Capcom vs SNK 2 was released in August of 2001. Street Fighter IV hit consoles in February of 2009. Between 2001 and 2009, Capcom gave us Hyper Street Fighter 2, SVC Chaos, Capcom Fighting Evolution, Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, and various handheld ports such as Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max and Darkstalkers Chronicle.
None of these titles made a significant mark on the competitive scene. None of them really mattered. Yet somehow the fighting game community survived for almost a decade without a new release worth supporting in tournament play.
We steadfastly, stubbornly stuck by MvC2, SF3:3S, CvS2, and SSF2T – somehow managing to help grow Evo attendance numbers each and every year. That’s because one of the most remarkable things about the fighting game community is that when a new version of Street Fighter is bad, we know to play the old one instead. Pretty cool, right?
In retrospect, this approach was nothing short of miraculous. SFA2 and SFA3 got us through the disappointment of the SF3 series. MvC2 kept the community strong through the debacle that was CvS1, until CvS2 repaired most of the damage done by CvS1. Then SF3:3S started becoming good and carrying its own weight. And Super Turbo was there all along.
Then we were given nothing for eight years. It would’ve been so easy to become disillusioned and quit, but enough of us stuck together to define our hobby on our own terms. Let’s not lose that culture of self-reliance now. We don’t have to keep playing Street Fighter X Tekken or any new game if it doesn’t meet our standards.
Another year, another awesome Evo experience in the rear-view mirror. It was an incredibly fun event as always, but particularly draining and exhausting this time around. Two weeks have gone by since Evo2k11 wrapped up – and in all honesty, i’m still recovering.
Somehow i managed to catch some nasty cold/flu bug (aka Evola, as jchensor calls it) which has taken its sweet time burning through my system. Having three meals and an energy bar over a 96-hour period with under fifteen hours of sleep probably didn’t help matters.
I’m not proud of that rookie mistake, but there was a lot to take care of during Evo weekend and throughout the day after i drove home. In hindsight, it’s probably a minor miracle that both the DAMAGE exhibition v.one and Balrog: Behind the Glory premieres went off without a hitch. Huge thanks to everyone involved with those projects for actually making them happen; although hopefully we won’t have to cut it so close next time.
The tournament itself was amazing as usual. There were countless clutch moments, upsets, comebacks, and unbelievably creative gameplay tactics on display. The SSF4AE top 8 lineup was surprising, but every single one of those players proved they belong. How crazy is it that Yun didn’t make top 3 and that there was only one mirror match in the whole top 8 bracket?
Mr. Street Fighter, Alex Valle himself, is hosting a major multi-game tournament by the name of SoCal Regionals this weekend near Los Angeles International Airport. He asked me to go and how can you say “No” to CaliPower? It can’t be done!
I’m heading out there today and tomorrow, mainly just to hang out, so there probably won’t be a strategy article this weekend. They’re also going to film a live Dogface Show broadcast featuring watts, ChoiBoy, and CaliPower. I can’t wait to see that.
Random Storytime Trivia: I happen to be one of the original founders of NorCal Regionals back in 2003. Although i have nothing to do with its long-term success because i never went back after the first year. You see, NCR was initially a VidOp sponsored tournament. I drove up there to meet up with tragic and helped with all the planning and setup. VidOp died out not too long after that, but i guess the NorCal crowd decided to continue running it.
I don’t talk about it much because it would be silly for me to try to take any credit whatsoever, but it was a pretty awesome experience and a fun tournament. I’m happy to see that it’s still going strong and better than ever.
If you’ve never been to a major tournament before, it’s hard to explain what it feels like to experience the main event: Evolution World Finals. There’s a widespread misconception that Evo is a Street Fighter competition. It’s not.
Evo is a fighting game community social event. This past weekend was the highlight of the year for me so far, and i could probably say the same for every year i’ve been able to attend. It really is that much fun.
I hung out with old friends i hadn’t seen in several months, some of whom had moved away to other states or countries. I finally got to meet people i’d known for many years via SRK and other forums. I even made some new friends through random conversations about everything from MvC3, to Skullgirls, to the World Cup, to chewing.
I stood in the crowd and cheered on underdogs and people’s champs (Clockw0rk, GamerBee, TheGreaterForce) taking on giants (Justin Wong, Sanford Kelly, Daigo Umehara). Sometimes they pulled off the upset, and the whole audience erupted. Other times they got absolutely dismantled, and the whole crowd winced.
As i must have mentioned before, i’ve never won a tournament. However, i have finished second place on at least three occasions, which means i’ve reached the grand finals of three (rather modest) local tournaments. I should probably write these stories down before i forget them completely. With any luck, some of you might join in sharing your tournament experiences and lessons learned as well.
My first trip to grand finals happened during the last CvS2 tournament held at SHGL arcade. It was a strange, gloomy, nostalgic atmosphere. I believe twenty-something people entered, but all were dedicated CvS2 players. The only opponent i remember beating was some new guy playing an unorthodox K-Groove team who had managed to get second place in the previous CvS2 tournament by beating the regular who had eliminated me.
He was obviously good, but it annoyed me that a stranger had placed so high in “our” arcade. Luckily, i got my chance to play him and made sure it didn’t happen again. I don’t remember much other than the matches being close and getting intense towards the end. My reward was facing CaliPower in the finals, and i knew i had no chance so i picked N-Groove Shotos or something. Actually, Valle offered to let me have the win but MrWizard (aka Captain Hater) overheard him and threatened to disqualify us both. Nevertheless, that was a good day.