Tag Archives: fighting games

The Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro Has 20 SNK Games Built In

Earlier this month SNK announced the Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro, a fight stick with a design based on the Neo Geo CD’s Controller Pad stick. Turns out it’s not only a joystick but also a standalone retro console that can be hooked directly to a television to play 20 built-in SNK fighting games.

The Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro, eventually coming to North America via Game Monkey, has two different modes. When plugged into a PC or one of those nifty Neo Geo Mini consoles via USB, it’s a standard arcade stick controller. Hooked to a television via HDMI, it’s a combo fighting stick/retro console with 20 classic Neo Geo games ready to play. It sounds a lot like Capcom’s fighting stick console, only shaped like a nice-looking piece of kit instead of an obnoxious giant logo.

SNK isn’t saying which 20 games come with the Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro, but one can assume there will be a fair number of fighting games. SNK hasn’t put a price on the unit yet. If I had to guess, I’d say more than five dollars but less than all the dollars.

Source: Kotaku.com

Smash Bros. Takes Center Stage At The Biggest Fighting Game Event Of The Year

For the first time since it was released in 2016, Street Fighter V won’t be the final headlining event that concludes the Evolution Championship Series this weekend. Instead, that honor goes to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This is the first time in the history of the series that it’s ever received top-billing at the event.

When the organizers of Evo first announced this year’s prospective line-up of game tournaments that would be featured on the main stage, some were outraged that Smash Bros. Melee hadn’t made the cut. The game may be old, but year after year, its top players still have managed to put on a great show. While some perceived Melee getting replaced by Ultimate as a slight, it was also a credit to the success of Smash Ultimate in bringing new players into the fold while also capturing the interest of veterans from throughout the series’ past. Enough, at least, to convince Evo to make it this year’s finale.

The move is also surprising given the deeply entrenched sentiment among some corners of the fighting game community that Smash Bros. isn’t an authentic fighting game series in the same way as, say, Street Fighter, which has traditionally been the cornerstone of every Evo. But the registration numbers for Ultimate tell a different story. 3,492 people are competing in this year’s Smash Ultimate tournament, as compared to 1,929 competing in Street Fighter V, which is down just over 20 percent from the year prior. Kids these days wanna Smash.

Of course, Evo is about more than just the headliners. Tekken 7, Mortal Kombat 11, Soulcalibur VI, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st], Dragon Ball FighterZ, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, and Samurai Shodown are also being featured, the last of which I’m particularly excited to see unfold, given how veteran players from other games like Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzalez and Justin “JWong” Wong have been tearing it up in the relatively nascent scene.

Evo 2019 gets underway today, August 2, at 1:00 p.m. ET with competitive pools across every game. The big finale for the event’s first day is the Soul Calibur VI finals tonight at 11:00 p.m. Here’s the complete schedule for the rest of the weekend:

Saturday, August 3

1:00 p.m. – Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st]

4:00 p.m. – Dragon Ball FighterZ

7:00 p.m. – Samurai Shodown

11:00 p.m. – Mortal Kombat 11

Sunday, August 4

12:00 p.m. – BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

3:00 p.m. – Street Fighter V

6:30 p.m. – Tekken 7

10:00 p.m. – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

All of the finals matches will stream live on Evo’s main Twitch channel, with pools play available on additional channels, a full guide to which you can find here.

There are also a ton of side tournaments at the event, including not just well-known games like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Smash Bros. Melee, but also a bunch of smaller competitive ones, including a Puyo Puyo Champions tournament that begins today at 3:00 p.m. ET over on pxmacaiah’s Twitch channel. Also, at 9:00 p.m. ET tonight, a small Catherine tournament will be hosted on the same channel. These side events are all being organized under the banner of Anime Evo, which has a full schedule and list of corresponding streams over here

Source: Kotaku.com

Street Fighter’s Queer Stereotypes Kept Me In The Closet

Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

Last year during Pride month, I wrote about my own queer reading of the Street Fighter V tutorial, which features Ken and Ryu fighting and, in my opinion, flirting. In the year since then, I’ve been thinking about the character Juri in Street Fighter, who is the closest the games get to having a canonical bisexual character. You’d think I would prefer to sing the praises of a character who has lines in the game in which she indisputably flirts with both male and female characters. Why wouldn’t I celebrate that, instead of digging for queer subtext in a tutorial about two straight male characters? Shouldn’t I relate more to the queer female character, given who I am in real life?

But I don’t relate to Juri. She doesn’t seem like a person so much as a recreation of a very tired stereotype: the “depraved bisexual.” She’s a sadistic femme fatale whose attraction to both men and women is painted as predatory and frightening. Juri is obsessed with Chun-li, for example, accusing the latter of having a “schoolgirl crush” on her, which is a creepy thing to say to somebody right before you beat the crap out of them.

Because Street Fighter is a fighting game, all of the characters’ lines are delivered right before a fight begins or after it has been won, meaning that any flirtatious line has an inherently threatening bent. Also, because this is a fighting game, none of the characters really seem like people; they’re more like slapdash archetypes. For that reason, it’s hard to relate to any of them.

Part of my dislike of Juri is personal. Juri first appeared in Super Street Fighter IV. The first time I saw her deliver her flirtatious lines to Chun-li, I was firmly in the closet—or, more specifically, I had come out of the closet as a teenager but headed back in during my early 20s. Although I had dated a woman in college, I ended up in a long-term relationship with a man in my 20s. During that relationship, I stopped bothering to tell other people that I had ever been attracted to women. Part of that was because it felt tiring to correct people who assumed I was straight based on the relationship they saw me in. But a bigger part of it was that I felt ashamed of who I was. The portrayal of bisexual characters in media informed my feelings, and that included characters like Juri, who convinced me that coming out could make other people uncomfortable.

Juri was just so sexual. She was not only attracted to both men and women, she had to tell everybody about it, against their consent. She had a seemingly uncontrollable sex drive that was depicted as tied to her love of inflicting pain on others. She wore a tiny handkerchief over her boobs without a bra underneath—just like a bisexual, right? It made me feel disgusted, not with Juri, but with myself.

Bisexual characters are often presented as being oversexed, predatory, and out of control. There’s X-Men villain Mr. Sinister, the flamboyant scientist whose lust for power is only matched by his lust for most of the X-Men. There’s Sharon Stone’s character in the movie Basic Instinct, yet another manipulative and predatory bisexual. Those are far from the only two villainous bisexual characters in media: DC Comics has Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman, and then there’s Dr. Frank N. Furter from Rocky Horror. Queer people have reclaimed these characters, but in the past they, along with Juri, taught me that swinging both ways would be seen as evil and scary.

I have a lot of queer friends who came out because of experiences that they had in games, who felt like they could finally express themselves because of role-playing in virtual spaces. That wasn’t my experience. Games like Street Fighter were part of what pushed me further into the closet. But, at the same time, I found moments in Street Fighter that I could reclaim for myself, and the Street Fighter V tutorial was one of those.

Because Ken and Ryu aren’t actually depicted as queer characters within the canon of the game, their behavior in the tutorial is supposed to be nothing more than a cute rivalry between best friends. But it’s also undeniable that Ken and Ryu care about each other and want to help each other improve. Even if it’s not a homosexual love within the game’s canon, they still have a kind and consenting affection towards each other. For me, it felt safe to imagine that relationship as being one that could include a less platonic form of love. My reading started out as a joke, but eventually I realized that it was also a desperate longing to see an example of queerness in a game that I loved to play, a game that unfortunately also included uncomfortable tropes.

Now that I’m more comfortable with who I am, I can shrug off the depiction of characters like Juri. But it took me years to get to that point. I understand why queer people try to reclaim and own these characters; for some people, bad representation is better than nothing at all. I had to invent my own story, free of harmful stereotypes, in order to create an example of queer representation that made me feel okay. At least Street Fighter is such a sparse game that it wasn’t hard to do.

Source: Kotaku.com

Tips For Playing Samurai Shodown

Screenshot: SNK

It’s been said about a million times before, but one more won’t hurt: Fighting games are hard. Stupid hard. If you weren’t lucky enough to be born during the arcade’s heyday, when fighting games ruled the world, you’re already at a disadvantage. Samurai Shodown, which launched earlier this week, only exacerbates the issue by carving out such a unique niche that having a baseline of fighting game knowledge might actually hurt a player’s chances of winning matches early on. Truth be told, you probably aren’t going to be good at Samurai Shodown—or heck, even decent—for a very long time.

For an in-depth explanation of the game’s mechanics, like the Rage Meter and various defensive techniques, you can check out my previous article. Samurai Shodown’s training mode should be the first place you stop after working your way through the barebones tutorial. I personally recommend starting with Haohmaru, who functions as the Ryu of the franchise thanks to his basic movelist and jack-of-all-trades skillset, but feel free to pick anyone you think looks cool.

Haohmaru has a fireball and an uppercut, but what you’ll want to check out first are his normal attacks. Work your way through every button, absorbing their strengths and weaknesses. Light Slash is like a jab, for instance, meaning it comes out fast but deals little damage on its own compared to the Medium and Heavy varieties. In addition to standing, crouching, and jumping normals, each button can also be used during a character’s running animation, usually with unique properties. In Haomaru’s case, you’re going to want to focus on two specific normals at first: his standing Medium Slash and his crouching Heavy Slash. The former is a great poke that can be canceled into uppercut, while the latter is a functional anti-air. Keep in mind that Heavy Slash has very slow startup, meaning you’ll need to practice timing it correctly if you want to catch a jumping opponent.

Screenshot: SNK

No matter how cool it feels or looks, jumping is the biggest trap in fighting games. Although it may seem like the best option at all times, it leaves you completely defenseless. This goes double for Samurai Shodown, whose characters float lazily through the air with every jump. When you’re just starting out, only go airborne when you think you have a read on a fireball-happy opponent, and be ready to follow up accordingly. Haohmaru’s jumping Heavy Slash deals incredible damage, especially when you combo into standing Medium Slash and a Heavy uppercut. The timing on this short combo isn’t incredibly tricky, but you’ll want to be sure to land the Heavy Slash as late into the jump as possible to provide enough of a window to transition into the next attack.

The Samurai Shodown roster doesn’t begin and end with Haohmaru, though. After 16 years, the franchise has a ton of characters from which to choose. Nakoruru is small and frail but brings backup to matches in the form of her pet hawk, Mamahaha. She uses the bird as a projectile and can also latch onto its feet for some airborne shenanigans. The burly Earthquake uses long-range normals to make up for his slow speed, but he can also dish out damage with a quick command grab if he manages to get close to the opponent. South-American warrior Tam Tam comes equipped with a variety of projectiles, making him the closest thing the newest Samurai Shodown has to a true zoner, or a character that thrives by controlling the rhythm of the battle with fireballs.

No matter who you choose, it’s important to head into competitive matches knowing that online play is a brutal hellscape and you will lose more than you win for a long time. This can be frustrating, but winning shouldn’t be your initial goal. After every match, try to pick out one or two things that you can learn or improve upon. Were you unfamiliar with Ukyo’s tricky special attacks? Was Yashamaru’s double jump difficult to follow? Did you get tunnel-vision and try too hard to make something happen with risky attacks?

Since Samurai Shodown dropped a few days ago, the competitive community has been hard at work learning the ins and outs of the new outing and its various characters. They found some pretty useful things, so I’ll share some here. For instance, did you know the fully charged version of one of Darli Dagger’s special attacks is completely unblockable?

