Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a prestigious and exclusive event, known simply to its attendees, as Rage Fest. Listeners of The Level-Clear Podcast will likely have heard us discuss Rage Fest before; but for the uninitiated, I’ll explain the basic premise.
Once every three months: myself, the website crew and an assortment of mutual friends, get together to pound a few Red Bulls, eat Chinese and spend the night beating each other up on fighting games.
In the pre-Rage Fest warm up, everyone demonstrates their digital artistry by sending elaborately themed Snapchat selfies. And in the post-event wind-down, these are replaced by darkened shots of broken players, communicating just how ‘fucking dead’ they all are.
Honestly, it’s a lot of fun.
And while a lot of that fun is down to the snapping, shit-talking and caffeine-fuelled competition, it’s what we play that really makes the event. These days, 2D-fighters are something of a video game rarity for still supporting local multiplayer, and that’s a damn shame.
A number of triple-A devs have all but given up on local gaming, much to the disappointment of their fanbase. Last year’s Halo 5 famously dropped its split screen, citing the game-changing frame rate drop, as being responsible for the mode’s absence. But Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Soul Cal and the like, have all held onto their offline VS because they know how much their players value the experience. Get a few friends together for a local SFV tourney, and I guarantee the atmosphere will outclass that of even the best online lobbies.
Once everyone’s hyped-up and invested, there’s a resounding cheer with each victory, silent glances at crucial moments, and collective intakes of breath when combatants are reduced to match-deciding magic pixels of health.
For the same reasons that big tournaments like EVO are held locally, we do the same at our humble, amateur punch-up, and we love every second of it.
If you feel like your online experiences are missing a certain je ne sais quoi, get some mates together, get wired, and throw down the gauntlet on your favourite beat-em-up. I guarantee the resulting digital punch-up will be totally unforgettable.