During the Semifinals matches, bragging rights, a trip to GameSpot's Studio in San Francisco, and a $700.00 gift card was all at stake. For this tournament, each match consisted of three players in a free-for-all setting. We wanted to see a real challenge because Super Smash Bros. Brawl isn't a typical fighting game. We wanted a BRAWL! We wanted to see people gang up on each other. To our dismay, we rarely witnessed players ganging up on an individual even if the player only had one stock remaining. The players seemed to target players who had a higher stock (lives). Maybe some of you can share your thoughts on why they used this strategy. On a related note, I have posted a run down of the semifinals matches on the Fight or Flight tournament page.
The main issue we had was some players admitting that they were underage during the tournament. While we appreciated the honesty, in every instance it was too late. We removed them from the tournament. We were even more surprised to find out two of the three semifinalists were under age. Neither of them could claim a prize because they did not meet the eligibility requirements. All of the effort and impressive play meant they could not be entitled to a prize package.
Aside from underage users, this tournament provided additional insights. The unique SSBB tournament format challenged our tournament tools. The Nintendo Wii was a fun platform to host matches with, even if the SSBB friend code has a variety of digits to enter for each match we hosted. Going forward, we are optimistic on ways to improve our system to continue to support future Wii tournaments. From entering many numbers all week, I can still recall seeing them in my sleep. :/
Another concern we had was the SSBB in-gamer time. This caused a variety of delayed matches because some people wouldn't join the game in time before the game started. Many restarts later we would finally have a match happening with or without noticeable lag problems and the server would disconnect everyone. In those circumstances, the Admins had to make calls if too many disconnects occurred because we usually had two matches happening every half an hour. I understand that the timer is great for playing for fun but having a way to set your own timer would be a great enhancement for this game in particular.
I had noticed early on that the feedback we received the most was why GameSpot's first Wii tournament didn't allow the ESRB rating requirement or Canadian residents to participate. The answer? GameSpot Staff desired to have the final match showcase real life players on Tournament TV.
When we have people register for tournaments, they accept that they are eligible and agree to the conditions and rules that we have put in place. When they accept this agreement to participate, and do not read or follow the rules, they cannot claim a prize. Tournaments were put in place for a competitive experience with other GameSpot members. When prizes are offered we are required to give the details to our Legal department to know what we can and cannot offer to a certain demographic. This is how the eligibility requirements are formed to enlist how old a person must be to receive a travel prize package, to receive a particular prize or where a player may reside. We never want to exclude anyone from participation of tournaments but we always have to consider the ESRB rating and prizes that are offered for the tournament. In addition, if a particular tournament is sponsored, we also have to abide by the sponsor's requests and what their Legal departments may require. Many of these factors add up.
Because GameSpot Tournaments have always offered prizes, we do not plan to exclude prizes in order to allow participation to everyone. Why? There are many reasons why. Players from other countries have issues getting on the same server and will ping people out. This would require much more effort for the Admin to disqualify a player for not being able to connect to a server or if they disconnect everyone. We'd have to do a lot adjusting to matches and time zones which would be very difficult because of GameSpot's Pacific Time office hours. We would have less participants showing because there are no prizes offered. Many of you have experienced no-shows, haven't you? You participate in a tournament not to receive a default win but to win a match! Another thing to consider is the time and effort many departments at GameSpot put into having tournaments. Tournaments require that we put in everything into them, which means we will offer prizes and a Tournament TV production.
However, Tournaments aren't the only way GameSpot members can experience competition. Some Unions offer their own competitions but the most talked about competitive experience is Community Game Night. Every Tuesday nights, the GameSpot Community staff, Editorial team and other GameSpot staff are known to stay later at work to play with GameSpot members. There are no prizes at stake other than bragging rights and an emblem. If anyone is looking for competition, they should give the Community Game Nights a try. Anyone who does not live in North America should also be aware that GS UK or GS AU occasionally hosts Community Game Nights. Try adding the AU discussion and UK discussion boards as a favorite forum if you do not live in North America.
When it comes down to it, laws and money are two things that hold many businesses back from offering tournaments and sweepstakes world wide. GameSpot is based in North America. We have resources to offer these tournaments to residents of North America. GS UK and GS AU are working hard to offer similar tournaments, hopefully more frequently, in the future.