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Spend Your Weekend Watching Other People Play Video Games

You know, why don't you do something totally different on this site for a change?

Lots of people, watching StarCraft.

If you're the sort of person who's been looking to transition from "sort of casually interested in seeing highly skilled people play really difficult games for money" to "lying on your couch watching streamed matches of StarCraft II and/or Street Fighter IV for two days straight," this might well be the best weekend in the history of the world for you to take that momentous step.

I'm talking about the world of competitive gaming (or "e-sports," if you can stomach the term), and there's a staggering amount of it happening over the next two days.

For me the main event is MLG Anaheim (you know, California), where the folks at Major League Gaming are pulling together the best of the best to compete for cash and glory in live streams of Halo Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and--count 'em--two separate feeds of StarCraft II filled with dozens of top Western players and a handful of the biggest names from the Korean scene, and commentated by some of the best casters on the Internet, including noted fancy gentleman Sean "Day[9]" Plott. You can watch the low-quality streams of all this stuff for free at MLG's site, or, hey, how about in this player right here.

A few months ago, MLG ran a Dallas event so disastrous, rife as it was with unstable video streams and in-game networking issues, that the group's CEO personally took the stage on the last day to issue a formal apology. After that performance, I wouldn't have endorsed another one of their events. But at its next show in Columbus, MLG thoroughly got its act together by fixing its network issues, bringing in top players and commentators from the Global StarCraft League in Korea, offering free high-quality streams to everyone, and even getting rid of its peer-to-peer video service due to audience demand. Based on that follow-up performance, I have no reservation about recommending the MLG feeds if you want a good, free way to see what competitive StarCraft II is all about.

Of course, Halo and Call of Duty will be going on as well, if you're into that. I just can't get into competitive first-person shooters in the same way as I have StarCraft, though.

Another genre I can appreciate on a competitive level is the fighting game, and I'll be darned if EVO 2011 doesn't have you covered there. That's going on in Vegas all weekend, and there are two live feeds over on the official site streaming high-level games of SF4 Arcade Edition, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat, and more. Of course, if you want to get in on the seedy hotel-room cash games of Jackie Chan, you'll just have to make the trip to Vegas yourself.

Lastly, you could always skip straight to the gold standard of live competitive gaming events by watching the GSL's season finals, also going on this weekend. You can watch live streams of the finals for free if you feel like staying up till some ungodly hour on North American time; otherwise, a video-on-demand account will cost you a decent chunk of change. Those new to the game may want to stick with the more accessible MLG option for the moment, though I can tell you from experience that there's nothing quite like being in the middle of a couple thousand people screaming their heads off at an all-in zergling rush.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad
Lots of people, watching StarCraft.

If you're the sort of person who's been looking to transition from "sort of casually interested in seeing highly skilled people play really difficult games for money" to "lying on your couch watching streamed matches of StarCraft II and/or Street Fighter IV for two days straight," this might well be the best weekend in the history of the world for you to take that momentous step.

I'm talking about the world of competitive gaming (or "e-sports," if you can stomach the term), and there's a staggering amount of it happening over the next two days.

For me the main event is MLG Anaheim (you know, California), where the folks at Major League Gaming are pulling together the best of the best to compete for cash and glory in live streams of Halo Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and--count 'em--two separate feeds of StarCraft II filled with dozens of top Western players and a handful of the biggest names from the Korean scene, and commentated by some of the best casters on the Internet, including noted fancy gentleman Sean "Day[9]" Plott. You can watch the low-quality streams of all this stuff for free at MLG's site, or, hey, how about in this player right here.

A few months ago, MLG ran a Dallas event so disastrous, rife as it was with unstable video streams and in-game networking issues, that the group's CEO personally took the stage on the last day to issue a formal apology. After that performance, I wouldn't have endorsed another one of their events. But at its next show in Columbus, MLG thoroughly got its act together by fixing its network issues, bringing in top players and commentators from the Global StarCraft League in Korea, offering free high-quality streams to everyone, and even getting rid of its peer-to-peer video service due to audience demand. Based on that follow-up performance, I have no reservation about recommending the MLG feeds if you want a good, free way to see what competitive StarCraft II is all about.

