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Evo: A Brief History

This weekend will have the world’s longest running fighting game tournament in Las Vegas, NV. Thousands of competitors from across the globe will be arriving to compete in their favorites games. There are players from at least 30 different countries, and they all want a shot to be crowned as the champion.

The name of this tournament is “Evolution Championship Series”, or Evo. This annual event has essentially become the Super Bowl of fighting games. The Evolution Championship Series has been a staple tournament for the Fighting Game Community. It happens every summer in Las Vegas, but this grand tournament has a humble beginning.

Back to the Beginning

The tournament has been around since 1996, originally under the name Battle by the Bay.

Battle by the Bay was a 40-man Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2 tournament. Battle by the Bay was hosted in Sunnyvale, CA. The tournament went through a re-branding in 2002 under its new name Evolution Championship Series. Evo continued to add more fighting games over the years. In 2004, Evo would become a part of esports history with “Evo Moment #37.”

Evo Moment 37 - Ken parries Chun-Li
Daigo’s legendary play sent shockwaves throughout the FGC, cementing Evo as an event worth keeping an eye on. Image: Shoryuken

Moment #37 is one of the most influential plays in esports history, and it happened during a match between Japanese competitor Daigo Umehara and American competitor Justin Wong. The game was Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. Daigo was using Ken while Justin was using Chun-Li.

Justin was in the prime position to win. He had the life lead and Daigo was on the verge of getting his life bar chipped out. To win the match and maintain momentum, Justin decided to use a super and go for the chip kill. This is when Daigo made one of the greatest comebacks in history by parrying the super and punishing with his own combo to emerge victorious. This moment helped Evo become bigger and better from that point on.

Moving for Bigger Opportunities

In 2005, Evo moved to Las Vegas. It now had seven games in its main tournament lineup along with countless side tournaments for other games. Evo was held at the Green Valley Ranch Casino and Hotel. This became a tradition for the tournament as it was held in numerous hotels in Las Vegas over the next decade.

Image: Fighting Games Online

In 2016, Evo made another necessary change. Evo continued to be held in Las Vegas, but as the player and spectator count was growing, it was time to make a transition. 2016 was the year that Evo made the change from being held in casinos and hotels to being held in the Las Vegas Convention Center for Friday and Saturday. The Sunday finals were held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. This was also the first year that we saw an ESPN broadcast of the Street Fighter V Finals. This broadcast solidified Evo’s position in the esports industry.

Make sure to tune into the Evolution Championship Series to see thousands of players compete to become the champion for their respective game. With 8 games in the main lineup, there is something for everyone to watch. With it being the year’s biggest tournament, you can be sure to see upsets and comebacks.


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1 comment

Evo 2018 Preview • The Game Haus August 3, 2018 at 6:00 am

[…] this week, we gave a brief history of the Evo, but now it’s time for a preview of the year’s biggest tournament. Evo has eight main games and […]


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