The Calgary e-Sports League (CEL) had its debut at Telus Spark on Jan. 15, and it showed the potential for the event in the city.
The event officially ushered the city into the world of competitive video gaming, which has been a big hit around the world.
Telus Spark was filled with competitors and spectators of all ages, with approximately 350 people in attendance.
“Everyone was here tonight,” said event organizer Wes Nelson.
Nelson, who personally funded the event, added that the turnout was better than he hoped.
Newzoo, the global leader in e-sports, games, and mobile intelligence, has predicted in its 2018 Global e-Sports Market Report that, “In the coming year, the global Esports Economy will grow to $905.6 million, a year on year increase of 38 per cent.”
Standard games that are played competitively are either team based, that is structured around strategy with everyone working together, or fighting games, where gamers are pitted against one another in the virtual realm.
Featured games at CEL’s debut event were League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Tekken 7, and Super Smash Brothers Melee.
League of Legends was the headline game, with teams fighting for a $750 prize.
League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) where two teams go against each other to destroy the “nexus,” a structure that is in the middle of each team’s base.
Teamwork and strategizing attacks are crucial in League of Legends. One miscommunication can cost a team an entire match.
In competitive League of Legends play, teams ban specific players and draft their players.
In the bracket tournament, teams thinned quickly as the Mount Royal University League of Legends team went against the opposing team, Pretty Boy, in the final.
After a hard fought battle, MRU emerged as the victor, claiming the cash they earned by climbing to the top.
Daniel Haraburda, player for the MRU team, credited the team’s tight, slim-risk, playing style, for the win.
“I think the last game, you know, the grand finals, (was) definitely the most pressure out of all them,” Haraburda said.
“I’d say we played smart, we did our draft well.”
Both Haraburda and team captain Austin Sorenson love what the CEL has organized, and are already thinking about future events.
“I’d say we’re going to continue [playing in the CEL],” said Sorenson.
“If events like this continue, maybe (we’ll be) forming a rivalry with any other school that decides to send their team.”
The nostalgic and ageless Super Smash Brothers Melee game was one of the more popular tournaments next to League of Legends.
Super Smash Melee is a fighting game that was originally released in 2002, in which players can play a variety of Nintendo characters. Fighting is either eliminating a certain amount of lives, or ‘stock,’ a player has, or success in a time limit.
Smash Brothers can be team based, but most competitions are a singles-based bracket-style tournament.
Even though there are many newer versions of Smash Brothers, including one that came out late last year, Melee is the favoured title for competition.
After countless fights against numerous opponents, including a final showdown with his brother, Darren ‘Daz’ Krzyczkowski went home the overall winner, with the cash prize of $100.
Krzyczkowski trains 10 hours a week to sharpen his skills for tournament play, and this event marked his first win.
“Usually my older brother takes it over me, and other people in the community, so I’m pretty excited about that,” said Krzyczkowski.
Krzyczkowski agreed with other Smash Brothers competitors that the event was not what they were expecting.
The tournament was held in a separate, darkened theatre, where competitors had to play on very old TV’s, despite the promise of gameplay being put on a big-screen projector.
Originally, the Smash Brothers tournament was supposed to be alongside the other titles in the venue, but Nelson made last minute changes.
“That was kind of my call. I said, ‘No, I want play in there, I want people to realize that it’s a play space,’” Nelson explained.
“They were supposed to have theatre seating and the biggest screens. The Smash guys were supposed to have the best treatment. They were going to be in the best space with the best everything.”
Nelson said some players ended up feeling like they were “ostracized and banished” to the theatre, but that wasn’t the CEL’s intention.
The problem with the Smash Brothers tournament was merely a hiccup compared to the other issues Nelson had to deal with.
In the beginning, the online gaming stream was delayed for 45 minutes. Later in the event, the Overwatch tournament got shut down after a network breaker popped.
Nelson was pleased at the positive behaviour of the gamers during these difficulties, saying that everybody was calm and understanding of what was going on.
CEL’s next event, called ‘CEL 2’ was set to go Feb. 12 at Telus Spark, with games like Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, Halo, and Splatoon 2 on the docket.