Part 1 of 2: CMS.616J Social and Cultural Facets of Digital Games with Day (9), Alex Garfield and Cara LaForge
A GAMBIT Class:
CMS.616J Social and Cultural Facets of Digital Games
March 1st, 2012
Part 1 of 2. Konstantin Mitgutsch and Abe Stein had the great fortune of having three spectacular guests in their sports videogame class a few weeks ago. Their topic was about the rise of e-sports, with a specific focus on Major League Gaming and Starcraft 2 as examples. Our guests were three important foundational figures in the development of Starcraft 2 sports culture, and thus their insights were provocative and really interesting.
The first guest is probably the best known of the three, Sean Plott aka Day. Sean is a former Starcraft champion, and a current internet sensation as a commentator and personality covering Starcraft competitions with his daily video podcast at Day.tv. It is no surprise that Sean enjoys the success he has earned, he is an exceptionally bright, and wickedly funny guy, and his loud personality, to invoke the egregiously overused metaphor, leaps off the screen.
The second guest was Alex Garfield. From a “traditional” sports perspective Alex is the entrepreneurial equivalent of an entire front office. He assumes the responsibilities of a President, CEO, General Manager, Coach, and more for one of the most successful e-sports teams, the Evil Geniuses. Beyond simply doing a lot of work, Alex should be credited with playing a foundational role in shaping how an e-sport team could be structured, not only competitively, but financially. Alex is a fan of so-called “traditional” sports, and I think in our conversations with him it was obvious how he was applying knowledge and experience in that domain to development of an e-sport team.
Their final guest was Cara LaForge, and I think it would be safe to describe her as a kind of mastermind behind the scenes at Day TV. A former entertainment lawyer, they could tell right off the bat (ugh, puns) that Cara was looking at the emergent e-sport phenomenon with the eye of a media savvy businessperson recognizing that e-sports are operation on so many levels of entertainment innovation, and that riding the crest of the wave is a kind of risky, but exciting area to work. We spoke at length about the growing pains in professional sports as they transitioned between media forms, from newsprint, to radio, to television, and now into so-called “new media.” (video description written by Abe Stein and Konstantin Mitgutsch). Video produced by Generoso Fierro, Edited by James Barrile
Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab