EVO 2018 Was Too Hype but Too Long

One of the things on my bucket list would be to go to Las Vegas during the first week of August. No, not because I love gambling or the night light or because I’ve watched a whole bunch of CSI episodes growing up. The biggest reason why I would love to go there is to participate in the Evolution Championship Series, AKA EVO, AKA the biggest gathering of fighting games and the fighting game community in one place. Specifically, I would love to join the Street Fighter V tournament at EVO despite knowing I’ll be totally wrecked by the big names of the fighting game world. Still, I would like to just say I managed to meet and even face off against the likes of Tokido, Infiltration, Justin Wong, NuckleDu, Punk, Luffy, Ryan Hart and this year’s winner, Problem X.

For a lot of people and the fighting game community in general, going to EVO may not be a big thing, especially if you live in the United States. But for me, it’ll take a whole lot of planning as, well, this site is called 3rd World Geeks, meaning I’ll have to save up some coin just to fly up there. Then there’s the matter of booking a hotel (something that’s not that cheap) as well as paying for food and souvenirs. There’s also the matter of actually scheduling it and keeping my calendar free during EVO weekend. It’s not like it’s impossible for me but it’ll take a lot of effort on my part.

This is why I’m so grateful that EVO streams a lot of the matches via Twitch so, as long as my Internet can hold up, I can watch some really hype matches. This year was no different. I stayed up most of the night to watch the Sunday Top 8 matches, which determines the winners for Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Tekken 7, Dragon Ball FighterZ and, of course, Street Fighter V. And then I stayed up most of the morning and a little bit of the afternoon as well! I hate to say this but, as much as I love EVO, the tournaments are just getting too long!

To give you an idea of how long the Sunday stream was, it started at around 11PM Sunday evening here in the Philippines and it ended at around 3:00 PM Monday afternoon! That’s 14 hours of fighting games! Okay, they do show some new trailers and there are whole bunch of breaks sprinkled all throughout that time but that’s still a lot of time! To put it in perspective, the entire Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings trilogy, the extended versions and including the credits scenes, you’d be staring at the screen for around 11 hours! EVO’s Sunday Top 8 tournament finals are longer than that by 3 whole hours! That means you can even fit in watching the first of the Hobbit films in that space!

I’ll even be a little bit honest here and mention that I stopped watching last night EVO’s Top 8 stream after Omito won this year’s Guilty Gear tournament. The next Top 8 was for Super Smash Bros. Melee and, as much as I would like to get into the game, I just can’t because it’s so different from “traditional” fighting games. Not hating on the Super Smash Bros. Melee fans but that’s just the way I feel. I even made a concerted effort in watching it because I want to be a part of that alien hype world but I just couldn’t get into it. I decided to go to bed during the Armada vs Hungrybox match; it was 3:00 AM.

I then woke up at around 10 o’clock in the morning and went online to see what happened while I slept. I fully expected to see the results for all of the tournaments. I assumed they should’ve been completed since, according to the official schedule, each game was allotted 3 hours to go through their Top 8 matches. You would think that would be enough, right? Imagine my surprise (and horror) to find out that the Tekken 7 Top 8 had just finished a few minutes ago and Dragon Ball FighterZ was just starting!  I know that fighting game tournaments usually have horrible delays but that’s just ridiculous! Granted, those delays were caused by some really exciting trailers and reveals which the fighting game community just love as they bring the hype for the games they’re promoting and they’re definitely not a waste of time because of this. But still, how many hours are we supposed to spend watching EVO now?

While I’m complaining that EVO has become too long, I still enjoy the event and this year’s EVO was incredibly exciting! I’m not a huge Guilty Gear fan but it was super exciting! But I know a lot of people are having trouble with how long EVO has become. Because of the numerous delays, I managed to catch the Street Fighter V finals, which started at around one in the afternoon here in the Philippines and I could see on the Twitch chat that some guys and gals were complaining about the time as, for the people on the East Coast, it was already three in the morning for them. While I’ve gotten used to watching fighting game tournaments at that time because of my location, I can say that I understand their issue as it is bothersome, especially if you have to get up early in the morning the next day but you still want to watch the entire thing live. I know the feeling because that’s the feeling I have each and every time there’s a fighting game tournament in the United States.

The funny thing is I don’t really want EVO to change their current format. They’re the ones that innovated the entire process of holding the Top 8 matches on the last day. This leads to a lot of expectation and excitement. I can’t also see them trimming down the number of games to be played on Sunday because they only showed 5 games out of the 45 games they had tournaments throughout this year’s EVO. Trimming it down to even just 4 would be insane. I can’t even say it would be a good idea to just focus on the tournaments and stop playing the trailers for their upcoming content because that’s the best time and place to show them.

As much as this post is basically just me complaining how long EVO is, that’s actually my only complaint. Since the tournament is the pinnacle of the fighting game community and how is manages to bring everyone together, I think the length of time I have to spend that one day of the year is just a nitpick in the long run. I know I wouldn’t be complaining if I were there, though!

Maybe next year?

What did you think of this year’s EVO? Let me know in the comments section below!

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