Back in 2011, I really wanted to go to a MLG event to play in the Halo Reach competition. Luckily, there happened to be a tournament that year at the Anaheim Convention Center. I was ecstatic that it was so close to home, so I practiced tirelessly for three months to prepare for this huge event. Unfortunately, as the competition drew nearer, I still had not found a team to compete with. Rather than giving up on the tournament completely, my cousin and I decided to go as spectators.
When we arrived at the convention center, we were amazed by what we found. Seeing all the gamers, sponsors, gaming gear and professional players is something that I will remember forever. It was like being in a candy store: absolutely astonishing. While watching all the professionals and amateurs compete, it interested me to see how much trash talk is going on, how they performed at a live event, and experienced the hype of each match. Seeing all the setups and players made me want to hop on a station and play! We were there for the sole purpose of watching the team Instinct, the newly formed God Squad, in the Halo competition, but it proved difficult to focus on Halo while the neighboring StarCraft 2 crowd cheered and screamed as if they were at a Metallica concert. The amount of spectators that weekend was insane! Half of the venue was jam packed with StarCraft 2 fans! During commercial breaks, I would peek over to the StarCraft 2 area to see what all the commotion was about. Every single seat was taken. People were flooding the area sitting on the ground or standing for hours on end to watch these matches. Every fight or mistake in game on the main stage would make the fans go crazy. It felt like an earthquake every 5-10 minutes.
Before the event, I’d had no idea how popular StarCraft 2 was in North America. The only thing I knew about it was its popularity in South Korea. As I watched their exhibition in awe, my cousin explained the basics of the game: create workers to earn money to build structures to create an army that will counter/perform best against your opponent. The end objective of the game is to kill the enemy’s army and destroy their base. By harassing and interrupting the enemy mineral line, it can force a delay in building structures and army. During the tournament, I found out that MLG flew out the best players from South Korea to compete here in Anaheim. South Korea has been known for having the best StarCraft players in the world, so having players such as MMA, Bomber, DonRaeGu, and MVP was a huge deal and increased the overall skill pool at the tournament.
As I watched the Championship Finals, I was entirely confused, excited, and amazed by how much skill this game required. I couldn’t believe how fast their fingers moved! After watching a few matches, we decided to buy the game immediately after the tournament ended. As the event came to an end, I was thrilled to experience such an amazing event. It opened my eyes to high-level competitive games that I wasn’t familiar with. StarCraft 2 was my first ever RTS (Real Time Strategy) game I’d played on the PC, and thanks to MLG Anaheim, I fell in love with it.
I have always been a console gamer, but StarCraft 2 expanded my knowledge of competitive games and large-scale events. Going to a large event such as MLG sparked my interest in eSports and games other than Halo. Experiencing an event of this magnitude, is something everybody needs to experience if you are a serious gamer.