We were stupid early when we arrived at the Hampton Coliseum friday morning. My buddy Joey and I, two combatants ready to mix it up with some of the best the DMV area fighting game community had to offer, sat waiting for doors to open. Our excitement was grounded only by the fatigue of a two and a half hour drive down to the coast. As attendees gathered, the hype became palpable. BITE 4 was about to go down!
Beast in the East 4 took place the weekend of October 4th at the beautiful Hampton Convention Center in Hampton Roads Va. What began solely as a rhythm game tournament has grown to welcome fighters into the fray. We walked in to a world filled with psychedelic dance mats, lively electronic tunes, arcade cabinets featuring favorites spanning the history of gaming, but most importantly, a community of competitors ready to tear it up for a weekend of unadulterated fun.
My brethren in arms, the Medium Bois, had trained (maybe not as much as we liked, but adulting can be hard) for weeks leading up to this event. We came to have fun, but we came to compete! One of my brothers, who used to compete heavily before starting a family, was somewhat of a local legend and a known name in the Street Fighter 4 community at large. As competitors looked at the brackets, I could hear hushed whispering of his name. His infamy, it would seem, had followed him. He went on to show he hadn’t lost a step, taking second!
That little story is important, not because I want to brag (okay, maybe just a little), but it shows why regional events are amazing. While major tournaments like EVO are awesome, a regional is a place to connect as well as compete. Forging new friendships and rivalries is not as easy at an international event with tens of thousands of attendees, but this is the very heart and soul of a regional. Events like BITE don’t need to be EVO or Capcom Cup. Even though they have the same activities, regional tourneys offer a more intimate setting that the huge events just can’t. There aren’t million dollar pots or e-sports mega stars, but there is a feeling of family and community that should make them a destination on any competitive gamers radar.
By the time the weekend had come to a close, I was beat. Even after three solid days of gaming, we played old school fighters with a small crowd on a little setup we brought with us to end things out. At it’s close, the hard working heroes that run BITE had a discussion panel open to all attendees for feedback. These folks worked incredibly hard to make this happen and they want it to only get bigger and better. BITE is set to grow more and more each year because of their willingness to listen to their fans and deliver what we want. I was more than impressed with everything.
No matter if you slap buttons in fierce battles or stomp your feet to fierce beats, regional events are something you don’t want to miss. Check out your local scene and give one a shot! I can guarantee you’ll have a blast. If you find yourself on the mid/lower east coast around October, come check out Beast in the East! I’ll definitely be there.
BITE 4 logo courtesy of the lovely organizers of Beast in the East.