The warning from the hotel was clear: Make more noise and you're getting shut down. As a result, a group of fighting game fans who gathered in a hotel suite this past weekend to battle each other had to figure out how to have a good time in the most hushed tones possible. The result sounded less like a fighting game party and more like a poetry reading. Instead of cheering at amazing plays, the attending crowd snapped their fingers.
"We got the noise complaint around 12:30AM when the stream had been hot for about 20 minutes," explained Dan "Raidhyn" Nichols, who is helping create the Smash Bros.-style game Brawlhalla.
"The hotel said we were so loud they could hear us on floors above and below the suite, and it was travelling through the whole hotel," Nichols said. "I talked the hotel staff out of shutting us down, and they were very nice about it all."
He and a colleague were staying at a Marriott hotel for the weekend's big Final Round 20 tournament in Atlanta and had decided to open up their suite on Saturday night to players who wanted to compete after-hours. Nichols said some 200 players came and went.
With setups for Street Fighter 5, BlazBlue: Central Fiction and Pokken Tournament, not to mention appearances by top-notch players like Darryl "Snake Eyez" Lewis and Jachin "SKD" Harte, people were most certainly having a good time. But in the fighting game community, good times are often accompanied by a good deal of shouting and screaming.
Although the hotel was willing to work with the fighting game players and not kick them out, their acquiescence came with one caveat: One more noise complaint would result in an immediate end to the festivities. As things were just beginning to ramp up, attendees (many of them part of the Atlanta-based DATA FGC broadcast team) were quick to hush their fellow competitors if things got too rambunctious.
In-suite video following that warning is amusingly low-key. Instead of clapping for good plays, the crowd cheers by snapping their fingers. High-energy situations were met with a chorus of shushes to ensure things didn't get out of hand. Commentators put on their best golf announcer voices for the calmer atmosphere. And while this may seem strange for anyone familiar with a typical fighting game event, the folks in attendance were still having fun.
When the FGC tries really hard to not get another noise complaint. pic.twitter.com/GqBQZ3FPB2
— Raidhyn (@raidhyn) March 12, 2017
"[DATAFGC was] so happy to have a space to stream that they did everything they could to make sure we could all stay for the rest of the night," Nichols continued. "It was awesome. Everyone was having a great time despite having to keep the noise down, and there were literal tears of laughter at points since the whole situation was so unreal. People were incredibly respectful of the room and each other throughout the whole thing."
Nichols said it remained that way for three hours after the initial complaint, and a follow-up visit from hotel staff wasn't necessary all night.
With the rise of streaming platforms like Twitch, these "salty suites" have become ubiquitous with the fighting game community. They're often the best place to see grudge matches that couldn't be settled during the normal tournament put to rest, and they also provide a space of camaraderie for players of all skill levels to engage in friendly matches with some of the world's strongest competitors. A hotel room is hardly the best place to put on such an exciting event, but as this story proves, the fighting game community is resourceful.
Nichols has no doubt about his future with these after-hours sessions, stating, "I'd do it again."