|Match Date||Monday, August 23rd, 2004|
|Vivi - 51.63%|
53 for - 17 against
|Vivi - 35.13%|
The "instinct" pick for most board members in this particular match was Vivi. After all, Aya Brea pushed Donkey Kong to the brink before the Nintendo day vote saved Donkey Kong's rear way back in 2002. Could Aya Brea of Parasite Eve fame possibly be around Vivi's level in strength?
However, it was soon discovered that Donkey Kong had the mathematical advantage, albeit a false one, heading into the match. For starters, no character had a larger weighted gain in percentage from 2002 to 2003 than Donkey Kong himself. The 2003 stats also put Donkey Kong right in the middle of a pack of decent midcarders such as Luigi, Jill Valentine, Master Chief, Tommy Vercetti, Knuckles, and Kirby. If you would have trouble picking the likes of Vivi to take down any of those other characters, then why pick him to beat Donkey Kong? The DK over Vivi upset special was a decent choice, though there were two factors not mentioned in the stats. Donkey Kong may have had the largest weight gain between 2002 and 2003, but this is more because of the massive SFF that DK suffered against Mario in 2002 than anything else. Secondly, the 2003 stats also made DK look stronger than he truly was. DK was in a very close match with Tommy Vercetti, and characters are oftentimes overestimated by the math after having been in a close match.
When the match began, DK was only in contention for the first few seconds. Whether or not Vivi was aided by the Black Mage Factor, Final Fantasy 9, or anything else soon became irrelevant as Vivi jumped out to a lead that he would never look back from. A match that was supposedly going to be close turned into a surprise spanking, and given what Vivi was up against, his win was all the more impressive. Until this match, Donkey Kong had never lost in the first round of a contest. Furthermore, despite FF9 having been out since 2002, Vivi did not get the support necessary to even be in the field until this year. This match also featured one of the single lowest prediction percentages ever seen for a first round match, thanks to Donkey Kong's icon status in the gaming world being paired with Vivi's niche appeal. Final Fantasy 9 was a good game, but if FF9 alone was the reason Vivi did so well in this match, then Vivi would have been in contests of the past as well.
This match was a perfect example of one character's weakness magnifying another character's strength. Donkey Kong, despite his status, has never proven to be reliable whatsoever in these contests. If anything, he is one of Nintendo's weaker links. Everyone knows who he is, but that means nothing when it comes to voting for him above someone else. A certain pill-popping yellow guy can attest to status meaning nothing in contest polls. When this weakness is paired with the fact that Vivi is not just a black mage from Final Fantasy 9, but a black mage period, it is no surprise that Vivi won the match. Besides, even if you hated Final Fantasy 9, you only need to play it for all of 15 minutes to know who Vivi is.
And what is Vivi's reward for kicking ass as a first-timer to the field? Being the victim of a company-based bracket. I want to see Vivi in this thing next year so that we can verify his strength. Another conclusion that can be drawn from this match is that the math simply cannot cover everything, but everyone knows that already =)