Local fighting game enthusiasts and members of the competitive fighting game scene in Singapore will be cheering on their compatriots this weekend as six Singaporeans mark the nation’s debut at the Evolution 2011 World Finals (EVO 2011), held from 29-31 July in Las Vegas.
For the local community, this is a historic moment and a potential milestone in its relatively short history, but for the uninitiated or uninformed, it is arguably difficult to see just what the fuss is all about. So if you’re scratching your head wondering what in the world is EVO, why are Singaporeans taking part, and most importantly why you should care – then this article is for you.
EVO is the largest and most prestigious fighting game event on the planet. It is the fighting game community’s version of the World Cup, the Olympic Games, the World Cyber Games Grand Finals, and more. This year, an estimated 3,000 participants will converge in Sin City to duke it out in tournaments featuring a variety of titles such as Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Tekken 6, Blazblue Continuum Shift and Mortal Kombat 9. EVO 2011 looks set to be the biggest EVO ever, thanks to the release of several new titles, greater international media coverage and the advent of live streaming. And with the winners potentially taking home over tens of thousands of dollars in prize money, the stakes have never been higher.
EVO 2011 sees Singapore’s best chance to announce its arrival on the world stage, and will see a good-sized Singaporean contingent this weekend. It includes well-travelled tournament veteran Kun-Xian Ho; local Street Fighter champion Leslie Cheong; and Ghim-Kee “Gackt” Eng, winner of April’s Road to EVO tournament. Together with Paul “VintageSoul” Ho, Zhenyuan “HZY” Han, and Kenneth “Spore” Lim, they will be taking part in the Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition and Marvel vs Capcom 3 tournaments at EVO 2011.
What one might overlook amidst all the buzz and excitement is that Singapore’s departure from international fighting game anonymity did not happen overnight. Until recently, the fighting game scene in Singapore was never regarded as a dominant international force, compared to traditional powerhouses such as Japan and the United States. However, this perception has changed in recent years as more and more Singaporean players participated and did well in tournaments held in different regions such as South Korea, Australia, Japan, Sweden, and the United States.
It is essentially the culmination of the tireless efforts of local tournament organisers over the years who played a huge part in building a competitive scene that has honed the skills of present players and brought more players into the fold, as well as the support from the community and sponsors that sees Singapore being poised to become a force to be reckoned for years to come in the international arena. Our performance EVO 2011 looks set to be the catalyst that will make the world to stand up and take notice.
You might be a competitive fighting game enthusiast yourself, a casual gamer, or someone whose notion of Street Fighter consists of nothing more than memories of childhood button mashing and B-grade Hong Kong movie spoofs; but the fact of the matter is that this weekend, Singaporeans will be looking to make history on foreign soil.
Our six participants at EVO 2011 are the same, fellow Singaporeans you might have seen at the arcades, whose videos you might have seen on YouTube, or whom you might even know personally or shared a post arcade session kopi-peng with.
And just as you celebrated Singapore’s gold medal winning performance at the World Table Tennis Championships, or watched in its eternity our soccer team’s recent drubbing 6-4 of Malaysia in a World Cup Qualifier and hugged the stranger next to you like he was your best friend, you would do well to not miss out on the action as your friends from the fighting game community take on the best of the best in Las Vegas.
Some useful links:
- Official EVO 2011 live video stream
- No Game No Talk’s guide to Singapore’s EVO participants
- EVO 2011 stream schedule
- Discuss Team Singapore’s performance and meet the members of the local fighting game community at www.round1.sg