22 JUL , 2020 36
Esport History

Esport History

The earliest known video game competition took place on 19 October 1972 at Stanford University for the game Spacewar. Stanford students were invited to an "Intergalactic spacewar olympics" whose grand prize was a year's subscription for Rolling Stone, with Bruce Baumgart winning the five-man-free-for-all tournament and Tovar and Robert E. Maas winning the team competition.The Space Invaders Championship held by Atari in 1980 was the earliest large scale video game competition, attracting more than 10,000 participants across the United States, establishing competitive gaming as a mainstream hobby.


In 1980, Walter Day founded a high score record-keeping organization called Twin Galaxies. The organization went on to help promote video games and publicize its records through publications such as the Guinness Book of World Records, and in 1983 it created the U.S. National Video Game Team. The team was involved in competitions, such as running the Video Game Masters Tournament for Guinness World Records and sponsoring the North American Video Game Challenge tournament.


During the 1970s and 1980s, video game players and tournaments began being featured in well-circulated newspapers and popular magazines including Life and Time. One of the most well known classic arcade game players is Billy Mitchell, who was credited with the records for high scores in six games including Pac-Man and Donkey Kong in the 1985 issue of the Guinness Book of World Records. Some of those records would be removed in 2018 amid allegations of fraud.


Televised esports events aired during this period included the American show Starcade which ran from 1982–1984 airing a total of 133 episodes, on which contestants would attempt to beat each other's high scores on an arcade game. A video game tournament was included as part of TV show That's Incredible!, and tournaments were also featured as part of the plot of various films, including 1982's Tron.  In the UK, the BBC game show First Class included competitive video game rounds featuring the contemporary arcade games, such as Hyper Sports, 720° and Paperboy.


The 1988 game Netrek was an Internet game for up to 16 players, written almost entirely in cross-platform open source software. Netrek was the third Internet game, the first Internet game to use metaservers to locate open game servers, and the first to have persistent user information. In 1993 it was credited by Wired Magazine as "the first online sports game".


Growth and online video games (1990–1999)

The fighting game Street Fighter II (1991) popularized the concept of direct, tournament-level competition between two players. Previously, video games most often relied on high scores to determine the best player, but this changed with Street Fighter II, where players would instead challenge each other directly, "face-to-face," to determine the best player, paving the way for the competitive multiplayer and deathmatch modes found in modern action games.[27] The popularity of fighting games such as Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom in the 1990s led to the foundation of the international Evolution Championship Series (EVO) esports tournament in 1996.


Large esports tournaments in the 1990s include the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, which toured across the United States, and held its finals at Universal Studios Hollywood in California. Nintendo held a 2nd World Championships in 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System called the Nintendo PowerFest '94. There were 132 finalists that played in the finals in San Diego, California. Mike Iarossi took home 1st prize. Blockbuster Video also ran their own World Game Championships in the early 1990s, co-hosted by GamePro magazine. Citizens from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Chile were eligible to compete. Games from the 1994 championships included NBA Jam and Virtua Racing.


Television shows featuring esports during this period included the British shows GamesMaster and Bad Influence! the Australian game show A*mazing, where in one round contestants competed in a video game face off, and the Canadian game show Video & Arcade Top 10.


In the 1990s, many games benefited from increasing internet connectivity, especially PC games. Tournaments established in the late 1990s include the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), QuakeCon, and the Professional Gamers League. PC games played at the CPL included the Counter-Strike series, Quake series, and Warcraft.

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