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Absolute Battle Is a Place for a Street-Fighting Man (and Woman)

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Absolute Battle, the biggest competitive video fighting game tournament in Texas since 2009, returns this Saturday at the Crown Plaza Dallas Downtown. For the fourth show in five years, its organizers are expecting players from across the world in an event featuring nine games, including classics like Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike and new favorites Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Fighting games have been on the competitive scene since the early 2000s thanks to notable tournaments such as Evo Championship Series, which created great moments such as Daigo Umehara's parry fury. With Street Fighter developer Capcom hosting its Capcom Cup in December and Ultra Street Fighter IV coming out next year, interest in fighting games is higher than ever. We talked with Absolute Battle's organizer Jon Casas about the tournament, which is expecting 200 to 250 fighters.

What is Absolute Battle about? It's a video game tournament for fighters looking for one on one or three on three versus play in a competitive format. It'll be double elimination, no weird round robin or anything like that.

Why is it the biggest in Texas? Fighting games, in general, are a very niche hobby. Before, there weren't any big tournaments in Texas except Texas Showdown and Tekken Dallas, but they died off. So we came up with Absolute Battle in 2009.

We had the biggest money match in the history of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (50k!) for our first tournament so that put us on the map. Then we just got bigger and bigger after that. We're at the right place at the right time. The locals don't have to travel to West or East Coast or Las Vegas to play competitive fighting games. We give them everything they want in a tournament here in Dallas.

Why do you want to host a video game tournament? Back in the day at Waco, it was just me and my brother. We like it so much that we want to play other people who love it too and won't get bored. That's the whole purpose, to see who the best among all the people that play is. So we decided to create a scene in Dallas, and now it has become an annual thing that we established. It's expected from us.

But another thing that keeps the fighting game scene alive is the camaraderie. I met some of my best friends through fighting games. It's just something you want to share with another person. So in order to do that, you have to go out there and try to create a scene.

How difficult is it to prepare for the tournament? On paper it looks easy. In reality, you have to find a venue that has a good location, enough space, can handle our total electric output, and maintaining a cool temperature for everyone inside. You have to advertise the tournament nationally and locally. Your tournament can only be successful as your scene. Then you have to get all the consoles and games and set up live streams for online viewers. It's a step by step process.

This is not a real job, it's a hobby. But it basically turns into a real job a month before the tournament. You get worried because its' your show and you want it to be great. You got to make sure come crunch time, everything you set up will actually happen with minimal problem as possible.

Will Absolute Battle offer anything other than fighting games? There will be vendors in attendance selling merchandise throughout the tournament as well as local indie-game developers showcasing their games on Saturday.

What's the future of fighting games? Street Fighter IV revived the scene in 2008 so it has been five years and the scene has been growing more and more. Wwith the release of Ultra Street Fighter IV in 2014, I think the scene will be strong for another three years.

The prize pool for the tournament is still undecided because it's based on the total number of players. The price to register is $35 in advance and $45 on site. Players pay $10 to enter each game, with the top three players splitting the pot (first place 70 percent, second 20 percent, third 10 percent). Games will be played on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and you have to bring your own controller. Visit Absolute Battle's Facebook page to register and learn more.

The Fury of Daigo Umehara

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