Evo Moment 37

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Screenshot of Evo Moment #37, showing Umehara (Ken) parrying the first hit of Wong (Chun-Li)'s Super Art.

"Evo Moment #37", or the "Daigo Parry", refers to a portion of a Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike semifinal match held at Evolution Championship Series 2004 (Evo 2004) between Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong. During this match, Umehara made an unexpected comeback by parrying 15 consecutive hits of Wong's "Super Art" move while having only one pixel of vitality. Umehara subsequently won the match, though he went on to lose the Grand Final against Kenji "KO" Obata. Evo Moment #37 is frequently described as the most iconic moment in competitive video gaming, having influenced the fighting game community strongly.

Background[edit]

The Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike finals of Evo 2004 took place at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California on August 1.[1] Daigo "The Beast" Umehara and Justin Wong, two of the best Street Fighter players at the time, had never played against one another until that point.[2] Despite this, the two were already known for having a supposed rivalry with each other due to their differences in gaming philosophies.[3][4] Street Fighter was the only game to still be played on traditional arcade cabinets at this Evo, all other games being played on home consoles.[5] Umehara and Wong met one another in the loser's finals of the tournament. Here, Umehara opted to play using Ken, while Wong picked Chun-Li.

Moment[edit]

In the final round of match 1, after each player had won a round, Umehara got off to a weak start as Wong was playing conservatively, slowly chipping away on Umehara's life bar. Rolling Stone described Wong's behavior during this match as "the antithesis of Umehara's aggressive approach" and stated that video of the match shows that Wong's turtling was effective in "getting under his [Umehara's] skin." Match commentator and Capcom employee Seth Killian commentated that "this is rare footage of Daigo actually angry ... Justin's turtle-style now on the verge of putting Daigo down." Umehara's Ken was down to his last pixel of vitality. With 26 seconds remaining, Wong had the option to run out the clock, but he was eager to end the match.[6]

At this point, any special attack would knock Umehara's character out if connected, since special attacks deal a slight amount of damage even when blocked. To win the round, Wong attempted to hit Umehara's Ken with Chun-Li's multihit Super Art II move; the Houyoku-sen (鳳翼扇, "fanning phoenix-wing"). However, instead of avoiding it, Umehara chose to "Parry", a high-risk, high-reward technique which allows the defender to block an incoming attack without losing any health, but requires moving toward the opponent's direction in the same time a hit lands,[7] within six of sixty frames of the impact animation – about a tenth of a second[8]. Umehara had to predict when his opponent would start his Super Art Move, essentially making the first parry before the move even started,[6] and then perform the same split-second timing on all 14 of the remaining hits. Umehara did so, and went on to counter a final kick of Chun-Li in mid-air before launching a 12-hit combo, capped by Ken's Super Art III; Shippuu Jinraikyaku (疾風迅雷脚, "hurricane thunderclap leg"), winning the match.[2]

GamePro and Eurogamer pointed out how the moment was elevated by the "euphoric" reaction of the crowd, which erupted in cheers and shouts as Umehara parried Wong's moves and turned around the game.[9][3] Umehara went on to lose in the Grand Final to Kenji "KO" Obata, playing as Yun.

Spread[edit]

One of the tournament organizers and the primary ring announcer, Ben Cureton, was asked to create a highlight video of the "Daigo Parry" after the tournament was completed. Cureton uploaded the video under the title "Evo Moment #37", picking a random two-digit number to represent the highlight. In the book Evo Moment #37, Glenn Cravens wrote that:

Obviously, it's the No. 1 highlight, but in picking a number like 37, it would signal to the viewer who wasn't there that there were many incredible moments like the "Daigo parry." He wanted to make sure people didn't miss out on Evolution 2005 coming next year.[10]

A previously unnoticed recording of the match was discovered by Evo business developer and Tekken brand and community advisor Mark "MarkMan" Julio in 2019, lying amid a stack of old tapes and discs. Recorded by Ace R., this video is filmed from a different viewpoint and includes distinct live reactions of the people in the crowd. MarkMan uploaded this video on YouTube in April 2019.[11]

Legacy[edit]

It's a rite of passage and your introduction video to the entire community. It sparked an entire generation of believers and players and continues to do so 12 years later.

