seems like all they implemented were the juggles from Tekken. I don’t see any new mechanic that will add another depth or level of thinking to the game. Tekken x Street Fighter, I want to see how they put Street Fighter characters into the Tekken engine. The games I’m looking forward to now, though, are Tekken Tag 2 and Street Fighter Arcade Edition which comes out next week (Editor's note: Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition comes out on June 28th in the US).

OBJ - Mortal Kombat is obviously a huge game right now. NetherRealm did a great job bringing it back and making it fresh again. What are your favorite parts of this new iteration of Mortal Kombat?

PL - I like how important meter management is in this game. You can tell by how someone uses their meter how good of a player they are on top of how they start the match off. The game is really solid this time around. Outside of the gameplay, I love everything: the story, the music, the art, it’s a really good game. I like how NetherRealm is really working hard even after the game’s release to keep it updated so nothing stupid is in the game competitively, so we can keep playing (in tournaments) and having fun.

OBJ - I know our community and some of the players I’ve talked to today are really enthused about NetherRealm putting in those hot fixes. Last question: We’re mainly an achievement-based website at TA. Are achievements important to you as a pro player? Is it a nice bonus or something you don’t even care about?

PL - I don’t really pay too much attention to them. (laughs) I wish there was a cheat code to unlock all of the achievements so I could unlock everything in the game, because I hate sitting through and unlocking stuff.

OBJ - Thanks a lot, congratulations on the 40-win streak, have a good time in Columbus and best of luck in the tournament tomorrow.

PL - Thank you.

Here are a few pictures from today's action.

The Mortal Kombat cabinet.
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Sponsor, Dr. Pepper, is keeping the high-fructose corn syrup flowin'!
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Halo 2 lives on at one of the Dr. Pepper game stations.
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Halo: Reach Semi-Finals (Instinct v. Final Boss)
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And a few, final thoughts on the day.

* TSquared is way taller than you'd think. 6'3" at least.

* The Greater Columbus Convention Center is one of the biggest in the States, it's so big that, in addition to the MLG event, they were also hosting a Halloween Expo and a few major graduation ceremonies today. I'm starting to think there should be a PAX Midwest here.

* The Pro Halo players seem to use grenades more as a defensive tactic rather than an offensive weapon.

* They also have zero sense of self-preservation and go head-first into action at all times.

* The Halo: Reach winner's bracket finals are set between Instinct and Dynasty. Instinct has not lost a single game through the entire tournament and are living up to their moniker as the "God Squad".

Several members of the community have expressed interest in watching some of the competition. For those who can't make it to Columbus, you can still watch via the external link.

I'll also be live tweeting through the championships tomorrow and can be followed on Twitter at @osubluejacket.
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.