I ended up participating in the DDR freestyle competition afterall. Shortly after making my last update I went down to the game room again to check to see where they were at. They were going to do freestyle between tech qualifiers and elimination rounds. I turned out that I got down there as they were finishing up the last few qualifiers.
I talked to Scott for awhile as he repaired a IIDX ASC and then sat down to watch freestyle. There were maybe a 10 people participating. Most people's performances weren't particularly remarkable and a couple were deemed bad enough to get gonged. I did Mr. T at west_end_guy
's request. I threw my typical high energy level into it and had a lot of fun, but I was definitely hindered by the fact that I haven't played DDR in probably over a month and have been playing Pump almost exclusively for the past two or so. I was missing a lot of steps and generally getting a bit lost on stage, but the crowd response was quite good, I didn't fail, and I didn't get gonged. In fact, Zaps, the judge of the event, announced that "that's how freestyle is supposed to look" after I was done. I'm sure it was at least half joking, but I appreciated the compliment nonetheless. All in all I'm pretty happy with how things turned out.
The winner was a guy named Walker (handle: Zilford) originally from Iowa City, IA and recently moved to Minneapolis. He and I talked for awhile after the event. We share a lot of similar opinions about freestyle including our tendency for practiced improv rather than rehearsed, memorized routines. He complimented my high energy style and I complimented his performance. He felt that there were four entrants that had good showings among all the participants. He graciously included me in that group. I was flattered.
One other of the group was a guy that did a pretty good routine but got DQed for Matrix Walk-style machine contact. Apparently he didn't read the rules...although I think that's pretty much a given at most any event these days. It was right at the end of his routine, too. It was sort of a shame, but I think that Walker had a better showing anyway. The final person in his group of four was HollywoodNova. He's still Tommie, that's for sure, but he's been out of the game even longer than me. He wasn't at his best, but he still looked pretty good.
Even though it was pretty much a bust last year, I decided to head up to the Bemani panel again this year. It was better, I think. They forwent the game demonstrations of last year that I thought were pretty pointless and just did an hour-long Q/A session headed by several Bemanistyle.com reps. There were some funny moments and decent rumor-milling going on and I didn't feel like it was a waste of time at least.
Now I'm just sitting here in my room with dye on my hair. Waiting for it to develop is giving me a good chance to get another update in here. It should be about time to rinse here in a few minutes and then I think I'll rejoin the con...perhaps break out some cosplay.
'til next time...