I went to EVO at the beginning of this month, to compete in Tekken 7!
If you don't know, EVO is the biggest tournament for fighting games. It's considered the World Championships in a sense (some games have their own separate world championships too), but you don't have to qualify. It's all-comers. And thousands and thousands of players and fans come from all around the world to hang out and compete and celebrate their love of fighting games for a long weekend.
From a competitive perspective, my final record was 2-2; it's double elimination. And my first match was broadcast live on stream! Here's my match: https://youtu.be/wAe2G7Rs_2E
I was kind of nervous to play on stream, so my play was a bit off. I pulled it out, though! My opponent was, uh, not prepared for competitive Tekken. But hey, anybody can step up at these tournaments! And I *really* just didn't want to go out 0-2; 2-2 was about as well as I had hoped to do. The other player I beat was fairly competent (but he played a character I'm quite familiar with, and y'know, I'm an OK player!), and the two guys I lost to were quite strong. I still gave them somewhat good matches. Didn't get stomped by anybody. So, good times!
I hung out with lots of fighting game community friends, some from work, and some from the NorCal Tekken community, and some that I've met in other places, like Seattle. And my Tekken mentor from Bloomington was there, always good to see Josh!
Some links to photos I took:
It’s a really cool experience. It’s super beautiful to dedicate a long weekend to a thing you love, and if you love fighting games and competition and the whole culture around the FGC, this is that.
It's in Las Vegas, which perhaps isn't a place that I would go to normally, but I think this event makes it worth it! I don't drink much, I don't enjoy gambling, and I don't get that excited about spectacle. Also food and water and coffee were not optimal for me -- I had to carry a water bottle with me and refill it from bathroom faucets, and I kept going to the hotel Starbucks to stay appropriately caffeinated.
EVO is rad, though. Your favorite FGC personalities and top players are just wandering around. You can say hi, they’re nice. Actually pretty much everybody is nice – everybody's here together, and you can usually just strike up a conversation with somebody who looks like they’re here for EVO. Most players seemed to wear their tournament badges in the hotel, to mark themselves as part of the tribe.
In addition to the competitive matches, it's a great opportunity to play with people that you wouldn't normally run into -- there's some etiquette around this. You go up to a station and you say "hey, lemme get next". And then you're in line, and you can play until you lose! That's it. But it's important that people know this etiquette. I played just about a zillion fun sets with Tekken players from all over the world.
Also I tried out new games that haven't released yet! This is a great opportunity for that.
SUNDAY FINALS ARE SO WILD. They’re held in this giant arena, inside the Mandalay Bay event space like the rest of the tournament. It’s like the size of a college basketball arena, at least. It is *so loud* in there. The sound system just hits you in the chest with the bass, well before you’re in the actual stands. Note that you can’t bring a backpack into the arena. Same issues with water and buying drinks apply in the arena. It was so hype, though. One of my favorite players (Qudans from Korea) almost won it, and Lil Majin, a Real American Hero (tm), got 3rd, which was amazing. It was absurdly hype, watching him play. I only stuck for the Tekken finals, but I was super glad I went. (Majin's EVO highlight reel
-- probably worth watching to understand the excitement. Look at this man. Look at his *beard*. Look at his *smile*.)
So... overall... EVO is pretty great! I'd be happy to go back for future ones. Glad I took the time to do this :D