Two weeks ago, many a fighting game fan excitedly settled down in front of their computers to take part in what may have been one of the most hyped fighting game events since we all found ourselves cocooned inside our homes from a worldwide pandemic. The excitement was palpable, social media was abuzz with anticipation, and weekly tournament commentators were giddily preaching hype for the coming weekend. This was to be one of the first online-only events that the fighting game community has seen that was at this large a scale. Three days of non-stop fighting games across multiple streams, open tournaments whose entry caps were raised from sheer community support and popularity, all run by a dedicated team of experienced and devoted individuals who were devoted to bringing that tournament feeling that so many have so deeply missed. With all the excitement and suspense that was built up in the weeks leading up to the event, it seems that everyone agrees that Frosty Frostings XIII lived up to the hype.
Last year, we found ourselves in a new era for competitive fighting games. Online has been pushed to the forefront of tournament play, and 2020 has been seen as something of a transitional period for competitors and the way they play. Frosty Faustings was one of the fortunate few tournaments that was able to run a fully functional offline tournament last year due to it being so early in the year, so with this fully online event, they have been one of the few that have remained yearly since inception. In those years, the event has garnered a reputation for being the yearly event with a mission statement to have an incredibly wide selection of playable games that competitors can enter. This year may have been completely different in terms of how people were competing, but they’ve kept that mission statement alive to the best of their ability, with 12 enterable open bracket tournaments, and 5 exhibitions.
What makes this feat so functionally impressive is that with all of these games, the manner of actually playing all of them online was certainly not consistent across every title. Some games without the privilege of strong online connectivity had to rely on third-party programs to run the games online, and even then, (apart from some unfortunate audio issues for Mortal Kombat 11,) pretty much every game ran without a hitch. This type of preparation is quite unprecedented for a tournament of this size during such a complicated time, and the organizers deserve all manner of kudos for their efforts.
This same kudos can be extended to the communities as well! Matcherino played a big part in this tournament series, and many of the games at this event had a sizable prize pot despite every tournament being free entry. Over $18,000 was contributed in Matcherino for the players by fans, with some of these games seeing the biggest prize pools that they’ve ever witnessed. SonicFox of Evil Geniuses even put in $2,500 of their own money to support Skullgirls, along with $500 from Autumn Games and Hidden Variable. With this support, the player caps would get raised up to a massive 256 entrants, and yet, this wasn’t even the most populated game at the event! That milestone goes to Guilty Gear Plus R, which saw 457 entrants. The fact that they managed to run the entire tournament in one day and stay within the schedule is nothing short of spectacular.
With Frosty Faustings having passed, the fighting game community is looking ahead to future online tournaments. Combo Breaker is coming up, and while they did confirm that there won’t be an offline event this year, they did hint at the possibility of something online. With Frosty Faustings having generated this kind of hype for a fully online tournament, other organizers now have proof that these events are worth it. Here’s hoping we’ll be hearing more soon!