Saturday, May 9, 2009

Who’s the best street fighter?

Aspiring fighters participate in a tournament held at Latitude 55
Blood, sweat, and tears were shed. Okay, not real blood (no tears either), but you’re getting the picture, correct? Picture the NCAA tourney, but instead of college basketball teams, it’s a bunch of college students vying for the right to be crowned number one. You feel the intensity, no? The prize was a $25 gift card to the bookstore, but there’s more to it than just prize money (unless you’re Balrog, who only wants ‘fight money’). Respect, pride, glory, and bragging rights were on the line.

Anticipation built up for this event in the week leading up to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 7th. The organization and execution lacked and could use a little work, but it was to be expected, since it was only the first tournament event. Latitude 55 was swarming with people at 4:30-5 p.m. with players practicing and honing their skills before the event commenced.

Hadoukens, shoryukens, supers, and ultras, oh my! The tournament was played in 64-player, best of three rounds, single elimination style. Most players chose Ryu, Balrog, and Sagat (top tiers) as their respective hero to enter combat with. There were also the occasional rare characters used like Fei-Long, Vega, and El Fuerte (lower to mid-tiers).

As the playing field whittled down fast and furiously, more anxiousness built for the semi-finals and the championship round. Time slowed down as well because the semi-finals and finals were played in a best two out of three format providing players with a fighter switch if need be. In the semis, there were two Ryu players, a Sagat player, and a Blanka player (only one to use him). The Ryu players duked it out in dramatic fashion with only one Ryu progressing to the championship round. On the other side of the bracket, Sagat and Blanka shared great duels, but Sagat prevailed to set up a meeting with his rival, Ryu. It’s fitting that these two characters meet in the finals because of their street fighter history, but Sagat prevailed even when the other player switched from Ryu to Sagat to set up a mirror match. Same result, though. Sagat wins.

It was a sight to see with Latitude 55 bustling with videogame aficionados rather than the regular billiards players or poker players. Hopefully, the next tournament is sooner rather than later and more players come out with different characters (I’m talking to you, Rufus, Gen, and others).

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College student trying to live out the Videogame/Sports writer's dream of making IT. It's a work in progress, haha.