I’ve had a love for competitive video games ever since I was able to hold a controller as a young child. The thrill of battling it out with interesting characters against friends and family was very appealing to me. Fast forward to today and competitive gaming is bigger than it has ever been. Fighting game tournaments are streamed to millions of viewers, and even aired on television. Players are being signed by professional teams to do what they love for a living. What was once seen as a simple fad, a passing trend, has become bigger than anyone could have ever imagined. The world of Esports is so unique and interesting, and offers an experience unlike any other.
The tournament experience
One of the biggest differences between Esports and traditional sports is the level of accessibility. If you want to play in a regional fighting game tournament that top players will be attending, you can just register online. Any random player can easily be pit against the greatest player in the world just by how the brackets play out. This simply isn’t seen in traditional sports. You cant just register online for an NFL game and play against the pros. Not to take anything away from traditional sports, but it’s not in their nature to offer this experience. That accessibility should not however be mistaken for easiness. Just because any random Joe can enter a tournament, doesn’t mean they’ll get very far.
I myself can attest to this. I’ve been playing Smash 4 for a few years now and I consider myself to be pretty good. I study the game, watch almost every tournament, and keep up to date on new advanced tech.
I beat just about all of my friends and people at my university, and look to improve every time I play. This however simply isn’t enough. Glitch 4, a regional Smash 4 tournament in Maryland, wrapped up a few weeks ago, and many top players attended. The Venue was near me so I registered early and did my best to train with the best players I knew. The day of the tournament arrived and I got destroyed, going 0-6 in my pool, only taking one game off of one player. So what went wrong? I’m decent enough at the game, how could I perform so poorly?
Rising to the occasion
First off, this was my first ever smash tournament, so I saw that outcome coming a mile away. But more important is the skill gap most games have at the competitive level. Being the best player in your group of friends means absolutely nothing if you’re not consistently playing in tournaments. Just like in any other sport, you have to train against the best to be able to compete with the best. This goes for any game, not just smash. The upside to this is that if I wanted to, I could attend the venue weekly tournament and play as many skilled players as I can to improve my performance (which I will in the future).
This is where Esports truly separates itself from traditional sports. If a top player lives in your region and frequents a nearby venue, you have access to them by attending also. Chances are you’ll get to play against them and get hands on experience of what it’s like to play a professional. I personally got to play against AF Justin “Jebb” Boston who is currently the 9th best player in MD/VA. (Maryland/Virginia) Even though I lost it was great to play against such a high caliber player. These interactions are so valuable to someone looking to improve their play.
Lastly I want to talk about how big a role community plays in Esports. Any competitive video game scene you can think of began with a group of people bonding over a game they enjoyed. The very first tournaments for games like Melee, were held in peoples basements and garages. Small scale events among friends that blossomed into something much greater. Even though the size and scope of things are much bigger now, the community feeling is still very strong. Video game communities (usually) treat each other well and welcome newcomers with open arms. Speaking from my own experience, I’ve made many new friends just by playing smash with them. And when I got the chance to meet top players like p1 Tweek, P1 Captain Zack and EMG Mistake, they were very friendly and made the tournament experience just a bit more enjoyable.
The world of Esports is a very unique and genuine experience to be a part of. It’s wonderful to see the field gaining much more popularity now, and seeing players make a living from it. The only place to go is up for Esports. With the level of accessibility being so wide open, the next big hidden boss player could be you!
How do you feel about competitive smash, and Esports as a whole? Let us know in the comments down below!
Featured image courtesy of Twitter.
If you enjoyed what you read, please consider contributing to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support!
From our Haus to yours.