Splatoon 2's very first official Splatfest wrapped up this past weekend, and with it, shocking results. Mayo won in a 2-1 splash: prevailing in matches won both in the game's solo and team modes. But it was ketchup who reigned supreme in popularity: with 73 percent of the vote ahead of the white gloppy condiment. This made fans who chose the blood-like ooze frustrated.
Gathered from a lot of players tweeting their grievances, ketchup battlers mostly fought against fellow ketchup teams rather than the lowly picked mayonnaise. Seemingly, ketchup versus ketchup battles don't amount to anything in the final tally, making the matches inevitably feel useless. The original Splatoon had this problem with uneven Splatfest results too, accounted for in popularity versus everything else. At a certain point, it even became a strategy to choose the seemingly less-popular team.
I spent all day Saturday playing alongside fellow Mayo Heads in the Splatfest. My logic wasn't too different from the "good" Splatoon 1 players back in the day: I went with who I felt was the underdog thinking they'd be better with my Aerospray on their side. (Imagine me as a Gimli-like person, gruffly saying, "And my Aerospray!") Skimming my own SplatNet 2 statistics, it was a solid choice. I won far more battles than I lost in the Mayo versus Ketchup war. I was smart.
There are a lot of tiers in Splatfests, depending on how many matches you play. Losing a match still nets you points towards your temporary rank though: just a measly two points, compared to the more you get on the winning side. I managed to splat myself all the way to Mayo Queen: the max rank for the temporary event. When Mayo prevailed in the Splatfest I was gifted with the highest amount of Super Sea Snails. (24.) Already, I've almost used them all up to add slots to my favorite non-three ability gear, and reroll a few items as well. My time spent with the Splatfest felt worth it. Even if I did waste an entire day playing it.
I didn't intend to waste yet another entire day playing Splatoon 2, but with the lively celebration at hand, I couldn't help myself. Inklings danced with joy in the pop-music filled Inkopolis Square, now bright with neon Splatfest posts that shone through the dark night sky. Posts materialized outside of speech bubble pop-ups too: in the form of flags and electric wands that showed the things squid kids scribbled. Contrary to Splatoon 1's Splatfests, somehow Splatoon 2's felt even more momentous. More special.
The Splatfest wasn't all just dazzling presentation though. For the Splatfest proper, Nintendo also peddled out a temporary stage for the day called Shifty Station. Shifty Station was an interesting stage, with its landmasses constantly moving around to create an interesting dynamic on the field. Between Splatfests, according to Nintendo's tweet announcing the Splatfest-exclusive stage, Shifty Station will change shape entirely. Thematically lifting visuals from sets of stages from the game's single-player campaign, it'll be neat to see the other shapes and forms Splatfest's own Shifty Station takes in the future.
Eventually, I claimed my role as Mayo Queen. My hours spent doing what I do best in any ol' Turf War—that is, always winning—amounted to this treasure. The title itself grossed me out a little bit, but nonetheless, I deserved my prize. And I deserved the time to reflect on what I was doing with my life too, wasting a perfectly sunny Saturday entirely indoors. (To be completely fair, it had been quite the week.)
Part of the Splatfest's appeal was that it felt like an active competition. As Team Mayo, I rarely fought against another Team Mayo (for Team Ketchup players, I assume they felt the opposite). The matches were always heated, disgusting looking on the field. (The very slightly off-white hue of the event's squid ink did no favors.) Team Mayo, as I saw, fought bravely against those who would seek to destroy them. The popularity of ketchup meant nothing by its end: it was the tenacity of the other side that emerged victorious.
The day after the Splatfest, fresh of gross white ink and a sun-soaked Inkopolis Square returning, I ran into a silly squid kid post: "Bernie would have won," it said, specifically noting the ketchup percentage. In all honesty, it made me think the opposite. Bernie would have totally been a Team Mayo, and in a fairer world, maybe had a real fighting chance if the establishment—read: the most popular views and figures of the Democratic party—hadn't prevailed. So yes, in Splatoon 2 Bernie not only could have won, but he basically did. (This is an extremely complicated way to say screw ketchup, they deserved the loss.)
I look forward to future Splatfests from Nintendo's ink-splattering adventure. I fell off the first Splatoon after just a few months of Splatfests, but for Splatoon 2's, I imagine they'll keep me coming back in the long term. I can only hope they do some worthwhile licensed ones this time around, like Mr. Krabs versus Squidward this time, maybe? (Squid-)God only knows.