One of the biggest months for the competitive fighting gaming scene just passed, and boy was it fantastic. EVO 2016 was one of the most adrenaline-filled experiences I’ve ever had watching video games; there were bracket resets that had me sitting at the edge of my seat, controversies between players, and the commentary by talented people like Mike Ross and D1 made entertaining and easy to understand. If you haven’t watched an eSport before, try it, because you’re missing out on a weird world full of anticipation, entertainment, and enjoyment.
With the massive amount of games that have their own professional scenes, there’s a good chance that you’ll find at least one game to get into. If you used to play Street Fighter at the arcade or even if you can’t stop playing League of Legends, you’re in luck! Those eSports have some intense moments, so pull up a chair and try to catch up with the last big match, or a recent tournament.
A great thing about eSports is that your personal skill level doesn’t matter when watching. It’s open to people who know everything about the game and people who’ve never played. I watch CS:GO and Dota 2, two games I have no idea how to play, but I still have fun following.The sense of inclusivity that the eSports community offers is comforting. Don’t get me wrong – there are still a sizeable amount of toxic fans who are sexist, transphobic, and racist, but it’s slowly getting to be a better place for people from all walks of life.
If you have a game in your mind that you want to get into, Do it! If it seems confusing to you because there’s too much happening at once on the screen, then take 15 minutes to figure out the basics of a game. There are a lot of resources for that you can use to find out the history of certain eSports as well. A good example is the The Smash Brothers Documentary. It’s a great summary of beginnings of the Smash scene, and it offers a lot of context to the general game, so you won’t be as confused. Also, A lot of commentators are aware that new people are tuning in each game, so they tend to explain things and use language that is more accessible.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics of the game, you’ll start to get a grasp of how most in-game interactions work. And once you’ve mastered that, you’ll be able to catch those subtle nuances in every match that change the tide of battle, and make the crowd lose their minds.
A good example of little things that have a big impact on the outcome of a game is the EVO 2016 match between TS Sabin and EG Momochi that’s linked above. Dhalsim whifs and overhead move, Ken punishes with a Dragon Punch, and immediately after Dhalsim retaliates with a V-Trigger and Fireball, turning the match into a timeout which left the results to the miniscule grey health each player had. This interaction alone took 13 seconds. eSports are full of moments like these, where hundreds of thousands of people are concurrently sitting at home biting their nails while watching a livestream to see which side will win in an absurd match.
What are you waiting for? Go and check out some competitive games it doesn’t take too long. You might find one you really enjoy. Good luck on your eSports journey, it may get convoluted at points, but there’s a lot you can get out of it.