Of course, Halo and Call of Duty will be going on as well, if you're into that. I just can't get into competitive first-person shooters in the same way as I have StarCraft, though.

Another genre I can appreciate on a competitive level is the fighting game, and I'll be darned if EVO 2011 doesn't have you covered there. That's going on in Vegas all weekend, and there are two live feeds over on the official site streaming high-level games of SF4 Arcade Edition, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat, and more. Of course, if you want to get in on the seedy hotel-room cash games of Jackie Chan, you'll just have to make the trip to Vegas yourself.

Lastly, you could always skip straight to the gold standard of live competitive gaming events by watching the GSL's season finals, also going on this weekend. You can watch live streams of the finals for free if you feel like staying up till some ungodly hour on North American time; otherwise, a video-on-demand account will cost you a decent chunk of change. Those new to the game may want to stick with the more accessible MLG option for the moment, though I can tell you from experience that there's nothing quite like being in the middle of a couple thousand people screaming their heads off at an all-in zergling rush.

Staff
Edited by Mason_M

Cool, sounds interesting.

I've always liked the idea of watching pros play, but I find that after awhile it just gets boring. I dunno, but I guess I'll try this out.

Posted by Koshka

It's what I'm gonna be upto! I'm SO psyched for these SCII matchups

Edited by Slaker117

I actually do want to spend some time watching other people play video games this weekend, but I just bought a bunch of new games that I need to play myself.

Posted by FLStyle
Posted by Indiana_Jenkins

Summer vacations are the best. I've got nothing better going on so I might as well.

Posted by Mathey

Thanks for the heads, Brad!

Posted by Napalm
Posted by raiz265

<3 
 
Go Starcraft! 
 
Have fun EVO people! :P 
 
nerd weekend \o/

Posted by Mijati

Watching SC2 now. At 2:40am. Going to be watching non-stop until after the GSL finals tomorrow morning.

Edited by ThePhantomnaut
Posted by nazer858

evo for me this weekend, I'll check out the SC2 stuff later

Posted by artofwar420

I'll watch some streams. Why not.

Posted by MisterMouse

e-sports baby!

Posted by ptys

Thanks Brad, I think I'll def check out MLG as GomTV has got way expensive. Really interested in seeing more pro Mortal Kombat as well, see what I'm doing wrong.

Posted by Sooty

Evo has been great so far. Well SSFIV has been, I still fail to find MK entertaining at 'high level' personally!

Posted by Vexxan

So many streams to watch! And sleeping is not an option!

Posted by Prometheum5

There's something really fascinating, and really depressing about watching top-tier play.  Mind-boggling.

Posted by Jeffsekai

GET HYPE FOR SSF4 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by HydraHam

I'll be watching SC2 stuff as usual, don't care for the fighting stuff.

Posted by Lunar_Aura

You know what else is going on? Adultcon at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Hell yeah!

Posted by BaconGames

I've literally been at my computer watching MK9 for 10 hours. Don't regret one minute.

Posted by The_Hiro_Abides

Too bad I didn't realize this was happening until now. Oh well, I'm watching Mk9 now.

Posted by Ares42
@Ygg said:
Evo has been great so far. Well SSFIV has been, I still fail to find MK entertaining at 'high level' personally!
I still find MK pretty entertaining, although the competitive level is pretty damn disappointing. Sorta silly how many poorly optimized combos are being thrown out etc. There's only a very small handful of players that actually seem to have really spent time breaking down the game.
Posted by vinsanityv22

I thought for sure, with a headline like that, Alex wrote it. Way to flex out your snark, Brad! :)

Posted by Tennmuerti

too much...

Posted by EnchantedEcho

Thanks for doing this Brad, kinda lost interest in Pro-SC2 stuff a few months ago but, I think I will atleast tune into MLG this weekend to hear Day9 spit his game.

Posted by wumbo3000

I FUCKING LOVE WATCHING EVO!  Sorry, but I had to write that in all caps.  I suck at Street Fighter, but watching pro players gets my blood pumping.  I don't know why I love watching so much, but Evo is seriously the shit.

