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Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

Ulti's Analysis[]

Poll 1625
Division Division 128
Match # 25
Match Date Tuesday, April 27th, 2004
Vote difference 373
StarCraft - 44.45%
13 for - 56 against
StarCraft - 24.09%
(9,862 brackets)

This was, by far, the most important and most hotly debated first round match we've ever had in one of these contests. In most dimensions, 16 seeds simply don't take down 1 seeds. In fact, they never come close. But not in this contest. The following is my own personal take on why this match would be pure hell from start to finish. WARNING: This rant is extremely biased, and you might not want to read it at all if you're a big Halo fan.

Now, for the orgasmic Halo/Starcraft analysis. If people didn't know how this match would go before reading this thing, they were even more confused afterwards. DpObliVion himself said of the writeup:

Damn you, Ulti. It's when people like you posts analyses like that (and yours was by far the best one) that make me lose every last bit of confidence in Halo winning this match.

I wouldn't be surprised in the least bit if StarCraft won. Unfortunately though, I'd be putting that match right next to Phantasy Star vs. Contra under my "Why the **** didn't I listen to everyone?" section of my lost points.

Not to be outdone, smitelf had her own take on the work:

I would like to take this moment to politely and sincerely orgasm over Ulti's Halo/Starcraft analysis.

Ulti...there is absolutely nothing I can argue with in that analysis. Nothing left out, nothing not said with enough's just perfect. Absolutely ****ing perfect. That is the best post I have ever read anywhere, ever. I don't know words that can describe the beauty of what you wrote. It was as touching as a post on video games could ever aspire to be.

Okay, now that the touchy-feely crap is over with, damn you! I was looking forward to ripping your analysis apart, but noooo, you have to write as if you tore the thoughts out of my mind -- no, my very soul -- and then go about making them articulate! I curse your perfection!

So sit back and relax. My reposting of that analysis is only the beginning of what may be the longest and most in-depth analysis of the entire topic.

Finally, a match worthy of being read into. Too many first round joke polls. CJayC has openly stated that Halo is a #1 seed because it got more nominations than any other game. Fair enough, but this means nothing whatsoever. How many of those nominations were from actual fans? Many people just didn't feel like leaving the Xbox part of the form blank, so they put Halo in due to not being able to think of anything else. This allowed Halo to get a ton of nominations from people who hate the Xbox. Starcraft, however, completely earned its spot in this contest. The PC has been around producing games for almost years, yet thanks to CJayC's horrendous nomination system, we could only nominate one game per system, two for the PC if you were smart enough to realize there was both a Windows and a Mac PC form. That being said, Starcraft is in this contest after splitting an absolute ton of PC nominations with a load of other games. If anything, this match proves how bad the nomination method was. Here we have Halo being nominated because people could think of nothing better, while Starcraft had to claw its way into the contest by beating out 25 years of PC games.

Now, for the actual poll. If anyone remembers 2003, you all know about Master Chief and how badly he performed. In the first round, he only managed to beat Felix by around 6000 votes, and was completely whipped by Aeris in round 2. Some people say that MC was respectable against Aeris, but I disagree. He was picked by over 2000 people to win the entire contest, and lost in the second round. Furthermore, any doubt about whether or not he would lose in the second round were blown to bits after his pathetic first round performance. I mean, honestly, does everyone think that all the people who voted for Felix were actually fans of Felix and Golden Sun? Let's get real here. There is an absolute loathing of the Xbox on gamefaqs, and the 2003 character contest was black and white proof of it. The Xbox and Halo has a lot of fans, yes, but they are horribly outnumbered by the people who would rather play with dog waste than an Xbox.

Then there's Starcraft. Being in this contest is an accomplishment in and of itself, but to put this in perspective, look at this more closely. Console games on GameFAQs have a few heavy hitters to choose from. Coming into this contest, it was a guarantee that we'd see games from the Zelda series, the Mario series, the FF series, and the heavy hitters from each console. Hell, we even got the heavy hitters from consoles that are now used as emergency flotation devices and self mutilation. I mean, honestly, some of these systems are that old. But for the PC, no game was a guarantee. Look at the seeds of the PC games in this contest. And if any of you mention that Final Fantasy 7 is a 1 seed that was on the PC, you're getting kicked square in the crotch. Look at the PC games that were only on the PC. Doom, Half-Life, Fallout 2, and Starcraft are all seeded low. This is no accident, as they all stole nominations from one other while console games were nominated in with little resistance from themselves. Starcraft even had nominations stolen from Halo, Final Fantasy 7, and every other BLIZZARD game in existence. And what does it get for its efforts from having to duke it out with Diablo II and Warcraft 3 before the contest even started? A 16 seed and a date with the most overseeded game in the entire contest.

