The Evolution 2013 (EVO 2K13 for short) fighting game tournament happened over the weekend. And, honestly, this was probably one of the best tournaments so far. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, EVO is a gaming tournament that exclusively features fighting games. While there are other smaller tournaments out there, EVO is considered to be the grandest stage to display your skills in fighting games. Think of it as the Superbowl of all fighting game tournaments.
Although it’s held in Las Vegas, gamers all over the world, including the UK, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, fly in to participate in EVO. Oh, and anyone can participate. You don’t have to be the best in your region or anything to join. As long as you have 3 days to spare (and enough to pay for the registration fee), you’re eligible to join any EVO tournament.
This year, there appeared to be an extreme number of fighting games you can join. From the most popular ones, such as Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Injustice and Mortal Kombat, to some vintage games, such as Super Smash Bros. Melee. This doesn’t include the other games that didn’t have an official tournament, like Skull Girls.
Although I wasn’t able to go there personally, I was able to watch a lot of what was happening in the comfort of my home by streaming it online. Yes, you can watch most of the fights for free! And, because of all the stuff they needed to show, there were 3 channels showing you different games and different matches.
But, besides all of the games, it was the actual matches that makes people want to go watch EVO fights. And there were a whole lot of great matches! While there are a lot of great matches in the pools (the fights where a person can get eliminated), a lot of the excitement stems from the Top 8 battles. These matches involve the Top 8 players for a specific game. And you know these 8 people are special if they manage to beat a huge number of people.
Just to give you an idea of how many people they have to beat, there were 233 gamers who registered for Mortal Kombat alone. Getting to the top of the heap among 233 participants is no small feat. Well, just think about making to the Top 8 of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, which had 1,297 people! You know the Grand Finals for that game will be epic!
And all of the matches were epic! It can get crazy, hectic, exciting and loud, especially if you have an enormous crowd of people in the back watching your every move. This is another thing that makes EVO special: the fans. Everyone in the audience know the best players (since they’re playing at a professional level) so everyone is invested in seeing their favorites win or hate on the guys that they don’t want to win.
Other than the tournaments and games, another reason to attend EVO for fighting game fanatics would have to be the chance of meeting your idols. I mean, is there any other place where you can just hang out and talk to the people that you admire and actually compete against them as well? If you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it), you can be in the same bracket as the legendary Daigo Umehara. If I did face him, I’d probably get blown up by his Ryu but I’d be able to say that I got bodied by the best!
EVO is also the place where a lot of announcements regarding fighting games are made. This year was no different. It was announced that Injustice will be getting a new character in the Martian Manhunter. But the big news was regarding the next iteration of Street Fighter IV. Ultra Street Fighter IV will be released next year and will have 5 new characters! This will make the waiting for Street Fighter V much, much easier!
What makes EVO special for me are all of the things I noted above. However, what puts it over the top would be seeing and hearing the people in the tournament. Everyone always appears to be enjoying themselves. EVO never feels like something a corporate business would do. In fact, EVO, and all other fighting game tournaments, are organized by people who just love fighting games. So, seeing how big a success it is and knowing that all of the people there acknowledge their hard work makes it all the more special.
I honestly hope to attend EVO in the future… just so I can be blown up by Daigo on the streams. Yes, people will call me a “fraud” but I’ll be a fraud enjoying myself.
Are you a proud member of the fighting game community? Were you at EVO this year? If you were, please tell us how it felt! If not but you watched it at home, tell us how it was in your opinion!