There are many gaming tournaments around in your local game store, perhaps someone’s house. But none come close to the stops on the MLG pro circuit. It’s bigger, better, and the competition is at its highest level. This weekend, I got to experience MLG Anaheim as I do every year, and this time, it’s larger than ever.
You enter the venue and you immediately notice all the TVs, the booths, the large screens, the dimmed lights, and all the people who have as much love for video games as the next guy. A lot of the gamers there have come a long way to simply see what it’s like to be the best and maybe even test their skills against the greatest players of all time. From half way across the country to half way across the world, these pros have come quite a ways to entertain all of us and reign supreme in one of the three 2011 main stage titles; Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Starcraft II. With the MLG partnership with GSL, many top tier Starcraft pros from Korea were able to make an appearance.
If you’re a spectator, there is plenty to do besides just watching the best. You get to test out games that dream of entering the pro circuit such as Resistance 3, drink as much free Dr. Pepper as your body can handle, and compete in a variety of rather absurd competitions to win some amazing prizes. I mean, they gather the greatest players in the world and they have a contest for snowmobile racing in Call of Duty and controller untangling. Ha, really!? I say that because I definitely didn’t place on any of those, ah well.
It’s definitely a really interesting experience especially if you play the games shown. The pros you watch on the big screens are just amazing and they are definitely in their element. They know the maps like the back of their hand and their tactics are unmatched. You see them do things you would’ve never thought of and position themselves in places you have always ignored. And the neat thing about e-sports is, unlike most other sports where your favorite pros have a 200ft restraining order with all their fans, here, you can just walk up to them and have a casual chat. Here, I was able to chat with 4-time Halo MVP Ogre2 and the well-respected member of Team EnvyUs, Hastro. I was even able to stand right behind. Boxer, the most famous Starcraft player of all time, while he was playing. It’s definitely amazing, especially if you’re a loyal fan to these player.
It’s a tournament at heart but at the same time it’s like a mini convention. There’s plenty to do outside the competition itself. MLG makes these stops across the country every year and there’s bound to be one near you sometime. It’s a good thing for any gamer to experience. MLG Anaheim was fun. The next stop on the tour is Raleigh, North Carolina.