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

GameFAQs Contests
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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.

Bracket[]

Click on the date above each match to see its article page for more details. Alternatively, see this category page for complete writeups for every poll of the original Character Battle.

Division Rounds[]

North Division
Division R1
(Top 64)
Division R2
(Top 32)
Division Semis
(Sweet 16)
Division Final
(Elite 8)
Jul 01 - 53213
1 Mario icon.png Mario 39,436
16 Servbot icon.png Servbot 13,777 Aug 02 - 66532
Jul 02 - 57359 1 Mario icon.png Mario 44,448
8 Spyro icon.png Spyro 18,186 9 Morrigan icon.png Morrigan 22,084
9 Morrigan icon.png Morrigan Aensland 39,173 Aug 18 - 63840
Jul 02 - 56566 1 Mario icon.png Mario 52,333
5 Terry b icon.png Terry Bogard 19,929 Aug 03 - 62276 4 DK icon.png DK 11,507
12 Aya brea icon.png Aya Brea 36,637 12 Aya brea icon.png Aya 30,478
Jul 03 - 52618 4 DK icon.png DK 31,798
4 DK icon.png Donkey Kong 32,602
13 Bub icon.png Bub 20,016 Aug 26 - 129703
Jul 05 - 61706 1 Mario icon.png Mario 64,990
6 Alucard cv icon.png Alucard 33,516 2 Cloud icon.png Cloud 64,713
11 Tails icon.png Miles "Tails" Prower 28,190 Aug 04 - 58309
Jul 06 - 52874 6 Alucard cv icon.png Alucard 35,864
3 Duke icon.png Duke Nukem 33,160 3 Duke icon.png Duke 22,445 Aug 19 - 74365
14 Iori kof icon.png Iori Yagami 19,714 6 Alucard cv icon.png Alucard 22,578
Jul 07 - 56447 2 Cloud icon.png Cloud 51,787
7 Pikachu icon.png Pikachu 30,711 Aug 05 - 75371
10 Parappa icon.png PaRappa the Rapper 25,736 7 Pikachu icon.png Pikachu 15,445
Jul 08 - 73242 2 Cloud icon.png Cloud 59,926
2 Cloud icon.png Cloud Strife 54,643
15 Fox sf icon.png Fox McCloud 18,599
East Division
Jul 09 - 64249
1 Lara icon.png Lara Croft 44,737
16 Chop chop icon.png Chop Chop Master Onion 19,512 Aug 06 - 61142
Jul 10 - 55392 1 Lara icon.png Lara 36,308
8 Ryo h icon.png Ryo Hazuki 39,574 8 Ryo h icon.png Ryo H. 24,834
9 Guybrush icon.png Guybrush Threepwood 15,818 Aug 20 - 74059
Jul 11 - 64189 1 Lara icon.png Lara 21,571
5 Crono icon.png Crono 49,283 Aug 07 - 65994 5 Crono icon.png Crono 52,488
12 Simon b icon.png Simon Belmont 14,906 5 Crono icon.png Crono 43,939
Jul 12 - 58198 4 Dante icon.png Dante 22,055
4 Dante icon.png Dante 40,745
13 Q bert icon.png Q*Bert 17,453 Aug 27 - 99214
Jul 13 - 60878 5 Crono icon.png Crono 52,517
6 Kasumi doa icon.png Kasumi 22,688 2 Snake icon.png Snake 46,697
11 Aerith icon.png Aerith Gainsborough 38,190 Aug 08 - 65064
Jul 14 - 56361 11 Aerith icon.png Aerith 50,055
3 Gordon f icon.png Gordon Freeman 22,560 14 Tina a icon.png Tina 15,009 Aug 21 - 75247
14 Tina a icon.png Tina Armstrong 33,801 11 Aerith icon.png Aerith 32,702
Jul 15 - 62021 2 Snake icon.png Snake 42,545
7 Knuckles icon.png Knuckles the Echidna 49,964 Aug 09 - 68083
10 Akira vf icon.png Akira Yuuki 12,057 7 Knuckles icon.png Knuckles 26,748
Jul 16 - 71676 2 Snake icon.png Snake 41,335
2 Snake icon.png Solid Snake 46,897
15 Squall icon.png Squall Leonhart 24,779
South Division
Jul 17 - 56989
1 Pac man icon.png Pac-Man 41,150
16 Goemon icon.png Goemon 15,839 Aug 10 - 51889
Jul 17 - 53920 1 Pac man icon.png Pac-Man 32,607
