Fighting game tournaments tend to run high on emotion. And year after year, the Evolution Championship Series, the biggest fighting game tournament on the planet, is no exception. This year’s EVO in Las Vegas was record breaking, especially for esports stalwart Super Smash Bros.: 130,000 people tuned in to catch Joseph “Mango” Marquez hoist the Super Smash Bros. trophy—more viewers than the tournament’s flagship game, Street Fighter.
Evo 2014 was a big deal not just because of viewership numbers. For the first time ever, Nintendo sponsored the tournament, a major turnaround from last year, when the game-maker actually tried to prevent Super Smash Bros. from appearing at Evo. This kind of official recognition was a huge step for Super Smash Bros., and is one part of the game’s recent resurgence.
Justin Wong celebrated taking home first place in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 with a display of pure joy, pounding his chest with tears in his eyes. The tournament as a whole served as a great benchmark for the growth of fighting games this year.
Lucky for us, talented filmmaker Richard Li was on site to film the tournament in its entirety. This might just be the prettiest thing you watch in esports all year.