Warning: Wall of text…but it’s been years since I posted here…so let’s just say I’m catching up.
Having been through this era through the prime of my playing days, coupled with the fact that I’ve been digging up some archived stuff in the basement, I’m a bit nostalgic and feel the need to set everything straight. Note that I can only convey on stuff that I experienced, but I feel that I did play an important role.
Capcom v SNK 2 was pretty big for a variety of reasons. Some notes:
It was off the heels of CvS1, although terribly flawed, was a lot of fun and brought a lot of communities together. I know in the past, there was the Midwest Championships where Michigan would usually represent by bringing maybe around 10 people…at least from the Wizzards crew (you’ll see me mention that place a lot). This is not counting Michiganders who traveled on their own. CvS1 brought players who ordinarily didn’t travel to compete. Michigan brought maybe 25 - 30 players from Michigan alone that year. CvS2 brought even larger turnouts, and was a part of the first Evolution 2002 tournament. I attended that, and might return when it hits its 20th Anniversary.
I’m not sure about the status of Alpha 3… TOSF had a following (Toronto Street Fighter), and if someone ran a tournament on it, people would play it, but it was by far second fiddle at this point. CvS2 was released in 2001 and tournaments beforehand was dominated by Tekken Tag Tornament and MvC2. This is the time frame where players were witnessing the ascension of Justin Wong. Tekken Tag’s prime was winding down, and most were looking forward to Tekken 4, only to be more divided on how the game turned out upon release. This in my opinion brought even more people to CvS2 and dwindled the popularity of Tekken until Tekken 5 was released.
While I’m on the subject, you’ll notice that I didn’t mention much of SF3: 3rd Strike. I know people have this high ilk of the game, and I like it too. However, truth be told, it never gained steam until maybe a year before Evo Moment 37. Keep in mind, that’s 5 years after its arcade release in 1999. It had some very great dedicated followers from areas like Family Fun Arcade, TOSF, and the Nebraska players but it never was a “main” tournament…or a tournament worthy to travel for. Once Capcom stopped making fighting games for a time is when I believe it started to gain some steam. From what I’ve seen:
1999 = Tekken Tag, Marvel vs Capcom 1 were the heavies, followed by Alpha 3. Tekken was also backed by an official tournament sponsored by Namco: https://web.archive.org/web/20000229130016/http://www.tekkentagtournament.com/tourney/frame.html
2000 = More TTT, Marvel v Capcom 1 which died down by March, MvC2, CvS1
2001 = CvS2. MvC2, TTT, Tekken 4 had a decent following in places like ATL.
2002 = CvS2, MvC2, TTT (via PS2) This was around the time where fighting games weren’t being released at a pace compared to 1996-99.
2003 = CvS2, MvC2, 3rd Strike’s ascension
Back to CvS2, it wasn’t all cotton candy and puppy dogs. For as hype as people got for the game, people were immediately calling A-Groove “broken” after seeing paint the fence combos and A-Groove guard breaks. It really got controversial when Roll Cancelling was introduced; to the point where tournament organizers had to decide on whether to ban the technique and some tournaments did. Having run some tournaments myself, we allowed Roll Cancelling. Wizzards Arcade had an early build of the arcade game, so we had access weeks before anyone else did and well before the Dreamcast. Roll cancelling existed on that build. People were not keen on Sagat or Blanka in general, and CvS2 kinda evolved into a slower, more defensive based game (barring exceptions). People learned to deal with it but truth be told, it did hurt its popularity a bit. It didn’t help that the game is horrendously long to play during a tournament, which was always a bane in the CvS series.
That being said, I don’t think an upgrade or a “patch” was necessary. Capcom had this unusual reputation of putting out upgrades, 238723 years too late, when a game was well past its prime and people accepted the game for what it was. CvS1 Pro, SFA3 Upper, etc.
SRK introduced the Apex system to help with the surge of tournaments tying in to Evo 2002, which CvS2 was a major part of.
Also to note, people were traveling to these tournaments in years past, but now with the internet a lot more relevant than it was vs the early to mid 90s, you had a lot of people traveling who ordinarily wouldn’t, and turnouts started to increase substantially. The “Godfathers” of that age were hands down CvS2, Marvel 2, and Tekken Tag Tournament. You might say CvS1 piggy backed as well, because remember…we didn’t have crazy things like Mugen, Geese Howard/FF characters on Tekken, etc. Outside of Marvel vs Capcom, Godhand from Ehrgeiz, and random cameos (Akuma in COTA), you didn’t have outside promotions in a single game much less from a direct competitor. CvS1 was among the first of its kind on a major, major level.
They can correct me on this if they ever got around to reading it, but I want to say that John Choi’s first encounter with Ricky Ortiz at CvS2 was at a tournament that I ran. SRK might even have remnants of the thread known as the $500 Tournament. That doesn’t sound like much now, but pot bonuses were NOT the norm back in 2001-2002. Yes, more money is always a good thing, but being known as the best was something that a player had a lot of pride on. This caused a lot of internal competition which made everyone better as a result. Our first tournament in CvS2 in 2001 lasted until about 4AM. Those were good times
But yeah, there’s more to it, but I’d say overall, CvS2 was a big deal.