Video games get a bad reputation in the modern world. Often seen as a loner’s affair today, video games have the power to bring communities together as strongly as sports. They can also inspire some of the most heated competition the world has ever seen. “E-sports” is a term used to describe this growing world of competitive gaming. Some tournaments have cash prizes into the six figures, and major stadiums are packed to the rafters with people watching their favorite games being played. If you ever wanted to get involved in the tournament scene, the following list will help you get started. These are some of the top video gaming tournaments in the United States.
1. Capcom Cup
The Capcom Cup is an annual fighting game tournament held in California, specifically focused on the Street Fighter series. The first event took place in 2013 which featured Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom, and Street Fighter X Tekken as the main games. Capcom Cup 2016 was held on December 2nd and 3rd in the eSports Arena in Santa Ana, California. When you’re in Santa Ana, visit the local Mainplace Mall and Round Table Pizza for lunch.
© Tim Bartel
Apex is an annual eSports tournament held in New Jersey that focuses on fighting games, specifically Super Smash Bros. Each year the event grew as more and more competitors entered. Though the tournament initially focused on Super Smash Bros Brawl, the feature game has since switched to Super Smash Bros Melee due to its popularity. Apex became so big that it became officially sponsored by Nintendo of America and was the largest tournament for Super Smash Bros in history until it was surpassed by EVO in 2015.
Apex last took place from June 17th-19th 2016 in Somerset, New Jersey at the Garden State Exhibit Center. If you can head over there, there’s a Bagel Market & Deli you can’t miss. While you’re in New Jersey, take a day trip to Manhattan and see Times Square if you haven’t already been there.
Fighting games have long been one of the most helpful and open communities in digital entertainment. Starting in the arcades, fighting games brought friends together to settle disputes. This has caused clashes and competition between friends and rivals eventually hitting home consoles. Fighting games have later spawned dozens if not hundreds of regional events all over the world. But they all lead up to the biggest fighting game tournament of all, EVO, held every year in sunny Las Vegas. The first official EVO happened in 2002, and has since grown to a three-day event featuring nine games, from the latest Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat to more obscure titles like Blazblue.
Evo 2017 will take place July 14-16 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. While you’re there, try some food at 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria for some of the finest cuisine in Las Vegas. Want some more entertainment? Be sure to check out the Adventuredome right up the Strip.
© Nelo Hotsuma
4. The International
Multiplayer online battle arenas, or MOBAs, have been of the largest genre success stories of recent years, and two names sit at the top: League of Legends and DOTA. The latter is the focus of one of the most exciting yearly events in e-sports, The International. With over $10 million in prizes, the International brings 16 teams from all over the globe together in Seattle to show over their skills. The International takes place from August 3rd-8th in the KeyArena in Seattle. Near the KeyArena, you can visit the Nectar Lounge for drinks and a show, while hungry food goers can stop by Stella Deli and Market for quick eats.
© Melissa Doroquez
Blizzard’s StarCraft series is one of the most popular competitive games in the world, so its no surprise the makers would create their own event to showcase the best players. At the annual BlizzCon, not only can you watch some experienced StarCraft players duke it out, you can also try to compete in casual matches against other convention goers. Throw in a chance to play Blizzard’s latest games and it’s a can’t-miss deal. BlizzCon takes place November 6th-7th in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Convention Center. If you’re feeling up to it, BizzCon takes place near Disneyland so bring the whole family!
© Mr. Wynd
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Cover photo © Gage Skidmore