I never grew up in a particularly sporty family. Sure, my parents liked to keep fit by working out and playing tennis, much like I enjoyed swimming for my local team, but my family has never been the kind to sit down together on a Saturday afternoon to watch the football. I’m not the type to complain if you do, but I just don’t seem to get as ‘into it’, as most other people do. But Esports however, really get me going.
I don’t want you to imagine me as this crazy girl who’s yelling at her the Twitch stream when someone doesn’t get that headshot, or loses by 1 kill, I’m not that obsessed. But it is pretty awesome to watch people that train to be good at games that I love, and I feel like my love for eSports started from YouTube.
Ever since I first discovered YouTube, gaming channels have been at the top of my subscription list, with people like the Yogscast and Roosterteeth making hilarious gaming videos for me to enjoy every day. This is definitely why I enjoy watching eSports so much too as yes, they are playing it in a more serious and competitive environment, but I still get to watch games I love, in a completely different style to what I’m used to. As much as I’m not awful at video games, I can’t ever compare to the ability of the players I’ve watched on Twitch and at tournaments, and I love seeing the full potential of the players, as well as gameplay.
After watching my first live tournament at Gamescom 2014, I’ve kept up to date with a lot of gaming tournaments. The first tournament we watched was Counter Strike: Global Offensive, a game that I’m a huge fan of, and it was surprisingly mesmerising to watch other professional players go through maps your so familiar with. The players were completely focused, and teamwork is crucial to success, much like in Football or Basketball. At it’s peak, this received around 250,000 viewers on twitch, with prize many fairing from a few hundred euros, to hundreds of thousands. The Halo MCC tournament were also on the Sunday of Gamescom, so we devoted our entire and final day to watching the teams battle it out. I never understood people who could just loose a full day watching a television, but now, I kind of understand that addiction. Although the game did glitch out a few times (perfect opportunity for us to get some food), I was pretty much hooked the whole way through up until the final, and by the time that came around, it was pretty much 6:00pm. More and more gaming conventions have started to get involved with eSports, EGX for example have teamed up with Gfinity to provide us with more competitive matches at their event, as well as Insomnia staging everything from Halo to Call Of Duty.
The stereotypes really do not do the players any justice either, as much as people don’t think they do, the vast majority of professional players stay fit and healthy, physically as well as mentally. Like any talent, it’s important for you to stay in good shape and keep hydrated to be successful, and at many of the tournaments I’ve watched, this has certainly been the case. It’s also not a rare sight to see a female eSports player, at Insomnia in November 2014, an all girl COD team attended and beat a large majority of the opposition.
In March 2015, I was lucky enough to win tickets to watch a Gfinity Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournament in London, as they’ve now teamed up with Vue cinemas to bring us some awesome competitive action. The atmosphere was amazing, everyone around you is really getting into the game, and seeing it live is so much better than watching it through a stream. It’s like with any other sport, the ambience is so much better when you see it in the flesh, and being able to casually meet gamers from teams like Ninjas In Pyjamas and EnVyUs after each match was pretty awesome too. The whole atmosphere was great, and I really hope that ESports continue to grow in popularity over the next few years, and see more and more coming to big gaming conventions.