|Match Date||Wednesday, April 28th, 2004|
|Kingdom Hearts - 64.65%|
66 for - 2 against
|Kingdom Hearts - 45.45%|
This match was flat-out shocking. Kingdom Hearts was billed by many, including myself, to be one of the strongest games in Division 128. Most of us assumed that Kingdom Hearts would steamroll SoulCalibur and the Starcraft/Halo winner en route to a loss to Wind Waker in round three. But every contest has something that no one saw coming, and in this contest it was Kingdom Hearts. Simply put, it was the dud of the contest. Billed to be a game to gve threats to Wind Waker, it wound up flopping horribly. But don't let its performance in this contest let any of you people think that Kingdom Hearts was not directly responsible for Cloud, Sephiroth, and Squall doing far better in 2003 than in 2002. You nonbelievers have neglected the facts for far too long by this point.
But anyway, Kingdom Hearts helped prove that while it was an amazing catalyst for the Final Fantasy cast, the game itself isn't one that masses of people would readily vote for. The game helped bring more popularity to Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 8, and to a lesser extent Final Fantasy 10, but this spoke nothing of whether or not the game would bring popularity to itself. And there's where so many of us made out mistake.
Case and point? And overwhelming majority of the experts figured that Kingdom Hearts woudl steamroll the first two rounds of this contest (over 80% of BOP brackets had it winning against SoulCalibur), yet in the beginning of the poll, SoulCalibur went toe to toe with Kingdom Hearts like it was nothing. But no big deal, right? Most of us figured that this was a Starcraft rollover effect from the last poll. But when SoulCalibur managed to take a good portion of the day and stretch a 700 vote lead out of this, many people started wondering what was going on. After all, Kingdom Hearts was supposed to own this matchup.
My take on it would be that SoulCalibur is quite the underestimated title. But don't take my word for it. Go read on of ChichiriMuyo's page-long rants about why SoulCalibur was one of fighting's most innovative titles while SoulCalibur II was a cheap rehash of the original. There's also the fact that even though Kingdom Hearts sold over 4 million copies, it doesn't mean that the majority of people would vote for it. SoulCalibur may not have been expected to do much in this contest, but it looked like it was going to shock the world, or at least the experts, in this match.
But like a lot of other games who performed well early on, SoulCalibur fell to a huge push by its opponent. Starting in the afternoon, Kingdom Hearts began making a huge comeback attempt by nabbing 100 vote gains with every update.
But unfortunately, we must pause here. Right in the middle of Kingdom Hearts and its comeback attempt, CJayC hit us with the site update. Everyone knows that I feel this was one of the single worst things he ever could have done to the site (go check out www.alexa.com and put our url in the search engine if you don't believe me), but it had a lasting effect on the contest. But this topic isn't to complain about CJayC and his ridiculous idea to change the site layout without telling us (we never would have known anything was going on had LUE not found the url for the beta test), it's about the contest. The site, and the contest as a whole, was simply not the same after the site update. The average voter turnout dropped an average of a whopping 15,000 votes in every match from there on out until very late in the contest, and the contest itself didn't have the same feel to it. It's almost like CJayC stopped caring, more or less. The main poll had its spot taken up by an ad that takes up a quarter of the page, and the poll itself was moved below the ad. You also can't see the poll unless you scroll down, hence the lower vote totals. The same philosophy applies to GameSpy's contest. Did anyone else notice how much of a pain it was to actually find the poll going on? You had to go to at least two links before seeing the thing.
Anyway, with the layout change, a whole new set of laws were applied to the contest right in the middle of it, which is about as unfair as it gets for everyone involved. Had we been informed ahead of time that such a change were to take place, people might have filled out their brackets differently. There is also the tiebreaker issue, which people would have no doubt gone lower with had they known of a layout change ahead of time. An average of 15,000 votes being cut off the poll is no joke, and it may have directly affected some of the later matchups within this contest.
But back to the current matchup. When the site was up and running again, we found Kingdom Hearts in the lead, followed by a push to give Kingdom Hearts the lead for good come the end of the poll. It stalled around 1000 votes or so, but with the way this poll was going, 1000 votes either way was enough. Despite a couple of minor attempts by SoulCalibur to come back later, Kingdom Hearts fought back and finally won the poll.
Kingdom Hearts had won the battle, but had it lost the war here? It was a game expected to dominate the first two rounds, but all of a sudden new life was given to Starcraft in the second round. It became the second round match to keep an eye on, and the debates started well ahead of time for it. And I don't blame anyone for doing so, as Kingdom Hearts, good as it is, flopped horribly in this contest. Over half of the people that filled out brackets expected it to lose this match in the first place, but even then, I didn't think SoulCalibur had a chance. Turns out that Ulti = teh pwned in Kingdom Hearts' case. But we all have our favorites, so shut up =p