As the pubescent and scrawny fighters glared each other down, the crowd was assured there would be a blood bath. Soon the young men entered separate space capsule-esque pods on opposite sides of the stage. Completely hidden from the crowd, except for an interior video feed, the contestants placed large earphones over their stylized hair. This wasn’t just any other televised computer game battle, this momentous event was the culmination of a “Korea vs the World” StarCraft Championship for $27,000.
As an American, I was grouped with other foreigners near the front of the stage to add legitimacy to the “International” nature of the event. The outdoor auditorium was mostly filled with young men gripping inflatable boom-sticks in blue and white. As the competitors Mvp and MarineKing began their 7-round battle, they became engrossed in their stratagems. Their jaws slackened and left their gaping mouths to be broadcast on large screens. From opposite sides of the stage, their respective gaming clans (Incredible Miracle and Prime Team) casually lounged about like musical extras about to break out in song. Periodically the pyrotechnics shot out small fireballs to remind the audience that they were watching a live sporting event.
In such stiff competition, how many clicks per second they were capable of could make or break them. Their vast armies stormed across intergalactic landscapes at a lightning pace while the sound of gunshots ricocheted off cement bleachers and subdued audience members. When the space dust settled Mvp meekly grasped his trophy under a downpour of confetti. Despite being dwarfed by his large screen twin projected above him, he proudly held his ground as a champion of sorts.