In a matter of days, Freeborn Hall will be overtaken by video-gamers in an epic two-day-long tournament. The event, called Dromstruction, is open to UC Davis students, Davis residents, and other video-game enthusiasts from the surrounding area.
On Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., the tournament will feature seven of the most popular Street Fighting games. They include: Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat (2011), Tekken 6, BlazBlue Continuum Shift II, Super Street Fighter II Turbo & Street Fighter III: Third Strike and Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition.
Thirty-two set-ups, consisting of a game console and a TV screen, will be located on the ground floor of Freeborn Hall. On the stage, there will be large screens streaming the event live for online viewers. Each stream is set up with a commentator.
The tournament will consist of a double elimination bracket. The majority of the games will be played on the first day of the tournament, with second day reserved for the finals. Each game will have its own separate winners and there will be yet-to-be-determined prizes.
The event is being organized by Jenkins Mitchell, owner of Nerdy Video Game Stuff in downtown Davis. Mitchell said he has wanted to have a tournament like this for a while. Although he has held similar tournaments before at his store, he anticipates this one will be much larger.
“My goal is to get people involved who haven’t been really introduced to it. In Davis, fighting games used to be much bigger and the skill level used to be very high. With this tournament I am hoping to bring it back,” Mitchell said.
The tournament will be geared toward the specific genre of video games known as “fighting games,” a popular type of video game where a player controls an on-screen character and engages in close combat with an opponent. The ultimate goal is to beat the other player using their own character’s unique moves and weapons.
“I think fighting games are a non-violent way to express your fighting behavior,” said senior English major and fighting game player Sean ‘Coopa’ Hoang.
At Dromstruction, Hoang will be a commentator as well as a player.
“It’s not always the players who become famous, it’s the commentators too. In terms of commentating, each region in America has their own type of style,” Hoang said.
Sammy Nguyen, senior mechanical engineering major, a gamer who will be participating in the event, relates fighting games to a fast paced game of chess.
“There are many elements of playing chess that happen about three times as fast in a fighting game. What makes it fun and interesting is that everybody has their own way of doing it,” Nguyen said.
Similar events that Mitchell has previously held at his Davis video game store have had anywhere from 20 to 60 entrants, who came from as far as Reno and San Jose. But for Dromstruction, Mitchell expects around 200 entrants, a few hundred more spectators and over 3000 online viewers.
“This one will be the biggest event I’ve ever held,” Mitchell said.
Outside of Davis, fighting games are still extremely popular. The largest fighting game tournament in the world, called Evolution, is held in Las Vegas. It takes place once a year and usually has about 3 million unique viewers from across the country.
“Evolution is kind of like the world Olympics for fighting games. It’s pretty crazy – if you win first place, you make around $40,000,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen, Hoang, and Mitchell all agreed that fighting games are just as much a social event as they are a video games tournament.
“Typically, when people think of gamers they either think of a Halo junkie or a geek. But, the social aspect is a huge part. When playing, you get to meet people from every background – pre-law, English majors, college and high school students alike. It’s a pretty diverse group,” Hoang said.
Mitchell said Dromstruction is more about bringing the street fighting community together and making it more popular than it is about making money from the tournament.
“As long as I don’t lose money on this, then I will do it again next year. Hopefully, with this year’s success, it will be much easier to set up for next year,” Mitchell said.
In addition to the games, Dromstruction’s sponsors will set up booths featuring food, specialty shirts as well as other merchandise, sample products from NEC Displays, NOS Energy Drinks and more.
Further, donations can be made to “Chicks in Crisis,” a non-profit organization based in Sacramento that provides parenting and adoption resources to young mothers, new parents and children.
Nguyen added that simply being a spectator is free.
“It’s an open event too, so even if you are not competing you can just come by and watch, support, encourage or discourage. Whatever you want,” Nguyen said.
Registration for Dromstruction costs $30 until Oct. 19 and $40 until the tournament. Visit www.dromstruction.com for more information and to register.
CLAIRE MALDARELLI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.