The Southern California Regionals took place at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 22-24, 2017. This was Scarlet Rhapsody’s first year at this major video game tournament and our team attended on both Saturday and Sunday. The crowds were excited and the hype was real as some of the best fighting game players gathered to win dominance in the most popular current fighting games. There were no panels or discussions instead this was all about the games and the trill of watching ace players fight for glory and prize money.
The rear of the room had three large screens showing off different games. The main screen was kept for the bigger titles like Marvel vs. Capcom infinite, Injustice 2, Tekken 7, and Street Fighter V. The screen on the left would sometimes have games running, but other times would be a simulcast of the main stage screen. The screen on the right showed the smaller titles like Blaze Blue, Under Night In-Birth Exe:late, and Pokken Tournament DX. There was a large amount of seats for each screen, but the most popular competitions could get very crowded very quickly.
The upper right corner of the room contained ‘bring your own controller’ games. These were monitors set up with consoles that one could connect their controller to in order to try out different games. In addition to that, they had a few lower level tournaments for those who want to show off their skills without taking on championship level competition. This area was very crowded as everyone wanted a turn and many spectators were curious about the various games. It was difficult to get in and play the games and sadly the smell would build up as well making this are far less fun than it should have been.
The front area of the room had several booths including two that were dedicated to upcoming games. The main booths had a variety of goods including shirts, controllers, stickers, and posters. This wasn’t much of a dealer hall, but it was a nice little shopping zone to pick up some custom gear. Then there was also a Fantasy Strike booth that showed off the beta of the indie fighter. The game drew in a little crowd, but response seemed to be mixed. In contrast, the Final Fantasy Dissidia booth had a group of very excited and dedicated players at all hours. Both of those booths had enough cycling to allow a better flow of players than the other gaming zone.
The general vibe of the event was mostly good. There were the occasional rude person heckling the competitors, but the majority of spectators at the tournament were friendly. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and cheer along with everyone when a great match ends. The only times the excitement levels would drop came with either less popular games or when a series of matches got too pedestrian. The high speed, brutal combo type fights worked up the crowd, but methodical, slow-paced matches killed the thrill for the crowd. There were a couple cosplayers, but this wasn’t really a ‘cosplay event’ however it was nice to see fans show up as characters from Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, and Tekken.
Video game competitions might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but even those who don’t game can find them exciting. It is a fun way to spend a day and checking out new games can be fun. The finals can be exciting, but the earlier matches tend to have more variety with the competitors trying out different strategies. There isn’t much reason to attend all three days of the event unless you are going to support a friend in the tournament. This is a great event that any gamer should give a chance. In fact, even those who aren’t hardcore gamers can really enjoy this event as one would enjoy any live sporting event. Special thanks go to Kitty who clued us into this event and encouraged us to cosplay. The entire team enjoyed themselves and we are looking forward to next year as well as covering more tournaments in the future.