May 11, 2013 was a very busy day for fans of old computers and consoles Germany. Not one, but two retro conventions dedicated to those systems were being held. One, a showcase event with an accompanying sale, was being held in Oberhausen. Fans who would rather play classic games and systems themselves however were drawn to the other convention being held about 250 kilometres in the South. Once more, the HomeCon in Hanau invited fans of all systems for a weekend of dedicated gaming on old systems ranging from the very beginning of the Atari VCS right up until the Dreamcast and PS2 era. And once more, the German Mega Drive tournaments were a big part of the same event, celebrating its seventh incarnation since its inception in 2009.
Given both the fact that two big retro-events were being held at the same time, and HomeCon itself having quite a few attractions on offer (like a 16-computer setup of the early 3D shooter MidiMaze for Atari ST computers or the awe-inspiring, arcade-style racing setup with five players simultaneously competing in games like Daytona USA), it came to little surprise that the attendance record of 21 Mega Drive-warriors couldn’t be held this year. In the end, 14 players stepped up to the plate and fought for the crown of Mega Drive champion, which is still about the average number for the German tournament circuit.
Due to the high number of participants, the 2012 edition had run over its allotted time, so the decision was made to slim down the event a bit. Instead of six games being played over six categories, the number of titles was reduced to five this time around. After much consideration, the time-consuming puzzle category had to be dropped. Still remaining were the other popular categories of action, racing, platforming, fighting and sports. Once more, evergreens Mega Bomberman and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 had been selected by participants to rejoin the tournament, both having been part of the event since the very first edition. Returning after a short absence were Micro Machines 2 and Street Fighter 2 CE. The sports category had somewhat of a premiere. Due to the comparatively large number of Atari and Amiga fans at HomeCon, the futuristic sports game Speedball 2 was selected to be a major part of the tournament for the first time. As has become standard for the tournaments held at HomeCon, contenders battled one another in a series of knockout rounds, with one point gained for each victory and the .
Also returning after DMDM VI was the single-player challenge. OutRun had been a huge crowd pleaser in 2012, but this time around, the majority of players had wished for a shmup to enter the tournament roster. After much consideration, a high score challenge in Thunderforce III was selected to that category. Why not drawing quite the crowd as Sega’s classic racing game had done the previous year, the classic Japanese model 1 Mega Drive dedicated to running the game was hardly left unoccupied for the entirety of the afternoon.
Thanks to tournament stalwart Oerg866, the seventh Mega Drive Championships were streamed live for the first time in its existence. One of the three machines dedicated to the event constantly broadcasted its games to the Internet, amongst them all of the five category finals. While some tournament highlights unfortunately took place on different machines and weren’t recorded for posterity (like the impressive trouncing Katharina Mayer gave 2011 finalist Boris Kretzinger in Street Fighter II) several great moments were captured, like a couple of very close races in Micro Machines 2 or the Mega Bomberman finals, where Jürgen Kling and Sebastian Sponsel pulled out all stops.
Thanks to the streamlining of the event and contenders playing on three consoles simultaneously (four, if you count the single-player event as well), the seventh Mega Drive tournament were also the shortest to date. After roughly two and a half hours, the winner could be declared. Never before had the results been as clear-cut. One player had managed to outperform all opponents, reaching four of the five category finals and amassing an already insurmountable lead after the semifinals were over. After finishing on second place twice (at the second and fourth tournaments), Sebastian Sponsel became the fourth individual to snatch the crown of Mega Drive Champion in his sixth attempt. Defending champion Richard Neumann and championship regular Eric Voirin had to be content with a shared second place, while second-time entry Jürgen Kling firmly established himself in third place.
Even after the main event was done, the tournament wasn’t over. The high score challenge in Thunderforce III lasted well into the night. In an interesting twist, as the saying goes, the last would be first. Though he hardly ever manages to last a single round in any of the games during the regular championships and finishing on fourteenth and last place there, tournament newcomer Johannes topped everyone else when it came to the classic Shmup by Technosoft. His score of roughly 114000 points (rounded) remained unbeaten for the remainder of the day, and he managed to secure himself the first price in the single player event, a ToTotek Mega Cart kindly donated by one former contestant.
As the day was winding down, late in the evening the decision was made to also have an impromptu team tournament: six two-player teams formed for a friendly competition in Micro Machines 2. Here, the team of Richard Neumann and Sebastian Sponsel, who both had entered the finals in said category during the main event, demonstrated their dominance, winning every match up and only conceding a single race against second-placed Eric Voirin and Matthias Schütz. An intended second round in the team tournament, a series of two-on-two matches in NBA Jam T.E., unfortunately was abandoned due to time constraints.
Thus ended another great day in the German Mega Drive history. Thanks to all who participated and contributed in a fantastic event that was greatly enjoyed by all. And special thanks go out to Oerg866 for setting up the Livestream and conserving a huge chunk and some of the highlights of the tournament for posterity in this YouTube video.
Here are the final results:
- Sebastian Sponsel (22 points) 1st
- Richard Neumann (16 points) 2nd
- Eric Vojrin (16 points) 2nd
- Jürgen Kling (15 points) 4th
- Matthias Schütz (12 points) 5th
- Kat Mayer (10 points) 6th
- Claudia Mayer (10 points) 6th
- Boris Kretzinger (10 points) 6th
- Sven Vössing (9 points) 9th
- Florian Schmitt (9 points) 9th
- Jörg Dröge (8 points) 11th
- Jan K. (7 points) 12th
- Andi (6 points) 13th
- Johannes (6 points) 13th