New fighting-game tournament hits Algonquin College

Capital City Clash kicked off its second-ever event on Feb. 17 with locals and guests alike
Photo: Siobhan Rollo
Competitors gather around to watch the Under Night In-Birth 2 bracket at the event.

Fighting game players from across Canada – and even some special guests from the United States – gathered in the student lounge in E-building on Feb. 17 for a nine-hour showdown.

The second-ever Capital City Clash, a fighting-game tournament series organized by a group which features Algonquin College alumni, hosted an event that saw eager participants of each bracket battle it out for the top.

The event asked its local players for one thing: to defend the capital.

The tournament featured eight unique fighting games: Tekken 8, Street Fighter 6, Granblu Fantasy Versus: Rising, Guilty Gear: Strive, Under Night In-Birth 2, Guilty Gear: Xrd REV2, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom, and Mortal Combat 1 (Showdown).

Both single and team brackets took place during the tournament.

Although the Capital City Clash implies a competitive atmosphere, most players were there for connection rather than a prize.

Ryan Aloysius, otherwise known by his gamer tag Smolcaps, is a Street Fighter 6 player from Toronto. Aloysius said that one of the most common goals for players who participate in tournaments is to connect.

“[I enjoy] meeting people I play with online all the time, building more intimate connections, the social aspect of being in person,” Aloysius said.

Many players put an emphasis on coming to bigger competitions to have fun. One of the event’s organizers, Jamel Johnny, expressed the importance of having fun.

“The conversations you have… improve everyone’s game. So many people [in the community] have known each other forever,” he said.

For instance, Johnny has known William Au, or Willintentions, an alumnus of Algonquin College and one of the organizers, since he was 10 years old.

Many of the organizers involved in putting together Capital City Clash were also players at the tournament, such as events, travelling across the country for gaming events, as well as putting together events such as Capital City Clash.

Au also runs events in Ottawa weekly, in venues such as the Level One Pub in the downtown core.

“I’ve travelled to cities for events,” said Au. “I’ve been around here and there. I’ve always wanted to help others get better.”

The biggest attractions to the tournament were Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8. Tekken 8 was a particularly big draw, as the game had come out two weeks prior. In the Tekken bracket alone, there were a total of 45 players. Many of these players doubled up.

Two men are posed for the camera, one points at the other while he poses a thumbs down to the camera
Two players, Jadon Van (aka Zykles) and Gustavo Romero (aka 801Strider), after their finalist match of Street Fighter 6. Photo credit: Siobhan Rollo

A celebrity draw to the tournament was famous American Street Fighter player, Gustavo Romero, or as he’s better known, 801Strider.

The room filled with applause once Romero walked into the room, with one of the organizers of the event, Amit Rao, announcing his arrival.

“I’m kind of hyped to see the Street Fighter bracket, and the Tekken 8. I’m excited to see the room filled with people,” said Rao.

Romero was invited as a special guest by event organizer and top Street Fighter 6 player, Jadon Van or Zykles. Romero, coming from Utah, was surprised by the Ottawa weather. “It’s cold here. I’m from Utah, we have snow, but this is a different level of cold,” said Romero.

One of Algonquin’s club presidents made an appearance at the event, playing in the Street Fighter 6 brackets, as well as providing commentary on the tournament’s livestream. Isaiah Thompson is the co-president of the Algonquin College e-sports club, as well as a member of the Students’ Association, and helped secure the event for the tournament.

Thompson originally got involved in the scene by entering the Students’ Association’s club room.

“I stumbled into the clubs room, saw people playing games, asked to grab a round and people were super accepting,” Thompson said.

Many of the organizers of the event expressed that they had spent a long time in the competitive fighting scene, with the average staff member starting 10-15 years ago.

Alexander Guidone, a commentator for the event, is one of those members. “I’m very familiar with these games. I’ve been playing for a super long time,” Guidone said.

Guidone said he anticipated the event would be a success. “These tournaments are in the infancy stage, with only one happening in January,” he said.

Many players had positive feedback about the venue, such as a pillar in the Ottawa Tekken 8 scene, Mohmad Nasser, otherwise known as Noctis.

“I’m glad we have [the] room,” said Nasser. “Considering the amount of people. Parking is good, which is usually a concern. The people running it are organized.”

The event concluded with nine winners, one for each bracket. The tournament finished at 10 p.m.

There are plans for another Capital City Clash event happening next month.

Au’s goals for Capital City Clash are to put Ottawa on the map as another hub for the fighting game community. He expressed an end goal for what he’d like to see happen to Capital City Clash.

“The end goal is working at conventions, and forming small brackets there,” said Au.

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