The 2014 EVO Champ Just Won Using a PS1 Controller

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Forget your fancy arcade sticks. The breakout player during this year's EVO fighting game tournament used a gamepad to beat down all comers. Not just any gamepad, either. Luffy won the top spot with a controller from the original PlayStation.


A member of the Meltdown pro team, Olivier 'Luffy' Hay ran an incredible winning streak straight from the Losers' Bracket to the Grand Finals of the biggest fighting game tournament in the world. In the last series of Ultra Street Fighter IV matches, Luffy used Rose while Japanese player Bonchan chose Sagat.

The fights were a study in contrast whenever the camera cut to the players, with Luffy's ice-cold confidence being conjured by hands that were hidden from view while Bonchan's visible move inputs seemed unable to come up with an answer. And, every time that grey controller flashed into the shot, it seemed to defy belief. "Really? He's running game with that?!"

Image for article titled The 2014 EVO Champ Just Won Using a PS1 Controller

Lots of personal storylines feed into an event like EVO. Redemption for past defeats, characters becoming newly dangerous thanks to inspired players, regional dominance becoming a thing of the past. Some of those narratives can be expected, though. The fact that Luffy won out with a controller that's largely considered a relic of video game history is a bit of a poetic surprise. One that's a signifier for how far video games have come from the days of the first PlayStation all those years ago.



You can argue all you want for or against arcade sticks/pads, old controllers, new controllers. The thing about playing fighting games especially is that having perfect inputs will only get you so far. It's 80% mental, and like Luffy, Snake Eyez, and all the other pad players out there (even Brolylegs, the disabled player who plays with his tongue), they are just going to use whatever they learned how to play on.

Tons of people, especially those who were chlidren in the 90s learned these games by pumping quarters into machines and becoming adept with arcade sticks. Some learn on their own copies of the game, at home, on controller pads.

I don't mean to play down the fact that he is the best USFIV player in the world is using an odd controller, but I think that its a bit of a disservice to focus on that instead of realizing that his victory comes from years and years of hard work and dedication. Awesome job to all the Top 8, especially Luffy! Looking forward to the rest of the Capcom Pro Tour and EVO 2015!