Future Lab News

Takahashi: No.16 "Sneaking into AOU 2008"

Hello, Wangan Midnight lovers!

The Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 Asia Championship "The Fastest Player in Expressway Match 2008" was held at the Bandai Namco booth as a part of the big event "AOU Show 2008" at Makuhari Messe on Feb. 15 and 16.
It was the biggest event for the Wangan Maxi games ever. I attended the event for two days, so I will tell you about this really enjoyable festival.

Feb. 15 (Fri.) Japan qualification round
On the first day, the qualification round was held to decide who would be the representatives from Japan.
I didn't want to miss the match, so I rushed along the Wangan Line at 300km/h to Kaihin Makuhari. I am sorry, it's a lie. I used the JR Keiyo line, only goes at about 60km/h.

The stage for the Wangan Maxi 3 final match had a large screen at the center and a speaker set. The center screen displayed the qualification matches in each area of Asia and gave introductions of elected representatives. I was so excited, and I couldn't wait for the racing to begin! Then the event, watched by the participants of the qualification matches and the spectators, began!
All qualification matches in the tournament were in instant death format. In my non-professional opinion, I thought some players could have won by chance, but that turned out to be totally wrong. On display were strategies backed up by extensive experience and capability of immediate response possessed only by players who have overcome many difficulties in the past. The six finalists who held up under the pressure of the instant death games were genuine racing champions.

The two players in the center of the picture won and got a ticket to the final. Any of the players could have won, as their high skills were so well matched. The next day they would be racing against the strongest players in Asia in the final match!!

Feb. 16 (Sat.) Asia final round
Feb. 16, the day for the final came at last. There were many more spectators in the venue than on the first day, and everybody was going wild! The system of the final was as follows; Round-robin point system → the top four players go to the final stage and fight one battle to decide the champion.
We could not take eyes off the races because we would not know who would progress to the final stage until the end.

The champions in Asia appeared. Their faces were full of vitality.

The course was selected randomly in a draw. It seemed that the players did not pay attention to which course they were going to drive on. The course was different for every race; but they drove perfectly on them all. There were breathtaking seesaw matches. The players from Japan topped the list in all races and steadily built up points. Their skills of all the players were overwhelming. The exchange of blocks seemed completely calculated (as if they had supernatural powers). No careless mistakes. All members of the developing team were amazed.

By the way, I sneaked into the wing of the stage before the semi final.

Full of big pieces of equipment like a TV station. Players from Asia listened to the instructions from the interpreter with keen interest.

Emcee and "Wan girl". It is not true that he got dumped and was crying. They were carefully reading the scenario and running a simulation. It's a hard job...

...And the final stage began. The top four players were announced.

Two of the four top players were from Japan! The card names of the four finalists were "RYAN", "Mebius 8", "PRIDE" and "SY-bi". Those four would fight the final stage in Hanshin Circular! The ranking changed incessantly at every corner; but from the beginning to the end, it was such a close race.

The winner of the close race was "RYAN" from China. He got the title of "Fastest in Asia"!

He was thoroughly delighted. I was really impressed. It is great to see battles fought at a high level. After the final stage, all representatives interacted with each other and took ceremonial photos. They surely recognized each other's amazing abilities.

This big Asian event, with its overseas attendants, had a lot of support, particularly from the spectators, and it ended on a high note. I really want to hold another exciting festival sometime soon!

This event was also reported in the "Feature Labblog (Japanese)", so please take a look.

See ya!

(Original article in Japanese released on 2.27.2008)

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