So the Evo 2009 Championship Series has come and gone and all that I or anyone can say is “WOW”. Being my first Evo, I didn’t know what to expect. Little did I know it would provide an experience greater than anything I could have imagined.
Everything there was simply intense from competing in the tournament, to watching the matches, even those in games that were not Street Fighter IV (HD Remix, for example).
If the tournament and the matches were the all that one experienced at Evo it would be a complete experience, but that’s not where it ended for me. The social aspect of Evo is what really made the experience a special one for me. There were so many new relationships formed, as well as the rekindling of already established ones.
Mix all of that in the boiling cauldron that was Las Vegas that weekend (it was 110° when I arrived at the airport) and you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Except that this experience is one that can reoccur every year.
Street Fighter IV Tournament
Of course I couldn’t write a blog detailing Street Fighter IV knowledge and not compete at Evo. To prepare myself, I’ve been going to smaller tournaments in the NYC area to get myself comfortable with competing in tournaments.
I need this because I get really bad tournament jitters. Fortunately, while playing in the tournament at Evo (even though I was in what I like to call the “black bracket of death” or “pool of death”) I was quite comfortable. I’m grateful for this because now I hope to feel more comfortable with tournaments I go to in the future.
I also struggled to set reasonable expectations before the tournament. If one hasn’t been to an Evo before, what possible frame of reference do they have when it comes to setting expectations? As a result, I decided to play it safe and be ok with the idea of going two-and-out (0-2). If I set my expectations any higher, I ran the risk of ruining the rest of my weekend because I failed to meet my expectations.
In retrospect, I could have had a better way of thinking. What I really should have done is to put everything I can into every match and let the rest work itself out.
Fortunately, I was relatively calm (much more than I was in previous tournaments) and at any time able to focus only on the next match. And as a result, ended up going 3-2 in pool four, the results of which are posted here:
Once all of that tournament nonsense was done, I was able to focus on the social aspect which of course results in the shout-outs:
Kineda – Little did I know that ordering a shirt from you for Evo would result in not only a ton of recognition for me, but the start of a great friendship.
I couldn’t begin to describe the amount of attention that the shirt brought me. People from my non-Street Fighter life even took notice of it, as well as a number of people that follow me on Twitter. Hopefully, I pimped it enough to make up for the amount of attention I got because of it!
Beyond that, from the initial meet-and-greet we put together the night before the tournament to the casuals that we had after we were eliminated from the tournament, to you using my crappy-ass laptop late into the evening the night before my flight and everything in between, thank you, I’m definitely looking forward to hanging out again.
Damdai - You are part of the reason that my voice is so hoarse, cheering for you in the HDR finals against Alex Valle, you also achieved your goal of getting out of qualifiers for Street Fighter IV. You play a big part in fueling my passion for Street Fighter IV today, I never thought that it would be what it is today when we were playing Street Fighter II in Vinny’s almost two decades ago. I'm very proud of you, and am thankful that we’ve reconnected after all this time.
Grancalc – I’m very glad that gootecks introduced us back in April and that we reconnected at Evo. I'm also incredibly impressed in your run in the Street Fighter IV tournament, which put you on the main stage twice! It was great to chill with you again, and I’m glad it turns out we have some mutual interests which we can work together on.
Seb – I hadn’t heard from you in a while, and I was quite surprised to see you at Evo (even though I shouldn’t have been). I’m hoping that some of the connections that you made at Evo help further your projects, and I’m hoping we can help each other in the very near future.
Gootecks – As always, good to see you again.
Andre – VEGAS BABY!!!! Seriously, if Las Vegas was the candy store, you were the kid in it. It was great to see you experience Vegas for the first time, but beyond that, you put on an amazing show against Mike Watson with your Bison to finally prove what everyone else but the East Coast just didn’t know; that you are the best Dictator in the country. I’m looking forward to further adventures in NYC.
Nana and Riley - it's good to see Riley become a new convert after watching the weekends events. You two were incredibly fun to hang out with, and gave me a new perspective of what happens after one more drink.
Sweet Johnny Cage – Meeting you, Mary, and Carlos was a lot of fun, and I gained some valuable information for my future endeavors which I have you to thank for.
Joe “iloveyou” Ciaramelli - “George Washington is a$$ compared to Bruce Lee”. One of the funniest things I heard during Evo. Thank you for the discussion about Sagat, as well as showing me the value of the fake kick while you were playing on the main stage (it’s something I haven’t integrated into my game yet).
David Spooky – Glad to have met you at dinner, as well as play some casuals with you as well. Don’t let what I was pointing out to you during casuals get you down, it is meant to help you level up your game.
Citiofbrass - While I appreciate those that are passionate about the game, you have an additional passion which I share when it comes to the Street Fighter IV community. I definitely look forward to talking more about community concepts back in NYC.
Marcus – I can’t believe it took you two hours before you mentioned that you developed the Cthulhu dual-mod board!
LecanardZero - Thank you for showing me just how hungry the Northwest is, and we will definitely reconnect when I'm up in Seattle next.
Dogface – Even though there were a few times that I ran into which were inopportune you had a smile on your face each and every time. It's great to see someone so genuinely nice, happy, and passionate about this community. I just wish I signed up for your X-Men vs. Street Fighter tournament.
Tatsujinken - You sent me to losers with one of the most knowledgeable, technical, proficient Claw play I've ever seen, an observation justified by the fact that you made it out of our pool as a winner. On top of that, you let me know that it wasn't free mode an then you were gracious enough to talk to me about the matchup later which basically leveled up my game against Claw. I look forward to some more conversations about the game in the future.
koome- You were my first match in the tournament, as well as my fourth match. Even though I won both of them, you came at me hard in both matches, and I can say with confidence that they were the hardest matches in the bracket (especially the second one, you were hungry to get back at me, and really kept me on my game). Thank you for the great competition.
ll.nd- Thanks for giving me the crash course in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, I definitely put it to good use when I was playing at San Diego Comic Con.
John Choi - You were really cool when I introduced myself to you and I remembered what you told me when I said I expected to go 0-2, you said I’d do just fine; you know what, I did. Thank you.
Seth Killian - Meeting you was great and the enthusiasm you expressed behind my idea for the community was encouraging, I appreciate the support and re-presenting my idea in the very near future.
This is just a short list of the people that I met. There were so many more, more than I could possibly mention. To all of those that I have and have not mentioned, thank you to contributing to what is to me an amazing experience.