For my first official step I had this plan to play Animal Crossing: Wild World for the DS. It is an excellent game and I recommend anyone with a youngster that game. I would play it for hours as a grade schooler. You play as a new resident which you get to customize the look of as you enter a town that you get to name in a world of anthropomorphic animals that range from friendly to grumpy friendly.
When I last played the game several months ago, it was awesome. All of my friendly animal neighbors all REMEMBERED ME. That's a lot more than I can ask for to begin with. They even knew the exact number of days and months since I had last played, what a shock, and that just made a part of my heart feel all warm inside. Reactions included outbursts of shock, worrying, anxiousness, love, and heartsickness.
Unfortunately, during my long absence a lot of my animal buddies had left the neighborhood, including one who I bet was really cute because they were replaced by a quirky hyper, but kind of annoying quirky hyper neighbor.
I'd often think a lot about what I could do to my animal neighbors. I had some pretty bad ideas about how I could annoy them as much as possible. If you walk in the direction of a neighbor, pushing them for long enough, they'll get mad at you. If you do it repeatedly they'll have black and purple swirls around their heads to show they're a mix of gloomy and angry.
Other times I'd use my shovel to create a circle of holes with one part of the circle unshovelled so I could gently push my neighbors into the circle and trap them. Then I'd slowly shovel more and more holes until they were trapped in one square of land that they could only rotate in and I'd push them perpetually. Life was strange. I remember doing this to a penguin.
You could also plant something called pitfall seeds which were white balls with a red exclamation mark on them. You could bury them and if a neighbor walked over it, they'd fall into the hole, struggling a bit, shaking up dirt around them before getting out.
I have also, besides thinking briefly about Animal Crossing, been fulfilling my dreams of becoming a StarCraft: Brood War progamer. I have been playing on the private Korean server, Fish, where I am currently around rank 2228 sitting at D rank. The system goes from F, E, D, C, B, A, and then S, so I'm not doing too badly. In terms of money making, I have not been successful.
At the moment the biggest life giving activity in the foreign scene for such money making opportunities has come directly from Sc2 organizer, FilthyRake, who hosts the weekly BW Filthy Cups, and hair stylist, Schamtoo, who hosts the biweekly Have At You tournaments with prize pools of 100, and recently even more on occasion. Before that there was only the Nation League run by iccup which ran for 14+ weeks and had a total prizepool of around 100 or maybe less. At the moment that is a huge difference. So far, a combined amount of over 1400 dollars must have been put in so far, which is already closing in on the $2,000 prizepool of the TLS Championship, which I just checked, happened in early 2016.
As for the general trends of how the the tournaments are going, Scan is winning most tournaments. He's a Korean who has recently been in a grey area of being considered a foreigner or a Korean because for a very long time he's been a part of the foreigner scene since 2012 at least. Recently though he's outstripped everyone in skill, including former top Zerg foreigner, Sziky who was once considered his biggest rival. He's been more and more part of the Korean scene as of late though, participating in some big qualifiers and maybe an occasional clan league, I think. His entry into the TLS Championships, the final installment to the most prestigious premier tournament franchise for foreigners was highly controversial. A lot of unruliness, low blows, and personal insults were had in a vitriol charged anger and sense of righteousness.
As for now, the two weekly tournaments held by Schamtoo and FilthyRake are global tournaments not specifically for foreigners. As expected from the community that complained about Scan participating, complaints were made although not to the same degree. They were pretty quickly defused by the organizers about what their tournament is about. In the most recent Filthy BW Cup, FilthyRake was there, and he said that the BW tourneys are really time consuming and hard to do and the people complain a lot. That was when I was like, it's so true. It's kind of a stereotype for there to be BW elitists and even more so there are really vocal members of the community who get really salty and entitled. It's kind of ridiculous.
Apart from Scan there are others more familiar to the modern foreign scene like Bonyth, Dewalt, Koget. Trutacz, Eonzerg, and a few other smaller names you see here and there. I feel like talking about each of the major players, some of the smaller ones, and some notable moments that occurred.
Starting with Bonyth, he has a sharply contrasted playstyle compared to most Protosses. I'd say he can easily claim the title as the best foreign protoss at the moment. He looks to be in good playing form, practicing on Fish as a solid C ranker.
In PvZ, his self reportedly weakest matchup, he plays such a different style that relies on early harassment. His style of always going the most optimized 2 Gate was the first evolution in his play, which evolved to playing only 1 Gate Expand. I think that predictability hurts him a lot in a tournament setting and he needs to switch it up, or at least get better at defense. Recently he's lost really disappointingly to early rushes, one by Eonzerg where he went speedlings.
His PvP is undoubtedly world class, and beats out Dewalt, the only other protoss who comes close to claiming the Protoss throne. His understanding of the matchup is pretty good and he's become popular among the Koreans for winning two games with late game Carriers, his trademark unit, against Shuttle, a Korean ex-pro Protoss.
His PvT, as I hinted before, relies on Carriers in the late game rather than the usual arbiter. His control is good and he does this transition commonly after doing reaver shuttle harass. All of the foreign Terrans seem to be at a loss when it comes to them.
On an opposite side of the race trifecta sitting on top is Eonzerg, known for his flamboyant victory dances on his stream, fierce and into himself attitude, and looks of utter despondence when losing. He really puts his heart into the game. On a personal level I am not a big fan of him. That's weird to have in an introduction, but his attitude is overly competitive like a sour grape. It's the most horrifying thing about playing him, not his in game skills. When he gets all emotional he's rude, tactless, and is way too prideful, jumping to conclusions people are insulting him. I think he rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but outside of competition I think he's a good person that puts too much pressure on himself to win. You could also say his insatiable desire to win is what sets himself apart from the common person. There's a true saying that there's a difference in mindset between champions and others.
