Summer Jam 2021 takes place this weekend in Cherry Hill, New Jersey from August 28-29. Following a year without offline tournaments, Big E Gaming returns with Summer Jam as one of the East Coast’s premier summer majors.
Tournament organizer Big E announced back in June that Summer Jam and Northeast Championship would return this year. Prior to this, competitors only had CEO and a few smaller events to plan for in 2021.
A SUMMER SPECTACLE
Summer Jam’s timing typically placed it after summer events like CEO and EVO in the past. Since it is a slightly smaller event than these larger majors, Summer Jam often only runs on a Saturday-Sunday schedule. However, Big E also announced a pre-tournament “Casual Friday” event on August 27 in the main venue.
Happy Memorial Day.. Everyone have Fun and be Safe. See you Soon🍺 pic.twitter.com/TSMBl5ibyA
— Big E Gaming (@BigEgaming) May 31, 2021
Summer Jam 2021 hosts a number of main event titles as well as select games for side tournaments. The main lineup includes Guilty Gear Strive, Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, Mortal Kombat 11, Soul Calibur VI, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Side events feature games like Granblue Fantasy Versus, Samurai Shodown and Ultra Street Fighter IV. On Friday, a separate venue hosts Summer Jam’s team tournaments before the singles brackets begin for the weekend.
DIFFERENCES THIS YEAR
The last Summer Jam was a Master Event on the Tekken World Tour and a Fatal Match Event for the DOA 6 World Championship. As no offline pro tours take place this year, the tournaments will have more of a domestic focus for Summer Jam 2021.
Summer Jam often attracts international competition such as the exciting Tekken 7 grand finals between Chikurin and Double in 2019. Complications due to the pandemic change the landscape of this year’s tournament, but some of America’s finest will still be in attendance. The event’s Smash.gg page shows attendees such as Lord Knight, Anakin, Pokchop and Chris G registered for numerous games.
THE FIRST OFFLINE MAJOR
For many, Summer Jam marks the return of offline major events for the fighting game community. NEC 2021 and Kumite In Tennessee are also on this year’s schedule, though these events are few and far between. The landscape of the FGC is quite different now compared to 2019 and competitors have grown used to dealing with online connections for competition.
Summer Jam 2021 may symbolize a return to form in the fighting game community alongside the return of smaller local events along the way. Oftentimes, out-of-state players will even visit a local community’s weekly tournaments like Vermilion’s “The Vortex” locals in Pennsylvania for last-minute preparation before a major.
For both spectators and competitors alike, Summer Jam 2021 gives plenty of reason to be excited for offline fighting games again. Majors have not been at the forefront of the FGC in nearly two years, but Big E is looking to change that this weekend.
Featured image courtesy of Big E Gaming
You can also follow Alex on Twitter at @bear__player.