While being a raging geek, I’m also big into sports, most notably cricket and the AFL. There’s something about the thrill of the contest combined with the tribalism that comes with being a team supporter that I just love. It’s really no surprise then that my first real experience with esports was one I loved.
Player Attack hosted the Heroes of the Storm Spring Championship at Fowlers Live in Adelaide on the weekend and, despite being a gamer for 30 years, it’s the first time I’ve sat down to watch an esport event. Fowlers Live is a live music venue which at first seemed like an odd place to host the event but a bar, a massive wall projector and old-school arcade games littered around, it was perfect.
Much like watching sport, one of the barriers to entry is knowing the game. I’m familiar with the basics of Heroes of the Storm but only the basics and I found watching the stream a little challenging at first. As with any sport though, once I picked a side to support – based on nothing but the color of the team – I started to get more engaged. By the time the finals began I was well and truly barracking for my team and ohhing and ahhhring with the crowd.
In the end my team lost 3-0 despite some entertaining come back plays. In the last game it seemed they might turn things around but honestly I was a little relieved they lost. We’d been at the event for six hours and while I love a come from behind win, I was tired and ready to head home. The length of an esports event is definitely something that needs to be considered, particularly in an age where we are seeing massive success in short forms of games such as 20/20 cricket.
A highlight of the event was Player Attack getting some Adelaide independent games developers on site to showcase their games. Scott Cabot from Boxhead Productions was there (featured in episode three), as was Lindsay Hall from Euler Code who will be appearing on episode nine in a few weeks, with Formula C. Unfortunately I never got around to see the other games there as I got distracted by the streaming event! It’s great to see these teams being given the chance to show what they can do at public events and, having seen these games first hand, they are worth your time to check out. There was even the Chimichurri food truck there!
Unfortunately it was a really disappointing turnout. While Player Attack staff admitted that more could have been done to get word out about the event, it’s always a letdown to see a small crowd. We know that Adelaide has a vibrant gaming community and while Heroes of the Storm might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s vital that we get out and support these events. Without a decent crowd it’s hard to convince organisations, and developers, to come out again.
Despite the poor attendance Player Attack mentioned they would like to do another event in the future. If so you’ll hear about it on our Facebook, Twitter and of course the podcast. Get along and be part of gaming events in Adelaide. It was a genuinely enjoyable event and one that warmed this old geek’s heart!