Monday, August 1, 2011

The EVO 2011 Impact

In case you missed it this past weekend, the EVO 2011 Championship tourney was underway at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. Thousands of gamers both young and old put their skills to the test as they battled it out over Super Street Fighter 4, Marvel vs Capcom 3, and more.

I have heard a lot about EVO over the years, but never actually sat and observed the games...and man are they are intense. Just watch the clip below to observe one of the most exciting matches of the Marvel vs Capcom 3 tourney:

It is such a unique thing to observe two competitors, dedicated to a single game with hours upon hours of practice, duke it out in front of fans and fellow competitors. There is a certain energy in the crowd that amplifies what gaming is all about.

You have to have a new found respect to those that compete as you watch the matches. These are individuals who have dedicated their lives to a single game, with the sole purpose of becoming better than the guy next to them. Every move is analyzed, every strategy studied and tested, and every scenario evaluated.

Yet it is when they are on stage that the true pressure is felt, even from a spectator's view. You can see each opponent studying each other, trying to figure out patterns. All the while one single slip, one single missed move, or one failed combo can make or break a fight. At certain points, I was on the edge of my seat as one competitor's health bar dwindled and the other was moving in for the finisher.

Despite the tourney's competitive energy there is, whether intentional or unintentional, a certain interpretation of this social gathering. It is much like that of Comic Con or E3, a celebration of a medium we make a part of our lives through competition. When you think about it, it is basically a room full of people cheering on two guys playing a video game. Rather, it seems like a meeting of like-minded individuals, celebrating a game's impact in their lives by showcasing their dedication for the world to see. A winner is crowned in the end, but EVO seems like an experience that even the loser feels good about in the end.

Needless to say there were some exciting battles at EVO 2011, and it showed dedication and skill I had never seen in a simple online match. I am not one who can usually watch some one else play video games, but this was a huge exception. Here is to the competitors on a well fought tourney, that I will be sure to keep my eye on in the years to follow.

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