I really enjoy watching live sport, with very few exceptions. Over this year I’ve managed to see two new-to-me events actually in-person live – which seems like a million years ago now – volleyball and ice hockey, and a handful of new sports streaming live, like baseball and handball. Today’s new thing would still be a live sport, but not like any I’ve seen before. Today, I was going to watch some Esports – competitive gaming.
I am not the biggest gamer at all, but I have special love for the Mario, Zelda, and Yakuza games. I was aware how big Esports was as I’d seen a documentary called League of Millions a few years ago, following the a team of elite pro gamers who play League of Legends. These pro gamers played in arenas filled with thousands of fans, and were treat more like a boyband than a group of athletes. It’s an interesting watch! I couldn’t find any live Esport events for games that I was familiar with, so I ended up tuning in to the Rainbow Six Siege European League.
I went in cold to this, hoping I could pick it up as I went along. From what I gathered, two different teams took it in turns to ‘siege’ another team, who barricaded themselves into an area. The team with the most living players by the end of the round won.
Considering each round was only 3 minutes long, it was quite easy to watch a few rounds. The only thing was, I just didn’t find it that interesting. Don’t get me wrong, the game looked like it would be fun to play, but watching as a spectator just lacked some excitement for me. It had commentators like a regular sports event, and they really tried to add the drama, but it just didn’t work. Perhaps if I’d played the game before I would have had a better idea of how exciting it was, but it unfortunately left me feeling cold. I didn’t last very long.
My husband, an avid gamer, decided to show me some Esports that he thought I would find interesting, and he wasn’t wrong. This video is from an annual Esports event called EVO, and is so well known it has it’s own Wikipedia page. The final round in this Street Fighter III match is almost over, one of the players, Daigo, is on their last pixel of health, and they have to pull of a miracle if they hope to change their fortunes…
Daigo’s parries 15 consecutive hits, each one made in 1/10th of a second! Ok, even I can admit that’s pretty amazing.
Maybe if I’d found the right Esport I’d have a better impression, but just from watching my husband play, I know not all games are created equally for spectators. I’ll likely give it another go in the future, next time with a game that I’m a bit more familiar with.