Posted on November 7, 2012 AT 11:37am
This year myself, my partner Brock Brani, and the host of SHOOTing the Breeze: Tony Ortiz, all went off to Youmacon in Detroit, MI. While Brock and I covered most of the regular Youmacon, Tony covered the Battle Opera. The thoughts are not directly of EGM Now, Digital Noob, and Radio Under the Influence, and are only of the three people who attended the event.
There are four parts that we will be breaking down the event, and you are current only:
Part 1: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Down Right Weird.
Part 2: The Battle Opera
Part 3: Detroit is Improving
Part 4: Words of Wisdom
The Youmacon Battle Opera 2012 was held in the Ambassador Dining Room of Cobo Hall just a few blocks away from the main festivities of Youmacon. First off, I was impressed with the amount of space. There was more than enough room for several sponsor stations, four live streams, ample seating for all the streams, the registration area, almost a hundred stations, and a press room right next to the main area. I never had a problem getting around the area. This area was on the second floor, and the restrooms were right down the stairs. Also, if you had a regular badge you could enter the dealer’s hall and get something to eat at a snack stand in the back of the hall. I think a minor improvement for next year would be to have concessions or even vending machines accessible to the people who just bought Battle Opera badges ($30 for the weekend instead of the normal $60). There were a good amount of people attending the Battle Opera that had badges just for it, including almost all of the pro players. For people like me who attended the entire amount of hours possible over the three days, this would have been much easier than having to stuff a backpack full of water so I would have something to drink over the two twelve hour days I did for the main games.
Now also being a big fan of the fighting game community (refereed to as FGC for short), the biggest anticipations I had for the event was how many pro players would make the trip out for a brand new event in a city that hasn’t hosted something like this before. Trailers began to run in the last few months advertising who would be attending. Of those billed as confirmed for attending, a few did not make the trip. Most of them did and that is all you can really ask for a new event in a city new to hosting one this big. Logistics and sponsorship’s always have a mishap here or there so I didn’t fully expect everyone to make it. Also, we had the unfortunate problem of MLG having the same dates for their event in Dallas. This drew most of the professional Tekken players to Dallas instead of Youmacon. This was big for me because I am a huge Tekken fan and I was really hoping to meet and interview some of the pro Tekken players especially with their game being so new. The upside to this is that I was reassured that Youmacon will be trying to coordinate the dates next year so that there isn’t a competing event for the players attendance. Let’s hope they can work out these logistics The top players in attendance included but was not limited to, EG Justin Wong, EG PR Balrog, EG Ricky Ortiz, coL.Filipino Champ, BT|IFC Yipes, LU|Alex Valle, AGE|Romance, AGE|Mario, AS|Reynald, UVG|Noel Brown, CC.OMG It’z Andre, and several members of DMG and the local C.O.R.N. It was a very impressive line up, and somewhat predictably the top pros fared the best. The local talent however gave an impressive showing in some of the games especially, C.O.R.N. Footwork who almost made top 8 in UMvC3 in a close set with UVG|Noel Brown 2-3. The best place for the detailed results can be found at http://shoryuken.com/2012/11/04/youmacon-battle-opera-streaming-live/ . The only real problem I had in the Battle Opera area was from crowd behavior on Saturday night. It got to a point during UMvC3 where there were more people standing in between the seating and the left side of the stage than seated. Now there was more than enough seating and I think everyone loves it when the crowd is hyped. But, you have to remember some people came to sit and watch and they don’t want to jump around and constantly move. This is where I was seated and I eventually had to move, because I couldn’t see. Thankfully, I think some of the organizers talked to the crowd because we did not have this problem the next night for the finals. I wouldn’t blame this on any of the organizers as I feel this is just people needing to know how to behave, especially at the first big event our city has had.
I never thought we would be able to have an event like this in Detroit, much less that I would be press at it. I must say I was thoroughly impressed with how open and accessible the players and organizers were. I think that speaks volumes about how great the FGC is. If you just watch from home and have never been to an event like this, you would really have no way of knowing how nice and approachable a lot of the people involved in the scene are, especially out of their familiar areas. I could not have asked for more than what we were able to do with the players. We were able to do short interviews pre-main event with BT|IFC Yipes, coL.Filipino Champ, and UVG|Noel Brown. Also, we were fortunate enough to have a panel interview with LU|Alex Valle and AGE|Romance. We were able to ask them a myriad of questions about the games they play, building the community, and even more casual things like what they like to drink when playing casually with their friends. A big thanks must go out to these guys for taking the time to talk to us. The only downside was that we were not able to put anything together with any of the players from EG. We’re still not sure why this didn’t happen because we thought some of them would be coming to the panel. But, for a first time event the access to the people involved in the FGC was extraordinary. It really showed me that the community as a whole is friendly and cares about growing, despite the competitive nature of the games. Alex really shed light on it in the post interview chat. He talked about how when this scene started it was in arcades and you had to play standing right next to your opponent. I personally feel that this gives the players a higher level of respect for each other despite the trash talking and saltiness that comes with playing for high stakes, and I also feel that this translates when it comes to dealing with the fans.
Overall, it was definitely one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. Outside of the minor problems at the main area of the convention, I wouldn’t change much. Things look even better for next year. With the Cobo center’s renovation likely to be completed and more hotels being completed as well, a few of the logistics problems will be likely to dissolve. Big thanks again have to go out to all the players, sponsors and organizers of this event. Youmacon, TwitchTV, Level Up, Broken Tier, Focus Fire, AVer Media, Bifuteki, Get Salty, and Clash Tournaments. Special thanks to UltraDavid and SkiSonic coming out to provide commentary for the viewers watching at home, and all the other commentators and players who did double duty on commentary. To support the FGC head over to all of the sponsors websites, follow the players on twitter, and subscribe to their live streams. It wouldn’t be possible without all of us so let’s show them how much we loved the event! I can’t wait until next year! You might just see me at EVO2013.
Please note that these interviews are uncut!!!!!!!!!!!!
Interview with coL.Filipino Champ ~ YouTube Link
Interview with BT|IFC Yipes ~ YouTube Link
Interview with UVG|Noel Brown ~ YouTube Link
Press Conference with LU|Alex Valle and AGE|Romance ~ YouTube Link
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