click and drag to view screens Smashing The Record Super Smash Bros. is in a unique position among fighting games, having an enormous scene that exists indepen-dent of the FGC at large. Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl were both at Evo from 2007 through 2009, but the tournament and scene parted ways after a few years. They rejoined in 2013, when Evo ran a donation drive where players could give money to cancer research and support any game they wanted to see at Evo. Melee ended up winning the poll, raising over $90,000. Melee’s return to Evo, along with a high-profile online documentary on the game called The Smash Brothers, brought a resurgence of players to the 12-year-old game. Though Evo is not the largest Super Smash Bros. tourna-ment in terms of competition of registrants (Genesis and The Big House garner more intense competition), Evo is still an important tournament for the community, accord-ing to William “Leffen” Hjelte, a top Super Smash Bros. player who has risen to prominence in recent years. “There’s a lot of non-industry media here,” he says. “A lot more eyes are on you.” The return of Super Smash Bros. at Evo has been a boon to both. Both Super Smash Bros. Melee and the Wii U Smash Bros. have among the highest registration and stream viewership numbers at the event, and the crowd for the Melee finals on Saturday was among the event’s largest. And for players like Hjelte, Evo’s popularity helps elevate the game’s best players. “I think the fact that Evo brought more people into the scene and more sponsors is one of the main things that allows me to do this for a living.” Hjelte says. Wandering the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and looking at the sea of CRTs, arcade machines, and players meeting up to play a genre that relies on a sense of com-munity to thrive, it’s easy to understand why Chen, Cannon, and others work so hard to keep the tournament’s culture intact. The ability to fire up an obscure fighting game, have someone else take notice, then sit down for a few matches with you is a feeling unique among gaming conventions. Recent esports-oriented tournaments like TBS’ Eleague and Capcom’s own Capcom Cup, while fun events, lack this freeform aspect, instead focusing on building up the world’s best players to a larger audience. Newcomers to the scene, such as Team Liquid’s Du “NuckleDu” Dang, who took connect fifth at this year’s Street Fighter V tourna-ment, see things differently. Though Dang acknowledges the importance of keeping the event’s grassroots origins, he notes that the “arcade competitive culture” Evo strives to preserve had its flaws. “A lot of players back then, they had to have full-time jobs and find a way to compete and travel,” Dang says. With more organizations step-ping in to sponsor players full-time and run tournaments with larger prize pools, Dang says, “players are taken care of.” While Cannon is cautious of esports involvement, he understands the grass-roots efforts and more presentable esports events aren’t mutually exclusive. “These things don’t compete. You can have both,” he says.