e-Sports from the Basement to Madison Square Garden

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Credit: Riot Games

When I was 4 I played my first video game. I don’t remember what game it was but i do remember the joy. Video games were such a fantastical concept to me at that very young age. I was instantly hooked. Video games were what I spent all my free time on. Always striving to become better at them, trying to clear a level a little faster or score just a little higher on the leader-boards. I loved the feeling of building improvement and competition between me and my friends. Still to this day i spend most of my spare hours playing video games. Today it the reason I play isn’t much different I find it fun and I love the competition. Some things have changed since then like how much I get to play them and who I can play them with. However, the biggest change that I have seen growing up the past 15 years with video games is the massive cultural shift around them. I remember when I was 9 wishing that I could just play video games forever and even make a job out of it “that would be the dream” is what I thought to myself. I naturally was then taken aback by the creation of the Major League Gaming Pro-Circuit for Halo 3.  It was then in 2008 that I had become aware of what e-sports were. I found the concept so amazing getting the best players in the world and having them compete for money and prizes. It was a wondrous thought to me as a kid that if I got really good at Halo I might be able to compete and win the massive prize pool in my mind of $500. I could have never conceived then how big competitive gaming would become and how large e-sports would grow to be.

The Building Blocks

E-sports are still quite new to the world. With the first real competitions that were beyond just a few people in a town with a mock bracket, only barely predating me and I’m only a few months shy of 20. The early years of e-sports has a fragmented history of scattered events and tournaments whose presentation and format are hard to watch and resemble more of a bad 80’s sitcom than that of a serious competition that could be called a “professional sport”. There was one exception and that was in the nation of South Korea where in 2000 the T.V. station OGN was established that broadcast matches and tournaments of various games with the main game being Starcraft: Brood War a game that had seized the culture of South Korea.  South Korea is where most of early e-sports were developed and it would take a few years until e-sports would take off in the U.S. and Europe. In order for e-sports to start building outside of the super tech focused and interconnected South Korea we would have to wait for the technology to advance and for the age of Social Media to begin.

The First Real League

The next big event for the dawn of e-sports is the founding of Major League Gaming in 2002. An attempt by a group of games media persons to found an MLB style league for video games. The founding of this organization was the beginning of some of the first professional teams in e-sports as now that there was money to be made by players semi consistently some could afford to try to make a career of it. However despite the attempts of MLG to become a definitive league where people could go “pro” in video games they struggled to find success or a solid platform on which to provide the matches to the masses. That is when YouTube came along which aided in getting the MLG branding and matches out to the scattered audiences of gamers across the U.S. and Europe. Consolidating the decently sized but greatly scattered potential audience. This created a burst of growth in MLG to the point that in 2008 the secured $10 million in funding from an investment group to expand operations. They quickly spent the money to expand their leagues into every game they could. At its height in 2009 MLG was host to the largest Call of Duty, Starcraft, and Halo tournaments in the same year. However, MLG was not set to stay king and was soon destined for a total collapse as the players were about to become far more popular then the organization and the players were about to build not only a better leagues but games designed to be played competitively.

Personality Begets Popularity

It was 2010 and Social Media has become staggeringly prolific and internet personalities were going from mere jokes to total celebrities in their own right. This boom in personality developing large fan bases was about to help e-sports spring into the future. It was around this time the most anticipated competitive game of the decade was about to be released. The sequel to Starcraft, simply titled Starcraft 2  created a groundswell of hype in the gaming community as it had been in development for nearly a decade. Leading up to its release Blizzard Entertainment the company who made Starcraft had the idea to begin a new type of ad campaign. The gaming community was one of the biggest groups that flocked to YouTube not to long after its release  and it was filled with videos from players amateur to seasoned veterans.  Blizzard Entertainment got the idea to sponsor and pay pro Starcraft players to play Starcraft 2 on their YouTube channels giving them early access to the game which drove massive traffic to them as they provided a limited glimpse of gameplay of the new game that was available. This greatly boosted popularity for the game and not only the game but the players as well for a good deal of them were quite personable and entertaining. These personalities created a new wave of popularity for e-sports as people where attracted by the entertaining personalities that started to dominate the scene.

One of such videos by Day9 a large at the time e-sports content creator

The Advent of Twitch

twitch_474x356It was a natural progression of format for the media. The live-streaming service of Twitch.tv launched in 2011 to serve as a platform for gamers to stream games from the comfort of their own homes. This platform allowed the every man to now to do something that they previously had to rely on a large organization such as MLG to do and that was to reach a large audience live allowing them to now host tournaments of their own in formats they enjoyed far more than the slow to change formats of MLG. The service also allowed the games that were more popular to gain a larger share of screen time and gave a much larger amount of content for people who only liked one particular game. The biggest game to come out of the Twitch boom was League of Legends a game built around and solely for competitive multiplayer. It was a 5v5 team game with the objective of destroying the enemy Nexus before the can destroy yours. It allowed both for team skill and individual mechanical skill to shine.

