Socially Distant Game: Events Go Online
こんにちは皆さん！I hope you’re all doing well. Despite reopenings across the nation here in the states, many events are still being canceled, due to the safety of staff, attendees, and surrounding communities being top priority. And great job to these organizations for putting out safety first. So it should come to no surprise that events are being canceled left and right. In the realm of gaming, two major events, both of which I had the luxury of attending in the past (and that I looked forward to going to this year) have decided to fight cancelation with technology and go online! EVO2020 and Tokyo Game Show (TGS)!
Easier Access Going Online?
First up on the gathering to online switch is the Superbowl of Fighting Games EVO 2020. Evo’s cancellation announcement was met with a lot of “Why not have it online” talk, and I guess the folks at Shoryuken (昇竜拳 ←- for my fellow Japanese studying peeps )took notice because it was announced yesterday that EVO2020 would be converted to online…. Just without all the major titles. The original line up was pretty solid borderline hot fire as far as participants popularity went which were the following:
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
- Granblue Fantasy Versus
- Dragon Ball FighterZ
- Tekken 7
- Samurai Shodown
- Soulcalibur 6
- Under-Night In-Birth Exe: Late[cl-r]
- Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heros (Special Anniversary Tournament)
Although the line up wasn’t altered too much, the lack of Smash Ultimate is sure to have viewers and participants alike perplexed across the board. The Smash Bros series has a cult following itself, however, it is believed that due to Smash Ultimates issues, net coding, and the large audience may be to blame for removing such a huge title. Although less than stellar net coding and broken characters are hardly a Smash-Only problem *cries in Arc Systems* alas, only time will tell if enough requests from the Smash community will be enough to get it put back on the roaster. With players and spectators from all over the globe, at different time zones logging on to square up or watch, it will be interesting to see how ready technology is for Social Distant Gaming!
Now on to the next online transition, Tokyo Game Show 2020 (TSG2020). Last year after having last year I went to the Tokyo Game Show 2019 and had a BLAST. Yearning for around 2 of this experience, I was totally looking forward to having Japanese convo with the staff (shout out to Koei Techmo & Square Enix! Y’all were so sweet!), playing demos, watching live concerts and interviews, and seeing the student showcases/learning about Universities in Japan that catered to gaming and media studies (Grad School anyone)? Well COVID19 had other plans because I received an email in my inbox from TGS stating the following:
“TOKYO GAME SHOW 2020（TGS2020）, scheduled to be held from September 24 (Thu.) to 27 (Sun.), 2020, is now planned to take place online. TGS2020, which is usually held at
Makuhari Messe is canceled.” _TGS Press
Now initially this was clearly the next step. However, a huge portion of TGS is attendees playing games upcoming releases before they come out. For some context here this is how my experience went: I walked around whilst receiving random free advertisements and goodies, got tickets to come back, and play bigger titles such as “Final Fantasy 7 Remake” and the other titles I waited in a cue to play. If I wasn’t in a cue, I got to see live concerts, interviews with voice actors (Sakura Wars) and game creators; most notable being standing mere feet from Hideki Kamiya (this happened completely on accident if y’all are interested to ask in comments :)) as he talked about and played games. I also got to meet with students from Art and Digital Media Universities in Japan, learn about their programs, play their games, and get free samples of their work. This is the portion of TGS I am interested to see how these elements will be incorporated online if incorporated at all. Will students’ work be advertised and be accessible to the public online? Same with unrealized games? Will creators and voice actors do online interviews? This is all pending as I await press emails from TGS, but either way, it will be interesting to update.
Overall Socially distant gaming was inevitable in 2020. I am definitely curious to see how EVO Officials deal with poor connections and not too hot net coding with matches, and determining lag cost a player a match and whatnot. But these efforts are a good start to get the ball rolling for future tournaments, seeing as how we don’t know how long COVID19 is gonna be around. Stay safe everyone, keep gaming, and stay 6 ft apart.