Get as many games as possible in without being a jerk; five important dos and don'ts for casual competition etiquette at major fighting game events

A few unspoken rules everyone at FGC events should be following

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • May 26, 2018 at 12:49 p.m. PDT

I'm lucky enough to be on site at Combo Breaker this weekend, an event that has quickly grown to be one of the fighting game community's most revered yearly majors, and am excitedly happy to be able to look around and proclaim that the amount of attendees and number of games simultaneously being played creates an atmosphere that rivals EVOs of just a few years back.

Newer faces are joining the community, and perhaps those that were unable to travel in the past are doing so now. With so many sharing the same space, of which there is (thankfully) an ample amount at this venue, a general etiquette is necessary for order to persist.

I've spent a good amount of time in the casuals area for Street Fighter (another awesome perk not all events offer) and it's come to my attention that perhaps some of the newcomers could use some pointers in how to go about getting games in when the group is this big.

When hundreds of people are playing casuals (friendlies, if you're a Smasher) chaos is always threatening at the door, but a few unspoken rules can help keep it at bay. I've put together a list of general guidelines to follow so as to keep things efficient when trying to mingle and get games in.

Be Respectful, But Go For What You Want

Especially if you're an up and comer, it can be very intimidating to approach people (most of all top players) to ask them to play. Get rid of your reservations and take advantage of the moment. You've probably spent a few hundred bucks on this experience and it'd be a shame to be two feet away from your favorite competitor and not get to face them.

This is something I've wrestled with, but seeing the fruits of being respectfully forward has made me a changed man. Ask to play all day. While the occasional rejection is inevitable, op players are very often happy to give you a set or two. They're there to play just like you are.

When and How to Call Next

If you want to join a station, it's on you to clearly call "next" so that the players already on are aware. Doing it in the middle of a match isn't the time or place for it, though, and it's much better to make your statement between games or at least between rounds.

If there's no line you can feel free to play indefinitely, but as soon as someone clarifies that they're waiting the losing player is on the chopping block. What if you've been in a long set already though? The countdown starts when "next" is called.

Regardless of how much you've played before, it becomes 0-0 as soon as someone else makes it known that they want to play. From there it's best of 3 or 5 depending on the tournament standard for the game you're playing.

No Salty Runbacks

Everyone knows what a trip to the salt mines feels like, and everyone knows that feeling when all you want in the world is a runback. You can ask for one and the people patiently waiting will probably grant you one. Don't though.

People already have to wait a long time to even get a shot at playing their favorite competitors, and no one likes to hear "let me get one more" at the moment when their patience is finally supposed to be paying off.

Don't put others in the position where they feel like a jerk for taking what's theirs. (You can apply that to just about any other avenue in life, by the way.) You're not special, you don't get extra games, don't be that person. Get back in line and wait your turn.

Be Aware of the People Around You

Most events have figured out that you absolutely need to leave room for spectators as well as those on deck to play, but when every person is carrying a stick and a backpack the space becomes deceptively small.

Please be aware of where you're standing so as not to congest natural walkways, but even more importantly don't crowd those engaged in playing. Getting a bag to the back of the arm while you're trying to combo sucks, and seeing elbows in your peripherals while trying to focus is lame.

Also, when you lose make it a point to quickly get out of the way of the incoming player. Move to another spot before you wind up your cord and put your controller in its bag.

You can have a quick chat with the person you just faced, but don't sit in the chair and make the world wait when you can easily have your post-set wrap up out of the way.

Disconnect your Device

This one is really for PlayStation 4 pad players, but when it's continuing to be a problem even in tournament play, you can imagine how bad it tends to be in the more relaxed, casual atmosphere.

There's been oh so much grief because the way PS4 Bluetooth currently works, and while it kind of sucks for fighting games it's all we have at the moment. Foreign controller pauses are definitely annoying for everyone, but fairly easily avoidable.

Like everything else on this list, this falls under the "just be respectful and thoughtfully aware" banner, but it's a point that seems to need continual hammering home.

Banner photo credit: Stephanie Lindgren.

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