Tekken superstar Arslan Ash needs no introduction. The unknown fighting game pro from Lahore, Pakistan has risen to the top of the global fighting game scene, on the back of his world-beating performances against Tekken legends the last past year. He is also the current EVO 2019 champ in Tekken.
One could have thought that for a relatively unknown kid from Pakistan, his success story could have caught the eye of the people behind The Game Awards. These annual awards ceremony honors the best in the video game industry year after year. This year, the 2019 Esports Awards took place on Nov 19th in Arlington Texas.
Video gaming legends such as SonicFox, Ninja, Dr DisRespect, Tfue, Bugha and Shroud were invited to the show. Surprisingly, the organizers behind the Game Awards forgot all about the guy who won two EVO tournaments back to back. Not only that, but Arslan Ash also put Pakistan on the global FGC map, a towering achievement that speaks volumes about the youngster who pulled the biggest twist in Tekken history.
It boggles the mind how people who are supposed to honor the best in the video games industry, forgot all about Arslan Siddiqui. This is the same guy who took down Tekken legend Jae-Min “Knee” Bae in Evo 2019, without losing any round during their grueling set.
This is all the more remarkable when you hear of the issues Arslan had to face to even fly to Japan and America. He faced visa delays, had to go hungry for days because no one exchanged his currency in Japan, and even had to dash to the tournament without resting.
A huge blunder?
The Esports Awards 2019 are now being seen as a vehicle for showcasing commercial work than about celebrating the best that the video game world has to offer.
The funny thing? Even universally-panned games like Jump Force were being nominated.
Surprisingly, a Brazilian fighting game team launched a petition to include Arslan Ash as one of the nominees but to no avail.
Perhaps video game fans should ask Richard Lewis, the winner of the Esports Journalist Award 2019 and a part of the nominations committee, about the decision to omit Arslan. During a time when the world is trying to be more inclusive, the people at the helm of affairs at one of the most prominent shows about video games are letting their politics dictate their choices.
One hopes that they realize where they erred.