Are Principles Casually Overlooked in the FGC?

A look at a North Atlantic venue that’s silently lost its identity

Recently, the fighting game community engaged a matter that lead to polarized views regarding the East Coast’s lack of representation. It sparked a great deal of rebuttal, (which some parties considered to be nothing more than “petty complaints”), as the West Coast and a Southern region were both graced with being part of the 2013 Road to Evo season. If you’ve been keeping tabs, then you know how this tale ended up – the East Coast was granted a spot, giving the community even more reasons to travel out to events and have an opportunity to be seeded in one of the most iconic international tournaments in the world.

And while this “victory” was celebrated, another matter arose, though this particular tale is much like when you hear about an incident of a fellow neighbor who tends to mind their own business, never created conflicts, and suddenly one day, they’ve become the victim of a tragic incident. Fortunately, nothing so morbid has struck the FGC, but the principle of a very alarming matter seems to have many players scratching their heads. Yes, that would be members on the East Coast, more specifically those who were participants of an event organized by James York and AG member Daniel “Lucky D” Lehmann.

Some are vaguely familiar with the event known as Game Underground Tournament Spectacular, (or GUTS for short), due to its previous history in which its former tournament organizer arranged an event that left a number of active tournament competitors skeptical of its future. Though like the triumphant tale in which one player stepped out to save his scene before it lost momentum (see: Alex JeBailey), a humble store owner – James  York – came forth to correct the previous wrongs and establish a new, well-deserved atmosphere for the Boston scene, which for so long, was overlooked as a region lacking significant talent.

[pullquote_right]Many of you actively support these events – if you knew another event was guilty of this – would you not be actively supporting the organizers for getting that party to cease and desist?[/pullquote_right]It’s safe to say that many who come across this article probably never heard (or cared) about GUTS since it’s essentially one of the latest newcomers to the competitive gaming scene. It hasn’t gained the major support level by the premier FGC websites that often keep players up-to-date when other established events are held. By mere coincidence, GUTS 2012 was held on the same weekend as Season’s Beatings: Ascension, a large scale event that attracted a large portion of the FGC’s top talent, spectators and aspiring talent.

Despite the odds, GUTS 2012 was considered a great success, as several gaming leagues including members from members from Empire Arcadia, Replay’D, Team Brainbox came out to compete in a variety of popular fighters: Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition v. 2012, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Dead or Alive 3, Persona 4, Tekken Tag Tournament. In addition, there was a modest selection of titles on hand such as Rock Band 3, WWE ’12, Madden ’12 and Super Smash Bros. Melee, making GUTS a more well-rounded experience for the more casual-oriented players who came out.

The general consensus motivated the organizers to focus on planning for creating a newer, bigger tournament experience where veterans and newcomers alike could have a great time and level up. Need some proof? Have a look at this:

So where’s this all going?

As it turns out, there’s been a minor identity crisis involving a well-known venue vs. a venue that’s still looking to get it’s active footing in the scene. Players are actively looking forward to GUTS II, which will likely be announced in the next few months, while others who actively support UFGT events eagerly await the ninth installment dubbed – GUTS.

Wait. . .how can both events have the same name?

(Technically they don’t as one is established as a parody from the Nickelodeon program “Guts”.)

In any case, the news has been especially troublesome to the new founder, although several attempts to coordinate  a reasonable agreement has all but failed. Responses have all lead up to being “unaware of GUTS existence” and “too bad.”

Here’s a better, memorable remark: ” I was also told that GU should be thankful that UFGT is using GUTS as a surname.”

Not quite the responses one would expect. Some of you will probably read this and go: it’s JUST a name – what’s the big deal.

Here’s a different perspective to consider. Think about any outlet that’s been established for sometime seeing a newcomer opting to mirror certain elements: aesthetics, content, or even the organization’s namesake. Could you imagine how quick lawyers would be on the prowl if Apple found someone else calling their new device an iPhone? Or another network promoting themselves as NBC? Fox? HBO?

Or how about if there was an event that decided to try to pass itself off as “Evolution”, “Battle Circuit”, “CEO”?

Many of you actively support these events – if you knew another event was guilty of this – would you not be actively supporting the organizers for getting that party to cease and desist?

More importantly, why should a new face to the scene have any less significance, especially when it’s supported by some of the scene’s most notable, solid players? And even so – would the absence of these marquee players make it less relevant?

Think really hard about this. To some reading this – this matter will seem very petty. It may be just a name, but these designated labels eventually become iconic fixture. One shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss a new entry to the community simply for the fact that UFGT has been around the block a lot longer, or that it hasn’t been widely promoted throughout the gaming circuit.

It should also be noted that by no means does this article imply that UFGT is a terrible event. However, the principle here can’t be ignored. Nor should the bold responses in which James and co. are told “tough luck”, much like the entire East Coast was expected to remain silent and accept the lack of representation. Although no major drama has resulted from this incident, it’s a clear example of  overshadows the positive qualities that often attract individuals to our community.

Mutual respect, professionalism and cooperation are the essential for our community to mature and progress. Although the scene has reached a crossroads for rapid development involving commercial, corporate entities where players can potentially benefit from substantial monetary payouts – or in some rare cases – build long-term careers in respective industries. If the community expects to wholly benefit from new opportunities to develop, expand the horizons and become a bigger mainstream staple – it’s imperative that the aforementioned attributes be exercised by everyone, rather than a select few.

That will require true effort, bravery and endurance — but is that reality attainable?

The choice is up to you.