This post comes quite a bit after the fact, but I had to mull things over abit in my mind on my impressions on Evo this year. First and foremost I am an old school arcade rat I grew up in them, and always had an interest in fighting games. I started with street fighter, worked my way to two and a slew of SNK games were I arguably lost my soul to SNK. Midway and Mortal Kombat came along and then with Mortal Kombat came a plethora of garbage fighters as everyone had to throw their two cents in to the fighting game circuit. Now I saw the rise and collapse of the fighting genre, for which I had mixed feelings for but I didn’t’ worry as at the time I had third strike, marvel 2, CVS2 ect. And most importantly my friend s, this circle of players that I had played with damn near since the beginning had began to drift apart however, as life took hold and they had to find their own ways. Some got married, others went into the military, and still others never made it to twenty five.
I was the best, the hungriest, but I was alone now, and if you are the last of something and the best at it how good are you really? You could be the greatest basketball player but if no one else plays are you really the best of anything at all? As time marched on my skills all but faded to a faint glimmer of what they once had been and though I kept everything from my collection and played here and there I am now nowhere near as good as I had been. 2012 rolled around and I heard of SRK from another site known as the Fighters Gen and I began to reach out again.
I showed up extremely late to the party, I am now aware of others in the community, or that there is a community at all. When I played, all media was written form and when everything began to shut down in my group the internet was in its infancy still. So I began to watch videos, and to remember everything. To see other players around the country and further still the world and what and who it has to offer was amazing to me. I heard about Evo and I immediately booked my ticket as soon as they went on sale. I arrived at Evo after driving all day and night not knowing what to expect. With the thought in my head that if this isn’t what I want then I am going to walk away completely. On the first day I was pressed up against a door with other people waiting to be let in and I met a man from New York there who I got to know was in the same boat and dilemma that I was. He too was finished and played the old games, he heard about Evo and wanted to see what it was all about with the same idea that if it isn’t what I want then I am done. Needless to say me and him both did alright in our games having not played any of them before but having entered everything we could. We talked and met up with each other throughout day one and two and tremendously enjoyed day two with all the old game side tourneys and the street fighter two tourney that night. At the end of day two in preparation for the final day the staff asked for volunteers we both walked up to the stage to offer whatever services we could to the TO and staff and we proceeded to help get everything ready for the next day. I talked to one of the women who were helping and I asked her if she was alright as she was visibly in pain hobbling around trying to help. She grimaced and said that her feet were killing her before she finally sat down to rub her feet. Little did I know at the time that she was the camera girl that had been on stage all day for every tournament moment, she was there on her feet putting in work and here she was at four in the morning trying to clean up when most everyone else had cleared out, this was clearly not her work to be done as there were no photo ops or pro players to be had, just me my acquaintance and a hand full of others. And yet through pain she was helping. After everything was finished I went to the bar, drank a beer, read a book, and thought about my experience thus far and the people whom I had met. I then talked to one of the street fighter two players, who in fact was the one who had been in the final, though I can’t remember if he had won it or not but we talked for abit. And I waited for day three. On the day of the finals the room buzzed with anticipation, people began to file in and in no time the place was packed. I shared seats with 10 different people that day some new, having started with AE, some specializing in third strike, and still others who had played samurai spirits II competitively. In each case when a new game came up and someone was crowned champion the crowd was full of power and energy, everyone knew what was going on and if they didn’t someone was there to talk to them about what they knew and share this knowledge be it marvel, soul caliber, or KOF. Every match was amazing and made you feel like you were on the edge of your seat waiting to see who would land the deathblow and who would be the next world champ. Now I don’t know east coast, west coast, or a Justin Wong, or a Mike Ross, but I saw these people play and I saw talent and hunger and time and dedication spent on these games and I can enjoy them for what they are, talented players giving it their all. Some of the people only cheered for whoever was east coast or black or white or whatever I don’t agree with this but it gets them involved so if that’s what they need then so be it. In Marvel I saw Pilipino Champ win by the narrowest of margins and become overcome with emotions. While some people booed, and he said he loves the negativity, and that the game is whatever, just a game. You don’t become overwhelmed emotionally for something you hate or for something that doesn’t matter to you. He did because he generally loves the game the same with any of the “pro” players, it matters it all matters. After AE everyone began filing out I made my way over to Mr. Wizard and I thanked him for everything that he had done for this great experience, it literally saved me from abandoning something that I would have regretted cutting out of my life, and I became passionate about fighting games again, every game I played there I added to my collection which I now play regularly again. Spooky was the next person that I thanked and told how much his work means to me I shook his hand and donated to his team because without him I would not have seen any tournament videos and would not have nurtured my competitive spark back into a fire which would lead me to going to Evo. Evo changed my life it was one of the best experiences and while I met many good and bad people the experience was incredible and truly helped me retain focus to these games and this community. I can only speculate about my acquaintance from New York and his reaction but I am pretty confident that he also got the passion back for the thing that he loved.