Spreadin’ The Love

BY Andrew Miesner / February 14, 2009

Written by Mike “LANDodger” Luxion

(This article is an editorial and does not necessarily represent the opinion of compLexity Gaming or its parent company.)

As everybody knows, Valentine’s Day is here. I’m confident that everybody knows this because I know a thing or two about relationships. I’ll start by guessing that you’re either taken or you’re single. If that’s true, I know the following two things to be true as well.

Taken people know that Valentine’s day is coming because once you enter a relationship you gain a sixth sense for important days like some kind of emotional sonar. When the system is working properly you’ll hear a loud “PING” in your ear (and your wallet) near these days until it comes to a crescendo that can only be lessened by jewelry or chocolate.

And if you’re single, you know Valentine’s day is coming by the crushing emptiness in your heart.

(Sorry, hold on. I just need a second to stop the uncontrollable sobbing.)

But hopefully it’s a time of love for most people. A time to remember all the days you’ve spent together, good and bad, with your partner … and for me, that means looking at my cruel, heartless, cold mistress for the last five or six years: competitive gaming.

Oh, the memories. She’s cheated on me in scrims and matches. I’ve left her for the Wii and the DS. Yet somehow we always end up back in each other’s arms like the perfect dysfunctional couple. There are the makeup scrims (which, by the way, are totally wild), along with the intellectually stimulating forum conversations. It’s the really psychotic ones you can’t leave you know, and I can’t seem to get enough of her crazy, unjustified personal attacks and innuendo, either.

And so in the spirit of Valentine’s day, I’d like to take some time to tell my lady how much I love her, warts and all. Mrs. eSports, here’s to you.

I love the way you talk dirty to me …

All day, every day. In scrims, pubs, matches, forums, PMs, and everything else. I can’t go two inches across the Internet without running into your profane mouth, and goddammit I love that about you. Nobody can turn a discussion about something totally inane (say, macaroni and cheese) and turn it into an e-fight faster than you can. If that could be translated into a swimming competition, you’d have Michael Phelps hitting the bong in retirement for the rest of his life.

… yet you still surprise me with intellectual conversation.

And just when I’ve lost all faith in you, and any hope for a meaningful conversation, you stop on a dime and challenge my perceptions about people and situations. It’s not a daily occurrence, but it’s enough to keep my on my toes and restore my faith in the mostly silent majority.

I love the way teams prove me, and a lot of other people in the media/community, wrong.

One of the easiest traps to fall into in eSports is believing in the superiority of the big-name entities. In the second season of the CGS that was teams like Dallas and New York, while Birmingham and San Francisco met in the Finals. In the Pro-Am that was the CGS Source teams, but guys like Fivealive and Cyber Revolution more than held their own (I’m sure there were others, but those are the couple that I remember). I’d go into other tournaments, but there’d be far too many teams to name. New talents come up through the woodwork all the time. Maybe not as fast as they could, but they’re always lurking in the shadows just waiting for a chance to show their stuff.

I love the way you suspect everybody of cheating.

There’s nothing sexier than jealousy and suspicion because that’s when you know you’ve got the goods, and you’ve got both in spades baby. Being accused of hacking is practically a rite of passage for anybody who’s anybody. Aw, who am I kidding. You don’t even have to be anybody to be accused of hacking. Heck, you don’t even have to be all that good. All you have to do is catch the right guy (almost anybody) on the right day (those that end in “y”) with a couple lucky shots, and you’re golden.

I love the way you break promises.

For every successful tournament that’s been run in the last few years, it seems like there’s been at least one more with huge financial issues that results in players not being paid.

On second thought I’m not so wild about that. At least we’ve learn the lesson that nothing in life is free, and that we should always watch out for people that promise big things but come to the table with nothing save promises and threats when things start going south.

I don’t love the tripping in Brawl.

I have nothing good to say about this. Sometimes we need to acknowledge the bad things, too. (And in this case, possibly one of the worst “additions” in history to a new game.)

I love your people, because they’re my people.

I know we fight sometimes. I think Source is a totally legitimate game. You think it belongs next to Bejeweled and Battle Chess in the Competitive Game Pantheon. Still, the people make up for all the bad times. There’s nothing like sharing your passion with others. It’s why we watch sports, and it’s why I can chat with other people on IRC and feel a kinship with them despite not knowing them in real life. Talking about eSports, even the depressing parts, is one of my favorite pastimes. I wouldn’t give up the memories and the friendships I’ve made along the way for anything in the world.

(Well, I might do it for ten billion dollars. But not a penny less, I swear.)

 I love how you take gaming to new heights.

The people are great, but the best thing about you, competitive gaming, is your girth. Now, I know most ladies don’t like to hear that so let me explain.

It seems like every year you get bigger. In a good way. For me, it’s been how you broaden my horizons. A few years ago I discovered the joys of watching Quake. Then the CGS started and I was completely hooked onto DoA, PGR, and yes, even FIFA. Then the Pro-Am came around a year later, and I found out how awesome TF2 was.

In other words, not only do you have something for everybody, you’ve also got something new for everybody. Games are constantly rising to prominence, and that’s not limited to the games (even obscure ones) that we normally associate with competitive gaming, like first-person shooters, or fighting games, etc. All of us have seen crazy videos of people completing Half-Life in what seems like the blink of an eye, or perhaps a level of the original Mario.

Even though we don’t usually think of those as “competitive” gaming because people aren’t directly competing against each other in the same server, they’re still a close cousin to the competitions we know and love. And that’s your true appeal, baby. You’ve got something for every single kind of gamer, whether they’re looking for people that share the same interests to have fun with, or they’re looking to rise up the ranks and become “somebody” in a game, or if they just love playing a certain game and want to set some kind of crazy record and put it on Youtube.

To put it simply, you’ve got it all. Great people. Unforgettable experiences. A constantly evolving and expanding definition of what, exactly, competitive gaming is and how we play it.

And that’s why I love you.

(Please don’t yell at me for not getting you jewelry and chocolates.)

Links: LANDodger’s Blog