Now that 2019 is in the books, we can safely declare it to be the Year of the Local. Local tournaments (or “locals” for short) have always been a powerful source of energy for the Fighting Game Community, but 2019 was the year in which they stepped into the spotlight. Arslan Ash brought the spotlight to Pakistan’s local scene when he won Tekken 7 at the summer’s Evolution Championship Series. Then, in the winter, Derek “iDom” Ruffin did the same for New York’s famed Next Level Battle Circuit. Those two performances reminded the entire FGC that locals are training grounds, worthy of respect and dedication.
Yet, by the same token, locals can seem intimidating. If you’re a beginner Tekken or Street Fighter player who lives in Lahore or New York, how can you ever hope to compete against Ash or Ruffin? Even if you live in a city or town with a smaller FGC, it can be easy to doubt your own skill level.
Luckily, Twitter user Yasuko recently came through with a much-needed reminder: no matter how serious your locals are and no matter how high your level of skill is, you’re already good enough to go. Don’t believe her? That’s okay – we’ll take the rest of this article to expand upon her thoughts.
Some of you really need to hear this: There is no minimum skill requirement to go to your locals. You do not have to hunger to be a pro to play/enjoy fighting games.
Just enjoy the games you like, we enjoy you being part of the FGC.
— Yasuko (@Yaaasssuko) January 9, 2020
Locals Are Social
First and foremost, you should always remember that locals are social in addition to being competitive. Many players go to their locals in the hopes of proving themselves, perfecting their tech, getting tournament experience, or even coming away with prize money, but lots of people go just to have fun and hang out. As Yasuko says, the point of a local is to enjoy fighting games, not necessarily to compete seriously in them.
Of course, for some people, serious competition is the highest form of enjoyment. But for others, it’s enough to get some sets in and chill with friends. So long as you’re having a good time and not hurting anyone, you’ll make it easier for everyone else to have a good time, too.
Locals Are Crowd-Funded
It’s also worth remembering that your attendance directly supports your arcade/venue, your top players, and, by extension, your entire scene. In the FGC, we don’t have the luxury of utilizing public resources for our hobbies, as amateur basketball and baseball/softball players often do. We also don’t have the mind-boggling levels of financial support that other eSports do. We truly are a community, which means that it’s up to all of us to make the FGC happen.
It may be hard to believe that five or ten bucks can make that much of a difference, but it absolutely can. Just ask your local tournament organizer: every cent brings your local closer to the next level, be it more setups, a larger venue, bigger prize pools, or even player sponsorship. This is how the FGC has grown for decades, and it’s how we’ll continue to grow. Even if you’re not yet ready to challenge the big dogs at your local, you’re definitely ready to support them – and if they’re smart, they’ll appreciate you for doing it.
Locals Thrive On Variety
Even in the FGC, people can get bored. It’s not always exciting to play the same exact opponents using the same exact characters in the same exact games every single week. Just by showing up and entering the bracket, you’ll introduce some new flavors into the competition.
What’s more, you may be the one who introduces a new element altogether. Maybe you play a character that nobody else in your scene plays. If so, you’ll give them important matchup experience. Maybe you’ll even introduce them to a whole new game, be it either an older title that they overlooked or a newer title that just needed one person to provide a spark. As Yasuko says, you should “enjoy the games you like” – after all, that’s why we’re all here!
Your Locals Need You
These are just a few reasons why you’re already good enough to attend your locals. To paraphrase the NCAA commercial, there are millions of us in the FGC, but almost all of us are going to go pro in something other than fighting games. Plus, as Yasuko says, “we enjoy you being part of the FGC.” Just imagine how small and lonely your local would be if only pros were allowed to show up – and then imagine how much more warm and vibrant your local will be when you’re there!
So head on over to our Events page and find the locals that work for you. If you do feel like you want to get on the grind, you can also use our training resources to level up your game. Or, if you just want to go and have fun, we can help with that, too, whether you’re a complete newbie or an intermediate player. In the end, the thing that matters most is that you come out and join us. We’re all in this together, and we’re always ready to welcome a new friend.