Evolution is now finally over, and the aftermath is starting to die out.
Traditionally, this would mark the “end” of the 2006 tournament season of Street Fighter, and there would be a huge lull in competitive SF play until the first few months of 2007, traditionally started with SBO quals and then either Final Round or Texas Showdown.
However, I feel strongly that this year poses a major exception to the rule.
This past year, we saw the true potential that the Street Fighter (and fighting games in general) community has yet to unlock. We saw events that used to be small regionals grow huge and move into large venues…evolution of existing fighting game majors into smoothly-run, streamlined events…more locally held tournaments and events than EVER before…and finally, the culmination of all of this into the most high-sponsored and media-covered fighting game event in history, Evolution 2006.
What is my point?
The community is now, finally, at a major turning point.
We are on the verge of breaking into the mainstream like never before. MTV, GGL, Gametrailers, video game websites, Ziff Davis media, and numerous other outlets are EXTREMELY interested in the fighting game community thanks to the efforts of many selfless individuals. Now, more than ever, we have a chance to prove the the nation, and the world that our “little side hobby” is something worthy of massive sponsorship and promotion. We are on the verge of hitting the big time, we just don’t know it yet.
So why am I making this speech?
I’ve found that in the few weeks post-Evolution, a lot of people have been de-motivated. Understandably, after the “nationals” of our beloved fighting games have finished, a lot of us want to take a break, and get back to our real-life activities.
But at the same time, I feel this is a rallying point for all of us who feel strongly about the games we play in our free time, and the future of the community.
My point is, we should NOT let the next 6 months be a major lull in the fighting game scene.
Instead, we should do everything in our human power to GET PEOPLE MOTIVATED and get things going. If you have a local scene, inspire these people to play. It doesn’t matter if you have a local arcade to throw a get-together or a tournament…or if you’re forced to get 5 of your gamer friends into your grandmom’s basement to play on a Saturday night.
If you already have a local scene, GREAT. Get those gamers together for NEW mini-regionals, have Ranbats and ranking battles, do silly gimmick get togethers for prizes.
DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO KEEP THE FIGHTING SPIRIT IN YOUR COMMUNITY ALIVE!
At Evo 2k6, just before the ultra-hyped Duc-Sanford match, Chris Li made a statement onstage: “It’s not about the hate, it’s about the hype.” This is 100% the correct attitude to have. I may be called the King of Hate, but over the years what I’ve really tried to do is inspire hype in the community, whether it be through controversy or organizing events, or playing the games we all love so much.
RIGHT NOW, your community is waiting to be hyped up. We are at a crossroads where we have the capability to take the power into our own hands and finally take the fighting game scene into the mainstream media, and blow it up into monstrous proportions. Sitting around for the next 6 months saying you need to “take a break” or “nothing is going on” is not going to fulfill that requirement of hype that the community needs at this time.
In October, SRK staff will be teaming up with GGL to run two fighting game tournaments at the Digital Life Expo in New York City. Right now it is looking like the games will either be Tekken 5, MvC2, or 3s. REGARDLESS of what games are selected, if you are a true fighting game enthusiast, MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE THERE. It’s not about the prizes or the quality of the tournament right now. What it’s really about is convincing sponsors that our community is WORTHY of throwing their money at. By having a tiny turnout at a major event like this, the first time that fighting games have EVER made it to a featured tournament event, we are going to be counterproductive to our cause.
In conclusion, do not let the “end of the 2006 tournament season” turn you off to the fighting game scene as it has in previous years. If anything, the results of the past year should inspire us and motivate us to take these few months and do everything that is within our power to keep things going. You don’t have to be a top player to do so, all you have to do is motivate those that have that interest to keep playing and get HYPED. If we can truly do this, and we can prove to groups like GGL and sponsors like Toyota that we are worth their attention, then the possibilities are limitless.
I look forward to seeing you all during events this year, and hopefully next EVO, when we will have LIVE coverage by ESPN2!