Weeklies are an FGC staple and an important part of any scene. Many places have their own small scale events where local players come together and play off against one another, but some have taken on a much bigger part in the overall fighting game community.
They’re an important proving ground, or a place where players can come and face off against each other with some kind of stakes to practice for those massive CPT events. It’s even a place where new talent can show off their abilities and become part of a scene.
Take, for example, Wednesday Night Fights, hosted by Alex Valle’s Level Up, that takes place at eSports Arena in Orange County, CA every week. A professionally run event with considerable exposure that is attended by a load of top players, many of them using it as an opportunity to try out new techniques and improve their match up knowledge.
We spoke to Logan Sama, tournament organiser behind Winner Stays On and Capcom Pro Tour commentator, about his decision to bring back this London scene staple.
“It was fortuitous that Belong (a new ‘experience’ store opened by GAME, which contains a frighteningly fully featured gaming setup in its basement, allowing for enough setups for a busy tournament as well as casual matchups all day) opened up right in the heart of the West End,” said Logan.
“This is where we had so much success with WinnerStaysOn’s original incarnation and built a strong thriving competitive Street Fighter community. I spoke with the manager at Belong and we were immediately on the same page as each other.
“It was very straightforward setting up the agreement to bring WSO back and the community has been very positive about it!”
The original WinnerStaysOn sessions took place during the Street Fighter 4 era, with a series of weekly tournaments in HMV’s ill-fated Gamerbase location right in the West End. There was always a strong selection of players, but this was a time just after Twitch.tv had launched and streaming – although already a part of the FGC – was nowhere near as prevelant or ‘the norm’ as it is in 2017.
Eventually, WSO Sessions became a weekly show streamed from Capcom HQ, with top players invited along to play some casual sets against one another. It’s grown in popularity, now including match breakdowns from CPT events, new character launch analysis and even official Capcom announcements.
“We opened WSO in HMV’s Gamerbase centre in the Trocadero,” says Logan. “It started as a means to train up in anticipation of Daigo’s first appearance in UK competition at SVB 2010. From there we grew as a weekly tournament streamed by Armshouse TV and produced great young talent like the aforementioned Andreas, Slizzle, Yota and Problem X.
“It became a real community for Street Fighter and many of us are firm friends now some seven years on. We’ve already recaptured that spirit around WSO after only a week!”
The first of this new WinnerStaysOn sessions had a healthy turnout – around 60 competitors and a few there just to view on top – and included a who’s who of the current London scene. Problem X, Hurricane, winner of the previous week’s first Season 2 tournament The Bunkr Brawl, Packz. Hell, even Ryan Hart popped his head in to say hello, and he doesn’t even live in the country!
There’s even been a relatively new competitor appear in ADTerminal, who has finished in the previous week’s back-to-back. Needless to say, the second week continued this trend – another packed bracket and a few more faces.
Your intrepid reporter even entered the tournament and, after two absolutely shameful matches, was eliminated 0-2. I’ll be heading back, however, as the best way to improve your game is to play another person, in real life, sat next to you, in a room full of people who can tell you what you did that was bad/good.
Online play can only get you so far. Hell, many think it causes bad habits. I can’t say I offered any real counterpoint to that with my display.
“Weekly competition is what raises the overall level of a community,” adds Logan. “It’s what grew such killers as Andreas, Yota, Slizzle and Problem X in SF4. It’s a proving ground where you can not only test your mental fortitude in regular competition but also come down and try out new strategies and tech on high level opponents.
“And most importantly of all it grows a camaraderie which leads to groups of players travelling to take on challenges in different regions. That does more than anything to level up players. The weeklies also allow a worldwide audience to learn about your players and follow their journey, which in turn opens up sponsorship opportunities.”
The UK had, if you consider the end results, its best Pro Tour season to date in 2016, with two players from the region qualifying for Capcom Cup and two only just missing out. Perhaps with a new, high profile weekly offering a place – at least in the London scene – to sharpen their swords, there will be a few more in the running for 2017.