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[Flame Break] Video Games and Culture

November 24, 2014 ohestiada

Today, instead of talking about Dota 2 or some other game, I would like to share with you two things that I have seen on the Internet about the interaction of games and general culture!

For starters, just a few days ago, as I was creating a news roundup for eSports Inquirer, I noticed this particular tweet on Twitter:

Firstly, it is very interesting to see Romania’s run in the IeSF World Championships. They have taken a lot of spots in the podium across many disciplines, and thus far, they have created a lot of buzz when Andra Ciubotaru, a public relations manager for the Romanian national eSports team, mentioned in the above tweet that Romanians who have never played video games are just logging on to Viagame to support their country. In other words, ordinary people were glued to their screens because of the fact that their national team is fighting in an international video game tournament!

The same thing happened with Tunisia as Tunisians were dominating the Viagame stream chat whenever a player from their country was playing — and most certainly, the stream chat broke when Ben Messaoud “las3ed” Amine won the first-ever IeSF Hearthstone World Championship. Considering that they have other much more pressing issues at home, I am amazed that the normal person goes out to support their compatriots no matter what the field is!

Can this be a sign that mainstream society has started to realize the potential of games as a factor that unites people no matter the race, creed or political inclination? Only time will tell. In the meantime, it would be very nice if the Philippines were to send a contingent to the World Championships next year!

I would sit down in front of the monitor with my cheese-flavored popcorn and Nestea iced tea by then!

I saw a recent article by the New York Times that featured Matt Haag, a professional video game player and one of the members of the legendary Optic Gaming Call of Duty team, specifically on aspects of him being an online celebrity and being the person that he is aside from the image that he projects as a pro player.

The article also gives some tidbits of Matt’s personal life: Instead of spending time in parties, drinking alcohol and whatnot, he just settles at home, plays Xbox “surrounded by posters of the Chicago Bulls and Muhammad Ali”. There’s also one glaring detail that did not escape my eye:

To friends and rivals he met through his Xbox, he was not a wallflower but a fierce competitor who could be a domineering teammate.

This is a portrait of a person who competes to reach the top, not just a person who plays for fun.

He was also really honest about the things that he does, in a way that is reminiscent of Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao, currently playing for Cloud 9 and who has just qualified for both the DreamLeague Season 2 playoffs and the Summit 2 LAN finals. Matt says:

“I think about my future probably at least 10 times a day,” he said. “I think about what if this all goes away one day? What if for some reason people just aren’t in your live stream tomorrow? What if people aren’t clicking on your YouTube videos tomorrow? What if your team doesn’t work out and you’re not performing that well and you have to quit competitively? What happens when you can’t compete anymore and you want to retire because you’re going insane?”

This shows that despite the fact that the gaming industry has grown by leaps and bounds, people who are arguably at the top of their game and at the height of their career are still worried about their future.

Overall, I personally think that people have started to realize that gaming is slowly becoming a part of popular and mainstream culture. If video games continue to be presented in this way, then we might see the sector becoming institutionalized not before long.

Which brings us to the question: What’s the next step for games?

We’ll have to cross our fingers and see.


*Note: The columnist’s views do not represent eSports Inquirer’s position on the topic or issue being discussed in this article.

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