Listening to: Nato - Shub Niggurath
Watching: More Pump videos
Playing: Pump It Up 2017 PRIME 2
ANNOUNCEMENT: I am now officially on indefinite hiatus (semi-retirement) for gaming competitions, especially Pump It Up (Freestyle and Speed), DDR, ITG, etc.
NOTE This is NOT full retirement as that would mean permanently hanging the boots. I will play the game(s) for workout fitness and casually, but currently can't compete at 70% or higher capacity. It could be possible that I may come back, but only time will tell.
For those who have supported my run in Pump It Up competitions and community just like I help support the community, I would like to thank you very much for allowing me to pursue this, not only socially but also fitness-wise as well. I honestly thought I would not even come out of not playing ever again at such an old age (mid-30's mind you).
I am sure most of you know that fatherhood is reaching close. It will be an exciting experience and a new chapter in life, hence why I am closing this chapter. Nothing wrong with that at all. While I have been focusing preparations with friends and family for months now, everyone knows where my focus will be moving forward.
Here is a brief history of how I decided to come back to the Pump It Up Community in 2013 (extremely long but what is written is not even close to everything):
NOTE: Lots of shout-outs. Feel free to remove tag or PM me. Anyways, if you are not mentioned, don't take it personal; I still recognize you.
Around the 2003-2008 time, UC Davis was the only place to have both the Pump It Up main series and Pro. There were rare unofficial gatherings that happened at the time. Awesome company.
Also around this time, I was in development with Pump it Up Pro. This also includes showcasing in Las Vegas, meeting with the team Kyle Ward and met up with James Devito and Art Noxon for the first time. Oh, and hello, David Casasus for awesome trips.
Around the 2009 time, the machines at UC Davis were dying out. While their latest machine is Fiesta EX, their screen broke and pads were not working. Even Scandia's pads were wearing out.
Fast forward to 2012, I reunited with Shawn and Meeko from out of the blue. Suddenly, the arcade business was returning with a bang when very rare arcades were provided at Sacramento Scandia. Originally, we were supposed to have a tournament over there, but nothing came to fruition for unknown reasons.
Also during this time, I apparently reunited with Kevin Tan through Phillip Reed, not realizing the exact name. Also at this time, me and Aaron were invited to be a judge at both FanimeCon and Kinyoobi-Con for freestyle (Thanks Joshua and Neal). Sounded like fun due to past DDR Experiences with freestyle. During this time, DaKree was the main guy who showcased freestyle; Phil was the announcer or judge at this time too.
After those events, we've also heard unfortunate news that Gemini Arcade, the original place for USPF 2013, closed down, thus leaving USPF without a location. Since I have dealt with PMX before, our small Pump group pitched the idea of having USPF be hosted at PMX. This would mark the first time USPF was held at a con. Also, it perfectly fits the them of asian pop culture very well. Had it not been for Paula and Todd, this would have never been a reality.
USPF 2013 rolls down. Reunited with familiar faces from both the DDR Community and Pump community. Some people requested me to compete, alongside with Phil and Kevin. I am like ... "sure why not." At this time, I was also working as press coverage at PMX. This was where I noticed the major differences between DDR and Pump (too long to blog here). Regardless ... I tried. I was not in the best condition nor was familiar with DP charts until later. Regardless, PMX SAVED Pump It Up in the U.S. for missing out on a yearly USPF.
After USPF, I was talking to Archie more and was convinced by him to compete at my biggest level possible. Had it not been for him, as well as Art and Smidget, I probably wouldn't try again. They knew I had potential despite me being older than most people. I decided "okay, let's give this a shot." Given group invites to the Pump community, I decided to be at a much better physical condition. Taking notes of what I could improve at USPF 2013, I decided to actually rethink the strategy and rethink the drawing board of what songs to do. I got 2 songs to work with. There are DP charts I need to test out. Knowing that costume and apparel play a role (20%), I wanted to utilize whatever items and clothes to its fullest. Knowing that letter grade played a role, I had to keep playing until I A'd the songs; S preferred but that didn't happen at practice. And of course, look at new ideas outside of dance moves to showcase.
Also during this time, NorCal had me, DaKree, and Phil as the main 3 freestylers for USPF 2014. Given CWF's presence, the idea of NorCal World Order, a parody of wrestling, came as an idea, but never expected to grow in large numbers as a name for NorCal's Pump scene, including jerseys.
