The Projection Booth Cinema’s marquee advertises four types of films—Art, Schlock, Indie, and Foreign. But the small east-end theatre played host to something entirely different last Sunday night.
A few dozen fans converged at the venue to watch a live-stream from Anaheim, California, where several hundred gamers were going head-to-head in the three-day Major League Gaming Spring Championship. The most hyped competition involved StarCraft 2, in which players harvest minerals, hatch strategies, and wage war on a galactic scale. As Toronto spectators cracked pop cans in the hot theatre, gamers in California led armies across barren landscapes.
Streaming banter came courtesy of professionally sattired commentators offering analysis on the use of probes and the best location for a barracks. Cheers erupted when gamers landed crucial attacks. It wasn’t unlike a standard sports broadcast, right down to a montage of fans the world gathered in bars.
Sunday’s big winner was a gamer called DongRaeGu, who marched to victory in the best-of-five championship, winning $25,000.
As for wannabe gamers tempted by the cash, eSports Canada president Kenneth Silva cautioned that the pro circuit is dominated by those who’ve sacrficed a lot of time to rigorous training.
“I wouldn’t recommend for somebody who hasn’t been a gamer their whole life to try this,” said Silva. The best players, he warns, run on a kind of pure instinct mere mortals could never possess.
Like Wayne Gretzky?