EVO is the largest fighting game tournament in the world.
Every year thousands of competitors flock to Las Vegas to compete at the highest possible level while thousands more come to watch. Whether you are physically at the event or watching it online via the live stream, it is definitely an amazing experience.
EVO has grown tremendously over the years and is somewhat morphing into a convention. There are tons of things to do and attractions worth seeing. There is the bring-your-own-console-room, which is, as the name implies, a room where anyone can bring their own console and start playing whatever they want. There are tons of panels on Friday and Saturday ranging from in-depth discussions on fighting games to companies like Sony and Capcom showing off their latest games. There is also the indie game showcase, and much more. However it’s the pure competition that always brings the most hype.
Other sites have in-depth reports, stats, and all e-sports stuff you would expect, but I want to boil those moments down to an easy to digest list. So after putting all the amazing EVO 2012 moments through my own mental tournament, here are the top 8 best moments of EVO 2012.
8. The Awesome Viewing Experience
Not necessarily a moment, but the people at iPlayWinner and Team Spooky went above and beyond in providing us with an excellent stream, and deserve a shout out. Without them we wouldn’t have all those moments.
There was so much going on at EVO this year that they created a custom player that let us watch three streams simultaneously so we wouldn’t miss a thing.
It was all free and in good quality, however if you wanted to watch in HD or get access to the stream chat it was a onetime fee of $12.
Don’t turn up your nose at the thought of paying to watch a gaming event, all the proceeds went to a worthwhile cause. Shoryuken has started an annual $10,000 EVO scholarship program to help those looking for an education and career in the games industry or computer science. All the proceeds collected went here.
Also because of the fee, the stream chat was less vile than usual.
Charity, a mostly clean live chat, and an awesome custom player – It was an exciting time to be a stream monster.
7. Floe Playing I Wanna Be The Guy: Gaiden
Kicking things off was a pre EVO show of Floe playing I Wanna Be The Guy: Gaiden. This was probably the most NSFW event at EVO, and winner of most-F-bombs-per-minute.
If you’re not aware, I Wanna Be The Guy: Gaiden is an indie game that is devilishly hard in the most trollish ways.
Floe has been a prominent player in the fighting game community and got the bright idea to stream himself playing, and eventually beating, I Wanna Be The Guy: Gaiden after many days of failures and obscenities. Honestly that sounds like the worst possible means of entertainment but Floe totally sells it.
Months before EVO the organizers contacted Michael “Kayin” O’Reilly, the creator of I Wanna Be The Guy: Gaiden and asked him if he could create a version for Floe to play at EVO. He more than delivered.
It was pretty compelling to watch as Floe played and his emotions turned from shock to disappointment; from confidence to anger and disgust, all while yelling obscenities. Compound that with Kayin toying and taunting Floe with snarky messages in game. I donno, watching Floe struggle to complete ridiculously hard jumping levels and get close to completing the level just to get killed by a giant plane while the crowd cheers and yells FUCK DA HAND! FUCK DA HAND! was one of the most surreal moments EVO 2012 had to offer this year.
6. Injustice: Gods Among Us Demo
Ed Boon stopped by to show-off Injustice: Gods Among Us since there is no better place to get input on fighting games than at EVO.
He mainly focused on gameplay and the interactive elements in the stages, showing examples of the different possibilities each stage has and how each character uses them differently. See the car in the middle of the arena? Batman can explode it from afar with his batarangs. Solomon Grundy, on the other hand, will just grab it and slam it on top of his opponent.
Stages will also have multiple sections with different interactive elements in each one. It’s not an afterthought gimmick either. It looks like it will play a big role in positioning strategies and even provide longer combo possibilities.
Injustice looks like a solid game with some novel level ideas thrown in. The crowd was definitely into it, so it will be interesting to see how it all turns out.
5. Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition 2012 Top 8
Friday night brought more surprises and upsets as the top 8 positions began to fill up for Super Street Fighter 4. Latif, last year’s runner up didn’t even make it to top 32. Dieminion, an awesome Guile player eliminated Fuudo, last year’s champ, and Humanbomb, a Sakura player, made it to top 8 in the winner’s bracket. Ultimately, the amazing matches led to one of the most diverse top eights ever, with eight different characters played by competitors from six different countries, a dramatic difference from last year.
