The history of the development of e-sports

How it all began

Video Games from birth included a competitive element. When Nolan Bushnell and Alan Alcorn test an experimental version of Pong , they were unaware that their invention could be the basis for the computer competitions. But being a simulator of table tennis, of Pong has never gravitated toward cyber aesthetics. Arcade cabinets in a row, the people around them wear: it all – elements of the era. A time when many things to do on pure enthusiasm. When the dreamer tries to turn understanding of entertainment.

Largely because today it seems symbolic that the first recorded in the history of cyber tournament was The Stanford University then for the game Spacewar . The prize fund – subscription to the Rolling Stone . Amateurs as participants. It does not matter what our history Spacewar – is a computer game. Stanford University for the game Spacewar was not just the starting point, but showed an interesting trend. Sports video game competitions are impossible without the sincere interest of the athletes and the organizers.

These are the enthusiasts and worked on the first in the history of computer games, and the business itself was still and did not smell. These are the enthusiasts and worked on the first in the history of computer games, and the business itself was still and did not smell.

Not surprisingly, the first large-scale event occurred in the early 80s. Top managers Atari knew that the cult of Space Invaders is necessary to take advantage of. The first step was to port the legendary shooter on the console the VCS . The second – a national event called Space Invaders Championship . The most conservative estimate in the competition was attended by at least 10,000 people. A record figure for the industry, which, despite their popularity, are still listed in the ranks of a provincial subculture.

If you look at photos of the event, you can see that the contending sat around the TV that was connected to the Atari the VCS . Thus, in addition to public relations home version of “Invaders” from the tournament Atari became also the debut of the consoles in the field of eSports. Very bright debut. With media coverage.

Championship Atari: they fought for the first place, and she Atari - promoted video games and their own products for the living room Championship Atari: they fought for the first place, and she Atari – promoted video games and their own products for the living room
At this point, it is necessary to make a small remark. The fact is that in the early 80s between arcade and console games was equal sign. And we are not talking about game design as such: a large part of the library VCS (2600)and its competitors consisted of ports. You dream to break the record in the Pac-Man ? Buy cartridge. You want to stop the aliens and destroy the Death Star? You know what to do.

It is because of this it would be a big mistake to separate from each other platformers and arcade tournaments. At that time they were part of the whole called “the golden age of video games.” Whether we like it or not, but because of effort Atari grown commercially successful industry, which was later revived literally from the ashes of the staff the Nintendo .

It is not difficult to guess that one only Space Invaders Championship standings wheel does not stop. In the period from 1982 to 1984 on the US television series was superuspeshnyh gear called Starcade . The participants tried to break records each other in such classics of the genre, like Star Wars , Donkey Kong Junior , Pengo , Tron , etc. The program was wildly popular and has become a full part of his era. However, it would be foolish to believe that only one Starcade all and limited.

The pop culture phenomenon existed in North America under the name of the Video the Game Masters Tournament . Created with the active participation of Twin Galaxies , this tournament is considered the most prestigious cyber competition in the US in the period from 1983 to 1987. In addition, the organizers cooperated “Guinness Book of Records”, which (quite naturally) adds weight event. How many of you at least once in my life wanted to get to the pages of this book? That’s it.

In the golden age of video games written in the pages of diverse media: Now they write, but then after all it still was about the subcultureIn the golden age of video games written in the pages of diverse media: Now they write, but then after all it still was about the subculture

The funny thing is that to arrange a championship in the golden period was never been easier. And it’s not in legal matters – the games themselves are ideally suited for the competition format. For the most part arcade hits of the past excluded the element of chance. Achieve high results are obtained only through long practice. People went to the gallery, have honed their skills to perfection and showed class greenhorn beginners. Just a perfect breeding ground for eSports as such.

