Top 10 Matches in GameFAQs Contest HistoryEdit
My list covers arguably the most important subject of all... as it relates to being a member of Board 8, that is. Because sure, what keeps you coming back to the board day after day may be the user contests or wanting to chat with the friends you've made over the years, but if you think back to what made you originally want to become a B8er, it was probably witnessing a great match during the first Contest season you paid close attention to. Epic matches like the ten we're about to dive into!
I also went with this subject because it's something I've been looking into quite a bit lately as I bring the B8wiki up to date as regards all our past matches. So this list is the result of piecing together some of my earlier thoughts on the subject (I made my last Top Ten in January 2006) and combining it with a little more hindsight, research, and of course throwing some very exciting 2006 and 2007 results into the mix as well. Let's get started!
10. L-Block vs Snake vs Sonic vs Squall, Round Four of 2007
Read all about it! L-Block vs Snake vs Sonic vs Squall 2007
Blocky's incredible seven-round run through the '07 bracket resulted in plenty of strong options for Greatest Match, but for me this poll was the most significant of all. Others would naturally point to his defeat of Link/Cloud/Snake in the Final as most impressive, but as I saw it L already confirmed that he'd be capable of that feat with this R4 performance. Before this we'd seen the Block seeming to rise in popularity each round, but he still had plenty of doubters; and with good reason, as its a major step up from questionable mid-carders like Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Kratos to legitimate Noble Nine or very close studs like Snake, Sonic, and Squall. This poll was packed, and L was going to have everything going against him... Snake and Squall are kings of the overnight, Sonic's perhaps the biggest morning vote beast in Contest history, and any of the three had the popularity and voter pool backing to make a run at him in the final section of the match, if left within striking distance.
red even went so far as to famously claim that L had "no chance against Snake/Sonic" in a topic that continues to be bumped to this day. Even at the time I knew going THAT far was very silly, and I struck back with 4 Points explaining why Blocky not only had a CHANCE, but might even have been a favorite to finish ahead of Sonic based on results from the previous three rounds. And not only was I right, I was more than right! L put on his first true powerhouse performance, blasting out to a huge lead over Snake and managing to hold on for a slim victory despite a valiant day-long comeback effort. The other great thing about this match, which helps elevate it above the rest of Block's, was the little-watched yet very exciting battle for third place between Sonic and Squall. Not only was the Noble Nine "broken" for the first time in this match (since Link had technically still won the day that Vincent first tried to crack it), we nearly had it re-broken by Squall at the same time! Sonic has to thank his lucky stars that a strong after-school vote proved just enough to see him over the hump and save him from that embarrassment.
9. Sub-Zero vs Master Chief, Round One of 2006
Read all about it! Sub-Zero vs Master Chief 2006
Everyone remembers Subby's victory for knocking out the last attempts at perfect brackets in '06, but I think people fail to realize what a monumental upset this actually was. Just under 80% of brackets site-wide picked MC to advance here (80%!) which actually makes this the biggest Round One upset of all time. Yes, even topping the fabled 1/16 upset that StarCraft pulled off on this same Halo franchise! Additionally it's one of the true classic mistakes in terms of modern Oracle predicting- not only did 121 out of the 127 predictors pick Chief to roll through this round, he was expected to breeze through with nearly 59% of the vote!
Two other points that elevate this result to "great" status in my mind: one, there's nothing more delightful than a Halo collapse. It's constantly the #1 casual bracket fodder of the year, and this board has always taken great satisfaction in seeing the series hyped up as a "serious contender this time around" only to watch it nearly choke away a match to Donkey Kong. Or blow an ideal opportunity by somehow failing to dominate the Day Vote against Castlevania. Or suffer the ultimate embarrassment in getting knocked out by a 16 seed. Or amazingly coming up short against a sword-wielding Frog that we now know wasn't all that strong to begin with.
Here's to a return to the traditional 1v1 format next Character Battle, so we can once again enjoy watching MC perform to his expectations! Which is to say, well below them.
Oh yeah, and the second point is that MC did actually make a pretty strong ASV push at the tail end of this to keeps things interesting, but too much damage had been done overnight for it to have the needed effect. Which was doubly important because it also served to keep us all on our toes the entire day- even when SZ had gained a lead of well over 3000 votes just as schools let out, no one felt entirely sure he had it locked up yet, which made the end result all the more enjoyable.
8. Donkey Kong vs Duck Hunt, Round One of 2004
Read all about it! Donkey Kong vs Duck Hunt 2004
On the surface this doesn't seem like all that epic a poll. It was only going to count for 1 point in the bracket (the winner was sure to be creamed by Zelda 1) , and even if Duck Hunt pulled off the upset it wasn't going to be an especially epic one; DK was the Oracle favorite but came in expected to score under 53% of the vote. But as the match drew closer many B8ers, me included, began to have serious doubts about our pick. Sure everyone knows Donkey Kong, but who really loves him, or his original game? And the guy had nearly choked away a win to Aya Brea, then finished the job by fumbling away a victory to Vercetti the previous year. Meanwhile DH is loved by plenty of people, and why were we thinking earlier it lacked exposure? The game came packed in with millions of NESes, for crying out loud!
