Hell has frozen over; SNK and ADK’s shmup cute-em-up fighting game-esque creation Twinkle Star Sprites had an esports moment. Sort of.
During the Neo Geo World Tour Season 2 tournament at Super MAGFest last weekend in the US, the SNK reps decided to host a fan favourite title alongside the usual suspects like Garou: Mark of the Wolves, The King of Fighters ’98 and XIV, and Metal Slug. And it turns to be Twinkle Star Sprites, one of the most underrated 1v1 gems out there that relies on you filling up your opponent’s screen with so many bullets he/she will have to eventually succumb to elimination.
True, it was the first game and it wasn’t viewed as much when compared to the KOF titles, but it’s the first time since, well, god knows when, a competitive 2D shmup game gets its day in the sun.
Check out these highlight plays from the region’s top TSS players: Midreal (sporting fancy mutton chops), Shin0r0chi who was killin’ it from start to finish, and The Opponent.
They clearly went for the top tier folks: Tinker & Linker, Nanja Monja, and Yan-Yan, whose tracking pig projectiles are a bit too much for most high-level players to handle. It was a gamble for The Opponent since he stuck with the latter character. The flying pig-riding child’s movement and shots aren’t all that spectacular when compared to Tinker/Linker, Nanja Monja, and even Load Ran, the “Ryu” of the game.
However, it was one that paid off since he won the entire tournament 3-1 against Shin0r0chi. His opponent had a lot of trouble handling the sine wave tracking movements of the pig projectiles among other fireballs and enemies on-screen.
Shoutouts to the commentators The_Jerk and Rock for giving this retro game a chance and doing it justice by legitimizing its status as a de facto competitive shmup title. I do hope other tournament organizers can give this game a chance.
You can hear me sing praises to Twinkle Star Sprites on my SNK feature last year.