COMBO BREAKER made its return to the physical this Memorial Day weekend, and holy shit was it a blast. As is my tendency, I had a lot of anxiety and trepidation about attending, but once I got there, I had some really great experiences, and came out of it the happiest I've felt about fighting games in a good long while.

Thoughts and Highlights

More about how I did in the tournaments themselves below, but more importantly, man it was good to see fighting game community people again, and especially to meet up with some of the GBFGC crew. I'm not the most outward person in-person, and a lot of my anxiety was around meeting people for the first time, or seeing them for the first time again after three years, but once I got into the hall and started breathing it all in again, that anxiety (mostly) melted away.

So, meeting folks — Alex, Ehsan, Luke, SBO, and Vec — was great. Just great. Even if we didn't get a chance to hang out much, because my hotel was off-site and everyone was busy, it was such a blast seeing friends in the flesh, enjoying fighting games. I think that seeing them, however briefly, was the highlight among highlights.

In addition to that, it was so energizing just to be at a fighting game event again, after the long hiatus. Wandering between pools to watch games, spectating top 32s and whatnot on the big screens, watching exhibition matches, hitting the merch and vendor booths, all of that was so greatly missed. I actually teared up a little bit walking into the hall for the first time, just seeing my people.

I could go on and on, tearing up again, but in summary, fighting games are great, and the FGC really shines in community events such as these. So much positive energy, so many people just having fun playing fighting games and hanging out together, so much goodness. I miss it already, and it's going to be hard waiting a year for the next one.

As always, a million thank yous to Rick for again organizing a great event, a million more thank yous to all the staff and volunteers doing everything in their power to make pools, streams, check-in, and all the other little things run smoothly, and an extra special kudos to Rick putting a safe event together in these times.

Also, a million thank yous to all of the communities running events for All In Together, furthering a loving tribute to fighting games. Attending a thriving event like this means a lot to me, and COMBO BREAKER remains my favorite FGC event, hands down. NO COAST NO KINGS

Results Highlights

me being in top 8 on the stream
*: community tournament
  1. Going a total of 5-10 over the five tournaments I entered, which is about 5 games more than I thought I'd win.
  2. One of those wins being at Strive — holy shit, I can actually do it, I can actually win in a tournament setting in a main game! All but unprecedented for me, honestly, especially given how little time I've had lately to practice.
    1. In that win, I managed to land a round opening kara buster, and a heavenly buster. I was truly feeling myself in that match.
  3. Getting a win in the Mystery Game tournament. I was actually hoping for a bit more here, but can't complain too much about the results. I had good games in Ring of Destruction, and barely lost in Duck Game, but sadly got kinda lamed out in TMNT Tournament Fighters. Still a good time, though, and a lot of fun to spectate later.
  4. Getting a win in Windjammers 2 and losing two very close matches. Good experience, and the community seems fun; I need to join their Discord.
  5. HOLY MOLY Sailor Moon S
    1. Two wins at a game I'd never played competitively before!
    2. Again, another community that seems like a lot of fun and that really enjoys their game, I'm already lurking in their Discord and looking out for more chances to play.

More Photos

I should have taken more pictures, and sadly I missed the group photo with the GBFGC gang. Here's some, though.

Just some folks playing Puzzle Bobble
Some version of Puzzle Bobble being played as part of the Mystery Game tournament
Jebailey having issues with the frozen Super Spike V'Ball
Super Spike V'Ball locked up while Jebailey was winning
People setting up Sailor Moon S
SAILOR MOON S! CRTs! I was practically giddy seeing this get set up
Multiple screens of games for the crowd to watch
Just doing some spectating
The hall during Sunday finals
The view as I was leaving on Sunday