One of the best video game memories I have is back in the days of Quake 1 where I played for Damage Clan for a while and went on an amateur tour of South Africa playing in Internet cafes and getting stupidly drunk while pretending to be training.
That time in my life peaked when someone organised a massive Quake tournament that was held in Sandton City. There was a big projector, shoutcasters, massive stands for spectators to watch on and, then in the pit all the competitors. I did okay and got through a few rounds and then watched as one of our clan mates continued and won the entire thing to win some awesome prizes.
It really felt like gaming had finally made it into the mainstream and things were looking up for our industry. After that I got married, moved overseas and had kids before getting back into gaming around the time the Xbox was released.
I have a point, hold on,
So once I was back into gaming and loving it, I once against started to look at the industry properly and saw that it was going pretty well. AGASA was doing pretty well with their tournaments and the scene felt alive outside of the pure hardcore. I joined up with a few other gamers who played for fun in a clan call The Evil Alpacas. We played in the AGASA league and either even though we mainly just messed around we did pretty well and had a lot of fun.
While most of the guys weren’t interested in going any further, and I didn’t have the skill, I found it all quite intriguing so I continued following the scene for a while watching teams like Hi-5 and Capital Punishment do extremely well. AGASA managed to organise sponsorship from EA and continued playing their finals at rAge on an annual basis.
And then they affiliated with the MSSA so we could start earning Protea colours for gaming, which was one of the most exciting times for the industry. We could finally be recognised as eSports athletes and things were good. But that was before we knew how hard it was to work with the MSSA, it took less than a year before the trouble started with tournaments now badly organised and ending up with the MSSA announcing that AGASA had been dissolved and they would be taking over all the leagues. At the same time AGASA said they weren’t dissolving but just leaving the MSSA.
And since then there has been a constant fight between gamers and the MSSA which has simply ostracised level-headed gamers in the country. Anyone who tries to organise tournaments and leagues get harassed and generally just leaves to do something elsewhere. The sponsors have left in droves as it doesn’t do anything healthy for their brand.
So the point, finally right?
Warner Bros international has put a metric ton of cash behind making Mortal Kombat an eSports title and are now hosting titles in most major countries in the world. You can literally play a videogame and win a trip to Paris to play in the world finals with a prize pool of $100 000.
You don’t need to jump through a million hoops, you don’t need to fill in a ton of documents and pledge allegiance to anything. All you need to do is register as a player, or a spectator, and then rock up on the day. There are tournaments being held in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and even if you don’t think you’ve got much chance of winning it will show that you support the local gaming industry and you can win spot prizes… while spending a few hours with other gamers.
Come on, you know you want to.
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Last Updated: April 8, 2015