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Every year, thousands of fighting game players gather in Las Vegas for the tournament touted as “The most prestigious Fighting Game tournament in the world.” In other words, EVO. That prestige leads to people having high expectations for sportsmanship from the players and the crowd alike. After all, it’s the closest thing that a lot of fighting games have to being full-blown esports.
However, plenty of things transpired during the Smash Bros. Wii U Top 8 that could be argued to have tarnished EVO’s reputation. Things ended well, but how everything went down still doesn’t reflect too well on the community.
In the very first set of Top 8, Zack “CaptainZack” Lauth simply blew a kiss to the crowd as he knocked Eric “Mr E” Weber into losers bracket. This is after the crowd was not too excited that Zack won after the very close first game. Zack does Bayonetta’s dances plenty when he wins, so that was a small way of brushing off their distaste for his win.
That wasn’t too big a deal. After all, crowds notoriously loathe Bayonetta, so Zack showing he didn’t care was perfectly normal and acceptable for him.
The bigger issue with the CaptainZack vs. Mr E set is that there wasn’t a ton of energy from the crowd. In fact, there was very little energy shown by the crowd throughout the entire finals. When Jestise “MVD” Negron lost a nail-biter game two against Ishiguro “Raito” Tetsuya, the crowd exploded with excitement for Raito.
Booing and otherwise showing little to no energy in favor of the competitors later in the Smash Top 8 just reflects poorly on the community.
In MVD’s next set against Tamim “Mistake” Omary, the crowd immediately started jeering when Mistake took game one due to a crucial Witch Time read. For his part, MVD immediately turned around and waved his hands at the crowd to tell them to stop. Once the crowd cooled down, MVD and Mistake went back to playing.
In contrast with the crowd’s jeering, Bayonetta players CaptainZack and Bharat “Lima” Chintapall were super friendly during grand finals. During the fifth game of the first set, Lima decides he doesn’t want to win off of an SD from his friend Zack, and ditches his first stock, putting the game back to even.
The players were just having fun and doing what they felt they should as the crowd had watched the whole Top 8 with an amount of disinterest.
The problem with the players in the Smash Top 8 came during the first game of the second set. Both Lima and CaptainZack sat there for almost two minutes each charging a Bullet Art. People did have fun with it, but they were eventually forced to play when Bassem “Bear” Dahdouh came onto the stage as the TO and told them the rules dictate they cannot mutually stall out the game.
Although that choice to try and stall out the game could have hurt the EVO reputation a little, credit is due to Zack and Lima, who gracefully listened to Bear and played out the game. They did start the game almost two minutes late, but playing it at all was good by them.