As an average,happy go lucky,young lad growing up in a strictly suburban part of a city mostly at the center of attention,it’s quite the surprise seeing “Gaming” turn into more of a trending,public interest as opposed to an isolated luxury.That being said,who’s to say it still isn’t merely a luxury?Well,that IS what the idea,innit?I’m Elliot,here to bring you news from & about a particular trend that has,of late,cultivated quite the popularity.No,boys and girls and children of all ages,i’m not talking about US Presidential Candidates.In fact,i’m referring to the countless hours wasted in front of a glaring PC display,mashing keyboard and/or mouse keys into oblivion,all for the sake of making one virtual block of code resembling a remotely imaginable humanoid beat the stuffing out of another virtual block of code resembling a remotely imaginable humanoid,all over the very warm courtesy and hostility of the world wide hell…i mean web.BINGO!You guessed it,i’m bringing a weekly peak into all things ESports a.k.a. Competitive Online Gaming,and it’d best be taken as lightly as a sumo-wrestler trying to balance himself on a tent-pole.but,for now,onto introductions and some familiar history.
As a child coping with the urge to rush into the local computer cafe,heavily folded notes of 10’s in my pocket,and get busy playing “That oh so awesome looking game with a gun that you play with other people and shoot and kill each other to win almost nothing significant,save bragging rights”,it was good times.We were young,naive,and had barely any clue about how said game that we casually sat down with for an hour or two every few days,was actually something older,prior generations of teens took very seriously.I used to watch them,sitting down in groups with their funky headsets & home-brewed peripherals,often staying at the cafe for hours.It took a while for the internet to hit the households,and(Yes,i guess i could speak for a few) the number of people frequenting the cafe(s) and trying their hand on “The game” seemed to rise.Soon,it became sort of a given.”Counter Strike 1.6″,”Need For Speed:Most Wanted”,and the like,became oft-spoken names among the growing teenage populace.As with the increase in peers,comes the increase in influence,and my 15-year old self soon found himself in front of his own personal computer,beaming with the joy of finally being able to play stuff and fail horribly in complete isolation.Yep,game is hard folks.Competitive gaming,in general,is….competitive,might i say?And i found that out the hard way.Less than 5 minutes into a friendly game on a local server,i’d gathered zero kills,and died an abysmal 17 times.But it was fun.Humiliating,yes,but fun.There’s a certain allure to the whole “Multi-player” concept,which quite a few distinguished video game production houses exploit aplenty.That,backed by the fact that the steadily growing section of a generally clueless community will love a good “Play with your friends,any time,on the line” experience if they can access it,helps spearhead a trend that is more of an explosion as opposed to an evolution of lifestyle.
Take into consideration the fact that the buzz behind this “scene” ranges from hosting casual simulation matches of good ol’ soccer,all the way to hardcore first-person warfare,and even tabletop battlegrounds;Consider the plethora of options available to an interested lad – Be a sports headliner cruising your way across similarly experienced enthusiasts,a front-line soldier with a sub-automatic,noise suppressed assault rifle attempting to land the perfect sequential kill-shots,a scantily armored battle-mage with a hellish complexion and an even hellish arsenal of spells,running through a richly colored landscape and firing nuclear laser blasts of devil-frightening doom at anybody unfortunate enough to survive getting impaled by rocks,have their essence drained and being temporarily turned into a limping frog just for the fun of it – and one can see its appeal.There is a general audience that takes great pleasure in all the above(Note : No necrophilia was intended at all),and the game developers take notice of this ever growing mass-demand of playable environments.A few couple of years ago,a peculiar game laid the foundations of a hundred more crafted in its veins,and now we’ve gone from the humble World Cyber Games to annual big-league events like DoTA 2’s The International,League of Legends’ Worlds,Blizzard Games’ Battle.Net Championships,Gamescom,MLG or Major League gaming,Valve’s own Counter Strike:Global Offensive world playoffs,regional events like the Tokyo or Paris Game Shows,and the like.And,what’s most compelling about ALL OF THESE,is that people pay large sums to play,let play,or simply watch the events unfolding.Multinational sponsors come to light,heavily funded teams emerge,and competition heats up to thin the massively competitive herds into their respective leaders.This has spawned a dedicated term for itself over the years,as also a cult following and numerous heated arguments between children and their elders with regards to the relevance and/or position of “gaming” as being either a luxury or a cultural lifestyle.Years down the line,it never stops,and neither does the influx of money that tempts people from 5 to 50 to give it a try,mayhaps?After all,it DOES rake in some cash if you grab some attention,and what’s the harm in button mashing in a virtual arena filled with at least 9 other random people across the world who may or may not have the same level of skill you do,right?After,it is just a game,albeit not the perfectly docile single-player,right?It’s just an environment where real-time brain-cracking is concerned at times,but that’s not a big deal,right?How hard can a game be,right?
Until next week folks,where the news column formally makes its debut,and sparks fly from all places except the ones that shouldn’t have sparks flying out of them.Cheers,and play hard.
Writer,practitioner of the Sodium Chloride infestation,self-taught MOBA player,lyricist,line artist,avid Duel Masters(OCG),Pokemon,Hearthstone player,and genuine abomination.