But the match is far from being decided yet. The 1 vs 16 stereotype means nothing in this match. Link proved last year that most people could not possibly give two shits about their bracket given the right match. All over gamefaqs, there were topics asking people to vote for Link, and in ALL of them, you could find at least three people saying they had Link in their bracket, but could care less that he was going to lose. That's just how this contest is. Yes, there are a ton of people who have Halo in their bracket simply because it has the big 1 next to its name, but I can promise most of you people that most of those people don't like Halo and would rather drink nuclear waste than buy an Xbox. It's evident in every poll featuring the Xbox and/or Halo. People simply don't like the Xbox. And for even more proof, does anyone remember the state of the site during the GameRiot polls that sponsored the Xbox? There were topics and petitions to bring them down all over the place, and our own Spring Contest which was strategically placed below the GameRiot poll in an effort for it not to draw attention away from GameRiot's beloved Xbox still pwned the GameRiot poll right in the face, and refused to help clean up afterwards. Those polls were a disgrace, plain and simple, and gamefaqers all over the place let it be known.

So magically, everyone that has hated the Xbox all these years is going to magically turn around and vote for Halo just because they have it in their brackets? Are you people on the very drugs that our TOS has now banned us from discussing on our site again? There are legions of people out there who could not possibly give two rat's asses about losing this match if it meant taking down Halo and letting all hell break loose all across gamefaqs. I for one cannot wait for this match, as it has the makings of being the biggest event to hit our site since Mario/Crono 2. This match can seriously cause that much damage all across the boards. This thing could get to the point where people use glitches to spam Barney's Hide and Seek in an effort to gain votes for either side. This match could easily be the biggest and baddest match in the history of these contests on our site. The whole thing comes down to the flawed nomination system overseeding Halo and underseeding Starcraft. It also comes down to how much pride each side has in their favorite. Are the Halo fans and bracket voters ready to support their opinions to the death, and do PC gamers have the grapefruits to finally make the single biggest stand ever seen on the site? Honestly, the PC gamer should feel like they've been slapped by one of the single greatest games on ANY MEDIUM OF ALL TIME being a mere 16 seed in this contest, and if they have any pride whatsoever, they'll at least make sure Starcraft puts up one hell of a fight in this match. Halo beating Starcraft with ease would be the biggest disappointment in this contest. Halo winning a tight match is one thing, but a 65-35 beatdown would be far worse than any Mario victory over Crono and any Samus voter that waited until the final two hours to vote against Sonic.

Go to any social board on the site. Compare the number of “OMG LET'S GO PLAY HALO ON XBOX LIVE!!” topics to the number of topics where people are calling for their friends to come out for an asswhipping in Starcraft. There is no contest, Starcraft wins. Starcraft has sold millions upon millions of copies across the world, while Halo seems to be more of a cult following among gamers who have nothing better to do on Friday nights than to watch Red vs Blue on Master Chief in Puma yaoi and declare Friday nights the Halo night. And furthermore, compare the two biggest factors among the players of both games. Starcraft is still played by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide on for free, while Xbox Live has attracted a few thousand people, tops, who were willing to sell themselves out to the lap dog of the revolution in Bill Gates and spend all that money to play a few Xbox games online. Oh by the way, my PS2 port cost me $40, and it gave me no increase in my internet bill whatsoever.

Oh, how could I POSSIBLY forget about the Koreans?? Starcraft saved a country. Seriously, it saved a country. South Korea had practically no economy whatsoever, then along came Starcraft. After some advertising on everything from soap to potato chips, Starcraft became the national sport of Korea, and the country has three TV channels dedicated to Starcraft 24/7. Have any of you people ever played against or with a Korean in Starcraft? You're either going to get your ass whipped or have the greatest ally there is. And the population of South Korea has to at least be a few million or so. Think what kind of damage they could cause if this contest was actually advertised over there. If a mere 1% voted in our poll, Halo would stand no chance. What group does Halo constitute being the national sport of? Like I said, people who deem Friday nights the Halo night. Again, no contest.

