More than 60 people competed for over $500 in prizes at this month’s premier Indianapolis Fighting Game Community tournament, Godlike Saturday. One of the major monthly midwest tournaments, Godlike attracts competitors from Chicago, Cincinnati, and Louisville. Godlike Saturdays are hosted at the East Washington Square Mall by local esports team Net Battles.
Net Battles is named after its founder, McCordsville, IN resident Nolber Torres. The name Net Battles comes from when Torres played fighting games in arcades as a kid. Whenever you get a high score on an arcade machine you’re asked to enter your initials-- Torres’s are N E T. “Battles” comes from what you do in a fighting game, battle.
“Most of the guys that I’ve been supporting they’re actually from here in Indy, but we’ve got a lot of guys joining from other areas,” Torres says about the Net Battles stable of competitors. “We have a few guys from Chicago, few guys from Cincinnati, few from Kentucky. I think being here in indianapolis makes everything easier for everybody to be able to join.”
Godlike Saturdays used to take place in Tilt Studios in Circle Center Mall downtown but recently moved to Boss Battle Games in the East Washington Square Mall. The move to Boss Battle Games makes the tournament closer to Torres in McCordsville and prevents participants from having to pay parking fees downtown.
It’s no coincidence that the most liked post on the event’s Facebook page is Torres saying, “THAT’S RIGHT NO MORE PARKING FEES!! AND $10 VENUE FEE INCLUDES ARCADE PLAY FOR THE ENTIRE DAY!!”
One of the more prominent figures at Godlike is Eli Curry. Curry graduated from Pike High School on the city’s northwest side before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in theatre at Franklin College in 2015. Curry is one of the top Street Fighter V players in the midwest and one of the best Marvel 3 players nationally.
Representing your local scene is huge in the fighting game community, and Curry is loud and proud about his Hoosier ties. In Street Fighter IV Curry played as Zangief and outfitted his character in a blue and gold costume. “I wore that for the Pacers,” Curry said.
Curry is a member of Net Battles and has been experiencing a lot of success in tournaments across the midwest. The day before finishing fifth at Godlike, Curry finished fourth at the “Fight Blood Clots w/ SFV tournament” in Chicago.
Being great at a fighting game means being great as a student. Curry says he practices for 18 to 22 hours a week, and “Research is constant. I follow several of the top ‘lab monsters’ on Twitter, I'm part of theory Laura groups on Facebook, and I probably watch an equivalent amount of SFV match/tournament footage as well.”
While the Hoosier roots run deep, the tournament attracts talent from all over the midwest. Matthew Borden Sr. drove from Louisville to Indianapolis so his two sons, Matthew Jr. and Steven, could compete in their first Godlike. This success is only pushing Curry to work harder.
“It’s amazing. Everybody here is so friendly, and they’ve taken to my two sons,” the elder Matthew said after watching Steven get second in his first Mortal Kombat tournament. When asked if he was surprised by Steven’s success Matthew said, “No, not really, because he told me about three or four days ago, he said, ‘You know I wouldn't be going if I wasn’t going to win.'”
It would be one thing for Steven to get second at his first Godlike, but this was Steven’s first tournament ever. Torres and Curry both said they couldn't remember anyone showing up to Godlike for their first tournament and reaching the Grand Finals.
“[It was my] very first tournament, and I said I felt confident in the way my Kotal Khan acted in this game and I felt like I wanted to win some money for it,” said Steven after the tournament ended. “So here I am.”
While Steven felt confident in his ability, he admitted that he had some doubts about how he’d fare in his first tournament . “Honestly, thinking about how things usually go, I thought I was going to be beaten a lot sooner. So making top eight, top three, top two? Hell, I’m really really proud of that.”