You may have heard of League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients)—in 2018, fans spent 632 million hours watching these three games alone. Despite its growing popularity and its presence on ESPN, the world of esports is incredibly dynamic. Today games like Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate might seem really popular, but next thing you know a game like Farming Simulator 19 announces a new professional league poised to shake things up. Part of the challenge of following esports is knowing about new esports so you can follow the right ones. Blink and you might just be the only one watching Rocket League or you might even find your favorite esport shutdown. That would be embarrassing. Sure, right now it seems that LoL and Apex Legends might be safe choices, but even the most successful esports are like “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” The key to following esports is catching that mist, bottling it, and drinking that mist as quickly as humanly possible. Sure some of that mist might be acid rain or something and it might not be all that nourishing, but the point at least you’ll be watching the right games. If that sounds like too much work, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Our crackerjack team of writers recently put on their investigative journalist hats and scoured the interwebs to find the 6 esports best positioned to take the world by storm. Start watching these esports now, while you still can. They will change your life.
E.T. The Extraterrestrial
If DoTA 2 is a bore and you’re ready for the next challenge, it’s time to dust off your Atari 2600 and sign up for the 37th Annual World E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Tournament! Challengers from around the globe will compete to be the first to fall into a well—and then stay there the longest! Bonus points are awarded to competitors for various achievements, such as using the greatest number of Reese’s Pieces to levitate most of the way out of their well, for falling into the first well they encounter, or for falling into a well while running from one or more antagonists.
Despite its long tenure, the tournament has been the subject of some controversy lately. Detractors argue that the objective of the game was originally to reassemble the telephone, “phone home,” and return E.T. to his home planet. However, no proof of this has been forthcoming, and tournament officials have assured fans that the rules of the competition are not likely to change anytime soon. “We’re sure that this is what the developers had in mind during their five-and-a-half-week sprint to finish the game!” says official Kenneth Jones. “Fetch quests are a bore. E.T. is a game about endurance and perseverance, plain and simple, and our tournament showcases the best that the circuit of competitive E.T. play has to offer.”
At the time of writing, the contender to beat is returning champion Jeffrey Williams, who has been stuck in the same well since Christmas Day, 1982.
Samantha Greenbriar was drafted onto the University of Wyoming E-League for their newest sport of Indexing after causing an upset in the secondary leagues by screencapping two pieces of mail in the game Gone Home that had not been on the list submitted by developer Fulbright. “Indexing is pretty new, but if you’re the type of person that opens every drawer and reads every bit of paper in every game anyway, you’ll feel right at home,” she says.
“Some people play games like they’re following a bright yellow line around from objective to objective,” teammate Stanley says. “We appreciate the care and thought that goes into every asset developers place in a game, and I can’t think of a better way to express that appreciation than through Indexing.”
“Many developers have had professional teams to Index their games in the beta stages,” coach Catherine Chun says. “We’re hoping this year we can help developers correct errors and ensure a consistent structure running through their games.”Part of the challenge of following esports is knowing about new esports so you can follow the right ones.
Dr. Katherine Collins, professor of Game Design at UW, is hoping to have her students partner with the UW Indexing team. “Every game has an inherent pattern, and Indexing brings that into the light.”
“It’s really amazing watching a team Index a game together,” spectator Henry says. “They have to be incredibly efficient. No wandering around.”
“And the communication between teammates is key,” says his partner, Delilah. “They have to be able to tell each other exactly where they are and what they’ve screencapped so far and if they’ve fallen behind where they expected to be and need someone to send help. They’ve only got so much time. Fortunately, when the UW team is in-game, they’re on fire.”
The University of Wyoming Indexing team is set to face off against the University of Washington next month in their season opener, Tacoma.
Ian Bogost’s Cow Clicker may have been created to demonstrate the trivial nature and suspect monetization strategies of social games, but that hasn’t stopped Sandra O’Malley from clicking more cows than any other human in 2018, earning her the title of 2018 CCL (Cow Clicker League) Champion. O’Malley’s expert clicking led her to a whopping 17 million “Mooney,” the game’s currency which can be used to purchase different cow designs and skip the six hour interval between clicks. Rival clicker Kevin Hsu says O’Malley’s path to victory is no secret, “She didn’t bite on big ticket cows like the Bling Cow, and instead went for Bacon Cows and Hello Cows right out the gate—she showed us what it’s all about: clicks.” Controversy also struck the CCL in 2018 as Gunnar Stephenson became the first professional Clicker to be banned from the CCL when the CCRC (Cow Clicking Regulatory Commission) discovered Stephenson was using an autoclicker bot. CCRC representative Margret Park said, “It’s an exciting time to be clicking cows. More digital bovine were clicked in 2018 than ever before, but with all the excitement comes a whole lot of temptation to bend the rules for more clicks. We have to make sure people are actually taking time out of their day to make each click by hand.”
