Several hours from now, hundreds of passionate gamers will be en route to Orlando. Though most of the attendees have been longtime supporters, each iteration sets a new precedent that yields new fans. These are fans whose expectations is to indulge in an extravagant experience full of wholesome company, memorable matches, and other eventual activities.
It takes a great deal of effort to devote your time and resources into creating a tournament brand. Administrators and their trusted personnel often spend months meticulously planning for every essential component that will ensure the event is a success. There’s a lot of moving parts which have to be properly coordinated and managed.
So you can imagine the disappointment when those efforts are tainted by inappropriate behavior.
The past several weeks has been quite unsettling for the FGC, as there’s been multiple occurrences that could have been prevented. It’s one of the biggest reasons why external parties are so skeptical about a group that are often labeled as immature, hostile, and unwilling to accept any accountability for their actions.
Obviously, I know that we’re much better than that, but there’s still some work at hand. Though it’s admirable to see steps taken to promptly regulate inappropriate behavior, this initiative would be far more impactful if it’s a concerted effort.
This weekend, we have the opportunity to set a new precedent that will ensure Community Effort Orlando’s highlights aren't soiled by infamy. It means that cosplayers should be able to attend the event without worrying about their personal safety being put at risk; or competitors (male and female) being sexually harassed. And while it’s safe to assume that tensions can escalate at any point of a climatic showdown; is it really worth spending a weekend in jail from a petty encounter at a video game tournament? I don’t think so.
Tournament organizers are already anxious about a variety of operational factors. Having to play baby-sitter among a swath of young adults (or older) shouldn’t be one of them. Community Effort Orlando’s very namesake denotes fellowship of like-minded individuals bound by common interest. Whether you’re making the trip to compete in Street Fighter V, volunteering your services as a commentator, or sharing your unique wares as a vendor, we’re all making an effort to participate in the events because we happen to share the love for gaming to some degree.
This weekend will be quite a treat, as the event will be graced with some well-known celebrities like Kenny Omega (and Xavier Woods, if all is still going to plan). Once again, CEO is being graced by international talent — Daigo’s presence definitely will be a great dinner topic, as he’s bound to unleash some awe-inspiring gameplay.
And how can we forget all those trademark stage entrances? It remains to be seen how K-Brad is going to top his Stone Cold improv or Dieminion "magical" reveal ringside against Bonchan. These are the type of highlights that make attendees keen on coming back. Oh, and the annual pool party? Well, that’s always a great time for merriment and companionship — sometimes things can get out of hand when the bubbly is passed around. My advice: stay gracious my friends and use your discretion.
The bottom line: there’s little reason why attendees shouldn’t be able to have a wholesome experience from beginning to end. If we could all manifest some integrity and responsibility; if we’re able to hold ourselves to a greater standard, educate, enforce event policies, and avoid looking the other way when something distasteful should arise, the FGC will eventually become even more appealing to a broader audience.