The atmosphere was tense when the opening bell rang, but within a minute we all breathed a sign of relief. DK was smashing his way to a 60/40 win... why had we been so worried about a silly little light gun game, after all? B8 had a nice laugh at itself and went to bed, only to awaken and see that, oh my! The greatest comeback in history was underway! It's a shame creative's updater hadn't been invented yet and so they're no official graph for this match, as it would surely be an astounding sight. Never before had a winning entrant collapsed so utterly in the second half of a match, and it was a joy to behold, except for the few of us still stressing over a near-meaningless point in our brackets.
In the end DK did JUST enough to hold off the charge, but that does little to diminish this poll's impact in my eyes. It had been a wild and highly enjoyable ride, and most important a signal had been sent- we were in for one heck of a Contest!
7. StarCraft vs Halo, Round One of 2004
Read all about it! StarCraft vs Halo 2004
If there were B8ers who didn't hear that "Great Contest Underway!" signal when the DK/DH result went final, they were certainly made aware during the course of this classic! First though a confession... as fun as it was to watch at the time, I've pretty much grown sour to SC's run through the '04 Games Contest as a whole. By looking over the data and hearing some of the things CJay has said about the matches since that time, it's pretty apparent to me that "something fishy" was going on in all of SC's tight matches. Which the blatant cheating against Melee certainly pointed to all along, but I was willing to overlook the signals at the time. So that's why SC matches come in lower with me than most others who were around to see them back in '04.
In any case though, jaded as I am to SC as a whole, this match is simply too good to pass up, no matter what standard you use to define greatness! Biggest upset in Contest history in terms of seeding? Check. Second-largest R1 upset ever according to brackets? Check. Gigantic voting patterns swings results in a huge comeback? Check. SECOND major trend shift resulting in another huge comeback to the comeback? Check! And boy, you can certainly check the boxes next to "huge board explosion" and "massive B8 drama all day long" as well.
Of course as good as it was, little did we know how in hindsight this result was going to be even MORE important. At the time we were sure that Square's huge pull on the site was going to see Kingdom Hearts through to an easy win in R2, and even if not, the devoted Zelda fanbase would surely knock the winner for a big loss in R3, and even if not THAT, surely whatever came out of here would be miles behind Final Fantasy X in R4. Whoops, whoops, and whoops!
I had a very important college research paper to write the day of this match. Needless to say I ended up writing almost the entirety after 3am when SC had finally secured the 373 vote victory! And that's why even though I've lost some respect for SC as a legit entrant, the fun times were just too much to pass by on this or any other Top Ten.
6. Samus vs Sonic, Round Four of 2002
Read all about it! Samus vs Sonic 2002
An absolute classic to matter how you break it down. Unfortunately though, as Nelson would say, "Historical records from that era are sketchy at best," and so there isn't too much that can concretely be said about this poll. All that really needs to be said is that this was the first truly great match that GameFAQs had ever seen, and that this barn burner is the poll that turned me on to GameFAQs Contests to this very day. Seemingly it did the same for many others as well- this was the last time CJay allowed instant-updating of poll results. The lag on the server became so bad near the heated conclusion of this slugfest that he was forced to disallow F5ing by limiting us to updated results only every 15 minutes.
Sam/Sonic is also remembered for being the day that kicked off the greatest 3-day stretch of matches we have ever, or will ever, see on this site. But more on that soon!
5. Chrono Trigger vs Link to the Past, Round Four of 2004
Read all about it! Chrono Trigger vs Link to the Past 2004
I'm something of a sucker for match trends, which probably helps explain why pretty much all of what I consider the greatest matches had enormous Day/Night changes, huge comebacks, giant vote swings, and the like. Well, not CT/LttP- instead it settled for just being perfect. We've had a number of polls over the years where the two options are clearly just about even in popularity and so they go back and forth all through the day, but what made this so special was this wasn't some basically even fodder, or even basically even mid-carders like MGS/FFT; the winner was going to legitimately by the third strongest game on the site! CT/LttP is exactly what we need to see out of a Contest Championship some day; perhaps with the voter shift since '04, Ocarina/FF7 will be able to deliver this Summer?
4. Frog vs Master Chief, Round Two of 2004
Read all about it! Frog vs Master Chief 2004
Yikes, MC fails again! As I said before, I'm a sucker for seeing Halo fall on its face, and you can hardly blame me when the result is as entertaining as this! Not to mention huge vote swings and all that. What a match!
3. Cloud vs Link, Round Five of 2003
Read all about it! Cloud vs Link 2003
At the time I absolutely hated this result, but looking back it's very clear to me that even if this wasn't the greatest match in GameFAQs history, it was certainly the most IMPORTANT.
2. Mario vs Crono, Round Four of 2003
Read all about it! Mario vs Crono 2003
Always a contender for greatest of all time consideration, and for good reason. The comeback was impossible, the craziest we'd have ever seen, and yet it happened. And good gracious was there every controversy to boot!
1. Mario vs Cloud, Round Four of 2002
Read all about it! Mario vs Cloud 2002
I titled this the "Mario Miracle" in my '06 writeup, and I stand by that term. It should never have happened, based on everything we've seen since AND everything we'd seen up to that point. And yet it did, and helped keep the Contest interesting for years to come. Take THAT, Clinkeroth!
There's been a ton of great matches, but don't take my word on it, or go strictly by my Top Ten! Look over all of the past classics on the B8wiki; soon to be complete with full writeups and extended stats across the board!