People who play fighting games competitively accept that sometimes their ferocious and constant play will result in a few broken controllers, but the last thing a player would want is for their stick to break during the final of the video game industry's biggest competition.
That's what happened to Momochi (as Evil Ryu) during his grand final match against Gamerbee (as Adon), but the disruption wasn't enough to put him off. Mid-match the game paused itself as the controller failed, drawing shocks from the crowd in Las Vegas.
The rules (in full below) state that if the game is stopped in any way then whoever stopped it must forfeit the round. Gamerbee took that second round (but in a show of sportsmanship let the time run down) as a replacement stick was found for Momochi.
This left them with a round apiece, leading to a third and final round after a gruelling wait. With a new controller Momochi was able to triumph, winning the tournament and $33,000 (£21,000, €30) in prize money.
You can watch the series of events below.
Here is the relevant section of the rulebook, explaining what should happen in the event of controller failure.
Reporting equipment failure: Video game hardware has a tendency to break down during tournaments. Buttons or joysticks will occasionally break down in the middle of a match, leaving the player on the broken side at a significant disadvantage. The following rules will be used in the event of a breakdown:
- In the event of an equipment failure, they player has the option to stop the game in progress to obtain an replacement.
- If a game is stopped in progress, the reporting player must forfeit the current round.
- New equipment must be immediately available. If replacement equipment cannot be obtained in a timely manner, the player must continue to play on their current equipment or forfeit the match.
- Once replacement equipment is obtained, the player is given the rest of the round to configure their buttons and test the new equipment. If the player gains an undue advantage by doing so (eg charging an abundance of super meter), they must forfeit the game.
- A player may opt to switch out equipment between games at no penalty. When this occurs, the player will be given ample time to configure his buttons before the next game begins.