I did one a year or two ago about getting into the FGC that got pretty popular so now, after having been a tournament player before and finally getting to EVO (with my close friends and family no less) I think I can put together a little guide to help out the first-time-EVO-goer with the event so they can hopefully bring more people into the scene as well.
1. Expect it to get busier and busier as the years progress. Fortunately The Crew and I were able to come right at the conception of E-Sports FGC, so apparently there was only a million people through the three days according to Mike. Expect those numbers to grow and be prepared to see a LOT of different faces.
2. Plan ahead. Way ahead. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t wait until a month out to plan where to stay or when to get your plane ticket, it’s a tremendously bad idea and you will be ass-out if you do that. We planned six months ahead of time and still had to make a last-minute change when our original AirBnB ended up having issues with their home. Fortunately we acted fast enough to get closer to the venue and not worry -too- much.
3. Don’t be that guy/gal. Clean yourself. Wash your hands after you’re done playing casuals or pools, or even holding open doors and touching stuff. Take a shower every night. Don’t wear the same shirt two or three days in a row, don’t feel obligated to stand up the entire time and sweat your ass off- sit down and cool off a bit before you get running around. I realize some of you are wondering why I’d ask grown folks to do that, but you’d (wouldn’t) be surprised.
4. Expect to bump into people a lot both physically and metaphorically. I ran into @gohomeandbeafamilyman by complete accident and we ended up hanging out for a while. Also I brushed shoulders and backpacks with too many people to count, be aware of your surroundings and know that you will brush up against folks on occasion, just be respectful to them and say ‘sorry’ or tell people ‘you’re okay’ when they say sorry. It’s about respecting yourself and others around you.
5. BYOS: Bring your own setup. Don’t expect -anybody- to let you use their stick/pad/game while you’re there. People WILL, but don’t bank on it at all because it’s incredibly rude.
6. If you want to buy EVO merch, expect to spend money. The EVO exclusive jersey was fuckin’ $120 if I remember correctly. And you had to wait an hour or two in line to get it. Gauge how much you want to spend versus the time spent waiting and act accordingly. Inversely the Crying Heihachi limited EVO hat was $30 and the Tekken 7 Zaibatsu EVO shirts were $25, and I waited a whopping two minutes to get mine.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for pictures of some players you like, just don’t be rude. The golden rule is this: If you’re cool with them, nine times out of then they will be cool with you. Don’t do that overhyped jumping for joy and pulling on people shit, it’s gross and disrespectful.
8. Ask questions if you don’t know what’s going on. People will help you. I had zero clue what was happening when Melee was on and some famous Melee player sitting in front of us was really cool about informing me how the game worked and why certain things had certain properties. When I played Tekken 7 against the Dev’s they gave me advice on how to play Steve and what to work on when the game comes out, as well as JP players I could youtube and get tips from. Everybody was extremely nice about it, so if you need help just ask, and if you can help then help folks.
9. Don’t be afraid to go back to your place to watch pools if you want to. The Crew and I were there for Day 1 for ELEVEN HOURS. I was so fucking exhausted after the first day but was too hopped up on the hype to calm down that when I went to sleep that night I apparently snored like a bear. You will not see every match you want to, period. So if you need a break for a bit just go back to somewhere relaxing and watch pools on stream, don’t worry you aren’t a stream monster since you’re actually there.
10. Get ready for lines. Lines for food, lines to pee, lines for pools, lines for exclusive EVO merch or games or signings or leaving or anything you can think of. Get comfy shoes, bring a power bank to charge your phone, get ready for lines. It’s not a bad thing but take care of your body, because if your body is at 80% and you go to play in pools you’re only at 80% of your max, don’t let that be the reason you mess up because you have sore legs or can’t get comfortable since you were holding your stick in your hand for five hours before.
11. Be ready to be on TV. We’re E-Sports now. As soon as you went to pick up your badge you agreed to a verbal release of your picture for promotional use, and while you may think ‘Nah I won’t be on camera’ you will. Trust me.
12. If you wanna talk shit, keep it how it was in the arcades. Insult the characters outfit color, the dude dropping combos, the player you don’t like, go wild. But don’t be racist or sexist because you’ll get your ass beat still. We may be e-sports but there’s still enough real ones out there to make you pick up your teeth if you start talking out your neck.
13. Back that shit up if you wanna talk that shit. This goes without saying, but be prepared to put money up or whoop ass at a game if you think you’re hot shit. You will be blown up otherwise.
14. HYDRATE YOURSELF. YOU’RE GOING TO BE IN A DESERT FOR SEVERAL DAYS. DRINK WATER WHEN YOU CAN, PLEASE DON’T BE DUMB.
15. Money match if you think you can win, not to make yourself better. This dude lost 4 times in a row to a Tekken player and just kept putting money up. It was the saddest and most entertaining thing I’ve seen in a while. Money matches aren’t anything new, but EVO money matches have a lot of pride behind them, don’t lose several hundred (or in some older cases from stories thousands) Bison bucks over your ego, don’t play yourself like that.
16. Try to talk to people how they are comfortable talking to you. People are coming from all over the world and English isn’t their first language. They are making a real conscious effort to talk to you in your native language if you are an English speaker as a first language. If you say ‘Arigato’ like Joey Wheeler from Yu-Gi-Oh it will still go appreciated by JP players who try their damnest to talk to you, so try the same out of respect. You don’t have to be fluent, but a ‘Gracias’ here or a ‘Gomen’ there makes a world of difference and you can see it on people’s faces when you talk to them in their native tongue. Don’t be embarrassed to interact with people even if it’s a little outside of your regular box.
17. Last but not least- Have FUN. You’re going to the most prestigious , important fighting game event in the world, enjoy yourself. Weird shit is gonna happen, funny shit is gonna happen, silly shit is gonna happen, just have a blast.
Bonus note: You will not catch the infamous ‘EVOla’ virus (coined years ago) if you stay hygienic and also eat. Nobody from The Crew got sick aside from first game jitters because we were all eating and drinking regularly as well as washing our hands and just staying clean.