–Timothy Lee, ABC News[12]

The one moment is frequently described as the most iconic and memorable moment in the history of competitive video gaming. Being at one point the most-watched competitive gaming moment of all time, it has been compared to sports moments such as Babe Ruth's called shot and the Miracle on Ice.[13]

In an interview with John Guerrero of EventHubs, Justin Wong stated that he believed Evo Moment #37 may have helped "save" the fighting game community, which was getting less active at the time.[14] Umehara gave a more in-depth account of the match in his 2016 autobiography, in which he explains how he briefly departed from the fighting game community afterwards.[15]

The downloadable online version of 3rd Strike, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, features a challenge where players need to pull off the Daigo Parry.[4] A parody of Evo Moment #37 was presented in the 2012 anime adaption of Acchi Kocchi.[16] In 2014, Umehara and Wong held a rematch as a celebration of Evo Moment #37 ten years prior, in which Wong once again attempted to chip Umehara out with Chun-Li's special move. Umehara successfully parried Chun-Li's special move again, but Wong had enough vitality left to win the round a few seconds later.[17] Glenn Cravens wrote a self-published book titled EVO Moment 37 that year as well.[13]

In a friendly match, British Street Fighter player Ryan Hart notably pulled off Daigo's parry while not looking at the TV screen.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Markazi, Arash (2016-08-26). "Daigo and JWong: the legacy of Street Fighter's Moment 37". ESPN.
  2. ^ a b Walker, Ian (2016-07-12). "Get Hype with the Best from Evo's Past". Red Bull.
  3. ^ a b McCarthy, Dave (2006-08-31). "The best of YouTube". Eurogamer.
  4. ^ a b van Allen, Eric (2016-08-03). "How Rivalries Drive E-Sports". Paste Magazine.
  5. ^ Kleckner, Stephen (2004-08-18). "Spotlight on the Evolution 2K4 Fighting Game Tournament". Gamespot.
  6. ^ a b Baker, Chris (2016-07-21). "Flashback: Why 2004 'Street Fighter' Match Is Esports' Most Thrilling Moment". Rolling Stone.
  7. ^ "システム紹介". capcom.co.jp. Capcom. Archived from the original on 2010-05-10.
  8. ^ Bowling, Steve (2015-04-17). "The Beauty Of Street Fighter's Parry". Kotaku.
  9. ^ Spitalieri, Mike (2007-03-22). "The 9 biggest moments in pro gaming (page 3 of 3)". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2008-10-21.
  10. ^ Markazi, Arash (2016-08-26). "Daigo and JWong: the legacy of Street Fighter's Moment 37". ESPN.
  11. ^ McWhertor, Michael. "New footage of Evo's famous Street Fighter 3 moment discovered". Polygon. Vox Media.
  12. ^ Lee, Timothy (2016-07-14). "Evo's most thrilling moments". ABC News.
  13. ^ a b Narcisse, Evan (2014-04-14). "Someone Wrote A Book About Street Fighter's Greatest Match". Kotaku.
  14. ^ Grey, Jonathan (2014-11-22). "Justin Wong: EVO moment #37 may have helped save the FGC as many games were dying at the time, it brought some new life to the scene". EventHubs.
  15. ^ Bahn, Chris (2016-07-21). "Learn The Will to Keep Winning with Daigo's New Book". PVP Live.
  16. ^ Saabedra, Humberto (2012-04-10). ""Acchi Kocchi" Gag Anime Riffs on "EVO Moment #37"". Crunchyroll News.
  17. ^ Priestman, Chris (2014-11-24). "Evo Moment #37 Recreated In 10 Year Celebration Rematch". Siliconera.
  18. ^ Bahn, Chris (2016-09-07). "Watch: Rare Footage of EVO #37 Performed Backwards". PVP Live.

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