Hello, Doom here!
I thought I’d write a guide on attending your first tournament to help anyone for which this would be their first competitive gaming event.
The reality of the Irish Fighting Game Community is that it’s filled with wonderful people and personalities. I’ve made lifelong friends from it. There’s people from all backgrounds and all stages in life there. It’s hard to make that first step but it’s worth it. Reach out and talk to some and you’ll be chatting about 3 frame jabs with people before long.
Before you go: pack some (healthy) food. It’s a long day and if you do well you might have to hang around for fight after fight. Munching on a banana or apple will be good for you. Bring some water- it’s a warm room with many computers adding to the heat, so stay hydrated – and, not to put too fine a point on it, have a shower before you go! It really can be very hot, and it’s going to get a bit sticky. Make it easier on yourself (and everyone else) by avoiding the distraction of bodily discomfort. Comfy shoes also fall into this category. Unless you are Cosplaying, then you must persevere!
A lot of people feel intimidated about going to their first tournament. It’s a viscous circle, because until you go to a tournament, you will never get over that. No amount of offline practice will actually help: you just have to bite the bullet. Being completely honest; no one expects you to be good anyway, it’s your first tournament. We’ve all been there.
In reality, you may go out in the first round, but actually, that’s ok. If you think about it, half the people have to lose in the first round. So my advice? When it comes to tournaments, go early and go often. You’ll get better quick and make friends, and you’ll forget all about that intimidating feeling.
In fact, the tournament itself is only a small part of the event. You can watch the main set up on the projector in the crowd, or chill and chat, or play casuals. Some people find all of these difficult, but there is an etiquette to it all.
Let’s talk about how it will likely feel when you walk into the room. You’ll probably see some people chilling out; you’ll see some steely eyed and in the middle of games; and you’ll probably see a few shouting orders or fixing equipment- the guys who look like they know what’s going on.
Everyone will look like they’re perfectly at home and you will probably feel like an outsider. Again, this happens at your first tournament, and will happen again the first time you travel. It doesn’t last long, as soon as you get into the swing of things.
Here’s some general rules to help:
1) Is there a desk with pens? That’s probably the place to ask your questions about signing up or rules for the tournament.
2) Pick a simple to read/ call out nickname for the tournament. If your TO mangles your sick handle “Antidisestablishmentarianist” and you don’t hear it you could get DQed.
3) Don’t talk to your opponent during a match. Feel free to gauge how friendly they are before and after; but some people really need to concentrate while the fight is ongoing. Similarly, if you like to concentrate and your opponent is being overbearing, you’re well within your rights to ignore them.
4) Similarly, if someone is wearing headphones, or talking into a microphone, do not talk to them. They’re probably working on the stream.
5) Always say good games and shake hands after, it’s a show of friendliness, even if inside you’re a burning cauldron of salt. If you get beaten and your opponent seems cool, feel free to ask him what he thinks you should do to get better.
6) If you want to play casuals and all the machines are being used, it’s perfectly normal to head over and ask if you can “get next”. Do not do this while a game is being played though; you may be interfering with a tournament match accidentally. Wait for a fight to end first.
7) Don’t throw rubbish around. If the TO notices, he’ll remember. He’s the one who’s got to clean it up (or the volunteers). Conversely, treating the venue and event with respect will get you noticed in a good way.
8) Don’t insult any of the games. You might see me telling my friend Mike to go play that “kid’s game” Smash. That comment is predicated on the fact I know Mike six years; that we know each other well enough to know when we’re joking; that he understands I know Smash is a game that requires much skill, but feel like winding him up; even that I know that my game is pretty much as much a kid’s game as his. A new guy talking crap about a game is just that, and not protected by any of these factors. Get to know people first. You never know who you’re insulting.
9) That being said, feel free to chat, have a laugh, and get to know people. I have life long friends from the FGC, and I’m no one special.Have fun!