Ukyo is typically pretty good, but he was done dirty here. Many of his normals are punishable on hit—an uncommon characteristic since successfully landed attacks are usually safe from retaliation in most fighting games—so you’ll want to use them from specific ranges to make them more safe.

Wu-Ruixiang’s run provides a guard point above her head that blocks air attacks.

If you’re playing Shiki, Jubei, or anyone else with an uppercut-style attack, you’ll need to be careful against an opponent that still has access to their Rage meter, as Rage Explosion can be used to escape and punish combos.

Using Rage in this way eliminates its use from the rest of the match, but it’s a great way to seal the deal at the end of a game.

Yoshitora carries a lot of swords, but he doesn’t unlock his special seventh sword—which gives him access to a super damaging, screen-filling attack—until landing each of his six specials at least once. As such, players are trying to figure out the easiest methods of getting that seventh sword unsheathed. One way is to use an incredibly powerful attack known as a Super Special, which unlocks it immediately. This can only be activated once per game, however, so use it wisely.

Players can also land Yoshitora’s specials after the round has ended and they’ll still count toward unlocking the seventh sword in subsequent rounds.

As you can see, Samurai Shodown manages to be complex despite its focus on foundational genre skills. But don’t let that complexity scare you away! It’s very easy to jump into this game and learn the basics, and there are very few execution-related constraints. Yes, Samurai Shodown is going to kick your ass. It’s a fighting game, for crying out loud! Fortunately, you don’t need to be Daigo Umehara to challenge your friends in your living room, check out your local weekly tournament, or even attend events like Evo and Combo Breaker. Just show up, ask questions, and remember to have fun, because fighting games are something so great.

Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.

Source: Kotaku.com

Arcade Setups Keep The Dream Of Competitive Darkstalkers 3 Alive

The fighting game extravaganza MIXUP returns for its third year this weekend in Lyon, France. While it’ll showcase tournaments in all the current major games like Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and Dragon Ball FighterZ, it’ll also be home to a number of more niche side events, including one for the beloved Capcom arcade classic, Darkstalkers 3.

Despite all of the re-releases over the past two decades, there hasn’t actually been a new Darkstalkers game since Darkstalkers 3 was released on Capcom Play System II arcade cabinets in 1997. There have been numerous updates, console ports, and compilations released in the years since, including 2013’s Darkstalkers Resurrection, which put the second and third games in HD, but never anything that could be considered Darkstalkers 4.

While it’s easy to be disappointed that Capcom has allowed one of its cult classic series to languish for over a decade, the long life of Darkstalkers 3 has also allowed history to stay alive, with fans and veteran players continuing to compete at various fighting game events the world over even as the field becomes crowded with newer fighting games. MIXUP is one of those events. Though the main spotlight will be on recent releases like Soulcalibur IV, Darkstalkers 3 diehards will have the chance to duke it out on actual arcade cabinets.

The game’s top 32 bracket will get underway on Sunday, April 21, at 10:00 a.m. ET, with all of the action streamed live from the MIXUP arcade mainstage. You can find a full list of streams and times for the rest of the event’s tournaments at Smash.gg, with the festivities wrapping up Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET with the top 8 for Tekken 7.

Meanwhile in the world of Smash Bros., Pound 2019 kicks off today in Maryland with tournaments for both Ultimate and Melee. Almost every top player of note, from Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma to to Eric “ESAM” Lew, will be in attendance, with a special Squad Strike battle going down Saturday evening starting at 5:00 p.m. ET. Everything will be streamed live on Twitch channels VGBoot Camp 1 through 3.

Finally, Dota 2 veterans Natus Vincere look to claim some glory in India at the $300,000 ESL One Mumbai Major. The grand finals will take place on Sunday at 6:30 a.m. ET and will stream on ESL’s Dota 2 Twitch channel.

Source: Kotaku.com

Epic Games Is Spending $500,000 Just So Competitive Fortnite Players Can Practice

It’s a light weekend for esports, save for Epic Games’ Fortnite World Cup Warm Up. It’s a two-day mini-tournament which, because it’s Fortnite, will nevertheless include a $500,000 prize divided up among hundreds of winners.

