It is Finally Here!
Back in last September when I first heard about this event through an errant Facebook posting, I have been exceptionally excited for this. Not so much because I am a fan of eSports (which I have openly admitted multiple times on this podcast), but because of what it mean for the Capital Region of NY. It is like a “Coming of age” event for the Capital Region, or at least the very beginning of one. I have been talking it up with my friends, on my social media, and I am so happy to be a part of it.
So, What’s Going on Here?
Over the past few years I have finally started going to the various Comic Cons around the area. Essentially, these have been a geeky cross between a Farmer’s Market set up and an Industry Trade Show. You can meet Vendors of all types, Artists, and Industry Business Professionals. You can purchase all forms of products and crafts, and network in the industry in ways that are totally unique to a Con.
And I had next to no idea what to expect when coming to an eSports Tournament and Convention.
Introduction to eSports By Fire
Thankfully, the set up was quite familiar. Nearly the entire event was in the main Ballroom; Half was for vendors and Vendor spaces and the other half was for the stages and viewing. The lights ceiling lights were set to this amazing “Breathing” effect, and the majority of the lights were either for the individual Vendor Booths or from Floor-To-Ceiling windows on the far side of the hall and other perimeter windows.
The stage setup was very impressive, putting the players up on a stage with a massive screen behind them set to a Spectator Mode. They had three screen where they would alternate between games and rounds being played, quite often having multiple games being played simultaneously. Fortunately, they had worked with the sound crew to establish sound zones for each of the games so that you would primarily hear the commentary for the game that you were watching.
The play-by-play and other commentary provided by Nerd St Gamers was spectacular as well, providing plenty of enthusiasm to go around. What was most impressive to me was their ability to give constant commentary for the entirety of the match. As long as action was on the screen, they had something to say, and it wasn’t just filler talk! More impressive than that was their knowledge of all the League of Legends heroes, of which there are over 150 of!
The State of eSports
Of the Panel Talks that were held, I was only able to attend one of them that dealt with the state of eSports, specifically at the local level. The panel featured local leaders in the gaming industry to discuss the state of gaming as an industry and eSports.
During the Q&A session, was able to ask my question of, “I hear plenty of emphasis on coding and tech. What are your thoughts on gaming being a driving force for the Arts?” The answer that suprised me most was when sadf of Vicarious Visions perked up and state that his area of study was actually in Fine Arts. He was especially enthusiastic with his answer as would be expected. In general, what was most surprising was that some studios actually employ more “artists” then “engineers”, sometimes 50 Artists to 40 Engineers. This stat alone is indicative of why I have been trying to push gaming and geek culture as a legitimate art form.
Various pictures I was able to take while attending the event. At some point I hope to create a YouTube slide show, but for the sake of getting this thing posted we will swing a Picture Gallery!
Looking Forward to Next Year
There is no question that I had a blast at Hudson Valley Gamer Con. While I am still not sure if I will be watching eSports regularly, attending a live event like this with all of the energy and theater that comes with it has convinced me to keep events like this on my radar. Last year, this event featured only one game and four teams. This year, there were three games with 20 teams. The only way to ignore this kind of growth is to be willfully ignorant of cultural trends. Only time will tell what next year will bring and at what scale, but I am definitely looking forward to being in attendance.
Who I Talked To
In order of appearance:
- College of Saint Rose
- Vicarious Visions
- Altered Reality Entertainment
- Collegiate Sports Management Group
- Mohawk Honda
- Claim To Fame Entertainment
- Bork Bork Studios
- Marist eSports
- Stevenson University eSports
- Little Red Dog Games