This VICE documentary focuses on the rise of e-sports and despite some missteps, it does a terrific job of showing you one of the most fascinating aspects of the video game industry.
The rise of e-sports is one of the most surprising and fascinating parts about the video game industry. A lot of people speculate that it’s only a matter of time before competitive gaming becomes one of the most popular sports on the planet. Although I wouldn’t go as far as saying that, I certainly think that e-sports will become a cultural phenomenon that people who couldn’t care less about video games will know about it whether they like it or not. This VICE documentary focuses on professional players who compete in League of Legends, arguably the most played video game on the planet, and this is an insightful and rarely seen part of the industry we like so much.
VICE traveled to Korea where some of the biggest and most opulent tournaments in the world take place. Of course, if you don’t know anything about video games, e-sports, League of Legends or even cosplaying, this documentary will have a lot of obstacles for you to enjoy it, but what I liked about it is that it shows an obscure part of the video game industry we rarely see.
A lot of the things shown in this documentary are hard to come to terms with at first, especially because society has taught us the contrary for the longest time. So the members of these teams that play video games professionally are popular with women? They make millions of dollars? They retire before they’re thirty? Well, maybe that’s the sign that the state of affairs will change in the near future. For instance, I wouldn’t be surprised if ESPN 2 decided to broadcast League of Legends or Dota 2 matches soon. Maybe playing games for a living is one of those new activities that will become more and more common as time goes by. Who knows? Maybe it’s all a fad, but in the meantime, this is one of the most fascinating parts about video games.
This documentary focuses on the celebrities, but it also focuses on the games, broadcasting and commentators, wannabe players, the negative effects of playing games for long periods of time what they call internet addiction (which affect a lot of youngsters in Korea) cosplaying and the list goes on and on. I don’t think every one of those parts is treated with tact or the importance they deserve. I understand that people in Korea have problems playing video games for a long time and this has serious effects on young players both physically and psychologically, but calling that an addiction is a mistake, since you can only say that you’re addicted to something when, if you’re deprived form that, you suffer from withdrawal. That’s not the case with video games though and at no point they mention it.
What you actually do in the game when you play it is never overtly explained. I know that explaining something as intimidating as a MOBA like League of Legends can take a lot of time, but since this documentary doesn’t shy away from other topics, they should have at least mention some of the basics to know what the game involves.
Like most of the documentaries produced by VICE, the subject matter explored in the film is fascinating regardless of your familiarity with it and in this case, it does a terrific job of showing the opulence and serious side effects of playing video games for a living. My only problem with this documentary is that it never explains what you do in some of the games mentioned and that it doesn’t deal with some issues with tact and responsibility. Other than that, if you’re interested in the subject matter, this film won’t disappoint.