Bonus Round Series: Losing your heroes and healing as a community

Due to the events affecting the better part of last semester, also known as COVID-19, the summer months seemed suddenly elongated, and students found themselves having to enjoy their own company more as social events were prohibited.

As usual, there were a plethora of gaming-related events over summer, however many had to be canceled or switched to online formats due to the spread of COVID-19. The largest and most notable event to be reformatted was EVO 2020, the biggest fighting game tournament in the world. 

Typically every year, people flood the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and gather around the competitors of EVO in droves, but this year that was simply an impossibility. So, EVO reformatted so that both the tournament and games that were to be announced, would be taking place entirely online.

With this change it allowed for the highlighting of games that have exceptional online netplay; like Skullgirls, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat 11 and even Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, which was celebrating its 20th anniversary. Though many people were disappointed that the physical event was canceled, players and audience members were still excited for the hype of a new game lineup. Except, none of this ended up happening. 

EVO co-founder and CEO Joey Cuellar, known more commonly as Mr. Wizard, was removed from his role as acting representative of EVO due to a series of sexual abuse allegations against him, and the tournament was subsequently canceled. Around the same time, several high profile competitors in the Super Smash Brothers community were called out on Twitter for similar (but varied) reasons. 

Some of the most famous players in the world, including ZeRo, Keitaro, D1 and several others were suddenly facing serious accusations, and each one of them either admitted to their wrongdoing and left the community or simply deleted themselves from social media, being completely radio silent ever since. Needless to say, the loss of people we looked up to for the longest time took a huge toll on the community’s morale, but it has not been crippling.

At the end of the day, the backbone of any community is made up of the people within it, not just those with a major presence or notoriety. And as such, the best way to heal as a community is to acknowledge the problem and move forward.

There will always be bad people, but if a community stays positive and continues growing, then those people will have less of an overall effect on the community. It is no secret that the people who were recently ousted are responsible for major growth and draw to their respective communities, and we can still appreciate the results without having to condone the actions of those who we used to idolize. It is true that “cancel-culture” can be harmful to society, but we can circumnavigate these issues entirely by simply moving on, focusing on ourselves, supporting our locals, finding new creators and practicing our gaming. There is nothing keeping us from strengthening these communities, and right now, those communities need it.

Welcome back to Bonus Round, everyone. The wheel of fate is turning.

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