Computer gaming as a spectator sport

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On Saturday, Hugo and I dropped by the Geek Pride Festival
(ick, what a terrible name):

   http://www.geekpride.org/

Photos are here:

   http://impressive.net/people/gerald/2000/04/01/geekfest.html

Scheduled for Saturday was:

>    11:00 AM Doors open / Electronic musician performance:
>             Upbeat Depression
>
>    12:15 PM Featured speaker: Alex (Sandy) Pentland, Academic
>             Head, MIT Media Lab
>
>     1:00 PM /Spring/Sing/Thing/ -- a collaboration between the
>             Conductor's Jacket and Video Jam
>
>     2:00 PM Featured speaker: Keith Dawson, TBTF.com
>
>     2:30 PM Featured speaker: Eric Raymond
>
>     3:15 PM Featured speakers: Chris Locke & David Weinberger,
>             authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto
>
>     4:15 PM Featured speaker: Michele D. Metts, President/Founder
>             CustomChat, Inc.
>
>     4:30 PM "Who Wants To Make A Net Connection?"
>
>     5:15 PM Music performance: Everyone (video game tribute band)
>
>     5:45 PM Featured speaker: Rob Malda & Jon Katz, Slashdot
>
>     6:30 PM Featured speaker: Jeffrey Zeldman
>
>     7:00 PM Quake III Finals
>
>     7:45 PM Featured speakers: Dave Green & Danny O'Brien,
>             performing a Geek Pride Festival exclusive dramatic
>             presentation -- "What Would Linus Do?"
>
>     8:30 PM Stump The Geek Finals
>
>     9:30 PM Electronic DJ performance:DJ Toby (trance)
>
>    10:15 PM Electronic musician performance: Ojamoj
>
>    11:00 PM Featured Band: Splashdown
>
>    12:00 AM Festival wraps up -- thanks for joining us!
>
>    Bios for speakers are here:
>        http://www.geekpride.org/schedule/soapbox.html

We got there too late for most of the stuff I was interested in
(arrived in the middle of Malda's talk, around 6pm.)

It was generally kind of lame. Malda's talk was okay, and Zeldman's
was really good, but the most enjoyable part by far was watching
the Quake III final on a big screen at the front of the room
(with loud, booming audio of the game's sound/explosions.)

It had the largest audience of anything we saw -- maybe 300-500
people, cheering the really good kills, booing when players fell
into lava or did something else lame. Unfortunately the players
weren't in the same room as the audience... it would have added a
lot if they were up on stage next to the screen.

The winner ("Moloch") was given a $500 prize sponsored by heat.net;
the runner-up ("Shaftian", who looked about 15-16) got some other
stuff, I don't know what.

This reminded me of an idea I had a few years ago, that eventually
the very best computer game players will become celebrities like
professional athletes, and millions of people will tune in to
watch their games on TV or the net. I wonder what the largest
broadcast of a computer game is to date.

Not really related: last week we had a few games of qpong after work
(Quake II with qpong add-on: kind of a mix between Quake and soccer,
except the balls are lethal and bigger than the players.) I think
this game is the most fun I've ever had playing a video game, except
maybe for multiplayer Warcraft II when I worked at the U of A.
It's soooo much fun.

--
Gerald Oskoboiny <gerald@impressive.net>
http://impressive.net/people/gerald/

HURL: fogo mailing list archives, maintained by Gerald Oskoboiny