Random Ramblings: The Spectator Spectrum

randomramblingssmashWhere do I stand amongst the crowd?

This post is going to a bit more personal than others that I’ve made on this site. I rant about this topic a lot on our group’s mumble and I bring it up constantly only because I’m just fucking bored with my life and can’t find anything else to talk about that’s constructive or actually relevant. Twitch has blow up since JTVGaming started and by blown up I mean an atomic force knocked JustinTV into it’s own grave. Players don’t have to play games anymore. We can simply watch someone who’s better, worse, or funnier than us play. I’ve supported this system of “gaming” since I was little. I’ve always been behind my sister’s shoulder, arguing with her about what to do in Kingdom Hearts or in the Wind Waker, and I have a lengthy list of games unfinished simply because I don’t feel like playing them. I’d rather watch. Once Twitch reached what it is today, esports was larger than it ever has been. People wanted to see players go at it head to head for the title of the best. We fear those overseas and think almost all too much of our own countrymen. This pretty much applies to whatever country you’re from. Sweden has Counter Strike, Korea has Starcraft, Japan has Street Fighter, and the United States has Smash. People have entitlement to what they think is right. People become fans and praise the inherently wrong. Twitch chat and theorists are all just a bunch of liars and frauds. I’m a spectator. I have nothing to add. Things have gone stagnant in terms of productivity within the world of competitive gaming. Most importantly though, where did my love for actually playing the game run off to?

I was once a really good gamer. Not in the sense where I would complete games, but rather, compete against other gamers for bragging rights. I won. You lost. My team won. Your team got decimated. Sadly, things never last in the competitive gaming scene. My game died off and I had nothing left but mediocrity at everything else. I spent 5 years since then trying to find something else that I might consider viable as a game I can play to that same level or higher. Nothing came. MOBA’s fluctuate too much on their meta, fps genres were becoming oversaturated, and fighting games catered to those already familiar with previous titles. During this time I gained a certain respect and understanding of most competitive scenes for each genre. I watched a lot of streams, became a part of several communities, and learned how to think differently for each title. Only frustration followed and, not long after that, laziness. I’m never going to break into the top or ever dream of it if I can’t escape the bottomless pit of losses. I might as well just let others dream and sit back and watch. This is where it’s evident I have a problem. I’m a competitive person. Always willing to fight for what I want and beat myself up over it if said goal can’t be reached. Sitting in the bleachers watching others reach amazing goals is not only frustrating, but motivating. Still, it brings me back to the chutes and ladders formula. The Rise and Fall. The inevitable line back to the spectators section.

So league of legends is a team game. With that, I found myself not very useful if there is a large dependence on the performance of others. It gets into my head as if I need to perform better or a toxicity is released that begins a blame game between “teammates”. Teamwork is only at it’s finest amongst those who understand each other well. Without proper cooperation or understanding that you alone can’t carry a team to victory, you will lose and it will feel terrible. Perhaps this is why a lot of the MOBA communities out there rely too much on their own performance rather than thinking constructively as a team. We as humans want to out perform the other. We want that certain champion, power weapon, or character counterpick to work for our gain and our gain only. You have to be a forward thinker to be productive in a team game. I’m not much of a forward thinking individual when it comes to video games. I want to beat you or you to be me so we can think about it afterwards. What did I do wrong? What did he do wrong? Are fighting games a proper genre for someone like me?

It only makes sense that with the way I played my game that fighting games might be the right path for me. I wanted to win, but I also wanted to make you look bad while doing so. I wanted to show all my friends how great I am and how great I looked while doing it. Being unique in a fighting game environment goes a long way. You can play a character completely different from another person. You can outlast your opponent and win even when the odds are in their favor. It’s a shame that I’m simply too impatient for most of these games. I can’t wait to beat the opponent’s face in. I can’t sit down and learn pre-recorded combos like learning a new instrument. It’s all too tedious and not all that appealing to me. I wanted a game that I can break into without putting too much effort into learning connecting combos. A game that I knew well enough to break into without too much trouble. Obviously, I found SSBMelee as that game. Although, returning back to the topic of this post, there’s no such thing as a perfect game. There’s always a stepstool of lies and fraudulent theories circulating it’s meta. The worst part of the Spectator Spectrum.

Spectators feel as if they have some proper entitlement to what they are watching. It’s really only natural. You see something happen on screen, you feel like you know what just happened, and you make a dumb remark as if you accomplished something. We’re all just spectators when watching a stream. Criticism can’t go far unless proper analysis and experience comes along with it. I’ve done this numerous times and since we’re in the dead center of the summer of smash, this couldn’t feel more relevent. People praising other pros for visiting their hometown on twitter, yet, never actually apart of the action since they don’t follow their own local scene. A simple remark on twitter suffices for them before they return back to the hobbit hole. The Melee community has plenty of fraudulent spectators running amok. We see these large numbers on stream, but no increase in local tournament entries months down the line. Players seem to not be interested in being the best, but just sitting on the sidelines hoping that they can learn how to do that one cool combo that may never even be situated in their lifetime. This all may seem hypocritical, but as someone who’s broken in and out of so many competitive scenes, spectating shouldn’t ever be enough for you. Sure, it can if the goal you set for yourself is crowded by thousands of teams and other players, but nothing is impossible. You have to want it.

this sleepyk rant is relevant

Although hardcore spectating isn’t necessarily hurting the scene you’re a part of it certainly doesn’t help you yourself. There’s a line in the sand where it becomes redundant if you aren’t actually caring about your progress as a player. I’ve been to a handful of local tournaments, been to MLG events, filmed large regionals, and practiced on my own for countless hours in every game I can imagine. Nothing has been accomplished in my own right simply because I don’t really want it yet. Maybe one day I will, but this I know: I am just a Spectator, I am a nobody, and I want this to change.

About Kefka
Writer for NeoParadigm City. Aspiring Jpop gravure idol. Look out Shakira.

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