Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What Happened 10 Years Ago Regarding Evo

So if you have kept up with my blog and senseless rants on stream and what not, you would know that we just finished running what I thought was a really successful tournament that showcased the older games in the Fighting Game Community.  You would also know that with the success of this event there will probably be another one coming sometime later next year.  But we will get a little more into that at the later end of this post.  Today I am here to explain in as much detail as possible what was planned 10 years ago and how Evo was actually brought to the stage in Las Vegas.  Without further ado, here we go....

So fresh off the now famous "Evo Moment #37" the original tournament organizers, Tom and Tony Cannon, were feeling the drag of things and just wanted someone else to take the wheel and keep the event going.  This is the moment in time where I felt Wizard's life took a turn for the worse.  He was always one of those guys who pushed things to the extreme when given a chance.  He ran some tourneys while working for Golfland back in the day and made sure everyone knew he was the one that was so called "in-charge."  I would assume this comes from years of not having any type of power and always being shut down when it came to expressing himself.  I personally have no proof of so I cannot elaborate much, but through many years of interaction and discussion among our inner circle of friends, we all agreed that is the most likely cause.  Anyways, back to the story.  So the Cannons appointed Wiz as the new head of Evo and expected him to get things rolling.  The tournament was growing and Wiz knew he needed help so he came to talk to me.  I was given the role of "financial backer" at the time and we had a few meetings to discuss how we would handle things.  Here comes the part of the story where I can only talk from my perspective but everything aligns years later to all make sense.  As the financial backer I was also responsible for booking the venue and we agreed to throw Evo at the same location.  After securing this location and leaving a down payment, we go over some details and discuss things such as entertainment and expected revenue.  The year prior there was somewhere around 500-600 unique entries and the venue fee was $20 per person from what I recall.  That alone is $10,000-$12,000 in revenue from the players and enough to cover the cost of venue and other staffing required.  So throughout the talks Joey, who was actually the more sensible one and talking about doing things a little more economically, his obvious goal was to make money from it.  My view was totally different as I already had an outside source of income and wanted to make this experience awesome for the people in attendance.  At one point I brought up doing free raffles and giving away things like brand new Playstations, Dreamcasts, and even a car if we generated enough income from entries.  He was very against this and once again, he was definitely in it for the money.  Another funny idea I had was bringing in dancers and porn stars to wiggle it in a cage or something.  Just an idea to spice up the tourney as I had a close friend at the time who's older brother was making a ton of money selling non-mosaic japanese porn DVDs and also had the rights to a few popular stars at the time.  Kind of a null fact but throwing that in there for your entertainment :)  So anyways, as it stood, we weren't in agreement on how we wanted things but I knew he was the boss in this situation and just said screw it, I'll do my part and let's make it happen.

2 weeks later.... Days go by and we are nearing closer and closer to the scheduled event.  I haven't spoke to Wiz for a bit and figure I might as well contact him to see if I needed to cover anything else on my part.  This is where everything goes bad and where I seriously should of cut of any ties with him as a friend and as a business partner.  His first comment to me was, "Why didn't you contact me?  We didn't speak for like 3 months!"  Mind you, I wasn't the only one at this meeting and I do have witnesses.  This has always been a thing for Wiz.  He never takes any initiative and always finds a way to blame someone else for anything, but this time it was obviously on purpose as he needed a way out of our verbal agreements.  Come to find out this guy has been in talks with MLG and somehow was receiving a free room to throw Evo in Vegas.  Wow, a free room, that equals more profits and more money we can throw at the players in terms of prizes and what not.  Awesome!!  But wait a minute....... The picture was getting all too clear and all too fast.  I was getting the boot.  There was no formal explanation, there was no friendship when money became involved.  All that existed at this very moment was me being told I made no effort to contact Wiz and him and Seth were going to work with MLG and it was my fault.....  Had I been told that I was just the "financial backer" or even given some other bs story about how I wasn't needed, I honestly would have been fine with all this.  But to basically just make up some crap about how I didn't contact him for over 3 months, which is impossible obviously, then just boot me out of the blue, this was step 1 in discovering how unprofessional this person was when it came to dealing with anything involving money or power.

