This past Saturday the Shogun Gamer team was on location for the Cyber Gaming StarCraft II Invitational & Tournament. Hosted by Memory Express in Richmond, this event brought out some amazingly top-tier players and wound up being one of the most impressive events we've checked out locally. Be sure to check out our image gallery and video to see for yourself. Keep reading for my impressions of the event.
You know, for a long while now I’ve been one of those people that was of the belief that PC gaming was dead. Sure, I fell in love with StarCraft II, and gave it a stellar review… but it just didn’t seem like it was something that was enough to sustain that particular section of the industry. Gradually though, I’ve been spending a bit more time with my computer. Between events like the recent LANcouver and getting into League of Legends, I've been spending more time with PC gamers in general. And you know what? It’s a little like coming home. I started out in the world of PC gaming, and getting to take part in these events has been a rather awesome little walk down memory lane.
As a happy side-effect of that, we’ve recently started striking out to find more local Vancouver events to enjoy, support, and just generally have a good time at. We also want to remind our readers out there to (if they’re not already) get more involved in your city's local gaming clubs/events.
This weekend was a special invitational and tournament housed just a short drive south of our stomping grounds in Richmond. Truth be told, it’s not a section of the GVRD that I spend a whole lot of time with, mainly out of a completely logical fear of being run over, but heading down there this past Saturday was actually a blast. We got there just as things were getting started. Set up was complete, stream was already live, and gaming had already begun (mostly just some casual matches for the players to get used to the gear/setting).
Not unlike a Best Buy or Future Shop the store had a section devoted to TVs in all sorts and sizes (mainly ranging from large to huge for the purposes of the LAN). Each and every TV was set to broadcast the live matches as they took place throughout the day. Handy, considering there was never a situation where I had to worry about someone blocking a screen in front of me, or not having enough space to stand and still be able to see the action. There were also a few computers set up around the main ‘viewing area’ allowing competitors to get in on some gaming action.
What was really neat is that off to the far right there was a glass enclosure set up that allowed the top-tier players to be segregated from the cheering fans/on-lookers, allowing them an opportunity to focus themselves on their games.
Everything was set up smart, and even more impressive was that everything was ready and rolling by the time we got there. Having been to a few of these events, the smallest technical snag can bring everything WAY behind schedule, but at this particular venue everything went off without a hitch, so the extra time that was planned for wasn’t even necessary. This meant the event ended AHEAD of schedule. – A welcome change of pace for both us and the fans who came out to spend a full day (from 11 am to 5 pm) watching some epic StarCraft battles.
This is definitely the kind of thing we like to see, and speaking with the other spectators on the floor (during breaks in the action of course) the vibe was reciprocated.
As people that were, kind of, outsiders looking in… one of the most interesting matches of the day was actually saved for last. You see there was a bit of a rivalry between two of the event’s coordinators (Memory Express and Cyber Gaming). Apparently there’d been some trash talk earlier in the day, and some video run during set-up of an older match where someone had recieved a bit of a smack-down via StarCraft II… so naturally throughout the day there was a bit of back and forth. Considering when we got to the finals there was plenty of time (event was originally scheduled to wrap at 7 pm) they decided to throw down the gloves and make a go at it. To up the ante even higher, the two professional gamers who had been commenting through the day on the live-stream decided to stick around and provide a little color to the proceedings… which basically consisted of ragging on the players for making dumb mistakes and poor game-play choices.
It’s stuff like that which really adds to an event. Those simple/fun/goofy little side-steps from the action keep people interested and invested, it’s not a coincidence that the highest turn-out of viewers on the live-stream was actually for the grudge-match after the event had already ‘finished’.
If you didn’t happen to catch the live-stream, the matches were recorded have been posted online. Click here to check out the footage, with commentary.
Over-all, I’d have to say I was quite impressed with how everything went down. The matches were intense, it was a great opportunity to get some of the best StarCraft II players into one room, the stakes were high, the venue was intelligently laid out, there were no technical issues, and they injected enough personality into the whole of the event that even outsiders and newcomers could enjoy themselves through the proceedings.
This is definitely the kind of thing that Shogun Gamer likes to get behind; local gamers getting together to put on a kick-ass show and have a bit of fun. It’s my hope that the more of these events are put on by members of our fair city, the bigger and better they're going to get!
For a full list of prizes you can check out our pre-event coverage.