EVO 2009: The 1st Step

Ryu the next star of ESPN?

Ryu the next star of ESPN?

My generation, I speak to you.  Remember the days when you were able to visit your neighborhood 7-11 and spend hours there playing your favorite arcade fighting game?  Street Fighter 2, right?  Put your quarter up and wait your turn.  Back then, a 3-hit combo was beastly, and if you could consistently execute a combo during match play, it meant you were amongst the upper echelon in 2D fighting.  What if I were to tell you that those days still exist?  What if, not only do they exist, but they do so in a much larger scale?  What if the format is grand, like Vegas grand?  Would part of you be eager to recapture your youth and rejoin the ranks of the gaming community?  Well I do, who wants to follow me down the rabbit-hole?

Evolution 2009 (EVO) has come to an end.  If you have never heard of it, step your geek game up.  A brief description, it is the largest tournament held in the US consisting of most popular 2D & 3D fighting games, attracting the likes of the greatest players from across the world, including power-house Japanese superstar Daigo “The Beast” Umehara. Started in 2004, EVO has improved the overall presentation of the event each year, leading to a larger fan base and a faithful following.  In the past couple of years, including this one, it’s grown popular enough to be hosted in Las Vegas, only this time, the sponsors provided a website that streams live videos of actual matches, and color commentary given by known gamers to enhance the tension of the match for viewers at home.  Gaming has become a sport.  I am vouching for competitive gaming to reach network television, and to do so ASAP.  ESPN already broadcasts billiards, bowling and poker matches, so why not gaming?  Why not some Street Fighter to accompany Madden Nation?  The popularity of Capcom (develops Street Fighter) fighters is growing by the minute, and Street Fighter 4 is the crowning jewel for them at the moment.  The excitement over Street Fighter 4 has been immense.  Casual fans are now becoming hardcore gamers who are even aware of the big names such as America’s top dog, Justin Wong.  Thanks to youtube and other internet outlets (www.shoryuken.com), people are able to view match videos, and read comments from experienced fighters in regards to spacing, footsies, and other strategies, including massive combos.  It’s not difficult to get involved now, and I recommend you do.  It rivals a chess match but on acid, as it requires quick reflexes and wit.  It challenges the physical as well the mental.

Prior to EVO 2009, Game Stop launched a nation wide SF4 tourney that concluded at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center.  Judging by the turn out, it’s safe to assume that fighting game fans have evolved, they now consist of every type of person, including women.  They no longer follow the stereotypical nerd with thick glasses and a horrible voice that squeals mold.  These kids are considered relatively cool now … relatively.  Hey, it’s a start.  2D/3D fighters, shooters, and professional gaming in general are rapidly becoming the next big hobby.  It won’t be long before it changes from fun and games, to fun, games and lots of scrilla.  One step at a time, but thanks to big events like EVO, we’re taking large strides.


Daigo (right) has been a legend in 2D fighters, but only the nerds know who he is ... will that change?

Daigo (right) has been a legend in 2D fighters, but only the nerds know who he is ... will that change?


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