Party Royale
ESPN The Magazine|October 1, 2018
Party Royale

Step inside the exclusive all-night gamer soiree at the world’s biggest fighting-game tournamentÑwhere the playing never stops.

Tyler Erzberger

IT’S THE WEE hours of Aug. 4 in Las Vegas, on what will be the 14th consecutive day of 100-degree heat in the city—not that any of the athletes staying at the Mandalay Bay Casino would know. They never go outside. Not this weekend. The world’s largest fighting game tournament, Evolution, is underway. Over the course of three days, thousands of combatants will be whittled down to the Sunday finalists, who will go thumb-to-thumb in five different titles in front of 10,000 fans at the pinnacle event of the fighting-game community (FGC).

Qualifying matches last well into the night on the bustling show floor. But upstairs, in a hotel suite, a debris field of shoes marks the entrance to an invitation only after-party where—surprise—people are playing video games.


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October 1, 2018