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Tournament Spotlight: FGC Meetups

Tournaments are a common staple in the fighting game community. They allow players to improve their skills and meet people that share the same passion for the genre. Whether that be in a small venue with dozens of players or huge venues that carry thousands, these events have been a long-running tradition that the fighting game community holds dear.

This tradition came to a halt when many offline events had to close their doors because of the Covid-19 pandemic. For over a year the community had no choice but to endure through online tournaments.

With the recent return of offline events, I’ve been hearing a few people wondering where to start. It’s a fair question as many events are opening up, but it’s unclear where and when these events are taking place.

With this series, I hope to fix that. Every week I will highlight a weekly tournament or major event for you guys to go to.

FGC Meetups

Run by Low Kick Esports, FGC Meetups is a weekly fighting game tournament that runs every Friday at Ignite Gaming Lounge at Skokie. The venue is $10 with an additional $5 for each game you participate in. The event starts at 8 PM and their schedule can be found on their Twitter.

The event takes place in a private room at the side of the gaming venue. In the room, there are three tables with dozens of monitors and consoles ready to play a variety of fighting games. These are separated into three tables that are used when the tournament starts.

Tables of people playing their tournament sets

On the side, there is a long table with a bunch of monitors, but no consoles. This is the BYOC or “bring your own console” section. This is a place where people can bring their own games and play on their own time. These setups are not used for the bracket, so they’re perfect for playing games outside of the event. Or, like my friend, you find a corner to play Melty Blood on a laptop.

Wanted to play Melty Blood with @RockinToxin at FGC Meetup today. No open setups so we decided to make the floor our setup. Now I’m starting feel like a true Melty Blood player. — Ferns (@FernsComm) July 24, 2021

One of the main appeals of FGC Meetups is that it hosts three video game tournaments in one day. Many other events, including Low Kick Esport’s own Wednesday Vs. and Square Up, only host one. Guilty Gear Strive is currently a mainstay in the FGC Meetup being accompanied by two other games that switch every week. These two games range from popular fighting games such as Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V to lesser-played games such as Soulcalibur VI and Samurai Shodown. While some games have more entry than others, it allows for different communities to shine despite their popularity.

Tournaments are not always restricted to only three games, as there might be an occasional side tournament in the BYOC area. In FGC Meetup #7, there was a Guilty Gear Accent Core and Mystery Game tournament taking place at the same time. These tournaments are free entry and a great way to play games that usually wouldn’t receive a proper offline tournament. The Mystery Game tournament is one of my favorites as it has players play an odd selection of games that are randomly picked by the tournament organizer. It is one of the only moments where I could say Shaq Fu was the highlight of an FGC event.

I never thought I’d say it but that was the most hype game of Shaq Fu I’ve ever seen. @SpiritualRavenX looking like a Shaq Fu expert! — Ferns (@FernsComm) September 5, 2021

If you plan on going, don’t bring your own food or drinks — there is a bar where you can order food and beverages. The bar is one of the main forms of revenue for the event, so please don’t bring any food or drinks.

From what I’ve had, the food is great with a wide variety of drinks and beverages. I especially love how all their foods are references to video games fitting in with the event. My favorite is the Triple Kill which is a pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, and red sauce.

Recently added to the menu is a couple of drinks exclusive to the FGC Meetups. While I haven’t had the chance the try any of these yet, I do look forward to trying one the next time I go.

BYOC table in the first FGC Meetup

The First FGC Meetup and Onward

This was one of the first offline fighting game events to return after being withheld by the pandemic. The numbers clearly showed this as the first FGC Meetup had an astonishing 197 attendees. Being in that room during the first event was euphoric. The event was so huge and crowded — making it difficult to know when I was needed for a match — but once I got myself situated, it finally felt like a return to the local fighting game experience. A simple 1-on-1, best of 3 set with some of my favorite fighting games.

When I lost I took the time to play some games with some strangers and watched tournament sets on stream. That’s another aspect I should mention: the event streams a couple of matches leading up to the grand finals for each game. These are displayed on a projector screen and numerous monitors across the venue, including two at the bar.

Two people playing on a stream while two people commentate

Ever since the first event, numbers have steadily declined as the hype for offline locals has slowly died down a bit. However, turnout is still high with over 50 attendants participating in the most recent FGC Meetups.

The venue doesn’t check for vaccination cards despite being required to enter the venue. Its sort of a trust system, which I understand could be a problem for some, especially with higher attendance. Regardless, everyone is required to wear a mask at all times even when playing a game. I’ve seen this been enforced reasonably enough, as people removing their masks are heavily encouraged to put them back on.

FGC Meetups are one of the premier fighting game events as it mixes a strong variety of games tackling different parts of the fighting game community. If you want a taste of the fighting game community and what it has to offer, look no further and give these events a shot.


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