The Evolution Championship Sequence 2022 wrapped up final night time, capping a weekend filled with a number of the most enjoyable I’ve ever had watching aggressive video gaming. MultiVersus made its EVO debut, regardless of nonetheless being in open beta; some new video games have been teased or introduced; and for an excellent second, the Twitter gaming neighborhood (or at the least my nook of it) got here collectively to witness an unimaginable Road Fighter V grand finals.

I began my EVO weekend watching Skullgirls 2nd Encore. I used to be dimly conscious of the sport, solely figuring out it was a quirky-looking preventing recreation with a rocky growth historical past. I solely tuned in as a result of Dominique “SonicFox” McLean was competing, and they’re a deal with to look at. It’s all the time enjoyable with these sorts of tournaments to look at storylines unfold. With Skullgirls, specifically, SonicFox had a teammate within the Prime 8 bracket, Jon “dekillsage” Coello.

The 2 met within the winners ultimate of the double elimination bracket with SonicFox sending dekillsage right down to the losers bracket handily with a 3-0 win. From there, dekillsage tore via the losers bracket, made it to the grand finals to face SonicFox once more, and beat SonicFox 3-0 to “reset” the bracket, forcing the teammates to play yet another match to determine the winner. SonicFox finally prevailed, beating dekillsage 3-2, hugging his pal and teammate for a match extraordinarily properly fought.

EVO’s pleasure couldn’t be contained to simply the primary stage, it additionally spilled into the commentator’s sales space. Have you ever ever seen a commentator so damned hyped for the reveal of a brand new Skullgirls character they threw their wig? No?

Effectively, now you could have.

Builders whose video games have been featured at EVO 2022 took the chance to announce new content material for his or her franchises, too. After the conclusion of The King of Fighters XV Prime 8, SNK Playmore introduced, that after 20 years, a brand new Deadly Frame had been green-lit.

Bandai Namco teased one thing concerning Tekken that appeared like a suggestion to tune into the Tekken World Match international finals to study extra.

EVO 2022 climaxed within the occasion’s penultimate event, Road Fighter V. (Though I’m positive Responsible Gear Attempt had equally spectacular moments, it was 1AM ET by the point that event began and a few people have jobs within the morning, y’know?) A part of the great thing about EVO is that it’s a global event. Gamers come from all around the world to compete, and every recreation has a rustic that dominates the leaderboard. Skullgirls was an American affair. The Dragon Ball FighterZ bracket was virtually solely French, and Road Fighter V was, predictably, crammed with Japanese gamers.

It’s a little bit gauche, bordering on violent jingoism, to have pleasure in a single’s nation, particularly as a Black American, however in aggressive sports activities, it’s “America, fuck yeah!” all day. Enter, Derek ”iDom” Ruffin, one of many solely two Individuals left within the Road Fighter V event.

iDom began within the losers bracket, eliminating France’s Mister Crimson 3-1. He then needed to face a legend within the Road Fighter and online game neighborhood at giant — Daigo “The Beast” Umehara. Aggressive gaming is a teenager’s recreation; 25 is historical in esports years. Umehara is 41 years previous, and he’s been kicking ass in Road Fighter for greater than 20 years. He’s received six EVO championships and cemented his place in online game historical past when, throughout EVO 2004, he beat Justin Wong in Road Fighter III: third Strike with a transfer even essentially the most informal online game fan will acknowledge.

Yeah, he’s that man, and iDom tore via him as if he have been moist tissue paper. If that wasn’t sufficient, the Road Fighter V event boasted one other Japanese preventing recreation neighborhood elder statesman, Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi. He, too, fell to iDom. It’s necessary to notice an American has not received a Road Fighter event at EVO since 2010, and it regarded like iDom is perhaps the one to finish the drought. Watching him combat was electrifying. He had this icy calmness to him, in a position to learn and anticipate his opponents’ strikes in methods that may greatest be described as precognition.

He was simply utterly dialed into the sport and his craft as he felled opponent after opponent to achieve the grand finals. And as he fought, the joy spilled over onto Twitter because the gaming neighborhood got here collectively, united in a single function, to present this man all our vitality to win.

Spontaneous collective outbursts like that remind me why gaming is such a enjoyable and rewarding passion. It’s your whole buddies and colleagues coming collectively, shedding our collective minds as a man we don’t know reveals us what it appears like when a recreation is performed at its highest stage. The experience on show, the joy, the sheer pleasure of being in a shared mindset like that’s unequalled. And when iDom finally fell in a heartbreaking 3-2 match after beating Masaki “Kawano” Kawano to reset the bracket, it didn’t matter. iDom performed fantastically, he turned our American hero, and no loss might take that feeling away.

I do not need any significant historical past with or nostalgia for preventing video games, however my god do I really like EVO. EVO is sweet. EVO unites us, and I can’t wait to look at EVO return to Japan in 2023.

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