Evo Moment 37: Book Review

“The Daigo Parry”.

The most famous moment in competitive gaming history, equalling millions of views online, this one moment catapulted the fighting games scene and the Evolution tournament to another level. Evo Moment 37 captures every moment, the birth of Evo, the rise of Street Fighter III: Third Strike and of course, the moment that cemented Daigo Umehara as the fighting game scenes greatest player.

The Daigo Parry.

It’s probably worth explaining the parry system and how it works. Basically, as your opponent attacks, pressing forwards will parry it causing zero damage to your character. This is for a high parry. A low parry work the same way only you press down. It’s difficult to parry two attacks in succession. Parrying an entire super seemed impossible. It wasn’t.

A large portion of the book is from the viewpoint of Justin Wong, the player who found himself on the end of Daigo’s full parry and his is the most interesting tale. A story of essentially lying to his parents so he can go to all these gaming tournaments, he trained and trained in order to rise up the ranks. A true underdog story that almost feels like a Hollywood story.

Not just focusing on Justin, it also jumps between a number of individuals who were involved in the tournament scene at the time, including Seth Killian who recorded the infamous footage. For someone (like us) who only has a passing interest in the fighting game community, there’s a lot more here that some people would not know. For instance, the incredible unpopularity of Street Fighter III at the time and the troubles of changing Evo from a purely arcade cabinet tournament to the world of consoles. It sounds strange now, but something that at the time was hugely controversial.

Despite being a niche product, even for those who aren’t big fighting game nuts will be able to appreciate the time and dedication that each of these players puts in. And maybe it’ll be something that gets them swept up and actually look at more Evo Tournaments. Our one recommendation for you then would be to check out the BlazBlue finals at the 2014 Evo Tournament to see some truly high level play.

If there’s one downside of the book it’s that the writing when it comes to describing the matches is staggeringly poor. Admittedly there’s very little you could probably do when describing Street Fighter fights, but it just made us want to load up YouTube and try to find the matches in full rather than reading the rather mundane match reports. In defence though the writer does try and tone down the technicality of certain aspects, so there’s no talk of “frame traps” and the like. It’s all simple fireballs, sonic booms and kicks.

Is Evo Moment 37 worth owning? Probably, yes. If you’re a fighting game fan then you’ll already know the story, but the insights into people’s lives at the time and what was going through their heads makes it a worthwhile read. This is particularly evident during the Daigo Parry as this moment is relived three times from three different angles. If you’re not into fighters as much then it’s still worth a look. It’s simple in its terminology that you’ll be able to understand, and it’s interesting enough that maybe it’ll be the doorway into the world of Evo.