Competitive Fortnite’s World Cup event is slated to take place in July. Before that, teams will compete in a series of qualifiers in order to enter. And before that, top players from all over the world who have managed to rank up to Division 6 in Arena Mode’s Contender’s League will be able to compete in this weekend’s Warm Up, featuring a prize pool to dwarf most games’ world championships.

During the semi-finals on Saturday, these players will face off against one another, with the top 1,500 duos teams advancing to the finals on Sunday. In the spirit of a true battle royale, the structure seems poised to allow anything to happen, including even the best laid plans being derailed by lag, server disconnects, or just poor luck.

Since it’s just a warm up, the top finishing teams in every region will all win at something. In the Northeast, for instance, 500th place will still take home $200, while 1st place wins $4,500. It’s almost like Epic has more money than its esports department knows what to do with. It’ll also be a good opportunity for players to get acquainted with the new resolution restrictions for competitive play that Epic rolled out this week.

There’s no firm schedule for when matches will start on each day, but you’ll be able to find at least some of the action streaming on the official Fortnite Twitch channel.

Elsewhere in competitive gaming, North America’s two League of Legends juggernauts, Team Solo Mid and Cloud9, will face each other on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET in the second leg of the spring 2019 championship semi-finals. Tied coming out of the regular season, Cloud9 has been victorious in both the two teams’ previous meetings this year, while TSM has history on its side. It could well end up being the best five-game series of the entire season, so tune into Riot’s Twitch channel to watch.

Finally, the fighting game community descends on Brussels this weekend. Matches begin Saturday morning at 4:00 a.m. ET with BlazBlue: Cross Tag and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate pools, before wrapping up around 11:30 a.m. with Street Fighter V. On Sunday, Smash Ultimate top 8 begins at 3:00 a.m., with Dragon Ball FighterZ top 4 starting at 9:00 a.m, followed by Street Fighter V top 8.

The biggest matches will be streaming on the Brussels Challenge Twitch channel, but you can find a complete schedule of the event here.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Keys To A Good Mortal Kombat Fatality: Rhythm And Humor

Mortal Kombat 11’s art director Steve Beran has seen a lot of fatalities, given that he’s worked on the series since the ‘90s. His favorite in the new game involves “bloodsicles,” where the character Skarlet stabs an opponent over and over with spikes made from their own frozen blood. Then she pops an eyeball out the back of their head.

“You think it’s over, but the final push with the eyeball at the end is just [chef kiss sound],” Beran told Kotaku.

In some ways, the Mortal Kombat series’ fatalities are a relic of a bygone era—a blood-spattered artifact of pure ‘90s edginess. The series, however improbably, remains a fixture of the fighting game scene decades later, and fatalities, like everything else, have changed with the times.

Yesterday, developer Netherrealm threw a big, bloody bash in Los Angeles to debut Mortal Kombat 11, which will be released for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC on April 23.

While Netherrealm wanted the event to showcase all of the changes it’s made to this latest version of the game, it was inevitable that MK11‘s higher-than-ever-fidelity take on viscera-mutilating ultraviolence grabbed everyone’s eyeballs. (Sometimes literally.) I laughed at the sheer ludicrousness of it; others, like Kotaku’s Mike Fahey, understandably had some trouble stomaching it all. Speaking during an interview after the reveal, Beran said that the team’s goal is to keep the fatalities funny—just not too funny.

“To some degree, there’s a filter we have,” he told Kotaku. “More often than not, we never do anything that’s terribly sad. I don’t think it’s ever intentional. I think we’ve just done it so long that they tend to be more funny than anything.”

But funny doesn’t mean slapstick. “Mortal Kombat has always had a sense of humor, but there’s a line where things become corny,” Beran said. One fatality move from 1995’s Mortal Kombat 3 that was too corny was the character Kabal inflating his opponent’s heads and popping them. “They were like balloons,” he said. “That’s way too silly for something we’d do now. It’s too Scooby Doo—not Scooby Doo necessarily, but Bugs Bunny.”