League the Juggernaut

Today League of Legends is the most played game in the world and brings in nearly $1.6 billion a year in income for the company Riot Games.  It is the most watched e-sport with the world finals last year garnering 57.6 million unique viewers. It has sold out massive stadiums around the world from the Staples Center to Madison Square Garden. Just this year the North American League has franchised itself and has attracted multi-million investments from Disney to the Golden State Warriors. It is a juggernaut in the scene and stands to a testament to how fast e-sports has grown. Here are some numbers for international events in League of Legends from Riot themselves.

For a overall better recap of history watch this video made by Score e-sports.

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Dance

Dance has been around for quite some time. Dance started back in the 20’s and the popular dance move then was the Charleston. Dance is movement to different forms of music. So think back to the 20’s music and try to dancing to that now. It is kinda hard but would also be fun and very fast. The moves just get harder and more enjoyable to learn. Dance is also for entertainment and excitement.

Dance is a passion of a lot of peoples. It happens to be one of mine and I can talk about it for a while. I have been dancing since I was 4 years old and the minute I stepped into that class I fell in love with it. Every year I got better and better and took more and more classes. Dance is categorized as a hobby and not a sport but I beg to differ. Dancing can be a sport because there is a competitive side to it not just for recreational fun. Throughout my years I have taken many different styles of dance. Those styles include ballet, tap, contemporary, jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop. My all time favorite is jazz. This is because jazz can be broken down into slow and very technical or it can be sassy and up beat. I like to be sassy. I also really enjoy being on stage and showing off what I can do. pexels-photo-206274.jpeg

People do not understand the time and effort dance takes. All I can remember is being at dance Monday through Saturday for at least 4 hours a day. I had no free time to do anything because I was always at dance but that is what I loved to do. Once competition season started I was there all night on Thursdays and all day Saturdays just practicing and perfecting the routines I was in. Then competition weekends forget about it. I never say the light of day. I would have competition all night Friday, all day Saturday and Sunday. Boy was I tired by the end of the weekend on Sunday but it was well worth it.

Dance is not just about competing. It is also about having fun and exercising. I do not dance this year but boy do I miss it. While I was dancing I was exercising which I do not like to do. I felt good about my body and I was enjoying it. I know so many people who just take on class just to work out and get their minds off things. Dance is a huge stress reliever as well. If I was in a bad mood before dance I would never bring my mood into the dance studio because I knew it was going ruin the dance and bring everyone else moods down.

If you have free time on your hand and need a fun activity I highly suggest going to a local dance studio and taking a class. You will not regret it. You will feel great after and will want to go back. You do not have to know how to dance just go have fun and enjoy yourself.

Here is a video of one of my favorite dance routines from my favorite tv show.

The Suspense of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is an HBO produced television show that has worldwide popularity. This show features many main characters from the two mainlands known as Westeros where the show primarily takes place, and Essos. The people in Westeros are constantly fighting, and killing one another as they try to grab ahold of the Iron Throne, which would make them the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Danerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen believes that she has the true claim to the Iron Throne, whereas other such as Stannis from the House Baratheon, and Cersei of the Lannister House refute her claim and declare themselves as the true ruler of Westeros.

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The most interesting part of Game of Thrones to me is that you truly never know what is going to happen. Unless you have read the books prior to watching the show, you do not know who is going to die, and deaths happen frequently on Game of Thrones. Many loved characters are killed off in every season leaving viewers like me distraught, and wanting to believe that it never happened. But with every loved character gone, the evil characters of the show also meet their fate which captivates the audience into seeing who will survive it all. The Houses try to forge alliances, and work their way to the top but as seen in the video it is very hard to gain this power.

So far there are seven seasons, and they are producing the eighth and final season which will be released in 2019. Following an epic season finale there is over a year wait time, but the last season will be worth it as the viewers find out who will win the Game of Thrones.

Sky High

Flying is a gateway to the world. Every time that I step on a plane, I am simply in awe that from the time I sit in my seat to the time I am off the plane, I can be over 1000 miles away from home, and only 2 hours will have passed.  I can leave my house right this second and maybejust maybe, will be in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in a little under 3 hours. Or, I could board a plane and be sitting on a beach in Miami in the same amount of time.

Although there is a stigma around flying that makes many people hate the idea of flying, I embrace the technological feat that we humans have created and perfected in the past 100 years. There is an entire world to see, and if you limit yourself to a corner of the world that you never want to leave, you are missing out on so much.

