Competitive eSports seems somewhat of an odd topic to the general Australian public. If you were to broach the discussion to a stranger, their opinion on the matter could range from anything between an inability to grasp the appeal, to intense passion and satisfaction. If you’re of the latter variety, or just love an intense game of Street Fighter, we’ve got some great news: Expand Gong, the University of Wollongong’s very own fighting game tournament, is coming back to campus after its first, extremely successful year.
Co-hosted by UOW’s Video Games Association and the Fighting Game Community, Expand Gong 2 (EG2) will boast 5 classic fighting games, over 100 competitors and one awesome weekend.
Speaking to the showrunners
I recently got to speak to the President of VGA, Michael Kosteski, about EG2, and he sounded just as excited as us: “Expand Gong, to begin with, was just a try-out event for us. We wanted to see how many people we could get to Wollongong… So Expand Gong 2 is the second iteration and it’s just blown way out of proportion with what we thought it was going to be.”
VGA has also attempted to widen Expand’s audience this year. Kosteski mentioned a heavy scrutiny on streaming. “Last year, we only had one competition being streamed… This year, we’re bumping up the production level to have multiple streams going. We’re going to be streaming to Twitch and Facebook simultaneously.” EG2 looks to be striking a balance between local and widespread appeal. UOW students and nearby gamers are encouraged to attend, and as part of the NSW competitive circuit, EG2 is sure to bring in Australia’s top players, with quite a few returning from last year’s Expand.
Serious competitor? You can win rank points at this year’s Expand!
This year, Expand Gong 2 is offering valuable competitive points to placing competitors of the various tournaments for each game. Online, games such as Super Smash Brothers players are categorized using the “Elo” ranking system, (originally designed for Chess) ranks competitors using cumulative competition points to determine an overall ranking. With EG2 being part of the NSW circuit, some of these valuable points will be up for grabs.
Beginning Friday the 31st of March, the first day of Expand Gong 2 promises to get everyone acquainted. For the most part it will be oriented around setting up the event, as well as coming together for friendlies and money matches, to build excitement for the following 2 days of competition.
What’s on when it gets serious?
Saturday is when it all officially begins though, with a triple dose of Super Smash Bros.: Smash Wii U, Melee & Project M (Melee’s infamous competitive mod). Speaking as a competitor of last year’s Expand, the competitive circuit for Smash is not kidding around. Smash may seem a surface-level fighting game, but anyone who’s familiar with its legacy in competitive gaming will know how much of the game is barely visible, if at all.
While Smash takes up most of the day, Saturday will also have various friendlies for the other games on Expand’s roster; specifically, Mortal Kombat X, Street Fighter V and Rivals of Aether, saving the finals for the final day.
If Saturday is Expand’s game season, then Sunday is basically the playoffs. Right off the bat, the top 4 Smash doubles teams established on Saturday go head to head to determine the ultimate winner. The rest of the day is dedicated to pooling the top 8 solo players, and finally having them duke it out. Outside of Smash, brackets for Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter and Rivals of Aether will also be held throughout the day.
Locale & Tickets
Whether you plan to compete or spectate, Expand Gong 2 promises to be a weekend of white knuckles, red faces, cheeky banter and down-to-the-wire competition. EG2 will be held in Building 11, also known as the UniCentre, on UOW’s main campus in Wollongong.
Tickets are available online at Ticketebo. Day passes start at $20, Weekend passes are $30. Player entry is $10 per bracket. Mortal Kombat X and Rivals of Aether player entry is $5. You can also find a UOW campus map here.
Gamers Classified will also be covering Expand Gong 2 on the day with a full report amidst the action.