8 Abe odd icon.png Abe 22,760 9 Kyo kof icon.png Kyo 19,282
9 Kyo kof icon.png Kyo Kusanagi 31,160 Aug 22 - 68475
Jul 19 - 59609 1 Pac man icon.png Pac-Man 28,936
5 Scorpion mk icon.png Scorpion 42,327 Aug 11 - 59925 5 Scorpion mk icon.png Scorpion 39,539
12 Kazuya icon.png Kazuya Mishima 17,282 5 Scorpion mk icon.png Scorpion 39,171
Jul 20 - 50816 4 Max payne icon.png Payne 20,754
4 Max payne icon.png Max Payne 38,707
13 Dirk d icon.png Dirk the Daring 12,109 Aug 28 - 91535
Jul 21 - 52419 5 Scorpion mk icon.png Scorpion 21,991
6 Bomberman icon.png Bomberman 40,943 2 Link loz icon.png Link 69,544
11 Kane cnc icon.png Kane 11,476 Aug 12 - 65260
Jul 22 - 70376 6 Bomberman icon.png Bomberman 27,432
3 Jill v icon.png Jill Valentine 37,539 3 Jill v icon.png Jill 37,828 Aug 23 - 85273
14 Kirby icon.png Kirby 32,837 3 Jill v icon.png Jill 23,342
Jul 23 - 58323 2 Link loz icon.png Link 61,931
7 Strider icon.png Strider Hiryu 30,662 Aug 13 - 71262
10 Raziel kain icon.png Raziel 27,661 7 Strider icon.png Strider 17,270
Jul 24 - 70585 2 Link loz icon.png Link 53,992
2 Link loz icon.png Link 59,509
15 Little mac icon.png Little Mac 11,076
West Division
Jul 25 - 64315
1 Sonic icon.png Sonic the Hedgehog 53,023
16 Pitfall icon.png Pitfall Harry 11,292 Aug 14 - 57118
Jul 26 - 63121 1 Sonic icon.png Sonic 33,602
8 Tidus icon.png Tidus 35,004 8 Tidus icon.png Tidus 23,516
9 Claire re icon.png Claire Redfield 28,117 Aug 24 - 83912
Jul 27 - 62555 1 Sonic icon.png Sonic 41,939
5 Samus icon.png Samus Aran 40,857 Aug 15 - 67923 5 Samus icon.png Samus 41,973
12 Ken sf icon.png Ken Masters 21,698 5 Samus icon.png Samus 39,293
Jul 28 - 58014 4 Ryu sf icon.png Ryu 28,630
4 Ryu sf icon.png Ryu 46,869
13 Cats zero wing icon.png CATS 11,145 Aug 29 - 97224
Jul 29 - 68296 5 Samus icon.png Samus 46,047
6 Mega man icon.png Mega Man 63,039 7 Seph icon.png Seph 51,177
11 Ms pac man icon.png Ms. Pac-Man 5257 Aug 16 - 66328
Jul 30 - 54997 6 Mega man icon.png Mega 60,914
3 Serious sam icon.png Serious Sam 32,301 3 Serious sam icon.png Sam 5414 Aug 25 - 97357
14 Mr driller icon.png Mr. Driller 22,696 6 Mega man icon.png Mega 48,185
Jul 31 - 69969 7 Seph icon.png Seph 49,172
7 Seph icon.png Sephiroth 61,367 Aug 17 - 66191
10 Gabe l icon.png Gabriel Logan 8602 7 Seph icon.png Seph 53,956
Aug 01 - 57416 2 Crash icon.png Crash 12,235
2 Crash icon.png Crash Bandicoot 36,305
15 Ulala ch 5 icon.png Ulala 21,111

Final Four[]

Character Battle I Finals
Semi-finals Final
Aug 30 - 107547
A Mario icon.png Mario 53,831
B Crono icon.png Crono 53,716 Sep 01 - 98211
Aug 31 - 102870 A Mario icon.png Mario 36,796
C Link loz icon.png Link 58,273 C Link loz icon.png Link 61,415
D Seph icon.png Sephiroth 44,597



Results and Analysis[]

Interesting Facts[]

  • 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[]

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[]

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[]

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

Mario_Vs_Cloud_2002-_GameFAQs_Character_Battle_--_Designing_For_Fandom

Mario Vs Cloud 2002- GameFAQs Character Battle -- Designing For Fandom

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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