I do not like flying in the sense that I absolutely love being on a plane. I absolutely love travelling. That is what is so truly amazing about it. When my grandmother was young and on her way to London, she took a passenger ship that was her home for 3 long weeks. If I wanted to right now, I could book a flight to London and be there in less than 7 hours.

The world is so full of great cities, people, and food. There is no better time to travel than now, and there is no safer method of transportation than flying. With the evolving internet we all use every day, there are so many resources we can use to find cheap flights, hotels, and other amenities.

Next time you get a paycheck, put a little bit away and save up, before you know it you’ll be looking forward to your next destination!

The Economics of Airline Class

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The Epic Rise of Fortnite

Whether You have heard about it or not, Fortnite, has been growing steadily and amassed over 40 million players in just under six months. Fortnite itself has been in development for years under the developer Epic Games, the game was released back in September with a free Battle Royale mode included for the Playstation, Xbox and PC.

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I didn’t even hear about the game until all of my friends started playing it, but once I downloaded it, I was hooked. The concept of the Battle Royale mode is simple, there are three modes of it, solo, where alone, you take on 99 other players to find as many weapons as possible and loot overall. The loot may be a potion to build up your shield, or bandages or a med kit to build your health back up. On top of all of that you can collect building materials to build up forts for cover from enemies. Then there is duo and squad mode where you can choose to play with just one other friend or three. The overall objective in each is to survive and be the last one(s) standing.

Fortnite has become such a popular game among many ages, younger teenagers and college kids alike find joy in the game. The fast paced game has become so popular, there has even been a growing concern as to whether children are playing too much.

The online community has become deeply involved in it, with Youtube videos hitting the million views mark and social media pages being dedicated to gameplay highlights and news on the game in general.

In my own opinion, I love the game. I might not be the best at it, but it is always a good time jumping out of the Battle Bus and hitting the battlefield with my buddies and winning is just an added benefit.

The Office

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It all started on March 24, 2005.  This is when Greg Daniels started a new revolution of funny. The Office is a hilarious documentary style look into the humorous and sometimes poignant foolishness that plagues the world of the standard 9 to 5. It’s 2018 and this show is still captivating Americans. Greg Daniels, the writer of The Office, is known for his work on SNL, The Simpsons, Parks and Rec, and King of Hill. The Office aired on NBC from 2005-2013. Many don’t know that The Office first aired in the UK but the success rate was not high. I just discovered this show last year and at first I did not like it and flipped to another show. After giving it another try, I have re watched it three times already and highly recommend it to everyone. This show is absolutly hilarious. It makes me laugh out loud so hard. After some research, season one had many mixed reviews when it released but the following four seasons were a buzz on the media. After finding myself researching this show more and more it lead me to find some interesting facts of the auditioning for the show. When the cast went to audition for the show they were NOT given a script. It was very unusual but it worked because the cast is awesome! They simply sat down in a conference room and they were told to act like the charater they were auditioning for. That is how they made their decision. In December of 2017, their were several rumor that their would be a revival of the show in 2018-2019. Recently one the cast members, John Krasinski appeared on “The Ellen Show” and when Ellen called him out on it, he said that was “the only one that wasn’t called for it”. Quite a cliff hanger! We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Silicon Valley

Is there anything better than discovering a new TV show? I don’t think so. After watching The Big Sick (Michael Showalter, 2017) for the thousandth time and falling more in love with Kumail Nanjiani‘s sense of humor every time, I finally decided to Google him and to find out what other films or shows he has been in. I discovered that he was in the HBO series Silicon Valley. I had heard of the show before but I had never watched it since shows on HBO tend to air very late at night and that doesn’t work with my grandma-styled sleeping schedule that puts me to bed at 9. After watching a trailer for the show and realizing that Zach Woods, a.k.a. Gabe from The Office, and Martin Starr, a.k.a. Bill from Freaks and Geeks, were on it I knew I had to give it a whirl. I watched the first episode on a Friday night and before I knew it, it was Sunday night and I had finished all four seasons. The premise of the show is a guy named Richard who creates some type of data compression system that is revolutionary. After turning down multiple million dollar offers, he decides to create his own company with his friends called Pied Piper. The show follows all of the crazy, yet realistic situations that they get into as a startup in Silicon Valley. I cannot recommend this show enough. It is laugh out loud funny, informing, and emotional all in the span of 28 minutes. Although the show is a comedy, it is a really good depiction of what Silicon Valley is actually like right now. It seems to be such a vicious “dog eat dog” world, yet for some reason I’m attracted to it and want to be a part of it. Enough about me – if you’re looking for a new show to binge watch I highly suggest Silicon Valley, especially since the fifth season airs later this month!

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