Page 3 of 7If you build it...
SFIV is immensely popular and definitely pushed EVO's numbers beyond anything the organizers had ever seen before. Boasting 1040 entrants, the SFIV tournament had three times as many entrants as games like Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (STHD), which had the second most entrants. With so many entrants, EVO had also attracted a new market of players, whether they be casual players who wanted to try going to a tournament or skilled players who want to gain some recognition out of the other 1039 entrants.
While walking through the Rio ballroom during EVO, one would have to notice Roger Fitzgerald (on the picture's first player side), who wheeled around the room, assisted by a group of people. A quadriplegic, Fitzgerald has to find alternate ways to play the game, rather than using his hands on a controller like other players. However, he manages and does so quite well, pulling off combos and strategies that many players wouldn't even attempt. “Well, I've been playing games for 30 years,” Fitzgerald said, “so I have ways around it.” To help Fitzgerald get started, his crew plugged an adapter into the Playstation 3 (PS3) that allows it to read Xbox 360 controllers, and then positioned the controller in front of Fitzgerald's face. From this position, he used his chin to maneuver the analog stick and his lip to press the controller's buttons. For many players, it was an honor to be in the presence of players like Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong,both of whom are renown players. At the same time, any players watching Fitzgerald play were humbled to be in the presence of such a dedicated player.
Eduardo “Vw Scrub” Perez of Puerto Rico made lots of noise throughout the weekend, mostly forcing people to ask “Who's Eduardo Perez?” On Saturday night during the semi-finals for SFIV, he knocked both Alex “CaliPower” Valle and Martin “Marn” Phan to loser's bracket in sound fashion. Anyone who had seen those matches could not question Perez's victories – they weren't by a stroke of luck or a random ultra, but by skilled zoning and footsies, both of which are important tools to Street Fighter. By Sunday night's Top 8 SFIV event, Perez was still in the winner's bracket, having never been defeated. At this point, he got taken down by Southern California's Ed Ma. Even in the loser's bracket, Perez continued to wow the crowd, showing off combos with E. Honda that many either had not seen before or simply could not perform. Although he lost to New York's Sanford Kelly right after being sent to the loser's bracket, Perez was definitely a standout amongst the SFIV competitors.
Before this year, the majority of EVO's attendees came from either North America or Japan, while one or two came from Europe. For the first time ever, a competitor from Hong Kong attended and placed in an EVO tournament. Ricky “Kit” Tam (on the picture's first player side) is ranked as the third best SFIV player in Hong Kong; confident in his abilities, he came to EVO to try and see how he'd do. “I want to prove that Hong Kong has a chance to be good at fighting games, too,” Tam said. Although unable to get the coveted top 8 spot that many competitors dream of, he did get an opportunity to face off against Umehara in the semifinals on Saturday night. During the intense set, Tam won the first game, forcing Umehara to have to win two in a row. In true Daigo fashion, he did so, but Tam still put up a good fight, taking Umehara to the last round of the set before losing. Overall, Tam was satisfied, being able to show the crowd and viewers at home that Hong Kong had the potential to take out many people at EVO including the famed Umehara.