If gamers were forced to choose one moment to serve as the most iconic and memorable moment in the history of competitive gaming, there would be a clear winner: Evo Moment 37.
An incredible display of skill by one of the most legendary professional gamers in history, the gameplay, setting, and crowd reaction all played a pivotal role in this one instance that would inspire countless competitive gamers and solidify itself as the most important moment in esports history.
But, to the untrained eye, it can be hard to understand exactly why this moment is so amazing and iconic. And where did the name “Evo Moment 37” come from? We’ve got you covered with a brief history lesson.
The Evolution Championship Series (EVO) is an annual fighting game tournament featuring the top talent from all over the globe. The prestige of the event is unrivaled – win an EVO championship, and your name is in the history books as one of the best of the best. The headlining event of every EVO tournament is the Street Fighter tournament.
Moment 37 occurred during the Street Fight III: 3rd Strike semifinals match between Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong. Daigo, widely considered the best Street Fighter player of all-time, and an icon in esports, found himself in deep trouble against Justin Wong, a then up-and-comer who has now solidified himself as a fighting game legend.
Things Are Looking Rough
Daigo used Ken against Wong’s Chun-Li, but the match was very much in Wong’s favor – he had perfected a slow defensive “turtling” style of play that allowed him to maintain a decent life lead while getting Daigo down to his last pixel of health. At this point, it’s virtually over, as Wong can just run out the clock or hit Daigo with a special move. In Street Fighter, special moves still do slight damage, which means any special hit will drain that last pixel of health, leading to a loss for Daigo. To make matters worse, Chun-Li has a full meter, meaning she can use her Super Art, an incredibly fast 15-hit special move. It’s almost impossible for Daigo to come out of this situation.
Key word: Almost
Evo Moment 37
In Street Fighter, players can execute a “parry” where they block a move perfectly without taking damage. Sounds pretty simple right? That’s until you realize you have to move towards your opponent at about the same time the hit lands – precisely, within four of thirty frames of the impact animation. That’s about seven one-hundredths of a second.
Doing once is a tall order, but Daigo has to do it 15 times just to survive. If he misses or just regularly blocks an attack once, he loses.
So…how does it go?
As Daigo parries each hit, the crowd begins to roar as they realize what they’re witnessing. But his focus won’t be deterred, as Daigo successfully parries every single attack of the Super Art before launching into his own game-winning combo.
Daigo would go on to defeat Justin Wong while placing 2nd overall in the tournament, losing to Kenji Obata in the finals, but this moment served as a much larger win for his own legacy, as well as the fighting game community as a whole.
Why the name Evo Moment 37?
Evo Moment 37 is the name of the clip as it appears in a highlight video that was created shortly after the event. The number “37” was completely random – just two numbers that the video creator punched in when uploading the clip. It goes without saying that while it’s named Evo Moment 37, it’s easily number one among all fighting game moments.