I’m going to be succint, and to the point, and end ALL of this discussion about console vs arcade cab, SRK vs the players, good vs evil, blah blah blah. This post will solve the entire issue…and still manage to be long.
The Real Issue: What is EVO?
If EVO is indeed a convention-like event where the majority of players are coming to have a lot of casual games, meet other players, and hang out, then console is the obvious correct choice. It saves time, money, and provides the opportunity for a lot of casual play, filling in those awkward spaces of “having nothing to do” between tournament matches. Since the numbers attending EVO have grown, and the crowd going to EVO is ever-changing, it appears that this may be the correct assumption.
But, if EVO is indeed the biggest, best, most serious Street Fighter tournament in the United States (and in the case of MvC2, the ENTIRE WORLD), then arcade cabinets are the correct choice. The top-players of ALL Street Fighter games are accustomed to this venue, this style of control as well as these versions of the games. Having an all-arcade tournament caters to these top players…the players that pretty much created the Street Fighter community, popularized it, and turned it into what it is today. The players that were around before the era of multiple thousand-dollar first prizes and thousands of attendees.
So that’s the issue: What is EVO? Has it grown into a convention where thousands of fighting gamers can get together and have fun, and a lot of casual play? Or is EVO the biggest, best, most serious and meaningful tournament EVER?
The PROBLEM is this:
Everyone seems to think to call EVO one thing, you have to sacrifice the other. It CAN’T be a convention and a serious tournament all at the same time…this is the general consensus, it seems.
Why is this?
The Cannons have told us that…NO MATTER WHAT…Evo will be console this year. Because it’s for the best interest of EVO and the players attending.
The Cannons are right. Making EVO console will help it to grow, and give the majority of players something to do instead of standing around during tournament matches.
But let’s say that Justin Wong, undisputed MvC2 champion, loses at EVO this year, for the first time in 4 years.
Well, because EVO is console, you have just negated the accoplishment of whoever beat Justin, and the significance of the loss. Because Justin has always been accustomed to playing, and winning, on arcade cabinets…on that specific style of control and that specific version of the game. You can attempt to emulate it by sticking velcro to his joystick…you can try to slow down the speed of the game by giving him downers and getting him drunk…but the fact of the matter is, no matter WHAT you do, Justin did NOT just lose his MvC2 crown. All he lost was a tournament in a slightly different game, from the one he rules in.
What you’ve done, by going to console, is made several thousand new players happy, but made the few hundred top-players who have stuck with the SF community through thick-and-thin VERY VERY unhappy. Because you’ve just destroyed the legitimacy of ALL of their tournaments, at the event that USED to be the most meaningful tournament of all.
Why do players like Seth, Chris Li, and others come out to SUPPORT console, despite the fact that the legitimacy of tournament play is degenerated? My guess would be that the games they were top-players in…Super Turbo and such…are no longer the top-played games at tournaments anymore. YES there are significant differences in the DC and arcade versions of ST, even MORE SO than MvC2 in some cases…but these guys have played so long that it doesn’t matter. I don’t think anybody is really going to put up a stink if Cole doesn’t win ST at EVO this year, because the game is old. HELL, the SRK staff have been trying to GET RID of ST from the EVO lineup for years now. These OG players support console because, despite the fact that the game they ruled in is now old and losing interest, they want to see thousands of gamers come together and have a good time. If EVO is purely arcade-cabinet, this is not going to happen…all you’re going to have is a mass boredom and a bunch of happy top-players.
But CvS2, MvC2…these games are still HOT. They are the two major games that SF players are coming to EVO to play, the REASON that most top players are coming. To destroy the legitimacy of the tourney play in these games is basically to say that the tournaments at EVO don’t matter, and are only a side-attraction to the convention that EVO has become.
So we have the issue, and the problem. What is the solution?
It’s pretty simple actually.
The Cannons have rented out two rooms at Cal Poly this year. Twice the space, GREAT idea.
One room should be totally for casual play. Unless you’re playing in tournament, on deck to play, or have a vested interest in what’s going on during a match (your teammate is playing, etc.), then you’ll be in the casual play room. This room is strictly bring-your-own-console (and/or stick) to play casual play games, chill out, hang out, have fun and act stupid. Kill time between your tourney matches. Eat a big messy grinder over somebody’s head and spill saunce on their back, whatever. Have a vid feed into this room from the tourney room, so if anywhere before the top 16 or 8 players there is a great match (like Justin vs Soo), EVERYBODY can see the match. This way, there is no RUSH FOR THE TOURNEY ROOM when a top match takes place.
Then there is the tourney-only room. The games are on arcade cabs, for the games that need to be: CvS2, MvC2, ST, 3s. If a game like Tekken is more commonly accepted on PS2 than on arcade, then that version is used; if not, arcade is used. Nobody can complain that matches mean nothing, nobody can complain that it’s a different version of the game than that they’re accustomed to; EVERYBODY is playing the most popular, well-accepted versions of their respective games. ALL serious tournament players are happy.
And, coincidentally, ALL casual-play players are happy.
The one forseeable problem with this perfect solution?
Money, and availability of cabinets.
But guess what?
The SRK staff have dug their own graves with this one. There is nobody to blame but themselves.
In all the efforts to “evolve” the Street Fighter community, to make it larger, more widespread, more accepted, EVO has become huge. There are so many players that qualifying rounds take too long, and there is nothing to do between matches. In the old days of a few hundred players, this was not a problem; but with the possibility of 1000+ players attending EVO, this is a DEFINITE problem that will occur.
But this is the problem that comes with growth.
Do PC game tournaments have one large-scale event, with all qualifiers, finals, and casual play all held at the same time?
HELL NO. They understand the money/time/availability constraints that come into play with tournaments.
But the organizers of EVO have not had the foresight to predict the problems that were inevitable when a tournament grows to the extent that EVO has. And now, EVO is put into the situation where either one side or the other gets screwed…either the majority of casual, normal players get screwed by being bored all weekend with nothing to do, or the top-players get screwed by being forced to make compromises on controls and versions of games they’re not accustomed to. If you were a pro baseball player, and suddently you had to play with a whiffle ball bat, and the rules of the game were SLIGHTLY changed…so much so that you weren’t even sure what the difference was until you were tagged OUT and the game was over…how would you feel?
On the flipside, if you were a ballplayer, but you were only allowed to play one baseball game every 6 months, how would you feel THEN? Both situations suck.
What can be done?
The only thing that us, the common players, can do, is voice to the SRK staff that doing EITHER of these choices in unacceptable. It is absolutely unfair to demand EITHER a totally-console or totally-arcade cabinet tournament, because EVO has grown too large for either of these alternatives.
But rather than just voice our opinions, let’s help out too. It’s easy to just complain all day on the internet and do nothing constructive for the community. Instead of just whining and saying that the current state of EVO is unacceptable, let’s help out for once.
I propose that everyone that reads this, donates $1 to SRK.
This may be next to nothing in the long run, but at least we are ALL at least doing SOMETHING to try to help out SRK, and show that we are willing to help out to make EVO the best tournament EVER. And I think that EVERYONE here…even the poorest of the poor students…can afford ONE DOLLAR.
There’s nothing left to be said. To leave EVO as it is means to screw over a group of players, and that is unacceptable. So let’s all show that we’re willing to help SRK out of this slump of a problem by showing our support.
After all, we’re all gamers here. All we want to see is Street Fighter be as successful as possible, and have the best goddamned “event” that has ever been. So let’s fucking stop talking and DO IT!