Evolution 2010 at the Ceasars palace in Las Vegas, Nevada was an experience that no review could possibly give justice to. Being that it was held mid July, the temperature being under 14,000 degrees (even after sundown) was uncommon. For most of us, the temperature wasn't an issue since every amenity was available within the walls of Ceasars Palace. From buffets to bars, there was no part of Vegas you had to miss if you chose to stay in all 3 days.
Arriving Thursday night was a must since check in for ALL pools was Friday Morning at 9am. The line was outrageously long and super street fighter IV was over 2000 people on its own. Since we weren't competing, Alissa and I were able to take off to the pool (which was PACKED but relaxing with a bar stocked with anything from strawberry margaritas to overly peppered bloody marrys) and let all the Box Arena Fighters battle the chaos. I wouldn't say there was a better way for the organizers to handle check in, but I would say that separating it into 2 different times in the day may have helped. About half the pools (Eight 128 man brackets played with 2 ps3 setups each) were ran between 9 and 5pm, and the other half from 5 to Midnight. I heard some complaints of people not getting to play their first matches even after 2 hours, and some played right away. Of course, each individual "bracket wrangler" was in charge of how their pool ran, so the speed was up to the DQ'ing abilities of each wrangler. Some were frustrated that people weren't getting disqualified early enough, and some would argue they got disqualified too soon. Honestly, if you aren't there, you aren't that interested in playing IMO. As far as I could tell, the seeding was done really well. I didn't hear of any brackets being stacked with top players or too many people from the same cities/states. Of course, I wasn't inspecting every bracket, but being as I heard no complaints on that topic, it would be fair to say the Evo staff did an amazing job on the brackets.
HDR ran at noon on Saturday and yet again, Alissa and I were at the pool, this time with the company of Deci, Genghis, BeefCake, NetEdge, and ShadyK. From what I heard, there was approximately 6 pools with 64 man brackets in each. Being that this was significantly smaller than SSFIV, it went by in just a few hours and didn't suck up an excessive amount of down time for the players. We all had tons of time after to eat, gamble and get a few drinks before semi finals. There were some epic moments in semi finals including our beloved Justin Wong not making top 8 and Shizza making his first Evo top 8 appearance. At 10pm was the showing of "Bang the Machine" Those who were more interested in playing joined Gootecks in the "Salty Suite" for a $100 entry 16 man bracket. A $10 entry fee got you drinks, snacks, and the privilege to watch some of the worlds greatest SSFIV players put big $ down on their skills. San Diego's Genghis took part as well and made the Box Arena proud by going 0-2 with legendary greatness. Though room 3620 was literally hotter than the surface of the sun, it made for an amazing night with some of the best company you could find at Evo 2010. Our personal experiences aren't really significant to the review of Evolution as a tournament, but I will say we had one hell of a time.
By far, I would say that Sunday was everyone's favorite day. Starting with the Female Finals at 4pm and ending with the grand finals of SSFIV at 9pm, the evening went right to schedule. Surprisingly, the timing of the entire weekend was impeccable and we were always in the right place at the right time. Since San Diego had no players in top 8 (or even make it out of their pools) we all had to focus our cheers on Mike Ross. SoCal's most famous E. Honda, whom never ceases to amaze us all, took 4th place. Our cheering section was the entire back 3 rows of the right half of the auditorium. We kept it classy just as San Diego always does and made sure we had plenty of alcohol and rice crispy treats to last us a good 4 hours. Daigo took first place like we knew he would and Ricky Ortiz made the West Coast proud by fighting his way to second. Grand Finals were Epic to say the least and just in case you missed it for one reason or another, just make it next year for Evolution 2011 its better in real life anyway.
For those of you that saw us storming the ballroom with our new line of Box Arena shirts, don't worry, we saw you too! With enough requests... those shirts will be for sale at theboxarena.com . Until next time... The Box Arena loves you!