So in the end, we have a poll that is completely up in the air. Seedings don't mean jack in this match. The people that vote will simply vote for their favorite and move on. Starcraft has the favor of Xbox hate votes, any and all BLIZZARD fans of the site, the PC gamer, the underdog vote, and the people who simply want to see all hell break loose on gamefaqs. Halo has the vote of the 23 people who like Halo. Should be close.

Whew, that was fun. But it wasn't the most popular of opinions from the people who felt that Halo would completely own this matchup.

From Moltar's topic:

Back on, Ulti. Wow..but,Halo will beat StarCraft. I don't care if it's 50.01%-49.99%, 60%, 65%, 66%...Halo's not gonna lose in the very first round. Why? Cause if it really got a No.1 seed, it's not that sucky.

A No.1 seed is pretty good for people feeling bad...wait, you just presumed that! -_____- Anyways, like I was saying, a No.1 seed is pretty good for people feeling bad for a game system and just thinking "uh..what is there to nominate for Xbox..uh..Halo? Oh..I'll just nominate it to show pity for the Xbox...:-)"

That's a lotta XBox fans. That's a lotta anti-Xbox wait, you presumed that too?! I hate when people presume other people's opinions! Dude, what the [ ] makes you think that first, people hate the XBox, but would then nominate a game for it? You''re...acting like smitelf! *gasps in horror* Yeah, please answer.


And surprise surprise, his entire post wound up being 100% wrong. People do hate the Xbox and nominated Halo for no reason. Fast forwarding for a minute, there is no way in the world that Halo comes as close as it does if the seedings are reversed.

But enough of all of that. My analysis and subsequent debates were one of many isolated debates and topic surrounding this match. When the bracket was first released, this was the one first round match that everyone set their eyes on as having the potential to be the best the first round, and maybe even the contest, has ever seen. The debates were all over the place, and it wasn't isolated to our board either. A little for everyone who deeply follows this contest: go spy on the boards involving the games or characters in a hot poll. You'll see some of the funnier topics and posts around.

So after all of the pre-match hype, the stage was set. And neither game could make an excuse for losing either, as the site was to enjoy one final day of being normal. It was all or nothing for the next 24 hours, err...... what's this? The poll started at 2:30 AM! Either CJayC was sick of Ocarina of Time killing Fallout 2, or he knew of the pre-match hype and wanted to give us all an extra half hour of enjoyment. The odd thing is that there was no mention of when the poll would close. It could have been 2:30 AM the next day, or it could have been later. All I know is that I personally was happy beyond belief. I was looking forward to this match more than any other, so an extra half hour was fine by me. Coincidentally, I wound up getting a stomach virus the day before this match, meaning I got to call out of work and watch the entire thing unfold =)

With our early start to the poll, the only thing we do do was sit around, vote, and wait to see what happened. After the two games were merely 7 votes apart through the first update, everyone was utterly shocked (and quite pleased) at what wound up happening next. Starcraft not only began taking command of the match, but it was building its lead at an insane pace. (Note: check the update graph below to see what Ulti's talking about from here out)

As you can see, Starcraft was laying quite the beating on Halo through the first four hours of the poll. Remember, Starcraft was a 16 seed in this contest. 16 seeds don't push 1 seeds down to 44.44% of the vote; it's unthinkable. But Starcraft was no joke in this poll. Not only did it build a lead of 1045 through the first 3:45, but Starcraft fever took over the site. Starcraft quotes were all over the place, Starcraft topics were all over the place, and if you were watching Bnet closely, a ton of people began playing Starcraft to sort of celebrate their win.

But in the timeless words of a man named Lee Corso, "NOT SO FAST, my friend!". While the entire site was busy with the fever of Starcraft vs Halo, the site stopped paying attention to the poll. Halo won an update at the 4 hour hark. It then won another, and another. The gains weren't anything huge, but they were still gains. And much to the chagrin of Starcraft fans site-wide, Halo started picking up a little bit of steam. The 1 seed, it seemed, would not go down without giving Starcraft the fight of its life.