We asked Bogost, who spoke to us from the deck of Bote de Vacca, his 50’ yacht currently drifting off the coast of Ibiza, if people like Stephenson, O’Malley, and Hsu were missing the point, “Of course not. I might have said as much in 2010 when I first developed the game but I’ve learned my lesson.”
Have you heard about the e-sports phenomenon sweeping the nation? That’s right, we’re talking about the e-sport of watching e-sports! In the newly formed E-Sports Watching League (EWL), you, yes you sitting there can be a part of the action! Lead yourself to fame as you go through such challenges as number of Twitch comments left in an hour, number of fake marriage proposals sent to the newly crowned League of Legends champions, and amount of time spent without writing a misogynistic, racist, or homophobic comment during the stream. Rack up points in EWL in a hurry as you do what few other members of Gen Z much less anyone has ever done—watch entire esports matches, commenting and arguing your way to victory. Who knows, maybe this time someone will actually agree that Unicorns of Love truly is the greatest professional League team in existence. Bonus points are given for watching live events in arenas and for watching other esports live while watching esports live.
Back in 2017 when EWL launched, Colin Cantwell crushed the competition at the World Series by watching Stage 1 of the Overwatch League live at Blizzard arena, while also watching LoL World Championships on his phone, and highlights from the Rocket League World Cup on a tablet while live tweeting all this from his laptop. In 2018, however, Matthias Schleiden turned esports watching on its head by drastically increasing the number of esports he watched by watching esports watchers watching esports, a technique he coined “doinking.” Schleiden handily won the 2018 EWL World Series. In an interview afterward, Schleiden bragged, “When I first started out, it seemed like everyone I knew was watching esports, now, thanks to me, no one is.” As the 2019 EWL World Series draws nearer, Cantwell, however, is promising a comeback, “Very few people watch esports, but how many people watch people playing the eSport of watching people who are watching people play the esport of watching people play esports? … 2019 is my year!” Don’t miss this year’s World Series in Burbank California at Blizzard Arena, April 2-8th and live streamed from Twitch to Mixer and then back to Twitch again.
Grocery Bag Gauntlet
We’ve all been there, the sound of the garage door resonates through the house indicating mom has returned from the grocery store. You’re in the middle of a game you can’t pause and you just know you’re going to get called to help bring in the groceries. You mad dash from your chair, slip on the first pair of shoes you can find (they’re always two sizes too small/big), run out into the garage, grab as many bags as humanly possible and run back inside quickly. You drop those bags harder than the latest dubstep single and mad dash back to your game in the hopes that you haven’t fallen too far behind or lost entirely.
If you’re used to this weekly exercise and think you’re the best at it, prepare to compete against the nation’s top grocery grabbers. Each week, competitors will face off against one in other to determine who can carry the most Kroger bags from a stash loaded up in a station wagon to a designated spot. Each competitor will be scored based on the following criteria:
- Bags carried/Weight
- How mis-shapen the heels of their shoes are
At the end of each season the top 8 competitors will face off in one final circuit: The Grocery Bag Championship Series (GBCS).
Whose Pants Am I In?
Spring is the season for cleaning out closets. That coupled with the appearance of Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix set 2019 up to be the best year yet of Whose Pants Am I In? Contestants around the globe will live stream their trips to local thrift stores in search of the perfect pair of pants. The catch: they must look at each pair of pants in the thrift store, show the tag to the camera, and must select one pair of pants they believe to be the best. To sign off they’ll catwalk across the store in their newfound pants.
“The entire experience was really incredible,” says 2018 winner enpantzd42. “My subbers had never heard of this before I streamed my entry but then they started asking me to host other contestants when I was offline. Lots of [my subscribers] ended up streaming their own entries. I never found out whose pants I was in, but I’m wearing them to the season finale for sure in hopes that the former owner will contact me. Oh, and I’ve never washed them.”
Our panel of judges this year is composed of Instagram influencer Gabbi Gregg, lifestyle and adorable animal streamer sunraize, and reality TV star Alana Thompson. They will review each entry for the thoroughness of search, fit of pants, and originality of catwalk. If this season is anything like last year, we can look forward to honorable mentions for prescience and existentialism. Our winners will be given a $50 Lyft credit to go out in search of the previous owners of their pants and a box of dryer sheets.