This past weekend saw the massive competitive gaming expo DreamHack take place in Jönköping, Sweden. Featuring competitions in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, StarCraft II, Quake, Dota 2, Heroes of Newerth, Counter-Strike, and Angry Birds, DreamHack is attended by some of the best pro gamers from around the world. On Saturday, the final day of esports competition, Ryan “Prodigal Son” Hart and Infiltration took to the big stage for grand finals in AE.
In a move that demonstrated the importance of the fighting game scene to the future of competitive gaming, the DreamHack organizers scheduled the Street Fighter grand finals in a supreme time slot. They would be held in DreamHack’s 4,000 seat arena and take place immediately after the first StarCraft II semifinal, with the other semifinal to follow. All the events taking place in the arena on Saturday were aired on DreamHack’s main Twitch.tv stream, as well as on Swedish national television in primetime. This was all planned well in advance of the event taking place.
A diverse schedule such as this would be nothing new to fighting game fans, as we are used to viewing many different games in one day’s tournament stream (though admittedly all games of the same genre). StarCraft fans, on the other hand, are not accustomed to such transitions. The biggest tournaments watched by StarCraft fans are either StarCraft-only competitions, such as BlizzCon’s tournament, or multi-game competitions that provide separate streams for each game, such as MLG. For example, DreamHack’s first two days of competition had three separate streams just showing StarCraft. So when the final day arrived and the first semifinal was followed not by more StarCraft but by Street Fighter, the fans in the stream chat reacted with confusion, shock, and anger.
The following archived Twitch video contains the entirety of the build-up, the grand finals itself, and the presentation of the giant checks from a total prize purse of 50,000 SEK (about $7,200). The actual grand finals begin at 11:20.
Despite an exciting grand finals–not to mention speedy due to the low staminas of Akuma and Yun–the stream chat was highly volatile, as 30,000 irate StarCraft fans raged over being forced to watch other games. As one of about a thousand twitterers put it:
@terranfromtheyear5000: When you watch the Superbowl, They don’t play have [sic] the MLB World Series at half time do they? I want SC2, that is all.
(That’s not his actual Twitter handle by the way, but it should be.)
The spectacle caused a great outpouring of support for fighting games from the more sensible people in the StarCraft community (“sensible” meaning “always closes the stream chat”). But lest you think the situation was just a case of stream monsters gonna stream monster, it wasn’t just them. Fast-forward to 39:08 in the video to hear the host of DreamHack say the following about the grand finalists:
It’s real impressive seeing those button mashing heroes.
Button. Mashing. Heroes. Ryan Hart and Infiltration. Hmm. Well he may have a point. Ryan Hart is in the Guinness World Record books for many things, and it’s possible one of them is “most buttons mashed in a fortnight”. That’s the only possible explanation I can come up with as to why anybody who knows fighting games would call Ryan Hart and Infiltration “button mashing heroes”. It’s like calling Sandro Botticelli a “finger painting hero”.
It’s nice to know that the host of one of the biggest gaming tournaments in the world can get the job without any prior knowledge about the games that are in said tournament. Buck Laughlin would be proud. But who is this individual hosting such a major event, and what exactly does he know about games? His mistake might be somewhat understandable if he’s just a comedian or an actor brought in by DreamHack to provide some professionalism. Hey, it works for the VGAs…kinda.
But no. According to DreamHack’s website, Tejbz is a “YouTube phenomenon in the gaming world” and a hardcore Call of Duty player specializing in quick scoping. So he is a gamer, just one whose knowledge is mostly restricted to the mad world of Modern Warfare. It certainly would help him cover the Call of Duty tournament, except that DreamHack Winter 2011 didn’t hold one. And I don’t know if Tejbz has attended any CoD tournaments in the past, but if he has, I’m sure nobody congratulated the winners on being amazing “spray n’ pray heroes”. Can you imagine saying something so ridiculous at a major Black Ops tournament in front of thousands of people? It would be hugely embarrassing.
Not that Tejbz knows the meaning of embarrassing, as he is also responsible for this greatness:
Well there’s only one word for that.
#esports[This article represents the views of the author, and may not represent the views of Shoryuken.com]