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Sunday, July 14th, 2002

Ulti's Analysis[]

Poll 953
Division East Division
Match # 14
Match Date Sunday, July 14th, 2002
Vote difference 11,241
Tina - 43.71%
(7,327 brackets)

Of all the matches ever held in the contest, this is easily one of the funniest. The legend of Gordon Freeman began on this day, and it may easily live on forever.

I could try explaining it myself, but that would be somewhat pointless:

The entire legend started here, in this very match. Coming into the match, the assumption was that Gordon Freeman had a free pass into the second round. Sure some people may not have heard of him, but Gordon stars in Half-Life, one of the best FPS titles ever made. Even though Gordon may not be a household name, Half-Life most certainly is. And that isn't even the beginning of how easily Gordon was supposed to win this match. Gordon was a 3 seed, and as most people who follow bracketed contests know, it's very difficult to take down high seeds early in tournaments. It should be even more difficult in a contest in which the fans decide the victor, simply because the more popular character will be the one that wins. Furthermore, Gordon wasn't exactly going up against Kasumi here. Tina Armstrong may be a character in the Dead of Alive series, but she's no where near as popular as Kasumi is.

So with all of this laid out, there was absolutely no way that Gordon should have had any trouble with this match. He was the 3 seeded main character from a popular title, while Tina was the meager 14 seeded fodder that was supposed to roll over and serve as a waste of space en route to the Aeris/Gordon clash.

But when the match began, everything went backwards. Not only did Gordon begin the match by losing, but he wound up getting his ass handed to him from beginning to end. A link was posted on one of the Half-Life sites, but it wasn't nearly enough to save Gordon from what may go down as the single biggest embarrassment in contest history. Gordon went from being a heavily-favored 3 seed to a character getting his ass handed to him by supposed fodder. In one match, Gordon Freeman went from being the respected main of Half-Life to the biggest laughingstock of the contest, and this stigma has stuck with Gordon to this very day. We used to root for Gordon to win, but it has gotten so bad for Freeman that we would be shocked if he did anything but lose. It's a sad state of affairs for Gordon, but had he taken care of his business against Armstrong that day, it never would have happened. Not only did Gordon lose to fodder, but he got killed by fodder.

On a more serious note, Gordon's loss most likely has to do with the fact that you don't see or hear him all through Half-Life, but at this point, does anyone honestly care? This match is all about the beginning of a legend, and luckily for us, the legend of GFNW continues. Lost in all of this is the fact that Tina Armstrong actually won a match, which made Aeris's path to Solid Snake even easier.

Ed Bellis' Analysis[]

Forget Master Hand. Forget L-Block. Forget Bidoof, Mudkip, CATS, whatever joke characters you want to throw up on the list. No match will ever be as funny as this one. This saw the birth of a legend and a repository of jokes for nigh unto five years of rich contest history: Gordon Freeman Never Wins. And when he loses, he always does so in a spectacularly embarrassing fashion, in a match he could easily have won, against an opponent he has no business losing to.

What makes this match so funny is that, unlike Max Payne, Sam Fisher, or Leon Kennedy (or Duke Nukem, for that matter), nobody cares about Tina Armstrong. She’s a D-list character in a C-list game series. As Amazing Telephone put it, all that’s pretty much ever been written about Tina Armstrong is her aspirations in life, her relationship with her cowboy father, and her measurements. And she beat Gordon Freeman. There is no mathematical solution for why this was possible – people have tried to figure it out over the years, and explanations have ranged from “nobody knows who Gordon Freeman is” to “Gordon Freeman is an avatar for the fat, nerdy gaming community – and we don’t like ourselves” to “LOL BOOBIES.” Regardless, this match will always take the cake as funniest damn match in contest history. You’ll always be a winner in my book, Gordy.

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2002 Contest Matches

Round One
Mario > Servbot
Morrigan > Spyro
Aya > Terry Bogard
Donkey Kong > Bub
Alucard > Tails
Duke > Iori
Pikachu > PaRappa
Cloud > Fox
Lara > Chop Chop
Ryo Hazuki > Guybrush
Crono > Simon
Dante > Q*Bert
Aeris > Kasumi
Tina > Gordon
Knuckles > Akira

Snake > Squall
Pac-Man > Goemon
Kyo > Abe
Scorpion > Kazuya
Max Payne > Dirk
Bomberman > Kane
Jill > Kirby
Strider > Raziel
Link > Little Mac
Sonic > Pitfall Harry
Tidus > Claire
Samus > Ken
Ryu > CATS
Mega Man > Ms. Pac-Man
Serious Sam > Mr. Driller
Sephiroth > Gabe
Crash > Ulala

Round Two
Mario > Morrigan
Donkey Kong > Aya
Alucard > Duke
Cloud > Pikachu
Lara > Ryo Hazuki
Crono > Dante
Aeris > Tina
Snake > Knuckles
Pac-Man > Kyo
Scorpion > Max Payne
Jill > Bomberman
Link > Strider
Sonic > Tidus
Samus > Ryu
Mega Man > Serious Sam
Sephiroth > Crash

R3 and following
Mario > Donkey Kong
Cloud > Alucard
Crono > Lara
Snake > Aeris
Scorpion > Pac-Man
Link > Jill
Samus > Sonic
Sephiroth > Mega Man
Mario > Cloud
Crono > Snake
Link > Scorpion
Sephiroth > Samus
Mario > Crono
Link > Sephiroth
Link > Mario (Finals)