All about Honda’s Horrible Hootenanny, an awful SF6 tourney
Aug 15, 2023
Many video game tournaments strive to deliver a crisp, clean competition designed to let the best player rise to the top. Honda’s Horrible Hootenanny is a notable exception.
Scheduled for August 25, the offbeat event has become a community hit with the crowdfunded prize pool already over $300. It flies in the face of everything esports, and that’s exactly what the tournament’s mastermind wants.
Honda’s Horrible Hootenanny is a Street Fighter 6 tournament where cheating, lag switching, and bribing the organizers are all accepted methods of gaining an advantage. The only rule is that players must pick E. Honda, everything else goes. The official rules not only allow, but encourage lag switching, poor internet connections, and colluding with opposing players.
To learn more about this hilarious community event, WIN.gg sat down with EmberTalks, the event’s organizer and lead commentator. She revealed the origins of the event, her reaction to the community response, and why events like this have value in the current gaming scene.
An interview with EmberTalks, the host of Honda’s Horrible Hootenanny
WIN.gg: Please tell the story behind Honda’s Horrible Hootenanny.
I’ve been thinking about running an event like this since even before SF6 came out. Playing the beta and the demo before release got me so excited for the game, as I believe SF6 is the first fighting game in years to truly call back to arcade roots with world tour’s arcade-style minigames, extreme battles, avatar fights, etc. offering so many different and creative ways to play outside of just queueing up for ranked. The possibilities are endless in terms of how you can play and in running creative events so I couldn’t help but let my imagination run wild. This was one of multiple ideas I’ve had in mind.
The rules mention bargaining and cheating as legal tactics. What do you have in mind for that?
Gentleman’s agreements and player creativity. We’re ironing out the kinks as we go. [Tournament organizers] are now posting their Paypal on Twitter fishing for bribes so I imagine it is turning out quite well.
The Melty Blood community hosted a similarly terrible event for the release of Neco Arc. Was that any inspiration?
It did not have any inspiration from the Neco Arc tournament. It actually drew inspiration from a similar Happy Chaos-only tournament I did previously in Guilty Gear Strive (Bad Things Happen to Broken Characters Brawl) which drew inspiration from Whydo’s Bad Things Happen to Good People Tournament (which was inspired by a tournament I did previously that was inspired by another tournament. Inspiration-ception!)
Did you expect such a massive response from the Street Fighter 6 community?
Not at all. When I ran the Happy Chaos bracket, I had maybe 40-50 sign-ups and 75 concurrent viewers on the stream, which was sizable but it wasn’t this widespread community attraction. I was expecting similar turnouts for this one, but of course, we have already well exceeded our expectations for sign-ups, and are expecting much higher numbers for viewership. It has been a very pleasant surprise and I am excited to put on the best show that I can for the community!
And what do you think of the crowdfunded prize pool, which currently sits at over $300?
It’s more than I expected. The tournaments I run are typically community crowd-funded and the support from that only goes so far. I am excited to see so much support for this financially by the community and am also exploring other avenues of fundraising for not just the players, but also TOs and staff during the stream.
Depending on how I set it up, I may be planning to solo-cast most of the stream, giving viewers the option to “co-commentate” with donations that would prompt some form, or combination of text-to-speech, video or audio line redeems, the revenue of which would help compensate our staff. We’re trying to be as creative as we can with this one providing fun opportunities for revenue not just for the witty champion-to-be but also for our staffers under the New Head banner who all work extremely hard behind the scenes to make this possible.
Would you like to see these types of events in other games, fighting or otherwise?
Yes. There needs to be more events like these. What makes me happiest about seeing the demand for this is that it validated an opinion I had of the fighting game scene, as well as the greater video game scene for a while. So many commentators, players & organizations in gaming take themselves way too seriously, and I believe it is to the detriment of not just those organizations, but also the communities around them. We have been seeing an “esportsification” of games over the years which has created a scene of paranoid sponsors, hushed players, and orgs afraid to rock the boat creating this sanitized image that does not feel authentic or organic. Every game ending with “gg” is just boring. Let people express themselves.
As long as the discourse & bad manner stays within the game only, I don’t think there is an issue. Show that bad with the good. You need villains to have heroes. Let those player narratives manifest. There are so many legendary players that we know nothing about outside of “good at game”, leaving many stories untold. People want a narrative to care about, and that is something that an event like Honda’s Horrible Hootenanny creates: an epic of villains, heroes, deception, betrayal, bargaining, and sabotage. The perfect formula, albeit very extreme, feels refreshing and almost like an act of rebellion when you see how tight-lipped the popular professional esports scene can be. There’s a reason why people do [Abdullatif “Latif” Alhmili] Tweet copypastas in chat when he is up in Strive at a major, or why people refresh [Victor “Punk” Woodley]’s Twitter when he loses in a tournament to see what he’s gonna say about the loss. It’s entertaining, memorable, relatable, and human.
I am especially thankful to be a part of an org like New Head that has been so unbelievably supportive of my endeavors and the events that I come up with. Valore (CEO of New Head) is one of my best FGC friends willing to listen to me when the going is tough but also willing to entertain some of my craziest event ideas. Bootleg (General Manager of New Head) is a very smart, business-savvy guy, who’s very good at putting together musical tracks and has the “old head” perspective of the FGC in its early days in NYC. Jag, our new head TO, has been instrumental in organizing events and keeping everything on track and on schedule and is super on top of everything that goes on in the Discord. There are many others in the team I could shout out but honestly it would take so much more writing to do it justice. This org is not just a group of coworkers. We’re a group of friends who put community first in everything that we do. Without a doubt, they have been my found family within the FGC.
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