You see, last year Capcom released the Arcade Edition of Super Street Fighter 4. While adding new characters, the balance between the rest of the roster became off sided resulting in a monotonous character presence at EVO last year. This year Capcom released a patch extending the name to Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition 2012 and changing balance and character viability resulting in a much better game.
4. TA Frutsy getting into the Ultimate Marvel Vs Campom 3 top 8
Saturday was Ultimate Marvel Vs Campom 3 day, and after eight hours of players eliminating each other to get the top TA, Frutsy stood out from the rest.
Frutsy, from Mexico City, used an unconventional team of MODOK, Captain America, and Taskmaster. MODOK has been overlooked as a viable character ever since the original Marvel vs Capcom 3. Coming almost out of nowhere and using a home crafted arcade stick, Frutsy blew everyone away.
His matches were awesome to watch as he made use of MODOK to shut down other players while the crowd cheered him on. Whenever he did well or won, the crowd would erupt in infectious chants for Mexico and howling cheers, shaking the entire room. It sounded like a football match in there (real foot ball not American rugby).
Frutsy made it to finals but he lost to Combofiend, which is nothing to be ashamed of considering this was Frutsy’s first EVO. He may not have won the UMVC3 championship, but he more than made an impact on everyone that weekend.
3. Super Turbo Tournament of Legends
Topping off all the hype of the semifinals from Saturday night was the Super Turbo Tournament of Legends. Massive respect was given to this event and the highest level of talent was on display and consisting primarily of people who have been passionately playing for over eighteen years.
Not content with emulators or console conversions, Street Fighter Super Turbo was played on authentic Japanese arcade board. This set up was tricky to stream properly, but nothing but the best would do for the Super Turbo Tournament of Legends.
The matches were incredibly faced paced. The players, the crowd, and the commentators were all into it. I haven’t played this game in years, but seeing the game and hearing the music brought back a lot of nostalgic memories. Watching the competitors play Super Turbo at a level I couldn’t even imagine with the roars of the crowd during every match made ST tournament of Legends one of the hypest moments of EVO 2012.
2. King of Fighters 13 grand finals
While the other games’ grand finals were all well and good, King of Fighters 13’s was definitely the highlight of the show.
Grand finals came down to IGL|Bala and CafeID|MadKOF.
Bala, from Mexico, has been dominating King of Fighters 13 since its launch, wining every major tournament up until EVO. He is an amazing player who has an ability to get in his opponent’s head and shut them down with strong mix-ups. He went undefeated until the grand finals and was in a prime position to take the EVO 2012 KOF 13 championship.
CafeID, a small tight knit group from Korea banded together and practiced amongst themselves. They saved money and made it out to their first EVO and completely dominated. Their group made up half of top 8. After beating everyone, they eventually had to fight themselves to get to the top, resulting in their leader MadKOF going against Bala in the grand finals.
The excitement from the room blared through my screen and speakers. Bala had all of Mexico backing him up and MadKOF had all of Korea. Bala was in the winner’s bracket and would only have to win one set to take the tournament. MadKOF was in the losers’ bracket and would have to win two sets, one to reset the bracket and another to take the championship.
The matches were incredibly tense. Fights were close and often came down to the last character. Bala started out strong, but MadKOF wised up and started to dominate, eventually resetting the bracket and putting the pressure on Bala.
In the next set MadKOF seemed to have Bala figured out, beating him 2-0 and needing one more game for the win. In a close match, Bala scraped out a win with the score becoming 2-1 and gearing up for a comeback. That comeback never happened and he choked in the next match. MadKOF had won the first ever King of Fighters 13 EVO championship.
The King of Fighters 13 grand finals encapsulate everything I love about EVO. It brings people from all over the world and gives them the stage. No qualifiers, it doesn’t matter how much publicity and exposure you have, you just show up and prove yourself. That is exactly what CafeID and their leader MadKOF did and took the King of Fighters 13 championship, giving us the second hypest moment of EVO 2012.
What could be number one?
1. Horse Head Guy!
– Sullivan O. Bradley
Pictures courtesy of Karaface