You’ve probably seen the video online. Chun-Li is up big on Ken. He’s hanging on by a sliver of life. She loads up super to take him out. Even if he blocks, he’ll take enough damage to get knocked out. So, he doesn’t block, and he doesn’t get hit. He parries the entire super move, jumping to parry the last hit, and comes back with his own super move to win the round. The room explodes with cheers.
That’s Evo (short for Evolution Championship Series). The world’s premiere fighting game tournament. It is still going on all these years later, and has only grown since then.
I’m not a big e-sports fan, but I make an exception for Evo. It’s always worth watching some of it, if only for moments like those that I described above. And there are moments like that every day of the broadcast.
A few things set Evo apart from other e-sports events. First is the fact that it’s an open tournament. Anyone can pay the registration fee and compete. You could join up next year and end up facing the reigning champion. Another big thing is that fighting games are a head-to-head genre. Every match is one person against another, just the two of them, and the most skilled player is going to win. There is no relying on a team or hoping to poach points. It’s just a direct competition.
I’m also a huge fan of the diversity of competitors. To get into fighting games, you didn’t need a powerful computer and fast internet connection. You needed a few quarters and an arcade machine in your neighborhood. This has caused the competitors to come from all different kinds of walks of life. There’s a chance that you’ll see someone on stage that reminds you of you, which isn’t true of all e-sports.
There are always number of games being played. You might want to check out some of them to get primed for watching, or pick them up if you see something that you love.
The headliner this year is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch. It’s the latest in Nintendo’s long-running crossover fighter. In this game, you control a character and try to knock your opponent off the edge of the stage. It isn’t a typical fighting game, but it is a ton of fun both to watch and play. Make sure you pick up the Fighters Passto get all of the characters.
If you’re more into classic fighting games, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition is where you might want to start looking. It’s the game you played in the arcades as a kid, with modern graphics and mechanics. You’ll see some of your favorite characters here, along with some great new ones. If you’re new to fighting games, this is a great jumping on point.
If you like a bit more violence in your games, Mortal Kombat 11 may be the game for you. It has all of the fatalities you may remember, and super fast action. It’s worth checking out.
For the 3D game fans, both Soul Calibur VI and Tekken 7 will be played. I’ve always been more of a Soul Calibur fan, but I know there are a ton of Tekken players out there. These games feature 3D movement and a completely different pace of play than the above-mentioned games, and they are both beautiful to look at. For a visual feast, these are the games you’ll want to check out.
What if you aren’t into fighting games, but love anime? Evo has you covered. The big game is DragonBall FighterZ. It’s like watching the show be played live. If you were a fan of this show growing up, the game may make you feel major nostalgia, and may make you want to take up fighting games. There’s also BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, which combines characters from BlazBlue, Persona, Under Night In-Birth, and RWBY. The diverse cast here may appeal to you. Under Night In-Birth also has its own appearance standing alone in Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[St].
Finally, Samurai Showdown is back. The classic series return for the first time in years, and will be appearing at Evo.
That’s a lot of games, and there are over 9,000 entrants registered this year, so it should be an exciting time. If you’ve never watch Evo before, give it a chance this upcoming weekend. Maybe it’ll make you fall in love with fighting game, and you can head to Las Vegas next summer to compete.