A blind gamer who competed in the biggest fighting game tournament of them all, the Evolution Championship Series (EVO), took home the ultimate W this year: An uproarious applause from nearly 10,000 competitors and fans alike.
EVO 2023 wrapped up over the August 4 weekend at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. This year’s tournament was a record-setter, with 9,182 players battling it out in Dragon Ball FighterZ, Guilty Gear Strive, Tekken 7, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and other popular brawlers. But Capcom’s recent Street Fighter 6 was the breakout star here, as 7,061 entrants constituted the game’s record-breaking debut at EVO. It wasn’t just the number of players that made Street Fighter 6 an exciting game to watch on Twitch and YouTube; It was the players who displayed incredible skill and poise during incredibly tense matches, with one player in particular winning the hearts of everyone in attendance.
The Blind Streamer Running Through The FGC Circuit
Sven “BlindWarriorSven” Van de Wege is not your typical gamer. An E. Honda and Ken player who lost his eyesight at the age of six thanks to cancer (that he eventually beat), Twitch and YouTuber streamer BlindWarriorSven showed up to this year’s EVO tournament ready to throw digital hands. His first bout was against Luke player EternalPancake, and it was a nail-biter of a fight.
After turning on some accessibility settings—such as audio cues for character movement—and selecting their fighters, it was time for the battle to commence. BlindWarriorSven, with a black blindfold across his eyes, kicked off the first round with a pretty clean victory, crossing up EternalPancake and finishing him with E. Honda’s level three special move called The Final Bout. Round two went to EternalPancake, who played much safer this time around, punishing BlindWarriorSven’s whiffed attacks to get a victory on the board. At this point, the match was 1-1; It was anyone’s game. Both competitors played a bit more aggressively, blocking and punishing each other’s missed strikes until BlindWarriorSven was on the ropes. With roughly 30 per cent of health left in the last round, BlindWarriorSven broke through EternalPancake’s guard, smacking him up and unleashing yet another level three special, one that left EternalPancake’s Luke winded with just a hit of health left. BlindWarriorSven then flew in with E. Honda’s signature headbutt, closing out the match with a 2-1 win. And I know it’s cliché to say, but truly, the crowd went wild, clapping and cheering for BlindWarriorSven as the two hugged and chatted on the stage.
Kotaku reached out to BlindWarriorSven for comment.
Unfortunately, both competitors were knocked out of the tournament before reaching Street Fighter 6‘s grand finals, with BlindWarriorSven reaching 2,049 and EternalPancake placing 4,097 out of 7,083 players, respectively. But regardless, that BlindWarriorSven made it to EVO 2023 at all let alone won a match and the hearts of everyone who came through, is a testament to how accessible fighting games have become recently. You love to see it.
Something you don’t love to see? Accessories melting because of hot PS5s.
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