The fighting game community has never been so big and active throughout the US. Every quarter there is a massive FGC(fighting game community) event showcasing some of the greatest talents in fighting games the world has ever seen. For some it's a chance to see greatness and clutch on a level that we aspire to get to. For others it's a way to showcase your talents and see just where you stack up in terms of time dedicated to your preferred fighter. This is not fact or statement, it is a compilation of feelings and emotions I felt after my time with some FGC events. It's a self check for everyone out there that loves fighting games and is connected to them as a player, spectator, or creator.
I am no stranger to the tournament setting, the pressure, and excitement of travel worldwide for events. I have seen the FGC culture change. From old school hands in Streetfighter and virtuafighter to the new blood in titles like Injustice/MK(new version) and hybrids like SFxTekken. There is a loud and resounding difference between the culture back then and the culture now, media. Media makes everything so accessible and easy to share, it is a wonderful thing. There is however, a downside to media and all its outlets to the various fighting games. The downside being a very dangerous combination of the socially awkward, hype, expectation, pressure, and money.
From the time you walk in to an FGC event there is tons of people yelling and screaming, bags on their shoulders, sticks in their laps, energy drink stationary on the floor as they hold their spots in the chair of domination. Tons of expletives, saltyness, and headshaking towards opponents that have bested their dedication to the game. No handshaking after a match, just yank your cord and walk away. The "saltyness" seems to be a combination of ego, expectation, and perhaps puberty for those that apply. It's losing, and if not checked by a peer or mentor can lead to violence.
When watching a final, I find myself having to look past the goons taking bets with cash in hand on the players. No official stopping any of this, just allowing active cash handling bets to take place in something that to me is sacred. This isn't a fucking chicken fight in cuba. This is two young men playing a game that they enjoy to compete at its highest level. No one wants to hear you spray shit talk, you are embaressing yourself and your crew. How the hell did we let it come to this. Haggling from afar while someone plays his match. It's safe to say there is little sportsmanship in the FGC.
As these events get bigger and bigger, I fear the worst. A tarnish, something that lingers over the culture of our beloved FGC. If we as mentors and elders don't start involving ourselves in the fundamental growth of some of these crews, violence will manifest itself into a tabu for tournament events, and could in the future be outlawed. This is not something to take lightly, if you add all the factors in, something terrible will happen at one of these events. It is important to note, there is a difference between hype and bad sportsmanship. Allow people to play, respect those playing. Obviously if something epic happens you can cheer or sigh, but think of it in terms of golf. You aren't going to haggle someone trying to shoot or concentrate on their shot, let them swing, then haggle. I'm going to put a link at the bottom of this post, keep in mind. I wrote this post before I had even seen this. While not directly involved with the event, it's only a matter of time.