In this age of online gaming with high speed internet connections, it’s seemingly less needed to head outside to play games. It makes sense to just stay in the comfort of your home, but the tea-bagging trolls and lag from online play is enough to make anyone rage and have a bad time. We still has a long way to go before getting the true fighting game experience online so the best solution is to play in person with other people. Your best bet would be to find a local fighting game event near you. You won’t find a better place to find good competition, make some friends, and experience the passion of the Fighting Game Community (FGC). So here’s five tips on making your first local fighting game event a great one.
Prepare Your Equipment
The first thing you need to do is prepare your gear before heading out to an event. It’s important to make sure you look up what platform (PS4, Xbox, Switch, etc.) the games are being run on and bring the appropriate controller. Typically, anything that uses USB to connect is allowed. Bluetooth pad controllers may require USB or that the pad is desynced from the system after each match. Controller converters may be banned depending on the model because some may cause lag. If you still aren’t sure what you can use, it’s good to contact a tournament organizer and ask if your controller is permitted. If you don’t have any equipment of your own, you can also ask if they offer rentals. Also consider bringing cash for entry fees, snacks, and water.
Find a Friend
Before you head out to a tournament or a casual session, see if you can find a friend that is willing to go with you. This can help to make you feel more comfortable than if you go alone. This person could be someone who plays a game that is offered at the event or someone who might just be down to watch and hang out. But if you don’t have someone that is willing to go, you should reach out to the tournament organizer (aka TO) via Twitter or email. More often than not a TO will be eager to help introduce you to the community. If you don’t get a response, you can try reaching out to someone you may have seen tweet about attending this event. Most people in the fighting game community are very friendly and are willing to help those who are new to the scene. This is a great way to get introduced into the local community, as someone who is trusted and can vouch for you. It’s like reaching out to someone who can get you onto the VIP list.
Get There Early
Find out what time the tournament will begin and be sure to get there an hour or two earlier. Being able to run casuals/friendlies will help you warm up and get comfortable with the general skill level of the scene. This is also the perfect time to get to know people there as most players won’t have to play too seriously. You can goof around and try some silly setups or just chat about things with people. If you’re more serious player, this is a great time to get matchup experience and learn from others about the game. On the practical side, being early will ensure that you won’t miss the registration time for any tournaments.
Talk About Stuff
Talking about your matches with other players will help you to understand the game and also make new friends in the community. It may be the case that you are shy to talk about anything since you are a new person there. So it may help to start with talking about what everyone is invested in; the games. Most people there want to improve at the game, so you can teach them about your character and how to do better against them. By doing this, you are adding value to your local community and gaining trust as someone helpful. And most players are open and willing to teach and talk about their own character, so you can learn to improve as well. These conversations can also hopefully help start new friendships and fun rivalries.
Last, but not least, remember that this is an event to play a fun game. Everyone is there to enjoy the game together in different ways. It’s best to be yourself along with bringing a positive attitude. It’s possible that you lose your tournament matches and most of your casual matches, but that’s OK. You can still have a good time by goofing around, learning, and connecting with people there. If you are there to mainly do better at the game, use this event as a learning experience to improve. So whatever your goal is in attending local events, there is always something to get out of it.
I hope these tips will give you the little boost of confidence you might’ve needed to try stepping into your local FGC scene. The energy and the passion shared for fighting games is best experienced in person. There’s so much to gain from being a part of this community and if you stick around, you may become part of many great experiences like this one.
Now that you’re ready to fight, make sure to check if there’s a local tournament near you here!
Title image provided by @colorinlive