Speaking of USPF 2014, the event got announced in March, giving players 8 months to prepare. Once again, PMX was hosting it again. Knowing that there was no Pump Fiesta 2 around, I decided to stay over at the Scandia at Rohnert Park, and big thanks to Jorge for the company. Helped out a lot since I stopped by Kevin's place after for final sessions.
Moving forward to USPF 2014. This time, I decided to bring my cousin alongside Craig and others. The turnout for USPF 2014 was twice as bigger than 2013. Known veterans of the game came all the way out. This time, we were given 2 machines instead of 1, making the flow of the tournament faster. I admit I was nervous as hell competing. When they announced that Top 8 instead of Top 4 were advancing to the finals, I felt a little relieved, but couldn't lose focus because certain performances that were done in the first round made me go "Holy Shit!" I wasn't sure if they were delivering their best routine first or if they have something even better to deliver. After finding out that I advanced to the finals, I had to calm down a lot. I did my second routine (2NE1 I'm The Best), which was known as part-dance part pro-wrestling routine. Surprisingly, I got an S on it, which never happened in practice. I also did NOT expect a huge standing ovation for the routine as well. At the end, the final result was getting 2nd place with a close score. Of course, the freestylers gave emotional hugs, knowing how passionate we are overall with freestyle. Of course, major thanks to Bart, Jill, Melissa, Preston, Aavander, etc. for major support as well. This was the beginning of being involved a lot more with the community.
After USPF was the announcement of Pump Prime, as well as WPF 2015, which was delayed to WPF 2016. The last WPF that happened was in 2011, so a 4-5 year gap. The rulesets were available and has brought a lot of concern. The first concern was that there were almost no DP charts ready, thus making freestyle much tougher to do. The second concern were the mistranslations of what was banned. A few pointed out that "parodies" were banned (thanks for bring that up PhilArrington), but this referred to political parodies like dressing up like Kim Jong Un or a Nazi. On the good side, letter grade score was reduced to 15 instead of 20 while performance got a 5-pt boost.
Meanwhile, in 2015, during the marriage preparations, Nicole and Carla decide to pitch the idea of bring the Pump machine at the wedding due to the success of my Pump run. Not only was Pump there, but also ITG2. Note: I helped work on ITG2, so it made a lot of sense. Never would have thought that dance games would blend in well at a wedding. Oh, and hi Sean and Lindsey 2 years after!
There has been some controversy regarding if Pump was the reason why resigned from managing con scene. Rest assured that was false. Also, I did not get fired either, much to whatever rumor mill was going on. No, I did not despise management either. I felt it was truly time to pass on the torch to the current and next generation to run the show for gaming. While I have contributed a lot alongside with a great team, my time has passed and I entrust their abilities to push forward. If you guys (non-staff) have an issues about the current crew's management, feel free to contact them directly. After all, we are in this together and we help create the current state.
With the ongoing thought of a world championship, I thought this would be an awesome opportunity to go for since I never been nor competed at a World Championship before. I tried with Nintendo World Championship, but failed to qualify due to Dr. Mario. LOL. Given that time is ticking, I might as well pour it my all on World Pump Festival series. With freestyle DP charts delivered in April 2016, we all had to scram routines within a short time. Meanwhile, there were 2 local tournaments that were happening. Despite not ever winning a freestyle tournament, I decided to play it very safe and NOT show off my routine in any of those tournaments. It would be counter-productive to expose myself where judges are lurking at video performances. For those thought I was at my fullest at April 2016 Round 1 and FanimeCon 2016, nope; not even close to my fullest.
So, USPF 2016, the main qualifier for Worlds for 1st place, happened. This time, in Chicago. Of course, we did our practice runs at Round 1 Bloomingdale before everyone showed up. Got our routines down. Then went to FTW, but got kicked out because we were "taking away customers". Oops. Anyways, the event happened and to be honest, it was difficult to see which routine I wanted to do first, since I equal-footed both. I decided to do Sugar Free (Willy Wonka parody). That did pretty well, despite a few botches, but made it to the Top 8 US finals. I did my Elvis routine in dedication to my dad, since he loved Elvis music growing up. I would have S'd the routine had it not been for a botched handstand hold, which many said cost me. The results were up and I ended up with 3rd place. I was content with it, but also realized that I fell short of participating at Worlds with the possibility of not competing at a world championships ever in this lifetime. I had a couple of beers with the freestylers, including the winners, which made me feel a bit better.
