Vancouver – Canada: On February 27th, 2,629 athletes from all over the world came together to conclude the XXIst Olympic winter games. It was a noble and time-honored international tradition to find out which sportsman was the best in eighty-seven events.
Nuremberg – Germany: On the very same day, in an entirely different time zone, eighteen competitors from all across Germany came together for what is going to be a new tradition amongst national console gamers. Across six events, these men and women fought valiantly for the title, to be crowned the new Mega Drive Champion!
The first tournament had taken place on June 27th and drew eight players to competition. In order to widen the appeal, the organizers made quite a few changes to the setup. This time, players would engage each other in only six games, each one of a different genre. Each game would be played in Knockout mode, netting the players points for each victory. The venue was relocated from a private location to a more public one: The Konsolerie, a video gaming store in the heart of Nuremberg that specializes in both concurrent and classic consoles and had hosted a number of video game tournaments in the past.
Finally, the organizers also contacted Sega of Germany whether it would endorse the tournament. To their gleeful surprise, SEGA not only gave its okay, but also donated prizes: three copies of the brand new Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, along with several articles of Sega merchandise, awaited the three best-placed video game athletes. In terms of prizes, the organizers had also hand fashioned two trophies in the shape of a classic three-button Genesis controller for the two highest-ranking competitors.
This streamlining of the competition, the change of venue and the official endorsement found wider appeal. At two p.m., fifteen men and three women began battle in the games Sonic 2 (platforming category), Micro Machines 2 (racing), Mega Bomberman (Action), Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (puzzle), NBA Jam T.E. (sports) and Super Street Fighter II (fighting). The number of competitors even drew a freelance writer working for the German video game magazine M! Games to the event for coverage.
Five out of the original eight players that had competed in the first tournament had returned to try for the championship as well. Sadly, the old title holder, Tobias Berg, could not return to defend the crown due to conflicting schedules. Out of the returning competitors, Richard Neumann, who had finished third at the first tournament and already competed at the European championships twice, had the best shot at the title. However, since the roster had more than doubled this time around, predictions were hard to make.
The battle lasted for five hours and was fought over three stations simultaneously. Up until the semi-finals, two different genres were played at the same time, allowing for as little downtime for the advancing players as possible. Needless to say, the further the game progressed, the more intense they became.
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The finals were saved for last and would be played individually. However, even before the last six matches commenced, the interim results already spoke a clear language: the odds-on favorite Richard Neumann had qualified for five out of the six finals (all save NBA JAM TE) and had already netted a huge lead. The only one who could possibly take the crown away from him was Sebastian Sponsel, who managed to reach three finals himself but could only hope to triumph by winning all of his remaining games, and then only if Richard would lose all of his at the same time.
This, however, was not meant to be. In the end, Richard Neumann was crowned the champion, staying triumphant in Sonic 2, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Micro Machines 2. Sebastian was left with second place and the individual victories in Super Street Fighter II and NBA Jam T.E. The one event remaining was won by Michael Barz, who defeated Richard Neumann in an intensely fought match of Mega Bomberman with 3-2 and took fourth place in the end.
Thus, Richard Neumann was crowned the new German Mega Drive champion! Being a true retro gamer, however, and not owning a concurrent console, the victor decided not to accept his prize, only settling on the Golden Gamepad as sole trophy. Therefore, it was spontaneously decided to award the best ranking female player as well, which was Julia Klenert, who had finished together with Michael Barz in fourth place.
Nevertheless, the event was a huge success. Once more, all participants had spent a fun and eventful afternoon competing in their favorite hobby. It was thus decided right on-spot to have another tournament in 2011, so that Germany can truly prepare for the upcoming third Mega Drive Championships the same year. The German Mega Drive Championships have been established, and they are going to stay.
The five best players of the German Mega Drive Championships were:
- Richard Neumann (25 pts.)
- Sebastian Sponsel (21 pts.)
- Matthias Schütz (15 pts.)
- Michael Barz (13 pts.)
- Julia Klenert (13 pts.)