HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — The Garland County Library and National Park College are joining to sponsor Spa-Con Showdown 2023, a top-rated video gaming competition that will be part of the Spa-Con Season 7 pop culture and comic convention in September.
The Showdown, scheduled for Saturday, September 23, at Bank OZK Arena, will feature the recently released Street Fighter 6, and will have a $1,000-plus pot bonus added to the players’ entry fees, according to Alexis Hampo, special events manager for Visit Hot Springs, which sponsors Spa-Con.
The convention will run from Friday, September 22, through Sunday, September 24.
“Spa-Con Showdown is an integral part of Spa-Con, and I’m thrilled we will be changing it up with a Street Fighter 6 Tournament,” Hampo said.
Only 128 competitors will be accepted for the tournament, and they must complete registration in advance at start.gg/spacon2023.
Entry is $25 plus a $10 pot fee, and includes a weekend pass to the convention.
Hampo said the tournament standard for the competition is PlayStation 5. All games are played on PlayStation 5 consoles. Players should bring their own controllers. Wireless sticks/fight pads are allowed.
She said the competition will consist of the main event, a singles (one-on-one) tournament, which has the $1,000 bonus, and an optional three-versus-three team tournament side event. Check-in starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 23, for practice.
On Sunday, September 24, players are encouraged to show up from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for more Street Fighter and other games. Free play will be available, and players can join what’s available or bring their own systems, Hampo said. Monitors will be provided.
Paul Kagebein, the Garland County Library Adult Programs coordinator, said, “For this year’s Spa-Con Showdown, we’re introducing a brand new competitive fighting game, the recently released Street Fighter 6.”
“At the time of the tournament this will be the largest prize pot for a Street Fighter tournament in Arkansas history,” he said. “We expect top level talent from across Arkansas and neighboring states to attend.
“Thanks to a lot of help from my special guest T.O. [tournament organizer], Maxx Nguyen, who helps organize the monthly Arkansas Fighting Game Network series in Little Rock and Conway, I expect we’ll energize the region’s very enthusiastic Street Fighter community to bring top level competition to this first-of-its-kind event in Hot Springs.”
Hampo said that, in addition to the Spa-Con Showdown, other gaming options available at this year’s convention will include role playing games, Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, and laser tag. Those options will be included in the cost of a weekend pass. VIP passes for Spa-Con Season 7 are on sale now for $150. Weekend passes are $35. Visit the Spa-Con website — www.spa-con.org — for more information.
The Season 7 convention begins Friday evening with a concert by Galactic Empire, which calls itself the galaxy’s foremost progressive technical heavy metal Star Wars cosplay John Williams tribute band. Concert tickets are available at www.spa-con.org
Previously announced features for Spa-Con Season 7 include cosplay workshops and appearances as well as appearances by the 1972 Winnebago RV featured in the fourth season of “Stranger Things” and the sheriff’s 2000 Ford Crown Victoria from “The Walking Dead.”
Also appearing will be Annabeth Gish, known to “X-Files” fans as Special Agent Monica Reyes, comedian, writer, actor, producer Orlando Jones, who has been called “the King of Fandom” by MTV, and Janeshia Adams-Ginyard, who starred in the blockbuster movies “Black Panther” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
For more information call Alexis Hampo at 501-321-2027.