Just like Bonyth he dedicates a lot of time to playing on the Fish ladder, but is one rung below I'd say. I've seen him spending a lot more time in the D ranks than the C compared to Bonyth. In a recent interview he said he's been committing a lot more to StarCraft, so that may change.
His ZvT, his favorite matchup is pretty good and so far has beaten out every single Terran, barring Scan, including Koget, who is probably the best foreign Terran. Against Scan who he has run into many times, his macro plays are simply stomped out as Scan rolls him over slowly with his superior mechanics. He's recently been trying more aggressive plays with the same success.
His ZvP, his best matchup is also good and has that aggressive flavor Eon is known for. He does a lot of 5 hatch hydra busts and is also capable of a strong good macro game. He's also been diversifying his play with some Muta/Scourge plays.
He appears to play well, but the one Protoss who stands in his way, Bonyth, strikes at his Achille's Heel. Bonyth's well known 1 Gate Expand is the antithesis to Eon's aggressive philosophy. He seems to be at a loss as to what to do. What is usually a simple build in the hands of commoners, Bonyth has sufficient multitasking, microing his zealots to max annoyingness and having a fantastic economy and corsairs that always seem to come too early. I've seen Eon play so uncomfortably and he has a range of responses. He sometimes cheeses in ling all ins, like very recently, or he does a very confused aggression or over defends and ends up falling behind which inevitably leads to having bad upgrades, bad economy, relying on hydras to defend his overlords from corsairs, which spirals into a loss. On many occasions, Eon has noted this weakness himself and has said Bonyth only plays no skill, abusive strategies.
Eon's last matchup, and his downfall in many tournaments to fellow Polish player, Trutacz, is his ZvZ. Noted for its high use of micro and its tension to subtlety, Eon fails in this respect compared to the more micro specialized Trutacz.
Speaking of Trutacz, he also sits at the top of the Zerg mountain as a solid C ranker on Fish doing no more than micro oriented zergling busts, hydra busts, and any bust you can imagine. Similar to Eon, he has a thirst for victory, but is not as dramatic and does take losing seriously. He has uncharacteristic moments of losing and bad plays as an inconsistent player. Notably he is the longest running winner in the weekly fight club events held by BisuDagger, doing a ridiculous number of insane comebacks from losing score positions.
A more delicate player compared to Eon, he feels the fragile tension of ZvZ, microing lings and mutas vs. scourge incredibly well. He takes opportunities convincingly, which, in ZvZ can turn the tables in mere seconds. I've always thought of him as a technically minded player who makes small, detailed brush strokes compared to large, landscaping ones.
His style translates over to his ZvP, arguably as good as his ZvZ, where he has gone for Mutalisk/Scourge compositions and almost always goes 5 Hatch Hydra. His understanding from early to late is quite good and rivals Bonyth well.
Conversely, his ZvT sits as his weakest matchup with low confidence compared to his other matchups. His variety of aggressive builds like 2 Hatch Lurker, 2 Hatch Muta, drop play, and even his early ling aggression have dismantled Terrans unfamiliar with such builds. Overall, it makes one yearn for more, but his early and midgame prowess are good for defeating most Terrans.
Dewalt, a Russian Protoss, is a very well rounded player and is just generally a solid macro Protoss. His play matches his ruggedly good looks as a D/C rank Protoss. His PvP however falls short of Bonyth as he often loses advantages when gained, and is just outplayed by the smaller attention to nuance Bonyth has in the matchup. However, that is not to say he has not defeated Bonyth before as he wins probably a fifth of the time. The most notable loss to signify the disparity in skill was in Fight Club where he lost 1-5 vs. Bonyth.
His PvZ is really standard, nothing to speak of really, just solid multitasking, macro, and straight up play, with modest variety. Statistically he was something like 1-12 vs. Eonzerg. As of late, starting with a showmatch where he defeated Eon with some superb Arbiter play and defended his incredibly tense, nonstop 4 Hatch Hydra aggression, he appears more head to head with Eon. They haven't really met in the tournaments so far. Against Trutacz he also poses a formidable threat as the two have exchanged blows.
Dewalt's best matchup is his PvT, being highly comfortable with the macro game, making gateways upon gateways. A more traditional style compared to Bonyth, he goes Arbiters. He has also been shown to mix it up with some 2 base Arbiter plays vs. Scan, and some reaver aggression. Along with Bonyth, Trutacz, and Eon, these four have gone up against Scan the most often.
Dewalt is a good player, but sometimes in the heat of competition loses badly. He recently lost a 4-1 lead vs. Trutacz in a bo9, lost advantages to Bonyth, and has carelessly lost his shuttle vs. Scan.
Koget, probably the only notable foreign Terran plays very strategically and is one of the oldest players. He's a hard working dad, and plays little StarCraft, but with what little he plays, his experience and knowledge pull through. A former Zerg player, he seems to be really good in TvZ, not so good in TvP, relying on midgame and early game timings, and in TvT is actually the most proficient I'd say among foreigners. As of late he has showed up in only like the first two tournaments so there's not much to say for his tourney showings. Overall, good guy, and he wears glasses.
That pretty much sums up all I want to talk about really. Cheers to Schamtoo and FilthyRake.