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36 Rounds - 2 Grenades - 25 Kills - HIKE!

Okay, here’s some unusual linkage of the moment. Now, as should be obvious from the last post, I’ve been playing a lot of the Halo 3 lately, enough that Vickie’s been feeling a bit slighted, so I know I need to put the brakes on some. Still, at the moment, she’s watching A Touch of Frost on Seven, so I nipped upstairs to bask in the glory of my Halo 3 Service Record, all the more radiant tonight as I achieved a Team Slayer Skill of 20 earlier this evening and got promoted straight from Lieutenant Grade 3 to Captain Grade 3! Yay!

Anyway, I also checked the Bungie.net news feed, and at the top of the list was “MLG ESPN Saturday Night Rebroadcast Available Now”. For those of you who, like me, don’t live in the US, the acronyms might need a little explaining. ESPN is, as I understand it, North America’s largest pay-TV sports provider (if the URL is an indicator, they're part of Disney's media conglomerate). While I don’t think I’ve ever known exactly what ESPN stands for (I think I’m safe in assuming the S is for “sport” and the N is for “network”), I do know what MLG stands for: Major League Gaming. That’s right, a major media outlet has dedicated a portion of its resources to covering (and hosting) video game tournaments.

So I’ve watched the first three of eleven videos of this MLG Saturday Night event, and I feel like shaking myself just to make sure I’m not asleep or hallucinating. I’ve heard talk over the past decade or so about how video gaming could develop a pro circuit, but I always expected it to be supported solely by game developers, hardware manufacturers and retail chains; it never occurred to me that an actual sporting broadcast network would go as far as kicking off its own pro gaming leagues. And even then, watching those videos is an almost surreal experience. They're hosted at an exhibition centre, complete with stage and lighting rigs. There's a big crowd of spectators, with huge screens catering to them. There are commentators - freaking commentators, for crying out loud - giving a play by play on the match, calling out the players by their Gamertags! It’s like Gladiators or pro wrestling, except intelligent! (Okay, fine, semi-intelligent, I’ll give you that.) One of the teams has a damn coach!

Anyway, take a look at this yourselves. It’s a tournament match-up between two professional teams, “Final Boss” and “MoB Deep” (trust me, the names make sense – well, the first one does, anyway), playing MLG games of Halo 3 against each other. It’s And let me just type this again, because I’m still shaking my head: professional gaming teams. These guys get paid to play video games in front of live spectators!

I do wish FE Thebox of MoB Deep would get a bloody haircut, though. Oh, and will you close your mouth while you’re at it, kid? Are you trying to catch flies?

Anyway, I've just finished the fourth video, which ends the round in the ledge for the two teams:

  1. Introduction
  2. Capture the Flag
  3. Team Slayer
  4. Team King of the Hill

I don't dare to find out what the other seven are about!

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Comments

ESPN is the Entertainment and SPorts Network. Yes, they are a pay-tv sports channel, just like Foxsports here. Although, Foxsports is there too.

I have known about the pro-gaming circuits for a while now. They started in South Korea and then some of the players came over here for endorsements, and the backers spoke to people, who spoke to people, etc. etc. I hadn't known ESPN was now hosting the videos though, you used to have to search out the individual circuits. There used to be a North Eastern circuit and a California circuit.. and I have seen them competing in Quake 2, Doom 3, UT, Half-Life as well as recently some RTS stuff like Starcraft/Warcraft3 and C&C. It's good to see them getting more exposure and this becoming more mainstream though. Gaming is here to stay, why not have people making money off it? It's similar to M:tG tourneys.

South Korea! Of course, I'd forgotten about those crazy guys and their Starcraft tournaments. Thanks for reminding me, Salidar. Still, I wasn't quite expecting anything as polished and sports-event-like as those MLG videos.

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