EVO Publishes Controller Ruleset, Hit-Box Deemed "Legal"

For the moment, EVO's rules and Capcom's rules are at odds with each other.

A few months ago, Capcom made the controversial decision to ban a certain style of Hit Box controller from a prominent Capcom Pro Tour event. A “Gafrobox,” Capcom claimed, “gives the competition an advantage that does not follow the spirit of the CPT.” Yesterday, another huge fighting game tournament–and a Capcom Pro Tour “Super Premier Event”–ruled otherwise. The EVO Twitter account has posted a ruleset confirming that Gafrobox-style Hit Boxes are tournament legal.

The controversy stems from whether or not “Gafroboxes”–Hit Boxes with unique settings–allow SOCD (Simultaneous Opposite Cardinal Directions). In other words, whether a Gafrobox allows players to simultaneously hold left and right, or up and down. For a game like Street Fighter V, where you hold “back” to block, such an ability would indeed be a competitive advantage. A player being able to simultaneously walk forward and hold back to block would be a Street Fighter equivalent of Resident Evil 2‘s Tyrant.

A standard Hit Box controller, however, has “SOCD Cleaning,” which disallows such possibilities. When you hold both left and right, the two directions will cancel one another. You’ll simply register a “neutral” input.

There are variations on SOCD Cleaning, though, and some provide less of a clear-cut solution to the issue. A Gafrobox, for instance, doesn’t neutralize your inputs. Instead, it gives your last input priority. For example, if you hold left and then press right, the game will read right. If you’re initially holding right and you press left, the game will read left. The last input wipes out the previously held input, but only for a moment. This means that a charge character like Guile, for example, will be able to throw a sonic boom and resume charging easily, seamlessly, and quickly. Check out the video below for a demo of this process.

This seems strong, but is it an unfair advantage? Capcom said “Yes,” and banned Gafroboxes at a major fighting game tournament. The EVO tournament organizers have contradicted that ruling. According to their ruleset, as long as a controller registers some manner of SOCD Cleaning, it is not in violation. Gafroboxes may provide a unique manner of SOCD Cleaning, but they provide it nonetheless. Therefore, they are tournament legal.

It’s odd to see one Capcom Pro Tour event ban these controllers, and another allow for their use. Hopefully, as we move forward, we’ll start to see more consistency. EVO Tournament Organizer, Joey Cuellar, weighed in on this matter: “Evo’s rules always trump pro tour rules. It says that in our official ruleset.” This claim coincides with Capcom’s statement that the initial ban was made in “close consultation” with tournament organizers.

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Joseph Schaffner

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