The Great Character Battle came down to a Mario vs Link Final

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Summer 2002 Contest
Started: July 1, 2002
Ended: September 1, 2002
Winner: Link
Contest Winner: Burney (178/192 points)
Notable matches: Aya/DK, Pac-Man/Scorpion, Sonic/Samus
Mega Man/Sephiroth, Mario/Cloud
Crono/Snake, Mario/Crono

Summer 2002 Contest was better known as The Great GameFAQs Character Battle and was the first site-wide tournament ever held. Because no character's strength had yet been gauged, the seeding was quite inaccurate and the contest is considered by many as the hardest one to predict. One of the most surprising results of the first round was Half-Life star Gordon Freeman's defeat against the much less renowned Tina Armstrong. The bracket was full of weak characters who would never come back during later contests.
RPGexpert became famous for a while for having the only perfect entry left after the first round; after the second round, no perfect entries remained. Early in the second round came the first truly close match in contest history: Aya Brea vs. Donkey Kong. The lead fluctuated during the earlier half of the match and it was unsure who the winner would be for quite a while, something that had yet to happen in any previous match. Donkey Kong ended up building a decent lead and winning the match.

Scorpion is generally regarded as the biggest "bracket buster" in the tournament, defeating several opponents including 1st-seeded, videogaming icon Pac-Man to reach the quarterfinals before finally falling to Link.
In eighthfinals, Sonic the Hedgehog and Samus Aran faced off in what would become one of the most heated match in the contest. The match was close, but throughout the afternoon Sonic enjoyed a fairly comfortable lead. As the later hours of the match approached, however, Samus Aran began to make a comeback and kept decreasing Sonic's lead. Minutes before the end of the match, Samus took the lead and won the match by a mere 34 votes, by far the smallest margin that the contest had yet seen. The board exploded with complaints and accusations of cheating from both sides.

Mario, the favorite to win the tournament, faced his first challenge in quarterfinals against Cloud Strife. The match was extremely close, and in the end, Mario won by only 277 votes. Many were not expecting Mario to have so much trouble in this match. Mario's next opponent was Crono. It was a very close match and Crono had the lead during the afternoon, but a last-minute comeback by Mario, which was aided by the fact that the poll ended late, sent the board into chaos again. This match marked the beginning of a rivalry which would continue in later contests.

The final match was considerably less exciting than some of the previous ones as Link comfortably defeated fellow Nintendo star Mario and became the winner of the Great GameFAQs Character Battle.

See Also[edit | edit source]

Bracket[edit | edit source]

Contest Bracket
North DivisionMario
Cloud Strife
(1) Mario
(16) Servbot
Donkey Kong
(8) Spyro the Dragon
(9) Morrigan
(5) Terry Bogard
(12) Aya Brea
Aya Brea
Donkey Kong
(4) Donkey Kong
(13) Bub
(6) Alucard
(11) Tails
Duke Nukem
Cloud Strife
(3) Duke Nukem
(14) Iori Yagami
(7) Pikachu
(10) PaRappa the Rapper
Cloud Strife
(2) Cloud Strife
(15) Fox McCloud
East DivisionCrono
Solid Snake
(1) Lara Croft
(16) Chop Chop Master Onion
Lara Croft
Ryo Hazuki
Lara Croft
(8) Ryo Hazuki
(9) Guybrush Threepwood
(5) Crono
(12) Simon Belmont
(4) Dante
(13) Q*Bert
(6) Kasumi
(11) Aeris
Tina Armstrong
Solid Snake
(3) Gordon Freeman
(14) Tina Armstrong
(7) Knuckles
(10) Akira Yuki
Solid Snake
(2) Solid Snake
(15) Squall Leonhart
South DivisionScorpion
(1) Pac-Man
(16) Goemon
(8) Abe
(9) Kyo Kusanagi
(5) Scorpion
(12) Kazuya Mishima
Max Payne
(4) Max Payne
(13) Dirk the Daring
(6) Bomberman
(11) Kane
Jill Valentine
Jill Valentine
(3) Jill Valentine
(14) Kirby
(7) Strider
(10) Raziel
(2) Link
(15) Little Mac
West DivisionSamus Aran
(1) Sonic the Hedgehog
(16) Pitfall Harry
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog
Samus Aran
(8) Tidus
(9) Claire Redfield
(5) Samus Aran
(12) Ken Masters
Samus Aran
(4) Ryu
(13) CATS
(6) Mega Man
(11) Ms. Pac-Man
Mega Man
Serious Sam
Mega Man
(3) Serious Sam
(14) Mr. Driller
(7) Sephiroth
(10) Gabe
Crash Bandicoot
(2) Crash Bandicoot
(15) Ulala

Results and Analysis[edit | edit source]

Interesting Facts[edit | edit source]

  • Ironically, the Ultimate Loser in the contest was Gordon Freeman. Gordon lost to Tina, who lost to Aeris, who lost to Snake, who lost to Crono, who lost to Mario, who lost to Link.
  • 22 of the 64 characters in this contest haven't appeared in one since.

Ulti's Analysis[edit | edit source]

The final may have sucked, but the buildup that accumulated during this contest is something we'll likely never see again. We had three 1 seeds fail to make it out of the first three rounds, and even though there weren't all that many close matches, predictability was at an all time low this contest. No one knew what to expect. Everyone simply rooted for their favorite characters to do as well as they could, and damned voting trends and transitivity to hell.

That's what we're missing from today's contests. With the advent of Extrapolated Standings and everyone's willingness to help everyone out with brackets, the predictability has all but died from the contests. The beautiful thing about 2002 was that no one knew or cared about a character's potential or transitive value; everyone simply rooted for their favorites, which is something horribly missing from today's contests. With every passing match, the anticipation of future matches and the unknown grew larger and larger, and it all came to a climax during the trifecta of Sonic/Samus, Mega Man/Sephiroth, and Mario/Cloud. Those were three highly anticipated matches all held in a row late in the contest, and they were the first three matches in which characters that had a real shot at winning the entire thing went down. Our board was also at its busiest point during those three matches, and we'll likely never see such times again.

2002 was, for all intents, the best contest we've ever had. Spring 2004 came close, but aside from Starcraft, it still had a slight predictability problem. Maybe CJayC will figure something out that will bring the feel of 2002 back.

Maybe not.

Ngamer's Analysis[edit | edit source]

The GameFAQs Character Battle was a great idea, and it featured the greatest stretch of matches we're ever going to see on this site, and it of course produced an atmosphere that can never again be matched... but it wasn't exactly a great Contest. I mean, just look at those names; the bracket was so filled with terrible fodder and bad seedings that not a single Round One or Two match produced a memorable result, and that's 3/4 of your Contest right there! Now I don't want to be too harsh, because like I said, Round Three and up will never be touched, but the vast majority of the bracket being bad to very bad matches holds 2002 back from "best Contest ever" status in my mind.

Kamekguy's Contest Video Retrospective[edit | edit source]

This is a really cool video, made almost 20 years after the fact. Check it out!

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)

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