The crowd was on full force as Playbook Video Game Lounge and Bookshop opened its newest branch at the Circuit Makati this past Saturday, June 18. Staying true to its pledge to grow the local fighting game scene, the grand opening was highlighted by a big fighting game tournament to kick things off, aptly dubbed as “Ignition”.
Playbook at Circuit Makati is three times larger than their original location in Parañaque, boasting over 22 stations open for use. For hardcore fighting game fans there are stations equipped with monitors similar to the ones that have been used for EVO. This ensures that problems stemming from input delay won’t be an issue.
The crowning jewel of the new shop is a big projector connected to a split screen set up allowing everyone to spectate and enjoy matches as they happen. To the right of the big screen is a commentator booth housing their streaming set up used for tournaments and weeklies.
Playbook is no stranger to big events, having organized ESGS Brawl 2015 last year, Genesis for Street Fighter V this past March and more recently a tournament in De La Salle University for Super Smash Bros. and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. People have come to expect a level of quality when they see Playbook as the organizer, and Ignition was no exception. Owners Richard and Kris pulled out all the stops to make sure that the new branch started out with a loud bang.
One of the biggest crowd drawers to the event was the attendance of Martin “Marn” Phan, whom Playbook flew all the way from Vietnam. A fighting game veteran of over 14 years, Marn was previously based in the US and is a widely known international competitor. In Street Fighter V he recently placing 4th in NorCal Regionals at the United States and 5th in Thaiger Uppercut over at Thailand. In the past he’s also had achievements in various games such as Guilty Gear and the Marvel vs. Capcom series. In Super Street Fighter 4 he was the first American player to eliminate Daigo from a major tournament.
Given his accolades, many of the local crowd pegged Marn to take the entire tournament. However as history has taught us, things don’t always go as planned, and one player proved that Pinoy talent may have a place in the international stage.
Of all the hype matches that night, the losers bracket semi-finals match between Marn and Playbook Elite’s own Don Gim took top spot.
Both at the brink of dropping from the tournament, it was do or die for both players. Marn took the first game quickly thanks to a mix of good reads and R.Mika’s ambiguous set ups. In game number 2, Don was able to start making adaptations, waiting on Marn’s dash-ins and blocking his mix-ups. A dashback into a hit-confirm super secured Don’s win.
Marn started game 3 strong, with a cross under mid-screen set up to quickly take the first round. Round 2 saw Don again go on the defensive, anticipating Marn’s offense and closing out the round with two gutsy uppercuts.
In the 3rd and final round, Don gained the life lead early with a wake up super, catching Marn by surprise. A solid combo followed by a Tatsu to stuff out Marn’s wake-up puts the Filipino in a good position to take the set. Marn won’t go down without a fight though, and he lands a solid jump-in to even out the life deficit. Don however reads the following mix up and gets an uppercut in to take back the advantage. A sweep into a meaty v-trigger fireball closes out the game and eliminates the Vietnamese from the tournament.
From here on, Don would go all the way to grand finals and take the championship.
(For the rest of the top 8 matches for SFV and other games, playlists can be found here.)
Playbook plans to host monthly tournaments at its new branch for several games. “After Ignition, we have an NBA 2k16 and Gundam Competition lined up , so look forward to those.” Richard mentions. “Playbook will also continue to support local events and continue to promote gaming.”
“We will also be attending international tournaments in the upcoming months.” Kris points out.
“Basically, we will continue what we have already been doing, but in much bigger ways”.
As a quick bonus, check out how the top 8 players from the tournament entered the stage! Playbook had them write their own intros and choose their theme music to be used. It was silly, fun and all hype.