My experience with esports closely parallels my experience with Catholicism. Before I realized what was really happening, I was annointed, one of the faithful. For me, in both cases, it wasn’t a gradual piling of questions, but a singular moment of thunderous clarity that shattered what convictions I previously held.
I’ve been using this post’s title as a sort of tongue-in-cheek reference to the scene’s most pious believers in some posts last month; I didn’t intend for it to stick, but it’s turned out to be pretty damn accurate.
Gamers do not have a strong history of self-reliance or communal organization to achieve broader goals of long-term longevity and sustainable growth, and I don’t see that changing. There’s a widespread reluctance to learn what the history of sports has to teach.
As it is with the most fervent fundamentalist devotees of any religion, the primary concern is one of individual deliverance through forces external (best case scenario: some faceless douchebag with deeeeep pockets), and getting in the end what they feel their devotion warrants. Productive things, like working together to build a proper foundation for a new sport, are pushed aside, because when the rapture comes in the form of a $400,000 prize pot, that’s all just time wasted.
I was less than pleased to see that one of my favorite places on the internet, typically untouched by the sort of happy horseshit one might find on places like Wired or TechCrunch, had published this testimonial today, penned by a four-digit member of the Cult.
John’s speech was particularly meaningful for me. Inevitably, whenever I talk about my passion for watching professional StarCraft, there is a small but vocal group of naysayers, nattering nabobs of negativity, who look down upon watching video games as a waste of time, and scoff at the very mention of “e-Sports,” as if comparing video games to “real” sports is ludicrous and laughable.
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what they think.
It sure doesn’t, so why bring it up? And just who is nattering, here? Does anybody actually think that self-righteous indignation at the fact that not everyone takes this stuff seriously at face value is doing gaming any favors?
Waving your flag implies that you’re doing it for you, not to garner the approval of others. There’s a stark difference between evangelists and dogmatists. Evangelists are happy as they are, and feel others should come join the party, but are just fine regardless. Dogmatists aren’t happy until every last idiot on the planet think as they do.
The above post is the best representation I’ve seen lately of esports’ collective psyche at this very moment: pubescent, trying to hide its doubts about its own self worth, fumbling for direction, too prone to being a martyr. It recounts the history of Korean Starcraft with staggering detail, warts and all, while being blithely ignorant of the tremendous flaws inherent in today’s global scene, flaws that keep the whole thing balanced on a knife’s edge. Instead, we’re treated with that hallowed hallmark of the Cult, a three paragraph circlejerk.
Esports has died, esports has risen, esports will come again?