Let's start this out with a simple admission: I'm not one of those geeks who hates sports. I hate the culture around them sometimes, but I've definitely gotten into a good game of football before. I don't watch it regularly, but I tune in every year for the Superbowl, or if one of my two teams (The Pats and the Niners, thankyouverymuch) are doing well. This technically makes me the Lowest of the Sports Fans, the Bandwagon Jumper, but that's another article for another time. The point is, while I don't find it as interesting as a lot of my friends do, I definitely don't think sports are worthless.
Still, whenever I'm confronted with the image of just sitting on a couch for an entire weekend and watching a sporting event, I've never seen the appeal. There's not enough going on to support my interest. And worst of all, the events always drag out with endless commentators, and worst of all - analyst desks. I hate analyst desks during the Superbowl, because they just seem to me to be a waste of time. Who cares what play was performed when or what this particular guy's score is? Just show me the dudes throwing the ball so I can get excited.
This weekend, that all changed. And it changed because of a video game.
|This is, like, a tenth of the characters in this game.|
LoL really started the MOBA game's popularity, and even though they're a free to play game, they rake in enough money on in-app purchases to have their own television studio. Once a year, for the last three years, they've put on a World Championship with teams from all over the world that takes place in that very studio.
This past weekend, a series of random occurrences and references inspired me to check out LoL for the first time in about a year. And this time I was sucked in. I can't explain it, but I started devouring everything LoL - guides, forums, and playing the hell out of the game. Since I was sick as a dog this weekend, and didn't have much to do, I devoured a lot of LoL.
But sometimes, I just wanted to lay down and watch TV. And it just so happened there was a League of Legends World Championship starting that weekend. So I turned it on.
I never thought I could be engrossed in watching other people play a video game. But it was riveting. When the underdog Minesky drove the seemingly unstoppable enemy team out of their base, twice, I was cheering. When I watched a player run from their opponents, teleport to escape, and land right in the waiting arms of the perfect trap that was laid for him, I groaned out loud in sympathy. It was fascinating. And because I really wanted to learn the ins and outs of this game so I could play it better, I was fully engrossed.
And every few matches, there was the analyst desk.
|"It appears the cyborg from the future is being stomped on by the minotaur!"|
And suddenly, I got it. I understood why people spend so much time sitting through all of what I previously termed useless crap at sporting events. Part of it is that we want to look smart, and pretend that we know what's going on. But when you really love a game, or even when just really interested, you want to know how that game works. You want to understand what you're seeing on a deeper level than "Boy, can that guy throw far!" That's where these kind of events come in. And that's what makes them so interesting to watch.