ESPORTS AND THE NEW GAMING CULTURE



Book Cover

This overview split into five sections offers an uneven introduction to the contemporary gaming scene. A timeline runs from the first amateur tournaments to the professionalized present. The introduction pairs an anecdote from an e-sports tournament with commentary on competitive gaming’s allure to investors and educators. Chapter 1 defines eight professional gaming genres. Though the main focus is cutthroat, typically team-based e-sports, Chapter 2 also considers lifestyle gaming—personality-based, commentary-driven broadcasts often pursued by those who eschew the precarious nature of competitive gaming. The text largely ignores the astronomical odds against success in favor of starry-eyed preoccupation with elite players’ skills, status, and incomes. However, this section admirably highlights professional gamers of varied identities, including “Myth,” a male lifestyle gamer of Syrian and African American descent, and “Brolylegs,” a male Street Fighter grandmaster with arthrogryposis. In addition, the book addresses sexism in the portrayal of female game characters and hostile environments for women gamers. Chapter 3 examines the upsides and challenges of building e-sports teams and leagues and gaming’s fusion of athletics and traditional entertainment. Chapter 4 lays out common defenses of gaming (for example, players learn life lessons), provides practical advice on starting a sanctioned school-level e-sports program, and addresses college-level e-sports. Text boxes mostly consisting of quotes do little to enhance the text, and the stock photos feel stagnant.



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