Another year, another Frosty’s. The regional fighting game tournament, located in Elmhurst, Ill., expanded on its 10th installment.
This year, in addition to major brackets for various fighting games, a cosplay contest and trading card tournaments widened the demographics of players and really helped open the tournament up to new people.
I myself attended and had a great time, but what all exactly happened there?
Similar to last year’s installment, Frosty Faustings X took place in the Clarion Inn and Conference Center, Jan. 19-20.
The Clarion offers a mixed bag as a venue. The tournament floor consisted of a main ballroom (which contained five stages where matches were streamed) and hallways surrounding the ballroom, with art vendors spilling out into the hotel lobby. Setups of four monitors were placed in a grid pattern through the ballroom, with other setups in the hallway along either side.
While the Clarion was more than decent for the tournament, it did get pretty cramped, as upwards of 1,400 people attended, either as participants in the many brackets or as spectators, vendors, and volunteers. Foot traffic jammed the hallways and you could hardly navigate the hordes of sweaty, exhausted tournament goers, which was probably my biggest complaint when it came to the location.
While the major fighting game tournaments — including brackets of Street Fighter V, Guilty Gear Xrd, and Blazblue — were still the key focus, I got a chance to enjoy a fine fair of more indie titles. In particular, I was able to get my hands on Brawlhalla, a free-to-play platform fighter in the vein of the Super Smash Bros series by Nintendo, but produced by a small team of dedicated developers.
I spoke to Dan Nichols, the game’s lead developer, and learned the basics from him as he promoted it, offering free pins to anyone who could beat him. It was a fun experience. Meeting notable members of the fighting game community — be they developers, prominent players, or general personalities — is definitely one of the benefits to coming to tournaments like these.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the weekend was the prominence of the game Windjammers, originally released in 1993 as an arcade game. It is basically Pong, with special moves. It recently gained a resurgence, thanks to its surprisingly loving fanbase in France and a re-release of the game for modern consoles.
The bracket for Windjammers was free to enter, and about 120 competitors signed up for it. Throughout the competition, the atmosphere became incredibly excited and loud. Franke Sisco, the Windjammers community manager, did his part, hopping on a megaphone and calling out for competitors to join in and play. After a long, tense couple of days of competition, the winner of the bracket ended up being the stupendous player Keikun, hailing from France.
The man was unstoppable, playing the game one handed during the Top 8, in two separate matches. And during Grand Finals, he was so confident he would win, he threw a match just as he was going to win, by pausing mid-game and dropping to the stage to do push-ups. His antics earned him cheers and jeers from the assembled crowds, who rooted against him consistently with chats of “USA!” and “Do more pushups!” in equal measure. He then promptly went ahead and won the match, and with it, the entire tournament, taking home the $1,000 prize pool.
Keikun’s antics demonstrated the fighting game community at its best: loud, rambunctious, and at the end of the day, brought together by a common love for the game.
In the end, Frosty Faustings X was more than just a tournament; it was an experience. People from all walks of life, of all races, ages, genders, and backgrounds united for a weekend of fun and games. Sure, there was money on the line, but in the end, it was all about the games, the people, and the fun. I’ll definitely be going back next year, and if you’ve got even a passing interest in fighting games, I’d urge you to try and get into them, as it’s one of the most rewarding game communities you can enjoy.