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This ease of use all and sundry. Organizers of the Video the Game Masters Tournament , producers Starcade , managers Atari and even journalists, did not hesitate to publish the pages of their publications so-called “table of records.” And we are not talking about mere thematic magazines. As a side not left the market behemoths like Time and Life . Fiction, right?

crazy nineties

Industry, however, has not stood still. After Nintendo has gone on the market of electronic entertainment with its 8-bit miraculously changed game design itself. It happened at exactly the moment when Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to tell a story … like in the movie. By Mario Bros the Super . for the NES by today’s standards it seems to be too archaic. But in 1985 the adventures of the Italian plumber torn template. Miyamoto’s genius even paid tribute to a young Hideo Kojima, who in those years, like many of his peers, literally sick video games.

“I never thought that video games are able to repeat the experience of the movie, until he came to work Shigeru Miyamoto. Previously, the player could knock points in games and climb up the leaderboard, and Miyamoto proposed the idea of the finished product with strings and ending. Just like in the movies. And I realized that video games and movies can be joined together. Of course, I’m talking about Super Mario Brothers for the Famicom » , – shares memories with reporters game designer.

Industry began to withdraw arcade roots. Large developers invent new mechanics, developed the old. The games began to appear the element of surprise (eg, “Eagles” and the Contra , who with luck, could at times to change the situation on the battlefield), and all this for obvious reasons could not go to the benefit of a computer competition. Requests the organizers were diametrically opposed, while the audience craved bread and circuses.

From the position out differently. “Big N», for example, has created a special cartridge for the tournament the Nintendo World Championships . It included videoizmenennye versions of such hits as Super Mario Bros. Rad Racer and of Tetris . After collecting 50 coins in Mario, passing the track in Rad Racer and built four lines of Tetris , participant received a certain amount of points. The one who she was anymore.

SNES frankly did not go to Russia, but at least know about its existenceSNES frankly did not go to Russia, but at least know about its existence

Several others went by the organizers of the World Championships the Game . This tournament, created with the participation of Blockbuster Video and log the Game Pro , existed at the beginning of the 90s, and his subjects included such hits as NBA Team Jam (parody basketball from Midway ) and Vurtua Racing (Race 3D-racing on the Sega ) . It would seem a trifle, but because of the detail and develops a coherent whole.

Console eSports changed conceptually. Not to pit players before with each other – they competed indirectly by earning points in the arcade and console hits. In the 90s the paradigm has shifted towards direct confrontation. Agree, there is a big difference between the match in NBA Jam and the destruction of the aliens in Space Invaders . All of this – a direct consequence of structural changes in game design. For the first time in many years staged we were forced to choose the most suitable for a championship discipline. The element of chance was unacceptable.

If the 80th eSports itself is not divided into different areas, existing within a certain arcade community, by the end of the 90’s image has changed beyond recognition. It became obvious difference between console and computer science. And if in sports simulators it easier to fight with a gamepad, the strategy and shooters in the professional environment entirely migrated to the PC. At this point we take a step to the side and look at the situation in Russia.

Dendy, Dendy – playing

While the Western world enthusiastically followed the events of World Championships the Game , the residents of the former Soviet Union only became acquainted with the fascinating world of electronic entertainment. Of course, by the time the country Dendy some of our compatriots have already managed to try out such technological marvels as devices from the “Electronics” and even the prefix ” Event ” – domestic clone of Pong . But all this was not of mass character.

Taiwanese Japanese clone the Famicom , in contrast, went to the people. So that products from his company Steepler became known all over the country, as a manufacturer of high-quality attachments. It is clear that in fact this was not the case, but from a historical point of view of the Moscow firm Russian gamers are required … the appearance of the console e-sports in our country!

In the second half 90 Stepleer tried legalized. Managers of the company signed a contract with the Nintendo , started to supply 16-bit the SNES , cartridges and accessories to it. In 1996, business went on a risky step, and conducted in Russia by the Fighting Tournament Killer Instinct , reports from which were published in the framework of the TV program “World Dandy”.

