Last week on the Clog, we got to sit down and talk with UC Berkeley’s own Electronic Sports Club president, Conan “Suppy” Liu. Through it, we got to find out some very interesting things about the competitive gaming community in Berkeley and what it takes to be a professional gamer. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already.
However, as we have also found out through Liu, the scene is very much growing and is on the move toward gaining an even broader mainstream appeal. So much so that it seems to have caught the attention of Kornhaber Brown, who has done a mini-documentary about the E-sports community for “PBS Off Book,” a Web series that explores new experimental artistic media.
The mini-documentary itself is very informative and really expands on the vast world of electronic sports in an easy-to-understand way. What’s also nice is that it breaks down the major genres of games played at professional-level tournaments, gives an interesting story of a real-life professional gamer and even dabbles in current issues that exist in the community, such as sexism and the exclusivity that E-sport gaming sometimes breeds.
Although given relatively little media attention, UC Berkeley’s electronic sports team has garnered quite a bit of respect both across the nation and internationally. Cal has particularly excelled in several real time strategy games, including Defense of the Ancients (DotA) and StarCraft, with the DotA team becoming the first ever Collegiate DotA League (CDL) champions and the the StarCraft team poised to win its second championship in the Collegiate StarLeague (CSL). We sat down with the Electronic Sports club‘s president and ace StarCraft player Conan “Suppy” Liu and asked him a few question about E-Sports here in Berkeley:
What does it take to become a serious gamer?
Conan: A lot of dedication. Not just playing casually, or for fun, but you have to focus on areas you can improve on. There are a lot of resources online, including videos of some professional players. One good way is to play a game and watch the replay, taking notes on ways to improve your strategy. It’s almost an academic way of gaming.
Are there any skills in competitive gaming that you would say are applicable outside of the gaming environment?
Conan: (Laughs) There is a study linking surgeons to their video gaming abilities, but in terms of realistic applications, gaming involves a lot of problem solving. At least in Starcraft, there’s a lot of strategy and on-the-spot critical thinking that requires you to think very quickly in reacting to your opponent.
How do students get on the Berkeley StarCraft team? How else can they get involved?