The soul of the game: Inside the wild world of esports at the DCU Center

By Bill Shaner

I awoke on Friday in clothes from the night before and cracked a Reign energy drink. I put water on for a Nissan instant noodle and downloaded Twitch, a popular video game streaming app, to my phone. The annual Shine Super Smash Bros. Competition was at the DCU Convention Center for the first time. Unsure what to expect, I loaded my bag with the essentials — laptop, camera, notepad, corn chips — and I readied myself to walk for the first time into the wild world of competitive esports.

Upon entering the conference center, the scene looked not unlike a comic con. There were vendor booths and games and people milling around. Some held posters of scantily clad anime girls, superhero and game culture swag was abundant, and some came in costume. Notably, a team of four players seemed to go the entire day in banana suits. But beyond the small vendor section in the entryway, the conference center opened up to what, for many, may seem a totally alien world. But for those involved in the world of esports, this is the familiar field of play.

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