Gamer Roulette: What is EVO?
From Kanto to Hyrule, Mobius to Santa Destroy, Planet Reach to Little Big Planet, Cinema Student, Screenwriter, and all around gamer, Eric Parra is a bad enough dude to bring you your weekly fix on relative gaming. Whether it’s reviews, previews, or FAQ’s, matters that are professional or just personal, make sure you check Neon Tommy every week for all sorts of interesting tidbits in the world of video games. And remember, it’s dangerous to go alone.
Evolution. Stepping up to the next level. Progressing farther than you ever had before. Overcoming what was once in your way. Growing into something more, something that you never thought possible before.
But in order to evolve, you need that driving force to push you. For the fighting game community, nothing pushes harder than EVO.
The Evolution tournament, more prominently known as EVO, is an annual proving ground held in Las Vegas (Caesar’s Palace specifically) that brings some of the world’s greatest gamers into one room.
Essentially, people enter into brackets, and the best of the best make it to the finals for all to watch. Many a professional player come to try their hand at all of the current main stream competitive fighting games: Super Street Fighter 4 AE, King of Fighter’s XIII, Mortal Kombat 9, Soul Calibur 5, and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, along with side tournaments ranging from Tekken to Skullgirls or even old school Street Fighter 2.
Chances are that you recognize at least one of those titles, but the people who open the doors after months of anticipation live for them. These true gamers breathe in the combos, they eat whiffs, they scream at supers, and shout for ultras.
This year at EVO, thousands of people from over forty countries stood and cheered together for the craziest things. They yelled when a pirate took up arms and narrowly missed shooting an insane, scantily clad girl wielding a giant razor hula hoop. They cheered when a man burst into flames that could match the power of the sun. They roared when a flying human face (dressed as Elvis Presley) destroyed two men with a flying tackle.
But there is more to EVO than just watching top players play. There’s sponsored booths, people dressed up as game characters, and places where you can get modifications and customized pieces for your arcade sticks. You can buy art prints, t-shirts, games and collectibles, you can enter side-tournaments and go to panels for exclusive information. Sony even stopped by and revealed some new information and a playable demo for “Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale.” The people behind the new fighter “Injustice: Gods Among Us” also showed up with a quick introduction video and gameplay footage.
As for the main event, the tournament scene, anyone is allowed to enter, so all sorts of newcomers are spread among the well-seasoned, all competing for bragging rights. That and, like, a hundred grand. And with so many contestants, it becomes increasingly harder to predict who the top 8 in each bracket will be.
“Get Hype” has become something of a slogan for EVO, and a well-deserved one with the amount of enthusiasm that pours out of the crowd. Most sport matches can’t reach the amount of pumped up energy that EVO attendee’s provide. Maybe it's because they gather only once a year, or maybe because there are more upsets at a rapid pace. But when that one moment happens, when that one fighter lands the perfect reversal, when the underdog comes out of nowhere and destroys the beast, you’ll know the sound of thousands of fans simultaneously jumping to their feet and screaming like their life depended on it. And it is something else.
For some, it can be hard to believe that there exists a place where people crowd together to see two virtual characters engage in combat. For others, it’s hard to believe that there could be that much enthusiasm to compare to anything. But for those who have been there and witnessed EVO first hand, they believe.
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