Ah, yes… EVO 2015 is near ladies and gentlemen. Can you feel it? Can you sense it?
Evolution Championship Series is basically the Super Bowl… the Wrestlemania… the Olympics… the World Series of fighting game tournaments. Once a year, players from around the world compete to be the best in the world in several fighters, such as Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, Tekken, Super Smash Bros., and more. The tournament has a long history of creating hype moments, legacies, and players who have reached immortality.
But where did it all begin? With a lot of research by checking out the EVO: Did You Know Gaming post on Reddit, as well as looking up moments on Shoryuken, Eventhubs, and Kuroppi, this is the history of EVO Championship Series.
If there’s anything inaccurate with the timeline, then I apologize. Anyway, let’s begin.
EVO’s roots began in July 20, 1996 when it was called B3: Battle by the Bay. It was founded by Tom and Tony Cannon (inkblot and Ponder), and Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cullar. Located in Sunnyvale, California, the tournament only had two games: Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and they were both played on the arcade cabinets. At the time, B3 was only for Street Fighter tournaments. Fighting game OG Alex Valle took 1st place in Street Fighter Alpha 2, while Graham Wolfe of the Wolfe Bros. took 1st place in Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Luckily, there is a YouTube video of the event, which is in VHS quality. Although it’s old, I’d give it a watch.
This video below focuses on the Street Fighter Alpha 2 tournament. You might see some familiar faces that you might recognize...
Four years later came B4: Street Fighter Championships, which was on July 15-16, 2000 at Folsom, California. Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Super Street Fighter II Turbo make their return, while we saw three new Capcom fighters joining the event: Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. Like B3, all the games were played on the arcade cabinets.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 made an impressive debut into the tournament scene, and we would see more of that game in the future.
B5 Championships took place on August 2001 at Folsom, California. Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike were gone from the event, while Street Fighter Alpha 3, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo returned once again. Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 made its first appearance in this tournament. Once again, players used the arcade cabinets as the tournament standard. This was the first time we get to see more international players (mostly from Japan) compete in American soil. Although Daigo vs. Alex Valle happened back in 1998 at a local Street Fighter Alpha 3 tournament in California, it opened a bigger door to see how the Japanese players used different fighting styles.
Battle by the Bay would change its name to Evolution (EVO Championship Series, EVO 2002, EVO 2K2, etc.) on August 10-12, 2002 at Los Angeles, California. Gone were the games of Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Capcom vs. SNK, which meant only Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 returned. The sequel to Capcom vs. SNK, Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001, made its EVO debut. And yes, like the previous Battle by the Bay series, the tournament standard were still arcade cabinets.
The grand finals between Justin Wong and Rowtron at Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was done by a first to 1 because the venue was forcing the EVO staff to leave. The rest of top 8 was played under normal circumstances. (Video courtesy of EVO Did You Know Reddit)
That's all for today, guys. Tune in tomorrow when we talk about EVO 2003-2005. EVO 2015 is only four days away!