Posted by Tennmuerti

trying to watch 4 streams at the same time is kind of fucking nuts!

Posted by Jayzz

Loving EVO RIGHT NOW!!!

Posted by MentalDisruption

Going to be stuck at my computer watching starcraft 2 all weekend it looks like. Haven't played the game in awhile, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't entertaining to watch.

Posted by AngryRedPlumber

I do not understand all the finer points of high level play, but I love SC2 and watching it is fun. Plus Day9 is great!

Posted by NekuCTR

3 hours till the GSL finals you say? Time for an energy drink run!

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

I don't really know the lingo of Starcraft 2 or the strategies involved, but watching that MMA guy decimate his opponent with those flamethrowers was pretty awesome. This is some cool stuff!

Moderator
Posted by wh1terav3n

Call of Duty is simply too difficult to see as a tactical game, it relies too much on pure reflex. I've been watching pro Halo for 4 years or so with MLG, and the team play in that is simply incredible. They constantly chatter about locations, spawns, weapon spawns, and just knowing exactly what their teammates will do without any verbal communication. I love SC2, but Halo is still my go-to.

Posted by zombie2011

Jackie Chan needs to be on stream.

Posted by VashTS

Evo2k11 is soooo hype!!!! 

Posted by LiquidSwords

Been watching the SF IV Arcade Tournie. So good!

Posted by captain_clayman

i would love to, but...i only have like 2 weeks left of summer break and i'm trying to get rid of as much of this giant backlog of games i havent beat as possible!

Posted by Allison

I always have a lot of fun watching the finals as the prelims are kind of boring and really middle of the road (and plus it's really hard to get hype for people I don't know about, and there aren't a lot of female players to look out for sans the always embarrassing female only tournament that was held last year, holy moley).

It'd be nice if they get some Jackie Chan: The Kung-Fu Master on stage, and really a lot of missed out fighting games, instead of the usual Old Street Fighter, Anime Fighting Game, and Tekken (TEKKEN?!) that gets thrown on instead. But it's Evo so they probably won't.

Posted by JJOR64

Team mother fucking Spooky.

Posted by YetiAntics

I'd rather not, thanks!

I'd rather catch up on my Happy Hour and then play some Bastion.

Posted by KaneRobot

Couldn't care less about the Capcom stuff, but it's kind of interesting to see high level MK play.

Posted by 234r2we232
@KaneRobot said:
Couldn't care less about the Capcom stuff, but it's kind of interesting to see high level MK play.
It's like Deadliest Warrior gameplay, only with hundreds of teleports
Posted by ProjektGill

Thanks Brad for promoting these great events. Hopefully getting people interested in Starcraft will get more people into the community tournaments so I don't get stomped by Diamond/Masters players everytime :D. Still love playing with the community though.

Posted by Arkanti

@Sparky_Buzzsaw said:

I don't really know the lingo of Starcraft 2 or the strategies involved, but watching that MMA guy decimate his opponent with those flamethrowers was pretty awesome. This is some cool stuff!

I follow Starcraft 2 and like one of the casters said, I've no idea what is going on with the Terrans and hellions ripping everything to pieces in this MLG. It's great to see evolved strategies for the first time coming out of nowhere.

Posted by Gunharp

@FLStyle said:

Official Giant Bomb EVO 2011 Stream & Discussion Thread for more info and chat on this year's Evo Championship Series.

Nice!

@Brad said:

I'm talking about the world of competitive gaming (or "e-sports," if you can stomach the term),

I can stomach all of it. Come on man the Wikipedia entry is for "electronic sports". Lets not be down on what we call it!

Also seriously EVO2K is the big event people. It happens once a year. Wow, also Quakecon is next weekend.

Posted by Kosayn

Props for mentioning this. I'm not into Street Fighter, but I really enjoy watching the high level play when I hear about it. I suspect a lot are in the same boat.

Edited by DystopiaX
Posted by artofwar420

Really enjoying the streams Brad, thanks for putting them up.

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