More than 1,400 gamers competed in Major League Gaming's Fall Championship at the Dallas Convention Center over the weekend, with thousands of international viewers tuning in via livestream. Hell, even ESPN covered it.
ESports and videogame fandom at large can no longer be pigeon-holed as truly esoteric. Now, that's fine and good, but it also means that our dearest stereotypes about the basement-dwelling, pocket protecting nerd are due for a bit of an update. Here are a few new (to me, anyway) stereotypes I observed at last weekend's event.
Halo 4 The Halo franchise made its return to MLG with a pre-release tournament. Micro-celebrities who had retired from professional gaming made a return for the event, as did tremendous numbers of fans.
Halo was one of the earliest competitive titles that MLG hosted, but before they got their hands on it, the game was a fan favorite at college LAN parties. Fittingly, the typical Halo fan was either a jacked frat bro or a husky dude with a pencil beard.
Mortal Kombat and Tekken The turnout for the fighting games was possibly the smallest, but they were no less enthusiastic. Geared with game pads designed to look and feel like a legit standup arcade fighter, the average fighting game contender was stony faced while playing, but quick to jump out of his seat on a win.
One Mortal Kombat champion would jump out of his chair and mime his character's finish moves on a win. Another Tekken contender would glad-hand his opponents, immediately popping out of his seat to share a bit of sweaty controller hand.
League of Legends League of Legends is an odd game when stacked up with the other championship titles at MLG. It's free-to-play, strictly online and inspired by a multiplayer WarCraft III mod. Not the whole game, mind you. Just the one mod.
The League of Legends fans are as off-beat as their game. If a fan is rocking a fuzzy hat shaped like a wolf, carrying around a papier-mâché broad sword or otherwise dressing up as their favorite champion, chances are they're there for League of Legends.
StarCraft 2 Like League of Legends, StarCraft competitors are very international, hailing from as far away as South Korea and the Netherlands. The fan base also takes itself very seriously, but spent about as much time smack talking the contenders as they did criticizing other games.
Tekken fans were described as "button mashers" by one fan. A League of Legends team was described as "the best at shooting rainbows."
Next up: More photos of the event.