Today, Russian players are professionally involved in world-class tournaments, win prizes and compete on equal terms with the best western athletes. In addition, each year in the country held local tournament Moscow Fighting Arena has . In 2017 pro-players competing in such disciplines as Injustice 2 , Tekken 7 and Street Fighter 5 . But back to the world level.

Here and now

At the beginning of zero eSports finally ceased to be something exotic. Even there was talk about his inclusion in the Olympic Games. However, the most important changes occurred within the direction. If in the early 90’s due to the organizers of the transitional period has speculated on what way to go – straight to the collision athletes forehead-to-forehead or indirectly to the collection points, – the end of XX century all finally fell into place. Began to organize the professional league, held a world-class tournaments, athletes began to pay a worthy prize.

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From toys to computer enthusiasts sport began to turn into a full-fledged business, and console his direction, for obvious reasons, was not an exception to this rule. Shooters, fighting games, racing simulators – that’s just a short list of genres involved in platformers pro-gaming. On the current state of the console eSports GameGuru editors decided to speak with Igor Bugaenko , project coordinator, and Eugene Okin , one of the most decorated fighters of the country.

– What is the console eSports today: what disciplines, what is popular, what disciplines in favor? 

Igor Bugaenko: Usually, when talking about the console e-sports have in mind genres that the longest-lived in the gaming consoles – first of all fighting games and sports simulators and race. Although now, in 2017 almost all the popular games in these genres multiplatform, come on consoles and on the PC. In this scenario, the organizers often choose to hold competitions on the PC platform – many organizers it is easier to provide the required amount of igromest, and fewer problems with connecting different controllers … And it is clear that the further the boundary between the platforms will be conditional and contingent.

Now the “console” eSports – is primarily a fighting game that originally came from the arcade halls and the longest “Stuck” on consoles. The popularity of fighting games varies greatly from country to country, but globally absolute favorite is the series of Street Fighter, and, accordingly, the latest game in the series Street Fighter 5 . Then depending on the region – Korea is very popular Tekken, Japan – Guilty Gear, in the US – a series Smash. Somewhere greater love of The King of to Fighters Fighters , somewhere in favor of the game from Netherrealms – of Mortal Kombat and Injustice. In Russia, by far, the most popular series – it’s Tekken and Mortal Kombat. Basically, of course, thanks to the popularity of the series in the first time and SNES consoles PlayStation.

Evgeniy Okin : I, unfortunately, can not say anything about the console e-sports in the broadest sense, as specialize in fighting games, so I will answer about them. On the genre in the world have paid attention after the release of Street Fighter 4 , which has gained incredible popularity by the standards of fighting games. Even now, the number of players who collect the different parts of the series, several times larger than the nearest competitor.

– Are there any differences between the console and computer eSports? And, if so, what are they expressed? 

Igor Bugaenko: As for me, there is no fundamental difference there. Between the same competitive players dueling shooters (for example, Quake) and players in fighting games in general have much in common: both places require a great reaction, knowledge opponent options and the ability of its “outsmart” and of the accuracy of performance, of course. By the way, fighting games, according to many, “ahead of the rest” – a high-level players need to win “combo” in which you need to press the button up to 1-2 frames (17-34 ms).

There are some minor differences – often remembered about the game on the joysticks and arcade sticks, for example. But for eSports is no criterion: somewhere more comfortable to play on the arcade Stick, somewhere on the joystick, somewhere on the steering wheel, andHearthstone possible with touchscreen spank cards * laughs *. And, more importantly, all of these controllers can be just as easily connected to a PC and play on it, so that the sense to separate the console from your PC no.

If that’s the highlight, it is, again, more genre than the platform restrictions. Competitive fighting games – it’s dueling disciplines with very high entry threshold. Many of the more “modern” genre, such as of MOBA, and more tolerant of newcomers, and allow to shift the blame for the defeat on teammates * smiles * In fighting games you with an opponent one-on-one, and decisions are removed just milliseconds. 

