~Written by Bowser Lover, Toro Adeyemi~
It’s one thing to watch two of your friends play a fighting video game and poke fun at whoever gets schooled...or kills themselves accidentally, of course. It’s a TOTALLY different thing to watch two really, REALLY, good players go at it for a championship title…in a room full of thousands of other people just as into the game as you are. Try to imagine the volume of the cheers by fans witnessing the precise technical skills used to complete a move, and the emphatic groaning when someone royally screws up. In the gaming community, we call this “HYPE,” and there was a truckload of it at Evolution Championship Series (EVO) 2015.
But first -- I was introduced to Super Smash Brothers Melee (SSBM) at Carnegie Mellon University. I knew the game existed, but I had never seen it played so seriously before. I would often hear the “click click clickity-click” of furious controllers as I walked down the hallway to my fifth floor Fairfax apartment. Turning the corner, neighbouring doors stood open with students concentrating so hard on a screen, you’d think they were doing homework. This trend continued along to the next set of apartment doors, which were full of math, CS, and engineering majors, all “Smashing” away, their rooms surrounding my own.
We all soon became friends and I’d watch occasionally, laughing at the insults being thrown around and observing the different styles of the various characters one could choose from: Marth is a good starting character for a n00b because his giant sword is suited for learning the basics of spacing and movement, while Fox lets players with advanced tech skills do flashy combos and complex mind games, as examples. Winner keeps their controller, loser hops off so the next in line can try their luck.
I never really played SSBM – everyone knows N64 is my system of choice and that Mario Kart is where I slay (ls: one night, I beat about 6 guys in my apartment... repeatedly). In hindsight, I wish I played more now that I’ve seen how big the Smash community really is.
There are dedicated fans and players all over the country and around the world. Don’t believe me? There was a donation drive for a final slot to EVO 2013 where the Smash Melee community beat out 16 other teams by raising $94,683 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (out of approx $225K!), as well as the creation of a great lore, the Smash Brother’s Documentary, which has over 800K views on YouTube. The fandom is certainly solid.
Fast forward to July 17th, 2015 in Las Vegas for the Evolution Championship Series, the largest fighting game event in the world, where gamers can compete or just BYOC (Bring Your Own Controller) for friendlies. 12,000 attendees, 7,000 unique competitors. Besides SSBM, the lineup included Ultra Street Fighter IV, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat X, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, and Tekken 7. Getting there early to grab seats close to the front, I watched Guilty Gear and Mortal Kombat (all very hype) before SSBM was up. Soon enough...
IT’S TIME. TO. SMASH!!!
The four “Smash Gods” present at EVO were all in the top 8: Armada, Hungrybox, and PPMD finished in the top 3, while Mango (a legend and my favorite player – ^do you see that Fox tattoo??) came in 5th after an EPIC upset – You could feel the electricity EVERYWHERE. Each year, EVO grows, and I'll definitely be making my way back out to the Las Vegas dessert for this tournament again.
Whether it’s competitive gaming, fashion, fitness, or comic books, I recommend taking the time to go to a convention and be surrounded by a TON of people who have similar interests to you. You’re bound to be introduced to something you haven’t seen before, make friends, and have fun!
Happy to announce upcoming work with Third Space on their production of
by Marius von Mayenburg
Running August 26 - September 5 at The Brick.
Pubescent siblings, Kurt and Olga, navigate the violence and betrayal of growing up — and find the cruelty, humiliation, exhilaration of destroying their claustrophobic childhood.
7/21 Press Release on BroadwayWorld.com
Follow Third Space and Toro Communications on Facebook for updates!
Happy Holidays, Friends!
Wishing you and your family happiness, quality time, and laughter this holiday season!
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