The two games started going at as if it were one of the greatest one on one battles ever to be seen. Shades of Hector vs Achilles, Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels, Gore vs Bush, David vs Goliath, and any other legendary battle that you could possibly think of were littered all of this match. Halo began to gain the upper hand after the fourth hour of the poll, and it even gained a little bit of steam. But it was far from easy. While Starcraft was busy gaining nearly 100 votes per update early in the poll, Halo had to scratch and claw its way for every vote it received. The result was Halo making a slow, meticulous effort at cutting down Starcraft's lead. It has the occasional string of decent gains, but nothing that led anyone to believe Halo had the match won yet. But this didn't stop the entire site from going into a frenzy. I spoke to a couple of moderators after this match was done and over, and it's no exaggeration when I tell you that there were literally thousands of moderated messages stemming fro this match alone. All throughout the day, the games and their fanbases were going at it with one another worse than the games in the poll themselves. It was quite the event to watch, and it would only get progressively worse between the fanbases as the day would wear on.

It took 10:15 into the poll for Halo to finally pull even with Starcraft, but could it keep the momentum going? For quite a long time, it seemed as if this would be the case. Starcraft, despite a mass of Bnet spamming both on every game Bnet provides and every forum on itself, showed no signs of gaining back the magic it had in the early hours of the poll. With the exception of a couple of meager gains in the middle of Halo's advance, the best Starcraft could manage was to keep the advance as slow as possible and hope to regain the momentum later on in the poll.

Then again, this is Starcraft we're talking about. Right when it looked like Halo was going to finally steamroll Starcraft right out of the poll, Starcraft managed to hold strong for a good hour and a half before finally caving in to the pressure. It was a good dream for Starcraft, but it seemed as if it was all dead in the water for Starcraft and its fans after that hour and a half of fighting between the two was over. 12:45 into the poll, Halo finally started making the push that a supposed 1 seed should have made long ago in this poll and it looked to end Starcraft's dream run in this poll once and for all.

And Halo may have been making a huge push, but Starcraft kept fighting back with these occasional small gains that kept giving the people rooting for Starcraft some hope. But every time it seemed like Starcraft was going to cause some damage, back came Halo with a huge gain to shoot everything down. But even then, the Starcraft fans never gave up hope. The common belief was that if Starcraft could hang on during the Halo surge, it could come back and win with the night vote. After all, Starcraft still had the potential to gain votes at a pace that it had going for it in the first few hours of the poll. But with every new update that popped up, the Starcraft dream died a little more. The supposed Starcraft evening vote that was supposed to save it did little more than give a false hope to all of its fans, as the best Starcraft could manage was to split the vote 50-50. It was 19:15 into the poll, 9:45 PM EST, and Halo had built a lead of 1108 votes. The vote totals were insanely high at this point, and the poll would wind up being the most popular poll of the contest. But even then, it seemed like Starcraft was done for at this point. There was, at most, 5:15 left in the poll, and possibly even only 4:45. There was no possible way that Starcraft could come back at this point, because Halo seemed to be too strong.

It seemed as if Halo had it won at this point. The vaunted Starcraft evening vote that its hopes were all pinned on had done little more than allow Starcraft to give a falso hope to its fans. All Halo had to do was to hang on for another 5 hours or so.

"NOT SO FAST, my friend!"

Starcraft sliced 74 votes off of Halo's seemingly unbeatable lead with the next update. But no big deal, right? WRONG. Starcraft then cut 104 votes off of the lead! Out of no where, Starcraft looked like it was back in this thing! The update topics caught fire, Bnet saw the spamming increase to ethereal heights, Xbox Live started getting spammed, and even started getting involved. It only took 30 minutes and two updates for this poll to turn into an even bigger war than it already was. At this point, you were either with one game or the other. That, or you were caught in the crossfire. It seemed that Starcraft had a chance, but time was beginning to run out. Even worse, the next three updates were not good for Starcraft. It only gained 38 and 26 with the first two, and Halo managed to win the third. But not to be outdone, Starcraft fought back with a brilliant 82 vote update. Halo fought back again by winning the next update by two votes. But at this point, we were 21:30 into the poll, Midnight EST, and had at most three hours to go. Taking down a lead of 796 within three hours at a time when the voting slows down was nearly impossible. Starcraft made a nice push, but it still looked to be over.

But as if we all spoke too soon, Starcraft set the entire world of gamefaqs on fire that fateful night. One night between Starcraft and Halo may have changed the courses of the two games involved forever. One night caused one of the biggest site-wide explosions ever seen on gamefaqs. One night had the entire community of one game wondering what went wrong, and the other game wound up getting a popularity boost seven years after its initial release.

