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Want Proof Gaming Can Be a Legit Sport? Watch Starcraft II.
- Updated: November 5, 2012
I wanted to put this on video, but sometimes I find myself tripping on my own words. Maybe I will anyway later on. I want to let you all in on something. The concept of eSports.
Now I’m no expert on the matter, but it has become obvious that with MLG Events, or EVO to name some, eSports is growing. The art of competitive gaming is starting to be appreciated for what it really is. Some still live under a rock. That’s okay, because you may not be a believer, or simply don’t get it. That’s okay too. What I can tell you is that it’s real, and it exists.
Here’s the deal. I’ve hosted two successful tournaments under Video Gaming Hard Corps with a team backing me to make this happen. After all, you need dedicated individuals for such as cause, because one can’t do it alone, right? We held two local tournaments, and before that, I held a casual tournament partnered up with WeTheGamerz. In this, I got back into a world I never really quite fit in. I can appreciate the competitive scene, but never be a player in it. I’m not that skilled. Seeing people pull off moves I’ll never be able to pull off in a fighting game, or people that are really good shots in a shooter. Amazing stuff to see. They are pro players, and they know their ways around those maps, and how to exploit them to their advantage. Then there’s this other category of games that requires much more strategy than the other two types of game. One people may dismiss as being nerdy.
Enter the world of a Real-Time Strategy game, or RTS for short. Starcraft is a old game by now, but involves lots of strategy. Those armies you see moving around require quick hands, one heck of an attention span, and like most sports, dedication. Similar to this would be another game known as League of Legends. This game, because of it’s variation of gameplay, is actually referred to as a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game, or MOBA for short. A sub-genre of the RTS game, MOBA’s involve controlling one “hero” character as opposed to commanding armies. This hero usually has special abilities to help with a team’s overall strategy. Both LoL and SCII would be picked up by MLG, and draw some of the biggest crowds to those events that featured the two games. League gets credit for becoming really popular, really fast, even though it’s not the oldest game out there. At my times when I stream jumped, I actually noticed it having even more viewers than StarCraft.
I tuned in to MLG Dallas just yesterday with my HD Pass (14.99 for 1080p and no ads) and did some stream jumping. I looked at Halo, and then tuned in for some Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Both fun to watch, for different reasons as listed above. I wanted to jump to streams throughout the day, but when a close friend told me to do it, I did it instantly. I was hooked on StarCraft II for the rest of the day. Now, perhaps someday I will at the very least, tune into a League of Legends game. I know nothing of it though, so I found myself picking a game that I did used to play way back in the day. Lots has changed since the original, but I get the basic gist of the game. The players are truly introduced like stars, get their own booths or corners, if you will, and things get heated up. The commentators build hype during this introduction and just like that, no time wasted, the players are clicking away setting up to be able to destroy their opponents base. Now you might be thinking, this takes time. It’s gonna be boring. The commentators, generally speaking, can get around this. If they are good, they give you interesting facts, with a bit of humor from time to time to spice things up and actually keep you interested enough to keep watching. While it did just that, I have a hard time focusing on much of anything. I found myself live tweeting the matches as they happened in StarCraft II, the way I saw them. I did this of course with appropriate hashtags each time. You do this, and before you know it, BAM! Action takes place, and you have armies of minions on each person’s respective side going at it. Do they all fight to the death? Do they lose some units and retreat while likely building more in their corner of the map? Or are they perhaps expanding and building that second, third, tenth base? Ok, maybe not ten, but you get the idea. The way this all comes together, I really don’t even have the words to explain it. What I can say is I easily found myself caught in the moment with it. Much like people do in real life with the NFL, NHL, MLB, ect.
When a players wins, you see a smile on their face, and the loser of course a likely sigh of disappointment. When that winner comes out of the booth, people are cheering for what he did. A good sport goes over to the other booth and shakes with the other player, regardless of outcome. Even though the match was called (GG), the players appreciate a good match, and show that by doing so. Sometimes they get interviewed right afterwards, and you find out the players feelings and reactions to matches. You also hear about fan appreciation, which is also nice. Whether it’s one individual, or an individual representing a team, they are respected. The same respect we, as gamers, should be giving to eSports as a whole.
If competitive gaming isn’t your thing, trust me, I get it. If you’re not even a gamer, then why bother? I get that too. Just know that eSports is legit, and here to stay. People spend hours of their time, per day, to prepare for events like this. It is a legitimate choice for a lifestyle at pro levels. Anyone on the outside could easy dismiss events like this as a bunch of nerds sitting around on a team, and winning “some gaming tournament”. It’s much harder to do that with StarCraft II, but there is work put in regardless of what genre of pro-gaming you decide to excel in. Shooter, FPS, RTS, or MOBA, it’s all the same. To learn to appreciate this all for what it really is, however, I highly recommend watching StarCraft II. If you only have time to watch one match, watch Flash vs NaNiwa.
UPDATE: Leenock vs Life (Finals) and a few others as well, that currently slip my mind.
During the final day of MLG Dallas, there have been some great matches. My predictions have been wrong several times, showing that the players are damn good, and unpredictable as hell. I made predictions. I’m starting to see in me, from yesterday – what I’ve never really appreciated with real sports. Consider me convinced. This isn’t to take away from fighters or shooters, but if you want proof that eSports has potential, there is no better scene to check out to prove that point.
Speaking of gaming tournaments, make sure you sign up for some TeamPOA Madenness, coming to you November 17th.