Scoffing at the idea of professional gamers is a common past time for comedians, and even many of us players. The stigma around these professionals, that they are trolls living in a basement, persists despite the fact that the industry is larger than Hollywood and the music business with hundreds of success stories. The notion that a video game, a child’s toy in the eyes of many, can be played at the same level as dodgeball is mind boggling to some. If you’re that type of person, I challenge you to attend a real tournament – not some LAN party or local PC baang – one hosted by Intel, NVIDIA, etc..
Obviously, with real sponsors, these tournaments can bring in the real players. Not myself, who limps past a .500 record in Platinum league, or even Heartbourne, our resident Diamond player. The real professionals. The ones that eat, sleep and breath build orders, counters and perfectly-timed EMP blasts against my horde of protoss. The players that compete for a living. Yet, to be perfectly honest, the players will not be the draw for newcomers, as anyone two chumps can have a close game. It’s the experience, the entire atmosphere of a tournament that needs to be seen by the unbelievers.
Think about your local high school football (either kind) game for a moment. Unless you’re a parent or a player, you’re likely not super engrossed. It’s entertaining, yes. But a professional game with a huge crowd and deep analysis probably keeps your attention more. That’s what a Intel Extreme Masters V brought to the table this weekend at New York Comic Con.
It delivered an atmosphere of competition. Back-and-forth games, a stage for the players, seating and standing-room only for the fans, superb commentary from Team Liquid and a giant ass screen that made the above video possible. I’ve been a part of these contests before, but I still can’t get over how awesome it is to be there, to hear the expert analysis and be able to recognize just how much I suck compared to these players. Beats the crap out of watching a replay.
Take a gander. Hopefully the background noise isn’t too bad (can only apply so many filters!).