Evgeniy Okin: The big difference, except that the console on average more expensive computers that can play a role in poor countries. And the prize is not as serious as in the same MOBA or shooters. Nevertheless, current figures are quite serious. For example, the prize in Injustice Pro Series in the season tend to half a million dollars.

The history of the development of e-sportsThe history of the development of e-sports

– Console eSports in Russia – a myth or a present direction? In the state he was in now?

Igor Bugaenko: I can tell you about fighting games: competitive fighting games in the Russian Federation is now at about the same stage as, say, tournaments, strategies or dueling shooters a few years ago. Tournaments are held in the regions own enthusiasts, held 2-3 larger competitions with a prize of several hundred thousand rubles and travel to international tournaments. It is clear that this is not the International and not even theMinor for CSGO, but also the audience for these games to be compared with a fighting game – hence more participants and more viewers and more sponsors.

The largest fighting game tournament in Russia – this is Moscow Fighting Arena has , an annual tournament, which is held since 2004. Recent years, the audience finals held in Moscow – 250-300 people, this year only Tekken 7 registered more than 150 people.

There is also a strong team players and organizers in other cities: first of all recall Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod, but in general the geography is very wide, from Vladivostok to Kursk. 

Evgeniy Okin: Depends on the criteria of “this direction.” Now much has been done, as I understand it, and by the FCC and by the local organizers, so that our tournaments are included in the international program. But the main event was in Russia – it is the championship of Russia, also known as the MFA (Moscow Fighting Arena has) . It usually prestigious prizes in the form of paid trips to foreign championships, and others.

The history of the development of e-sportsThe history of the development of e-sports

– Can we now compete with Western athletes in this direction?

Igor Bugaenko: West – it’s not so bad, that is a little more complicated with the eastern * laughs *

I would say that at the European level, we are in many disciplines (Mortal Kombat, Injustice, Guilty Gear , maybe Tekken) are quite competitive. Of the last examples of a series of online tournaments the ESL , is the qualification to the Pro Tour Injustice – at the end of qualifying to the playoffs got about half of Europeans and half of Russians, and the final was played between two Russian players. Do they get to the US finals, taking into account the traditional visa problems, it is another matter …

And, of course, on a global level in most disciplines favorites are not Europeans, and especially the Japanese, Koreans and then the Americans. You’ve got to realize that they simply far greater and far more mature community – culture arcade halls in Japan just ten years, in the US the console is much more prevalent as a gaming platform, etc. Our – and European – the community where the younger and generally have a much more focused gaming on the PC, where the traditionally more popular other genres. So while our top fighters can win the “weak” and “medium” Japanese and Koreans, but if it comes to the “there the” tops, the chance of winning is not enough.

But again, it’s just a very young community. 15 years ago, when the Russian athletes have won the WCG shooters and won prizes in strategies in Russia did not have any fighting game tournaments or the community itself. So, in my opinion, it is important not so much what is here and now, but the fact that fighting games are very fast growing and developing – to establish the structure of qualifying, appeared prize of $ 500,000 in international tournaments, etc., and our community grows with them.

Evgeniy Okin: competition to make up quite well. For example, recently in the European Championship play Inustice Russian final. Also our players well show themselves in Street Fighter and Guilty Gear. Yours truly won the 2014 Soul Calibur 5 European Championship, while another Russian player took the third place. The Russian team won the tournament between countries (3 of 3) in Cannes. Our girl-player became the best female player in the Tekken, it seems, in 2013, winning the final opponent from Korea – the country’s real champions of this series.

Although at this point, in my opinion, we can not expect to win the world championship of any fighting game – I think it will be possible within the next five years. The Russian team won the tournament between countries (3 of 3) in Cannes – is also a Soul Calibur 5.

We recently sat down in the wording to broadcast tournament Tekken 7 – unexpectedly spectacular! And for what you watch eSports disciplines?