Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of compLexity Gaming or its parent company.
In Day9 pre-daily #232, Sean “Day9” Plott talks about making eSports happen. One of the biggest messages that Sean drives home during this “state of the daily” address is that eSports isn’t going to happen with the efforts of one person, but with the efforts of every person. In order to grow SC2 as an eSport or eSports in general, every individual of the community must do their part to spread the word and make eSports happen in North America.
Whether he saw Sean’s “state of the daily” address or not, Glen Bowers is one individual who has helped eSports happen in North America. This Chao Bistro patron in Seattle approached the bar’s owner with a unique suggestion: stream professional SC2 matches in the bar instead of baseball and other traditional sports. When Chao Bistro’s owner, Hyung Chung, agreed to play SC2, I doubt he even considered that this was one step in starting an international phenomena. Much to everyone’s excitement, BarCraft is becoming a worldwide event. There were over 25 venues in three countries showing SC2 this past weekend for MLG Raleigh, and it was epic. What started as a great event at a Seattle bar has is becoming an international eSports trend. Glen and Hyung, thank you for starting the epicness that is BarCraft.
I was fortunate enough to attend not one, but two BarCraft events for MLG Raleigh this weekend in my city. None of these events were organized by international SC2 community icons or wealthy business owners. The men who organized the events are simply SC2 fans who are passionate about competitive gaming and saw what Glen Bowers organized in Seattle and thought “why not Edmonton?”
The first of the two events was organized by Jeff “OldManTekh” Siegel at a Downtown restaurant, Oodle Noodle, which streamed games the entire three days of MLG weekend. NoodleCraft started during MLG Anaheim and was popular enough to be brought back for MLG Raleigh. The owner, Sam Fakhreddine, is a nerd himself and sees the value in promoting competitive gaming. The food at Oodle Noodle is incredible, at it was great to have a casual place to stop by and watch SC2 during dinners. If you ever are in Edmonton, stop by Oodle Noodle for a bite to eat. The Tokyo Glaze and the Bombay Famous are exceptional menu choices. The best part of this event was that people just stopping by to grab a bite to eat were exposed to SC2 and eSports for the first time. It was neat to see people experiencing completive gaming for the first time.
The second Edmonton BarCraft event was organized by Chris “Sonik” Atkey at a Downtown bar, the Rouge Lounge and Rosebowl. I spoke with the bar’s owner, Sam Moukhaiber, about an hour or two into the event. When I arrived right at the event’s start at 1:00pm, the crowd wasn’t impressive. Talking with Sam, I could tell he was hesitant about hosting a second BarCraft events, but I was optimistic that the event would have a good turnout. Much to my surprise, the turnout at our MLG Championship Sunday was not simply good, it was incredible. By the lower bracket finals, the bar was packed. I knew there would be a nice turnout, but I was in shock. SC2 fans spilled out the reserved section, seating was in high demand, and it was standing room only. Stunned by the amazing response to his first SC2 event, not only did Sam agree to host a second BarCraft event for MLG Orlando, he has promised us the entire bar next time.
If you’re interested in checking out the Edmonton MLG weekend shenanigans, I filmed the action and put it up on YouTube. Best of all, a local newspaper, the Edmonton Journal wrote a piece on our Championship Sunday event which appeared on the third page of a newspaper. This morning, over 115 000 Edmontonians who read the Journal opened their newspaper to BarCraft, SC2 and eSports. I hope this mainstream media attention will help to bring closet nerds out to future BarCraft events.
Considering hosting a BarCraft event in your city? Well, thankfully, you’re a member of a phenomenal international community, and support is just one TL thread away. The SC2 community is not all sunshine, rainbows and happiness (see: /r/starcraft), but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the SC2 community offers unconditional support for projects that further the game that we love unconditionally. XiFan “Primadog” Hong has become a champion of BarCraft events, providing support, networking and information for BarCraft organizers and attendees. If you are considering planning a BarCraft event in your area or have put the wheels of BarCraft in motion, PM Primadog on TL or post on /r/barcraft, and you will be provided with support as well as a way to get the word of your event sent out. As the TL BarCraft Summary Tread says, “If you organize it, they will come!”
To further eSports you do not have to be one of the pillars on the State of the Game. You do not have to be Grand Masters League player with 5000 daily stream viewers. You do not have to be wealthy or own your own business. You do not need to live in Silicon Valley, work 9-5 at Justin.tv or post on TL three times a day. You simply have to be willing to put in a little bit of work and spread the word! There are members of the community who will be there to help you with networking, support and promotion. Organize your own BarCraft event for MLG Orlando in October, and I think you may be surprised with the results. If we can have successful SC2 events in Edmonton, AB, Canada, any major city in North America can have successful SC2 events.
As Sean “Day9” Plott said, it will not be one person but the entire community who makes North American eSports happen in 2011: “Stop asking for permission, just f’ing do it!”
After years of playing World of Warcraft, a friend introduced Jacqueline to Starcraft early last year. Jacqueline’s relationship with Starcraft started out slowly: a handful of casual dates, a little bit of flirting but nothing serious. She took her relationship with the game to the next level after BlizzCon 2010 where she experienced eSports magic first-hand and realized that Starcraft was the one. Despite being a mediocre player, she has been clambering the ladder at a glacial pace and has spent more time watching Starcraft online than she’d like to admit. In March, Jacqueline made the leap from eSports fan to eSports professional when she was hired by the Handsome Nerd as their Art Director, combining her design skills with her love of Starcraft. Since its start in April, Jacqueline has been a contributing writer for the North American Star League, writing coverage for Division 1. Offline, Jacqueline is a bookworm, a runner, a freeride snowboarder and has a Human Ecology degree with a Clothing and Textiles major.