Now as a complete outsider to this whole situation, you might wonder why I would be so upset, or even think of it as somewhat petty to hold any type of grudge, so let me explain further.  I was approached to help firstly as this was not my idea.  I also did my part and reserved the venue, paid for the venue, and then was kept out of the loop which could've cost me a few thousand dollars in deposits.  Then all of a sudden another opportunity arose and this greedy bastard just dropped me liked yesterday's news and split without even having the courtesy of telling me as soon as possible so I could cancel a reservation and save myself some money?  There is also the factor that at this point we are supposed to be friends.  This isn't a situation where I was just an outsider and trying to pry my way into something.  I was invited in and we were friends at the time.  I was more fortunate that Wiz along with many others and we always offered him rides since he didn't have a car or a driver's license till he was somewhere in his mid 20's.  Mind you I was also the one who took him to buy his first car that he still owns to this day.  So that hopefully explains to you the position I was in when this stuff occurred.  It's sad to bring all this up cause I just don't want to be that guy that causes someone else to fall.  But if my info leads to a revolution and causes the FGC to become a better place, than so be it.  I tried to tell the Cannons about what happened but their response was basically, it's not a lot of money Mike, just let it go.  I continued to approach them and let them know that I felt really uncomfortable with the fact they they had built up this whole thing and now they are just letting Wiz reap all the benefits.  But they are self made millionaires and have a very huge heart.  They saw it as something that wasn't a big deal at the time and just saw that the community was moving in a good direction and let some stuff slide I suppose.  At this point I'm just glad they came back on board and are not only running things, but also making a couple bucks as well.  As for Wizard, that's a whole different story.  He doesn't deserve anything and he is just a completely selfish prick with an ego the size of Barry Bond's head.  I will keep discussing matters along a timeline and I honestly hope the Cannons eventually do something about it.  I hope Wiz losses his position at Evo because its obvious that PR is not his forte.  Even if he has to step back and take a position where he isn't the face of it all, that would satisfy me.  If the public sees and hears enough, I hope they will make an effort and speak up to get what they want.  This is not what the FGC deserves, and it's not what Wizard deserves.  Speak up for the community you claim to love, speak up for what you feel is right, and do what you can to make it a better place.  That's all i ask from you guys.

As of now, the biggest slap in the face is having something succeed, and after #37Reloaded succeeded I feel some sense of satisfaction that our community is still strong and loves to play the games that helped our community grow.  I can also insert the fact that Wizard's involvement in this tournament was declined also due to the fact he thought it would not make money...... shocker right?  The majority of feedback was positive and the atmosphere at the event was amazing to say the least.  People were playing games all day on Saturday and this didn't stop till we kicked them out at midnight.  Also, if anyone ever complains that they can't run an event on time, or didn't have enough help, let me tell you this.  Our tournament was technically staffed by 5 people and a 2 helpers.  We had 2 guys holding down the stream, 2 dedicated bracket runners, and 2 people helping with brackets and locating players that didn't report to their stations, and myself who was taking care of all registrations and badges at the front along with anything else that needed help.  If you put your mind to it, you can do it, and if you are doing something you truly love and care about, it makes it that much easier.  This time around we were fortunate to make very minimal money on the event, but our point was to make this fun for everyone create a positive name for Super Arcade.  Hopefully we have achieved both and next time around we can worry about the financial side a bit more.  I would like to thank all the fans for making this event possible and also a huge shout out to everyone who helped us.  One person in the community that is well known and liked by all of us tournament organizers is a gentleman by the name of Aaron "Kapwan" Smith.  He has helped us at Super Arcade during our weeklies and also at most of the local majors that have taken place.  He is a die hard game fan and also one of the true bright spots in the community that works hard for all of you and helps everyone have a great tournament experience.  I would like to thank you personally Aaron for everything you have done for us and although the job is truly thankless, you sir deserved to be thanked more than anyone.  Thank you once again and see you soon buddy.

And on that note, this concludes another post, and although its not the wham, bam, thank you mam you have come to expect from me, it provides some history as to what went on and why Evo was transported to Vegas.  Money, money, money, money........  At least the event is amazing now and people have something to look forward to once a year as a fighting game fan, too bad it's involved with someone who could give 2 shits about the community and only cares about the mighty dollar.  Thanks again for reading and I'll be back again soon with more history and blowups.  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and thanks for reading!


  1. kapwan is a great guy!

    Paul & I wished we could have stayed longer at 37 Reloaded, everything looked amazing also I guess they have my university's old cabs & I cried inside lol

  2. Random stumbled across this. Hey its finalshowdown clayton whatever long time no talk see or whatever lol. Hope youre doing well man. I still have fond memories of growing up and playing SF as a kid and reading all the magazines with you in it to this day. I guess more on topic although I never got to know you very well or Mr.wizard for what its worth I can say I always though you were nice the little I talked to you. But mr.wizard ive deff noticed being pretty shady a number of times so it doesn't surprise me. Not gonna get into everything but say one example I remember for ggxx back in the day at evo, certain characters were better in the japanese version or vise versa in the american version. I personally saw him let his friends pick which system they played on. When of course it was suppose to only be on american. Random example but something I remember, because I spoke up and said thats not fair to everyone else and he said if I talked about it on SRK he would ban me from SRK and from ever going to EVO. And I was like well my health isnt good so going to tournaments isnt a big priority in my life anyway. And of course as of such I dont go to tournaments anymore. Not because of him of course but lol.

    Anyway random example but ya .. Anyway hope youre doing well dude I still need to play you in A1 again or some HF or ST someday! Take it easy

  3. Always thought Mr wiard was a piece of monkey shit