For three days the fighting game world had all eyes on TeamSpooky's stream. Attention was drawn to a medium-sized, Asian cuisine-themed restaurant in Momo's. For the past six years Godlike Entertainment has been working hard to get the tournament known locally. Then it was known on the East Coast. Then people started calling it "a major."
This year's Season's Beatings: Velocity, proved itself internationally. It may be lost on hardcore fighting game fans, and those who are only passively involved via live streams [a.k.a. stream monsters]. Having players from Korea, Japan and France put Columbus, Ohio on their itinerary -- kind of a big deal.
At least it is for me.
Below are the results, my thoughts, and some photos.
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition
1. EG | Momochi (Cody)
2. EG | Ricky Ortz (Rufus)
3. Uryo (Sakura)
4. MCZ | Tokido (Akuma)
5. MCZ DMG | PR Balrog
5. Totalheads | Poongko (Seth)
7. EG | Justin Wong (Rufus)
7. MCZ | Mago (Fei Long)
9. cc. Col | Mike Ross (E. Honda)
9. Dieminion (Guile)
13. EG | fLoE (Sagat, Yang)
13. Infiltration (Akuma)
13. Alucard (Balrog)
13. Wolfkrone (C. Viper)
Mortal Kombat 9 (via Test Your Might)
1. VSM CD Jr
2. vVv REO
3. VSM Maxter (Raiden)
4. VSM Erik Warda (Kabal)
5. LB NYChris G (Reptile/KungLao)
6. m2dave (Freddy)
7. DRS THTB (Reptile)
8. EMP Tom Brady (Kung Lao)
Marvel vs. Capcom 3
2. BOX | Viscant
3. MCZ DMG | PR Balrog
4. CoL.cc | Filipino Champ
5. IFC BT | Yipes
5. EG | Justin Wong
7. FC | Twisted Jago
7. Dj Huoshen
For more on the results and side-tournaments ran I'd suggest checking out the SB:V forum on Shoryuken.
I was very fortunate to get my hands on Reverge Lab's Skullgirls for several rounds. I even had a little chat with one of the developers, John Crofts. It's fun. Coming from me, a person who almost actively avoided the game, I came away positive. I'll have more on this later.
If this is the last Season's Beatings, or at least how we know the tournament today, there are a couple things that need to be addressed. Firstly, how amazing is it that this community still finds ways of coming together. I saw volunteers showing up to help run brackets, move furniture and supply monitors. I truly think communities outside of this one could learn a thing or two.
The price turned people away. I still don't know how I feel about this. It had to happen. Momo's isn't Caesar's Palace [which is where next year's EVO will be]. In order to have the best players face each other while catering to the local player who wants to test their skills, there has to be a barrier. It's unfortunate that the inclusion of spectator interest fell by the wayside. It'll get better. Chris Hatala has always been an efficient tourney runner and he tried his damnedest to please everyone. He even found time to place fairly high in the Super Turbo tournament.
[Edit: Let's not forget that with an entrance fee plus a tournament fee, the cash prize for the contest goes up. I believe both Super Street Fighter IV: AE and Marvel vs Capcom 3 had payouts stretching to those who finished in 7th place. Spreading the wealth. First place finishers received a minimum of $2,500.]
Finally, I've had complaints about this current wave of fighting games. "The Age Of The Patch" is what I've dubbed it. It's really easy to get disenchanted when you hear players say they openly hate a game then place in the top ten of a major tournament. I get it now.
Look at this community. Really look at it. As a whole, we never seen Flocker coming. Who could have predicted DJ Huoshen, a Maryland-native, wreaking this much havoc? It's still hard to imagine that Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition AND Mortal Kombat  all came out this year, in America. These communities don't thrive because of a patch update and forty-dollar rehauls. This community and this tournament, in particular, have survived because of the people.
Nothing is perfect. I would have love to have seen just as many people hype for the Mortal Kombat tournament as they were for Street Fighter. Seeing the likes of Reo, Maxtor and Tom Brady trading rounds -- you'd really have to be there. It was an amazing experience.
Then this happened...
An encapsulation of everything this past weekend. Season's Beatings: Velocity was host to more suprises and upsets than any major I'd ever witnessed. It's true, EVO and SBO may be the biggest fighting game tournaments in the scene today, but what I witnessed at this tournament was unlike anything I'd ever seen at those in recent years.
I can't wait to see what happens next. The games may change, but the people are what make them more than what they are.
For more Season's Beatings photos go here.
I'll also be uploading a black & white album on my facebook.
Now I can finally get some sleep.