On Twitter the other day, Ultradavid said of me, “Jared isn’t even shy about having an agenda and wanting to stir things up.” That’s actually very astute as I’ve said all along throughout the great (?) fighting games as eSports debate that the only thing I’ve wanted was to have this debate out in public, in the open. All I wanted was to have key figureheads say their piece and to have the community engage with them. We’ve heard from just about everyone this year from the top players, major broadcasters and key community figures, along with eSports organizers, casters and journalists. At this point I think we’ve taken it as far as it can go and a lot of folks are starting to feel pretty tuckered out on the whole subject.
The only problem is that me simply wanting a debate is something of a half-truth. In kicking the hornets nest, I began to notice a trend amongst the responses from the fighting game community that didn’t sit too well with me.
There’s an article on Shoryuken about an incident that occurred during Dreamhack — and I use the word “incident” in the loosest of terms — in which an extremely vocal group of viewers decried having to watch the Street Fighter IV grand finals between sets of StarCraft 2. By viewers, I mean people in the chat room because at the event itself the audience seemed appreciative. Maybe not enthusiastic, but they clapped and cheered politely enough. I even heard a few scattered whistles! This was then proceeded by an awkward comment by Tobias “Tejbz” Öjerfalk, the host at the time, in which he asked the audience to “Give it up for these button-mashing heroes.”
Never ones to miss an opportunity to hold the specter of the eSports boogeyman over the heads of the fighting game community, Shoryuken publishes this article which goes to town on the “incident” from a few different angles in a fairly childish manner. I don’t want to tear this thing apart but there are a few points I’d like to make.