EVO 2018 has proven that there is more to meet the eye on what a tournament "Should" be... For almost two decades, the Las Vegas Evolution Fighting Game Tournament has brought people with a furious passion for fighting games together in the middle of the Nevada Desert. Whether you are a fan of Street Fighter, Tekken, Marvel Vs Capcom, super Smash Bros., The King of Fighters, there truly is something for everyone.
That being said, there is something that must be said about EVO that many people often overlook... It's not necessarily a Club, EVO, to many people, has now become a Family. Sure, everyone has their differences, preferences, and characters of choice, but now, a lot of people who maybe only got into fighting games recently are flying out to Las Vegas from all around the world, and the community of people who have been here for almost Two Decades are very accepting.
The EVO Grand Finals, held Sunday August 5th, is always going to be the star of the show. Everyone wants to go see the finalists go up on stage, enter the Final Rounds, and win those beautiful trophies in front of a full audience. As well, the Grand Finals is now home to Major Fighting Game Announcements. This year, Negan from The Walking Dead will be playable in Tekken 7, Cooler will be an upcoming DLC character for Dragon Ball FighterZ, and CAPCOM revealed gameplay for the characters G and Sagat. However, while the Grand Finals is the Bang Finale to the Weekend, there was still much to see of Friday and Saturday.
It's important to note that while the Main Tournaments are going on, EVO is proud to offer Side Tournaments for video games with just as big fan bases, which gives games like Skullgirls, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and Mortal Kombat a chance to have their communitites involved. One of the biggest one was for Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite, a game that many would argue was "Snubbed" from being in the Main Tournament. Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite is not part of the CAPCOM PRO TOUR this year, and many fans declared Capcom's decision "Understandable, but not fair." That did not stop fans from creating one of the largest Back Corner Tournaments in EVO history. Hundreds came out in support of Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite, to come and show how much love there still is and that a Side Tournament can stand toe-to-toe with a Main Tournament. Many fans argue that Infinite "Has Problems, but it is a Fun Game. That's What Matters!" With a debatable poor roster, debatable poor visuals, and presentation that does not match the caliber of say Dragon Ball FighterZ, many people were shocked at how much love there was for Marvel this year.
One of the biggest panels this year was the YoVideoGames Panel hosted by Maximilian Dood. YoVideoGames is a group from the Southern California Area who thoroughly enjoy video games, but have a strong foundation with fighting game fans because Maximilian himself used to compete in many Southern California Fighting Game Tournaments. Maximilian is also famous for his Assist Me YouTube series, a parody series that took characters from the beloved Marvel Vs Capcom Series, and creates tutorials for people to learn from. As well as comedy high-jinx's for people to laugh and enjoy. This year, Matt Simmons showed off his new YouTube series called Smash Me, which will be a parody of the beloved Super Smash Bros Series. After the panel, the YoVideoGames team stayed for a couple hours to sign Anything and Everything; As well as answer questions, shake hands, and take pictures with their many endearing fans.
As well, one of the biggest highlights was when Tekken Creator himself Katsuhiro Harada decided to enter in the Tekken 7 Tournament. He did not even take any Special Privilage, he started down in the Pools just like everyone else. As well, his generosity was humbling as he took pictures, signed autographs, and hugged many fans who sat next to him the whol day. While Harada-San was winning matches, in a sense, the Tekken 7 Tournament this year felt less like an obligation, and more like a way for Harada-San and fans to interact with each other. It is very rare when the Creator of a beloved video game franchise, steps down to the level of his fans, and in turn, fans treat him like he is a member of the family. An equal who is part of a growing community, interested in creating a long-lasting family.
EVO 2018 is definitely the beginning of a new future for EVO, The tournaments and Major Game Accouncements will continue to be there, but there is already clear signs that the future of EVO lies in the hands of their fans, and what their fans choose to do with EVO. If anyone, including developers from ARC System, Bandai Namco, and Nintendo want to be a part of the ever growing community, they are welcome because EVO is all part of a growing family.