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EVO Moment 37


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For the first topic of the Fighting Game Dojo, there is no better subject to look back on than EVO Moment 37. It is one of the first iconic eSports moments, solidified Daigo Umehara as one of the most famous fighting game pro-players, and is credited with saving the fighting game genre.

At the 2004 Evolution Championship Series Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike tournament, Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong faced off against each other at loser's finals. During round 3 of the first match, Wong (using Chun-Li) had whittled Umehara's (using Ken) life bar down to a single pixel. After some back and forth positioning, Wong executed his super move to close out the match. What happened next is considered the greatest comeback in eSports:

Daigo was able to parry (a high-risk, high reward defensive move that requires the player to tap his character towards the opponent when the hit lands) all 15 of Chun-li's super move hits, then follow up with a counter attack to win the match. Daigo was able to achieve this difficult feat in a clutch moment surrounded by hundreds of screaming audience members.

Before ubiquitous camera phones this scene could've been lost or forgotten, but the match was captured on camera and uploaded by EVO as a promotional highlight. It was given the name "EVO Moment 37" to suggest that such events were common to drum up hype for EVO 2005.

Looking back at EVO Moment 37, Justin Wong recalled how that event helped to save the fighting game community:


Raptor: How do you feel about "Moment 37" and how hype people are about it? Do you look back on it with any disdain?
JWong: When I was younger it was the coolest thing ever. I wanted to be the best and that really helped grow my image. Nowadays it’s just a cool, historical moment that has helped the FGC grow. It may have helped save the FGC as many games were dying at the time and it brought some new life to the scene.

The EVO Moment 37 video captured and distilled the thrill of eSports down to it's purest form. I think it is safe to say had this moment not occurred or was never recorded for the world to see, the modern fighting game genre and professional gaming would look very different than it does today.

Further reading/watching:

TheScore retrospective on EVO Moment 37: https://youtu.be/klaWV-szmnY

ESPN - The legacy of EVO Moment 37: https://www.espn.com/esports/story/_/id/17391663/daigo-jwong-legacy-street-fighter-moment-37

Alternative video of EVO Moment 37 discovered in 2019: https://youtu.be/Kg1xPOUn7vQ


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