Sundays are for balancing many interests and inputs, and realising that there aren’t enough windows in the world to see the whole picture. The International rumbles on, an unblinking machine that exhales dry ice as it calibrates the new theatre of esports live on stage and screen. Kill Screen’s reporter Darren Davis makes his debut at a live esports tournament and captures the exhileration and oddity.
As I said, I’ve never been to a live esports tournament. But once you’re there in the arena it’s hard not to feel like every other event is just talking shit. Valve has really outdone itself in terms of production and pageantry. This is not off-brand. This is the progamer tournament. Turns out, it has more in common with WWE than any pro sport. When Gabe Newell takes the stage to kick off the event, he steps through smoke and spotlights and may as well stop to flex. He speaks with the full-throated confidence of a wrestler at the peak of his narrative arch, bringing the crowd to a fever pitch in their reverence. This is Valve’s behemoth on Valve’s home turf.