As you can probably guess, Starcraft set gamefaqs on fire that night. With the next two updates in the poll, Starcraft sliced 98 and 94 votes off of the lead, which was a pace faster than that required for Starcraft to come back and win this thing. But Halo fought back like the 1 seed it was supposed to be, and delayed the inevitable by only losing 6 votes off of its lead with the next update. But what would happen next would easily change the course of gamefaqs forever, or at least the course of gamefaqs during this contest. What Starcraft managed to do at this point in the poll was none other than miraculous; a game surviving against all odds to keep the dream of Starcraft fans everywhere alive and well.

Starcraft not only went on a push, it went on a dominating push rarely seen in such close matches. The update topics, as well as the entirety of the site, completely exploded. The odd thing is that it was extremely late at night, yet everyone stayed up to see what was going on with the poll. In comparison, the explosion that followed this poll was as large or larger than that which was caused by Mario/Crono II. I could tell you what happened, but it would simply be best to post the rest of the chart.

The result is obvious enough to see for yourself, and I'm not kidding when I said the entire site exploded during this match. Come to think of it, three sites exploded.

So how did it all happen? Before I move on, let me make one thing perfectly clear. Though I was obviously biased as hell towards Starcraft throughout the match, I like Halo. It's a damned good multiplayer game, and legendary multiplayer games are not easy to come by at all. Selling all of those millions of copies across the US alone was no joke, and like Cromage said, Halo is absolutely huge outside of our site. The same argument can sort of be made against Starcraft, but there is clearly a bigger Starcraft fanbase on gamefaqs than there is a Halo fanbase.

And come to think of it, there is a larger Starcraft fanbase outside of our site as well. I don't know if anyone noticed, but this poll was easily the highest-scoring of the contest. Outside forces were being brought in from all over the place to vote in this thing. Both Starcraft and Halo had their times to shine within the poll, but Starcraft simply got all of the votes when it needed them the most. Either game could have won this thing, but it just so happens that there are more Starcraft fans that are immediately accessible than there are Halo fans. But tip your hat to both games in this match. Halo was obviously not a 1 seed, and Starcraft was obviously not a 16 seed. I feel that both games performed far better than expected in this match, and they both have my respect afterwards. Halo went down exactly like a highly-seeded game is supposed to go down. It went down fighting until the very end, and its performance can't really be shot down here. It did well.

As for Starcraft, an absolute monster was unleashed upon this contest once it won this match, and believe it or not, it was destined to become even stronger once it knocked off the 1 seed in miraculous fashion. Starcraft winning one match in this manner can be attributed to luck, but I doubt that anyone could have possibly said that Starcraft simply got lucky once this contest was all said and done.

Match Trends[]


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2004 Spring Contest Matches

Round One
SMB3 > Metal Gear
Metroid > Pac-Man
Contra > Phantasy Star
FF > Pitfall
Donkey Kong > Duck Hunt
Zelda > Adventure
Pong > River City Ransom
Tetris > Galaga
CT > Secret of Mana
SMRPG > Street Fighter II
Sonic 2 > Shining Force
SMW > Simpsons
Zelda: LttP > Gunstar Heroes
Super Metroid > PS IV
Doom > Earthbound

FF VI > Mortal Kombat
FF VII > Suikoden II
Xenogears > Pokemon GSC
SotN > Perfect Dark
Goldeneye > PDS
Zelda: OoT > Fallout 2
Starcraft > Halo
KH > Soul Calibur
Zelda: WW > Skies of Arcadia
Metroid Prime > Half-Life
FFTA > Fire Emblem
FF X > Shenmue
GTA: Vice City > KoTOR

Round Two
SMB 3 > Metroid
FF > Contra
Zelda > Donkey Kong
Tetris > Pong
SMW > Sonic 2
Zelda: LttP > Super Metroid
FF VI > Doom
FF VII > Xenogears
Goldeneye > SotN
Zelda: OoT > SM64
Starcraft > KH
Zelda: WW > Metroid Prime
SSBM > GTA: Vice City

R3 and following
Zelda > Tetris
Zelda: LttP > FF VI
Zelda: OoT > Goldeneye
Starcraft > Zelda: WW
SMB3 > Zelda
CT > Zelda: LttP
FF VII > Zelda: OoT
SSBM > Starcraft
FF VII > CT (Finals)