I'm not particularly familiar with fighting games. I played quite a bit of Street Fighter II on the SNES when I was younger, and I thought the single-player content in Mortal Kombat (2011) and Persona 4 Arena was great. That's pretty much it though; I guess a large reason for that is the fact that I'm terrible at fighting games. We're talking "I should upload videos to YouTube because I'm so bad" levels of incompetence. And yet I found myself watching a surprising amount of EVO 2013 this past weekend.
I say surprising because I've never watched EVO before. Listening to the commentators was like listening to a foreign language I'm not familiar with. I didn't recognize any of the big-name players that garnered roars of support from the large crowd. A puzzled look hit my face when one of the players in a final match "reset the bracket." Despite all that, I enjoyed EVO 2013 a lot.
That's not something I was expecting to say. Part of me looks down on EVO as some kind of guilty pleasure, and a couple of things from this weekend's events stood out as particularly unappealing. I watched on the official Twitch channel, and I must say that chat was awful for large portions of the tournament (especially during Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3). I probably shouldn't be surprised, but there was some grade-A idiocy in there. Also, the announcers were a bit hit-and-miss in my opinion. I enjoyed the commentary during the Super Smash Bros. Melee finals quite a bit, but the rest ranged from decent to bad.
The bad applies to one of the commentators during Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, who I believe is referred to as Yipes. I don't know, maybe people love him and I'm just not used to his personality as a newcomer, but he had some... interesting comments during yesterday's finals. One that stood out was how Justin Wong's eyes looked "extra Asian" at some point. If that's not racist, it's at least insensitive.
But enough negatives - as I said, I enjoyed EVO 2013. The enthusiasm that poured out from the audience, commentators, and competitors alike was incredibly infectious. The matches themselves were the real highlight though. The tournament had dominating performances, nail-biters, and unbelievable comebacks, ultimately appealing to everyone out there. I definitely had a favorite match: Justin Wong vs. Chris G in UMvC3.
I mean, I don't know the implications of Justin Wong coming back to beat Chris G in the losers bracket, but holy crap did that crowd go insane. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't swept up in the moment too. At the very least, there's something about an underdog and/or comeback that's irresistible in any competition, whether it's video games, sports, or any other form of entertainment.
My "game of show," so to speak, was Super Smash Bros. Melee, which is noteworthy when you consider that Nintendo wanted to pull the game from the entire competition. Boy am I glad it didn't, because pretty much every match in the finals yesterday was highly entertaining. Every time Wobblez would use the Ice Climbers' infinite grab technique (which I guess is appropriately called wobbling), a huge grin spread across my face. And you could hear the crowd loving it too - at the end of the tournament they started chanting "one more year." Hopefully Nintendo listens.
I also appreciated how EVO 2013 acted as a learning experience. I may have been initially confused about "resetting the bracket" as I previously mentioned, but now I know what it means. And I also used the word wobbling in this blog post... what's happening to me! Maybe I'll go put in my PS3 copy of Super Street Fighter IV this week and try that again. My guess is that I'll fail miserably and give up after an hour. We'll see!