The key to a great fatality, Beran said, isn’t extreme grossness, but rhythm. “If there’s too much of a drag between beats, it’s like ‘Let’s tighten that up,’” he said. “It could look cool, but if there’s not this dah, dah, dah, we adjust it to make it feel right.”

If they like the rhythm, the proposed fatality gets sent off to creative director Ed Boon, one of the creators of the original 1992 Mortal Kombat and still involved with the series. “Ed’s involved in every single fatality,” Beran said. “He usually adds something to it.”

Making horrific death come to life in-game is another process entirely. Beran put special emphasis on effects, noting that the game’s chunky stew of spilled blood and torn flesh dredges up reactions from the pits of people’s stomachs thanks to hours of testing.

“We do a lot of testing of, like, how liquid will land on carpet, how it’ll react on dirt,” he said. “And we do tests and talk about them like ‘Does that look how you’d think it would look?’… If I get blood on my shirt, it’s gonna get dark, so it needs to react appropriately. Our tech artists dig into that and make it look very real.”

“The fatality process is awesome,” Beran said. “It’s some of the most fun work.”

Fatalities come at the end of a match of Mortal Kombat, because it’s hard to keep fighting after you’re dead. In the middle of a Mortal Kombat 11 match, you can also pull off similarly brutal moves called “crushing blows” and “fatal blows.” These also tend to produce bone-crunching, organ-smoothie-making results, which are sometimes amplified by X-ray zoom-in effects to drive the point home. Those force the team to examine ultra-violence in different lights. It’s one thing to put an elaborate, cringe-inducing sequence in which somebody’s skull becomes a cracked bowl for a sloppy helping of brain soup once a match is over. It’s another to risk interrupting a match’s rhythm with one in the middle. Crushing blows, as it turns out, are the development team’s response to that very issue with a similar feature called X-ray blows from 2015’s Mortal Kombat X.

“Some players thought X-rays were too long,” Beran said. Crushing blows, he said, are faster, “a good punctuation that makes you grimace and then gets you back into the fight very quickly.”

In a series as nonchalant about flying eyeballs, ripped-off faces, and torn-open mouths as Mortal Kombat, you’d figure there wouldn’t be anything that’s off-limits. And you’d be right—for the most part.

“It’s weird finding the barometer of what is too much,” said Beran. “Some of the most tangible seem to be [like] the Baraka one where the victim is getting spiked through their hand. That’s more cringeworthy to me than someone getting their head smashed. It just seems more realistic. I don’t think that crosses a line, but it gets more of a reaction than something that’s more cartoony.”

One thing that’s definitely off the table is a mode in which mid-match acts of limb-smashing, face-perforating violence create lasting damage that affects the character’s’ ability to fight. It “sounds like a neat idea,” Beran said, “but then when it feels like you’re just beating up a wounded thing, it doesn’t feel as competitive anymore.”

Given that Beran has worked on these sorts of scenes for decades, I wondered if there was anything that grosses him out anymore—if he views gnarly, nearly-photo-realistic violence differently than other people might. He doesn’t really think of it on those terms anymore. “I hate to keep saying this, but I think it’s more just the beats to me,” he said. “It’s not so much what’s happening. It’s more just the animations.”

But fatalities are far from the only thing that the Mortal Kombat team obsesses over. Beran stressed, too, that Mortal Kombat’s art team spends countless hours obsessing over materials, trying to get the details of everything from metal and leather to dirt and glass just right. “Metal looks like metal. Leather looks like leather,” he said. Back in the day, the team pursued realistic detail to set Mortal Kombat apart from more stylized competitors like Street Fighter. Even though the look and feel of Mortal Kombat 11 is very different than, say, Mortal Kombat II the underlying spirit is similar.

