E-Sports Are Sports…..Get Over It

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Published on November 9, 2015

Do you need mental focus to perform well in a football game? What about the skill to play the game?  Well, you need these same skills to be good at video games. When you think of traditional sports, you think of football, basketball, and baseball.  Yet video games are just as competitive as sports, just without the physical aspect. You need just as much skill and mental focus as you do with sports like football and basketball.

Think about it.  When you are on the football field, you have to have mental focus. When your opponent is trying to mess with your head, you have to block that out. You need eye-hand coordination, which means you can input plays faster than the average person. On top of that you also have to think three moves ahead of your opponent. I’m not saying that gamers should be paid the same the amount as football or basketball players, but people should recognize that video games are just as competitive as traditional sports.

Just like sports, e-sports take a long time to master and even then someone new and young could come in and beat you down.

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Video games take a lot of time and dedication to master, just like when a basketball player masters the 3-point jump shot. I remember when I was younger my friend and I used to play the game Super Smash Bros. My friend was so good at the game that he would wipe the floor with me. I was so tired of losing to him that I asked my mom to buy me the game so I could start training myself to get better. It took me about a year to finally beat him, which was such an epic moment for me.

Some gamers took it upon themselves to make an organization that allows gamers to show off their skills and called it the Major League Gaming or MLG for short.

Started in 2002 by Mike Sespo and Sundance DiGiovanni, MLG is the umbrella that most tournaments are played under. MLG has made it possible for some of its competitions to be shown on television, most recently ESPN.

There are multiple types of video game tournaments. First there are the standard fighting game tournaments, then there are the shooters. This involves games like Halo and CounterStrike. There are also Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, or MOBA for short, which are real-time strategy games where the player controls a character in one of two teams to destroy their opponent’s main structure.          

One of the biggest fighting game tournaments  is called the “Evolution Championship Series” and it’s where some of the best fighting game players show their skills. The tournament is held in Las Vegas, and in fact this year it took place s at  Bally’s  Paris Las Vegas Casino. Players show off their skills by fighting one another and performing combos.

One such player named the “Beast,” whose real name is Daigo Umehara, is one of street fighter’s best players. Umehara started playing when he was 10 at an arcade, right around the time that Street Fighter II arcade cabinets were spreading among arcades around the world. There was always a long wait to play the game, so if you wanted to play you had to get good. Fast. Umehara started to challenge other players, so he could play longer, which started his hunger for competition.   

In 1996 an event started by Tom Cannon held a 40-man Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2 tournament. Now, the tournament hosts over 2,000 gamers who are ready to put their skills to the test every year in games such as:  Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat X, Killer Instinct, and Super Smash Bros.

E-sports have caught the eye of  ESPN, the official home for sports news.  ESPN showed “The International” which is a championship tournament for the game Defense of the Ancients, or DOTA. In this strategy video game players focus on skillful thinking much like a game of chess where you have to think many moves ahead. This was the first time national tv aired an e-sports competition for everyone to watch.