As fighting game enthusiasts, we all know exactly what we mean when we use the term hype to describe something, whether it be ourselves, someone else or something we witness.
But what is “hype”?
At this year’s EVO World Finals in Las Vegas, I hooked up with creative talent and Street Fighter enthusiast Richard Li out of San Francisco to catch the sights and sounds of the world’s largest fighting game tournament, and after compiling hours of tournament footage and player interviews, he’s done an amazing job cooking up a trio of videos that captures not only what EVO looks like, but also what it feels like to be there. If you’ve never been to EVO, then this is exactly what you’re missing.
Hype, the first of the three short films, explores the word’s definition — a term used liberally not only in the fighting game community, but also was referred by nearly every interviewee who we ran into. For many of them, hype is a nebulous idea consisting of many different poignant definitions from intensity to tension to suspense — an endearing, emotional feeling that draws in gamers ranging from casual to hardcore. (For you camera nerds, Richard used a Canon 5D Mark II and 60D combined with 70-200m, 16-35mm, 24-70, and 50mm lenses. It was edited in Premiere and graded in Colorista II.)
For the absolutely uninitiated, here’s a stab at it: Hype is that feeling you get when you know you’re part of something truly unique, never to be replicated again. It’s that feeling you get when you’re watching a tournament on a livestream, knowing that it’s happening right now, thousands of miles away in real time, and you’re witnessing it and connecting with it live rather than watching a replay on YouTube. It’s that feeling you get when you’ve just nailed the most important combo of your life on stage at EVO against your biggest rival, setting the crowd off into an electrical atmosphere. Hell, it can be even as small as something that you feel when you hear a DJ play your favorite song play on the radio during your 45-minute commute back home after a difficult day at work.
Hype isn’t something you watch, play or do; it’s something you live through a unique experience that connects you and others together at a single moment in time regardless of their age, location, ethnicity or beliefs. That, to me, is hype.
Which moments made you the most hype at EVO this year and year’s prior? Share your favorite moments in EVO history and what it meant to you to experience that moment with others in the comments below. Here are a few of my favorites:
Interested in creating a film? Contact the director Richard Li at hedayli [at] gmail.com.