“It’s almost full circle,” said Beran. “Even when it was low-res, we’d hire real actors and videotape them and capture their moves. Now I think it’s just on a bigger scale… It’s very common now, but at the time, it was pretty groundbreaking—especially to have huge characters on the screen, that was unheard of. Back then, we tried to make it realistic, and I think we just stuck to that.”

Mortal Kombat is also known for its story, another important focus for this team. “People have grown up with Mortal Kombat,” Beran said. “They know the story and have a general idea of the conflict between characters. Not to sound cocky about it, but I don’t think any other fighting game does a story mode like we do. It’s a full-length movie in the game.” An ambitious undertaking for a series that used to prominently feature several palette swaps of the same ninja as central characters.

“Ever since MK vs DC, even though it was our first dabbling into it, I think we got better and better and better at it,” he said. “This story, I couldn’t be more proud of. Just visually and storytelling-wise, I think people are gonna be really pleased.”

And if that’s not your thing, well, there’ll still be brains getting forcibly scooped out of people’s heads. Something for everyone.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Capcom Crossover Fighting Game People Hardly Ever Talk About

Image: Capcom (Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars)

It’s cold out here in the northern part of the country as we head into the dead of winter, with a major winter storm on the way reaching from California to Maine. A perfect time, in other words, to get snowed in and cozy up to the Frosty Faustings event taking place this weekend that’s bursting at the seams with random fighting game tournaments.

Frosty Faustings is a sprawling fighting game event based in Elmhurst, Illinois and now in its 11th year that features prize pools across dozens of tournaments. Top billing goes to Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, an excellent anime fighter that rarely gets its due at larger events dominated by the likes of Street Fighter and Tekken. BlazeBlue Cross Tag Battle and BlazBlue: Central Fiction will also be on display at Faustings, as well as more obscure games like Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[ST]. Yes, that’s the name of a game and not my cat walking across my keyboard.

A special shoutout needs to go to the event’s Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars tournament. Among the 30 other competitions going on this weekend, the Faustings organizers managed to fit in one of the most oddball but underrated fighting games of the 2000s, pitting Capcom icons against the more obscure characters starring in classic Tatsunoko anime series like Casshan, Teknoman, and G-Force: Guardians of Space, the plots of which are too wild and contain too much energy to be described in this particular post.

Ever wanted to see Mega Man’s sister, Roll, beat the crap out of Yatterman-1 from the series Yatterman! Gan Takada? TvC has you covered. Did I mention that the game only released on the Wii? Fortunately, it supports fight sticks and GameCube controllers in addition to the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Unfortunately, Capcom’s licensing deal with Tatsunoko lapsed sometime in 2012, so we never got a sequel. Where there’s anime, there’s hope, though.

Matches across all of Faustings’ tournaments started today, with top eight brackets for some of them taking place this evening while the rest are slated to finish up Saturday night. You can find a complete schedule of all the matches over on the event’s website. A lot of the bigger tournaments, as well as TvC, will be hosted on Will English’s Twitch channel.

Elsewhere in the world of esports this weekend, the group stage gets underway in Dota 2’s The Chongqing Major, that game’s first big tournament of 2019. Matches start at 9:00 p.m. ET tonight, followed by the next round at the same time on Saturday night. You can watch that event on Dota Starladder’s Twitch channel.

Finally, Hearthstone may be stagnating a little but it’s far from dying, something that can’t be said of all card games. This weekend, the top players from the Americas will face off in the Winter playoffs. Matches start at 11:00 a.m. ET on the Saturday and end at 11:00 p.m. before resuming across the same hours on Sunday. The entire event will be streaming live on Blizzard’s Hearthstone Twitch channel. If you want to get a feel for the current meta and what decks will be big at the event, Hearthstone podcaster and analyst Steve Lubitz has an interesting breakdown of what all the big competitors are currently playing over on his blog. Hint: Hunter secret decks remain very popular at the moment.

Source: Kotaku.com