“Just one thing I want to say. Fighting games are something so great.”
July 17, 2017 7:29 PM   Subscribe

EVO 2017’s Street Fighter 5 Grand Final Was Like the Last 15 Minutes of a Rocky Movie [PC Gamer] “You don't have to know anything about Street Fighter to follow this intense, exhilarating veteran vs. prodigy showdown. The three day, nine game event is perfectly engineered to generate amazing stories: anyone can enter, providing opportunity for surprises and upsets, and the double elimination format adds extra tension as one player inevitably battles their way through the loser's bracket to return for vengeance in the final match. It's a hyperconcentrated hit of everything that makes fighting games great, and that's why casual fans like me come away from EVO every year buzzing with excitement. As you watch EVO, you realize there's so much more to Street Fighter than the skill it takes to remember combos and execute special moves. Like any competitive sport, it's about strategy, timing, mind games, momentum, and the narrative we weave between matches. And all of that stuff is perfectly exemplified in this year's Street Fighter 5 grand finals, which came down to a match between veteran Japanese player Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi and up-and-coming American Victor "Punk" Woodley.” (Spoilers in thread)
• Tokido vs. Filipino Champ [YouTube]
• Tokido vs. NuckleDu [YouTube]
• Tokido vs. Itabashi Zangief [YouTube]
• Tokido vs. Kazunoko [YouTube]
• Tokido vs. Punk [YouTube] [GRAND FINAL]
posted by Fizz (16 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not a huge eSports fan but this had me staying up late last night. It was very thrilling watching these two go at it in the final. I really wanted Punk to win but there was do denying Tokido. He was flawless in his strategy and deserved that win.
posted by Fizz at 7:47 PM on July 17, 2017

Excellent post, right up my alley, but you spoiled the final!
posted by sacrifix at 8:59 PM on July 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

I was wondering what people thought about different versions of Street Fighter: The Consequences of Reducing the Skill Gap.

In other news, Quake Champions makes me sad. Marvel with lag indeed.
posted by Chuckles at 9:14 PM on July 17, 2017

God, that one round where Tokido just LIVED in Punk's mind and perfected him effortlessly.

I used to work in an office where we had a Street Fighter Alpha 3 machine, and that thing was my JAM. I played Sakura nearly exclusively, while my buddy played Gen nearly exclusively, the two of us because nobody else seemed to like those characters.

I like to flatter myself by saying that we were very evenly matched, but regardless, every once in a while we'd have a round where shit like that happened and there was nothing you could try that your opponent had not already predicted and countered a frame before you even started.

It was beautiful. I loved it when it happened for me, and even when it happened for him, I'm just happy to have been a part of it. There's a level of transcendence in these games.
posted by Imperfect at 9:17 PM on July 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

I was wondering what people thought about different versions of Street Fighter: The Consequences of Reducing the Skill Gap.

Why not allow fighting games to dial input sensitivity up and down? Super sensitive for competition, super forgiving for Family Fight Night.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:40 PM on July 17, 2017

So in the final, Tokido pulled off:

- a taunt (to win)
- a reset from Losers Bracket
- a perfect
- a Raging Demon

Tokido brought out that perfect combination of skill and straight-up balls to bring this home. Brilliant final.
posted by FarOutFreak at 10:34 PM on July 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

So if it's OK to mention it here (mods, feel free to delete this if it's not, like so many other regrettable comments I've made), there's a fighting game in the works with a campaign up on Fig right now that's designed to be about the mindgames of fighting games, but with controls that are pretty much accessible to anyone, called Fantasy Strike. I've been playing the pre-alpha builds for a while, and it's just super fun. Interestingly, the Core-A guy (who made the "the consequences of reducing the skill gap" video) has had nothing but really positive things to say about it, despite being built around, well, reducing the skill gap and turning it into a game all about decision-making.

Basically, if you liked SF2 but got lost when the genre got more complicated over time, or even if you just find the genre interesting but don't feel like spending hours or days just learning how to stop playing against the controls, so you can play against the other person, it's a very good game.

EVO-wise, they had a side tournament or two with a booth, and there were a lot of big-name players playing it (certainly suggesting it has legs as a hardcore game) but I've also set up the pre-alpha build for friends who can't play fighting games but have always found them cool, and they've really enjoyed it too.

and man, I really need to check out this year's EVO finals. It's not like me to not watch them live, but I had plans all day yesterday so I didn't get the chance to watch at all…
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:36 PM on July 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

"He's only 18 years old! He needs to not let this get to him!" That made me laugh, but Punk showed incredible discipline for real.
posted by heatvision at 4:01 AM on July 18, 2017

Punk's mom was the real winner.
posted by PenDevil at 6:48 AM on July 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

This was fascinating.

Speaking as a newcomer/outsider to esports, though, I would love it if there was some form of scoreboard/tracking to help make it clear to me where things are at in terms of games/sets and how many a player needs to win. The play is exciting and all, but I felt a little lost at times about the relative importance of an outcome in a round because I had no real clue about where things stood. I appreciate that you wouldn't want it up during the actual game play, but even a quick visual between rounds would be helpful for some of us noobs who think e-sports might be interesting but are having a hard time getting our heads around it.
posted by nubs at 7:35 AM on July 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

nubs, you're right. I too was a bit confused with the format of the matches and what number is required to win. That is definitely something that could probably be made more clear to non-eSports audiences. But I think it's also one of those things that you just pick up by watching. The more you watch, the more you learn the rules and it eventually just sort of clicks.
posted by Fizz at 9:11 AM on July 18, 2017

OK, going back and watching a bit more I see they do have an overlay that keeps track of the games won; chalk this up to me being a noob and not always knowing where to look. Anyways, fun and awesome, and yeah Fizz - you sometimes just have to persist.
posted by nubs at 10:26 AM on July 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

[Edited the post to add a warning about spoilers in this thread, cheers.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:21 PM on July 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Let me drop a crowd chant "whooooo!" in here!

Watching finals IRL was an amazing experience, even if you could tell that the game was over when he put up the first thumbs up way too fast.

Also, smaller tournaments will use overlay's to help make following along easier. I wonder if they wanted to stick close to how the game looks naturally as much as possible in case people buy the game after seeing it on ESPN 2?
posted by RichAndCreamy at 5:34 PM on July 18, 2017

So far as I've ever been able to tell, it seems like the convention for fighting game tournament overlays is usually to try not to be too distracting, making sure to keep any information shown around the edges of the screen, where it won't obstruct the view of the gameplay. Sticking close to the game's style is usually just a matter of trying to put together an overlay that looks good in context, as far as I'm aware.

Also, man, so much envy that you got to see the EVO finals in person : O
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:29 PM on July 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been not that excited about SFV in general, but these matches look really cool. What I enjoyed this year at EVO was Guilty Gear (here's the top 8 VOD) and this M2K vs. Leffen match in Melee. I've heard that Marvel and Smash 4 finals were hype, too, but between EVO and SGDQ there's just way too much stuff to catch up on.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 7:36 PM on July 18, 2017

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