Post-USPF, I had to reflect on what my freestyles have been. Based on feedback, I realized that I am more of a high-risk high-reward type of freestyler. On one side, if the ideas work and the moves were executed properly, it looks badass; otherwise, a failed idea can really cost me in score badly and a miscue on high-risk moves can be dangerous. In the end, despite my presence not at WPF 2016, I was welcomed a lot by international players, including top freestylers in the world like Shingo, Zegha, Ryu, Putra, Jorge, etc. Big thanks.
Looking back at the response of "get Top 3 in the US but can't even win a damn tournament not even locals" pressure, I decided to go "screw this I'll go all out at the Round 1 August tournament". Despite reusing my USPF 2016 routines, I did edit out the last part of Elvis without the guitar and actually did moves because a few thought that guitar part cost me badly (heck I gamble with ideas so yeah). I did win the tournament, thus making the haters shut up about me not winning a Pump tournament once and for all.
However, I was also feeling a bit of a downfall / decline after freestyle. Why? BAD LUCK INJURIES!!
During the August tournament, I decided to compete in Speed as well, after Freestyle. Unfortunately, due to a major miscue on a crossover, I ended up messing up my left ankle. This took me out for around 3 weeks.
During IPF 2016, I was only given around 5 days to make 2 routines. Little did I know that only my last routine counted, which was not revealed to me until after IPF 2016 was over. Unfortunately, out of the 2 routines I had, I used my much weaker one. During my second routine, I unfortunately re-injured the same left leg (calf and ankle) badly. I thought it recovered on time, but it didn't. I actually hid the thought since I continued to do IPF speed. This was a very very bad idea as it put more strain on it. Sadly, I had to wait for 7 weeks to fully recover my left leg. Thankfully, it fully healed.
February's Valentine's Day tournament occurred. While this was more of a not-so-serious tournament due to massive trolling with I'm Sorry as the 1st song, I just happen to joke around in the warm-up round before the 1st and pull a dumb antic: attemp a side bar flare only to have my chest ram into the bar. This gave me muscle knots and a bruised chest, making it very hard to breath. Luckily, I decided to play it safe on this one, but it still did not ignore I was having breathing problems for the next 4 weeks.
The next tournament was FFF. This time, it was in Sacramento for the first time in 12 years since the last Arcade tournament. What surprised me was that a lot of people around the US came over to compete at FFF of all places. Must be the $100 or $125 prizes given, but it sure was very competitive, especially in Speed Division. Two days before the tournament, I almost faced a "career-ending" injury: after a hig-bar jump, I landed my right arm to the edge of the pad. It came close to landing straight to the bone, but thankfully landing muscle instead. This was very painful that I had to stop practice and I had to put as many Salonpas as possible to heal up. Instead of backing out of the tournament, I decided to go through it because a lot of people have invested in me to compete at FFF for freestyle and it was home court advantage. First round was a comedy skit (Pick Me). Thanks, Mei and Kei. The second round was the more high-risk Last Rebirth. I ended up winning the freestyle section of the tournament.
Many thought I was going to be at FanimeCon 2017, but due to work, I was unable to enter freestyle. Sorry. Then again, me and Gabriel ended up winning the co-op speed. Big thanks.
And finally, IPF 2017. This was a tournament that I was planning to take more serious compared to IPF 2016, given 1 routine. Sadly, I caught sickness due to the PS4 opening and roach incident; I accidentally breathed the remains and feces and breathing was horrible as a result. After recovering, I only had 5 days to work on the routine itself. This would be a rather different approach on it. While I got 2nd in the US and many liked the ideas shown, many did say that 5 days was not enough time to refine the routine itself. And yes, I also played it very safe. During practice, I was indeed slipping off the pad, so many high-risk moves and other plans were cut. I did not want to risk any more injuries, especially at a time like this where the delivery date was soon. Regardless, people did mention that this made up from last year's injury incident, despite being unrefined compared to my previous performances.
While USPF 2017 is approaching, the November date happens to be the same month the baby will be born, as well as my best friend's wedding. This is definitely a no-go. Knowing that I can no longer continue based on my status, I decided to finally announce my semi-retirement and indefinite hiatus.
As much as I want to continue competing badly, time does not allow that. However, that does not mean I will no longer support the community, such as making stepchart pages to practice with. If you guys still want to chit-chat like the good ol times, feel free to do so. Like how I retired from the gaming staff empire knowing that the next generation now has the torch and role to pave the way, my semi-retirement is to help open new paths for the community. You guys have all the tools you need. Use it wisely. Thanks you guys a lot again! Never say never as we'll see what fate has in store.