As Evo continues this weekend, the uninitiated might be curious what the concept of “hype” is all about. It’s a colloquial term used in the fighting game community to refer to an intense situation in which a split second anything can change anything. The excitement fills the room as mere nerds and hobbyists are rendered gods via the expertise and reflexes they have crafted over time.
Where some want the more austere E-sports approach of a quiet and professional environment, this is truly something to be experienced for its own merits due the level of pure excitement that one would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Fighting videogames are very much a spectator sport, one in which electricity metaphorically suffuses the whole room, the crowd fuels on the players and the players fuel the crowd in a self-sustaining cycle of excitement and joy. I don’t think there are many things more beautiful than the simple joy of watching so many people who love what they do.
These videos after the break serve a dual purpose – they are the summation of hype within the fighting game community over the last several years leading into this weekend’s Evolution 2012 event (with apologies to the King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat, and Soul Calibur communities). And, If you are unfamiliar with the community and you are watching Evo, this might be seen as a sort of primer to introduce you to all the wonder of hype and the fighting game community. As a warning some of these videos have a bit of language, but I hope you can enjoy them all the same.
I don’t profess to be an expert at Super Smash Bros. as my personal poison has always been more in line with Capcom’s fare, but I have to respect Melee as a game. It has good mechanics, good balance, and it possesses one of the first of several fighting game tournament moments that went memetic.That moment is known as “Wombo Combo.”
8 Year Old Makes Top 48 at Evo
One of the most controversial rising stars of the fighting game community since last year’s Evo tournament has been eight year old Noah Solis or “Noah the prodigy” as he has come to be called. Noah made a splash at Evo last year making it to top 48 before being defeated by veteran player Chris G. Using his youthful reflexes Noah has done pretty well, even going so far as defeating Combofiend at the Fight for Youth tournament several months ago. Unfortunately, some see Noah as being a negative reflection towards the stereotype that anyone can jump on a fighting game button mash and win. This is hardly the case, as those who play Noah (even veterans) will quickly find themselves overwhelmed under the strength of his Hulk’s fists.
Morrigan Suddenly Becomes a Viable Character in a Fighting Game (For Once)
Since Marvel vs. Capcom 3 came out Chris G has been a dominant force on the east coast. Over the span of that game and then Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 he went through several teams before finally coming to what he has been using most recently (and most successfully). The team of Morrigan, Doctor Doom, and Akuma allows Chris to create a fighting game environment more reminiscent of Gradius than any sort of balanced brawler. Fireballs fill the screen from top to bottom making it impossible for the opposing player to do anything but wait till their characters are chipped to death.
This being on a list of hype moments might seem hypocritical or like it’s missing the point. From my own standpoint, it’s refreshing to see a Darkstalkers character being good in a crossover game, and it is also good to see someone playing at a high level with a zoning team (while doing extremely well). More casual players might balk at this video seeing it as spamming, and it is admittedly a really lame play-style, but the inputs necessary are precise and difficult (even more so while trying to evade an opponent who is rushing you down).
Marlinpie Swags Out On People
Marlinpie is the best C.Viper in North America in Marvel vs. Capcom. He is also the swaggiest fighting game player in existence. I don’t think there is a more fun player to watch currently. My editors might get mad at me for using the word “swaggiest,” but there doesn’t seem to really be any word more fitting for Marlinpie’s style of play.
Money Match of the Century: Stride or Die
With Marvel vs. Capcom 3 quickly approaching, this was the last big money match for the its predecessor, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, pitting Neo from the East coast against the famous Strider user Clockwork. A money match is a high stakes match in which players put up money and the winner takes all. In this case this was the biggest money match of all time with $42,000 at stake. Beyond that, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had been a tourney videogame for 10 years before this point, so this match became a sort of last hurrah for a fan favorite videogame.
Number 5 is Eric “Combofiend” Roasas’s Bionic Arm comeback from last year which ended up trending on YouTube. Everybody likes comebacks, and it’s even better when you have Nathan Spencer screaming “Bionic Arm!” at the top of his lungs while doing it.
Always Trust in a Raccoon
Number 4 is Kusoru coming to America and stealing our lunch money. Amongst hardcore fighting game players, Marvel vs. Capcom games are known as “American” games. The reason for this is often disputed, but the most common belief is that Americans just seem to like broken games. Thus, it was widely assumed throughout the community for a long period in time that Japanese players could not compete at Marvel just as it was widely believed previously that Americans could never compete with Japanese players in Street Fighter 4. It came as a bit of a wakeup call when at Final Round Kusoru preceded to destroy every big name American player in the venue. As a side note, Kusoru uses Rocket Raccoon… Yes Kusoru defeated all these players with Rocket Raccoon on his team. Unfortunately Kusoru won’t be at Evo this year, but he will be sorely missed.
The Beast is Tamed
Daigo Umehara is probably the best Street Fighter player alive. He has come to event after event since the early 90s, and currently he boasts the world record for most international victories in fighting game tournaments. He even has a best-selling book Japan about winning and his personal philosophy. In this clip, he ended up fighting Poongko, a player from Korea who is famous for making actual matches look like combo videos on YouTube. His style is erratic, random, and often times makes no sense. Daigo is the polar opposite in that he has perfect execution and fundamentals that he relies on to get the job done. In this clip, Poongko got a Perfect on Daigo, which might seem simple, but is quite unprecedented. Daigo is, after all, the best Street Fighter player alive.
Justin is Never Going to Give You Up
In this clip, Justin Wong, another famous player, makes a comeback for the ages. Before there were comeback mechanics like X factor or Ultra combos, people just had to deal with it and make an attempt to come back by guts alone. Here, Justin has his team wiped out save for one remaining character in a Marvel vs. Capcom 2 match against IFC Yipes. This should by all means be a victory for Yipes, but Justin doesn’t give up. He keeps going against near on insurmountable odds to win.
To describe this situation, Justin is essentially fighting against Storm, Psylocke, and Sentinel with just Cyclops. In Marvel 2, the character roster was so imbalanced that it had what was called a “god tier” of 4 characters who were just flat-out better than everyone else. These Included Storm, Magneto, Cable, and Sentinel. Cyclops isn’t near the bottom on this tier list, but against all three, such a matchup should be impossible.
The Beast is Unleashed
Number one is Daigo’s famous parry against Justin Wong in Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. To make sense of this situation, Daigo is reduced to pixel health (meaning any damage he takes will cause him to lose.) So, if even if Daigo were to block a special attack, he would be dead. In response to Justin’s super, Daigo does what is called a parry. In Street Fighter 3, a parry is accomplished by pushing forward on a joystick rather than holding back, timing your press just as a hit lands. If Daigo misses the timing by any degree whatsoever he loses. Daigo parries the entire super combo in front about 400 screaming people and launches a counter super for good measure. There is a reason people thought at one point that Daigo was unbeatable.