Matt Dahte has lived in both the US and Japan for extended periods of time, and has been an active participant in the fighting game cultures of both countries. He saw a major difference in the way both community gatherings and tournaments were held – the Western tournaments were more personable, with a stronger social and community aspect to them.
“Final Roundbats – our organization – is basically just a big party,” says Dahte, better known amongst the fighting game community under his handle, Forgenjuro. “Several of us met up on shoryuken.com, and since we were all fighting game fans, we decided to start holding these get-togethers… eventually, the idea came to sort of team up with Final Round in Atlanta and organize these tournaments as well. About two years ago, we finally established Final Roundbats as a series of regular tournaments here in Japan.”
While the competition is a main draw, they’re not the sole focus of the events. “More than anything, we want the participants to have fun. It’s not just video games… there’s lots of drinking and conversing to be done.”
With a popular US-style tournament series running in Japan, a question comes to my mind. It’s commonly said that the Japanese fighting game players often come to the US tournaments because they prefer the sort of fun, hype-filled atmosphere our events provide. Is there any truth to that?