Last weekend, fighting game aficionados from all over the world journeyed to Sacramento, California to meet up and throw down. The Norcal Regional Tournament brought the best from the most popular fighting games: Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, Tekken 7, The King of Fighters XIV, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2, and the anticipated newcomer, Dragon Ball FighterZ. For the fighting game fans who weren’t able to make the journey, no worries, we were on the floor and got all the info about the coolest parts of the event. Now that the dust has finally settled, we have a breakdown of the results, some standouts moments, and an introduction for the newcomers out there.
(TLDR of who won at the end, for you impatient readers)
HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER
For those new to the fighting game community, Welcome! Despite the occasionally heated competition and steep learning curve, the fighting game community is much more welcoming than most gaming communities. *cough*League of Legends *cough* Unlike team based games, fighting games focus on interactions between individual players. People learn and adapt to unique styles and strategies instead of an established meta. Gameplay is highly unpredictable and gets deeper as players progress. The steep learning curve causes players to work together to figure out each game’s hidden secrets. So, even rivals endlessly discuss mechanics, combos, and gameplans with each other. Instead of toxic rants, players talk tech. Like any tech talk, it can be hard to understand: “During footsies 214H beats out 2H and will always link to the j.M BNB, if you have the cash.” To the uninitiated it sounds like calculus got jumped in a back alley by a gang of Dungeon Masters. For new players looking to learn the bizarre lingo the Dustloop wiki is a great resource for notation and terms. For those that just want to start playing without all the studying and technical stuff, your fantasy just came true.
Fantasy Strike lessens the learning curve
The Norcal Regional had the best players of their respective games, but top players from different games rarely fight each other. Mastering the characters and mechanics of each game is time-consuming, so players usually specialize specific characters or play similar games. Enter Fantasy Strike, a minimalist fighter focused on bringing players to a level playing field quickly, regardless of player background or experience. The vibrant fantasy fighter keeps each character’s move list short and sweet, down to a single page, the gameplay mechanics have a similar “back to basics” focus. If an opponent tries to throw you for example, instead of a specific button combination to escape you just release all buttons, including block. This will cause a “Yomi counter” causing your character to perform a flashy escape and respond with a throw yourself. This counter feels really fun to pull off, but it takes discipline to resist button mashing. From what we played Fantasy strike accomplishes its goal well. Competitors from Guilty Gear to Tekken could finally have a fair faceoff, without spending tons of time in practice first. New players could also battle seasoned pros without feeling overwhelmed, and matches were close. The game was very clean and felt finished, but the roster was relatively small. Fantasy Strike was well received by competitors and spectators alike, but don’t take our word for it. Fantasy strike is now available on Steam, and PS4, and you can check out the trailer here.
OH YEA! Punch Planet
If Steven Universe and Mass Effect had a gamebaby, and that baby was adopted and trained by Street Fighter, Punch Planet would be the result. The game is still in early development, but the training mode looked promising. The developers showed off a neat feature to display hitbox information during training, so high level players could understand the hidden strengths and weaknesses of each character quicker during lab time. However the game is still much more complex than Fantasy Strike, but much less so than the main lineup of games at the event. The art style sets it apart with bright, quirky visuals and a surprisingly dark storyline, but it’s still too early to tell if the gameplay will deliver. At first glance the combat seemed clunky, but it’s not fair to judge an unfinished product. Curious players can get Punch Planet on Steam Early Access. Check out the trailer for yourself here.
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All the Swag that’s fit to Bag
In addition to their gaming skills, community members showcased their artwork at the tournament, too. Freelance artist SHUNAO! Had some great art on display. There was fan art from Street Fighter, Dragon Ball, Overwatch, and even Kirby. You can check our more of her work or request commissions at her personal website. But there was more than waifu pillows here, players came to compete and gear is half the battle. The tournament had on site repair services courtesy of Marvelous Customs. They specialize in repair and arcade stick customization. Marvelous also had some totally cool crossover merchandise. We got the Abra dressed as Dhalsim, cause when it evolves you get yoga spoons. You can get custom arcade stick buttons like the one below at their website.
The biggest vendor at the tournament was the ArcadeShock booth. They had part upgrades and custom vinyl layers with on site application. Players could get their stick tricked out in between matches, or upgrade their parts after a tough loss. (ALWAYS blame the controller, kids) They even had a custom skin just for the event. If you want to check out their stuff so you can trick out your stick, head over to their page.
TLDR: Tournament Breakdown
So now that you know all the details here’s the top three winners of each tournament and their info. We provided links to their pages so you can learn from the best! If you enjoyed this content please like and share, See you at EVO! GG – Dan
Street Fighter V
1st: Echo FoxTokido
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite
1st: EG NyChrisG
2nd: HitBox Punisher
1st: Echo Fox SAINT
2nd: UYU qudans
The King of Fighters XIV
1st: Qanba X DouyuXiaohai
2nd: Wero Asamiya
3rd: BVGLuis Cha
Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2
Dragon Ball FighterZ