Canada and U.S. battle for the Microsoft Dragon Ball FighterZ crown
Canadian players stared intensely at their laptop screens while their fingers moved rapidly on their video game controllers, duking it out against their unseen U.S. opponents.
Mississauga’s Square One Microsoft Store teamed up with another store in B.C. to face off against opponents based in two American Microsoft stores on Aug. 11 in a Dragon Ball FighterZ tournament.
Five Canadian players duked it out with more than 20 U.S. players for the crown and bragging rights to the game hosted by Microsoft. Although the U.S. team won, Canada’s team at Square One were thankful for the event and were struck by the support from the community of other players and viewers.
Canadian player Juan Pablo Castaneda, aka Pablo123405, who was introduced to the Dragon Ball FighterZ game by a Microsoft Store employee, at first didn’t enjoy the game much, but after getting used to playing it, he bought it for himself. He practiced everyday against different players in the weeks leading up to the tournament.
“I’ve been growing up with gaming ever since I was five years old, and honestly, being in an awesome community just means so much to me,” Castaneda said. “I can make new friends, I can play the same game and just honestly — it’s amazing. It’s a really good time here.”
Dragon Ball FighterZ was released last January and has already created a welcoming and supportive community for players of all levels, he said.
Castaneda said the community taught him self-confidence and good sportsmanship during his practice sessions.
“It gives lots of confidence just to go again and keep going — no matter if you win or lose,” he said.
Evangelo “Extenderrr” Benak, another Canadian player, agreed.
He said when growing up, eSports events were rare and he only played casually, either alone or with his friends. He started attending gaming tournaments two years ago and has so far enjoyed the community’s support.
“Everyone’s really welcoming and everyone’s very nice to you. They’re very understanding, too,” Benak said.
He played other games like Super Smash Bros. Melee, Guilty Gear and Street Fighter, and despite the differences between them and Dragon Ball FighterZ, the community welcomed discussions about other fighting games.
Vareec “Nego” Callangan, who captured third place at the tournament, also got support from friends and the community when he first started competing in games.
He said in his free-time, he liked watching YouTube videos with friends to figure out how to defeat different characters in Dragon Ball FighterZ.
“I have to work around my own work schedule, because I work full-time — nine to five, five times a week” he said. “If I’m feeling okay after work, then I’ll spend some hours just in my room playing games.”
After attending other tournaments earlier this year — the Red Bull AdrenaLAN 2018 and Dair to Dream V — Callangan discovered the competitive atmosphere differs greatly compared to staying at home and playing online. He said although traveling takes more time and effort, it is worth it to meet other players and have a good time at a live event.
Benak also found tournaments to be a pressure cooker. His hands shake sometimes because the atmosphere of a tournament differs from playing at home or at a friend’s house.
“My hands start shaking whenever I’m about to beat somebody or [when] I’m doing pretty well. It’s tough,” he said. “I get into my own head a lot when I’m playing. It’s a challenge I want to get through. It’s getting slightly better.”