Call of Duty League Is Stuck In The 90s – It Deserves So Much More

Call of Duty League Is Stuck In The 90s – It Deserves So Much More

The King’s Theater in Brooklyn, New York first opened its doors in 1929, offering attendees the latest in film, theater and orchestral performances. This was a place that sold dreams and transported those who entered to a different world, one gilded in gold leaf. But from July 14-17, all that French baroque indulgence gave way to the neon-soaked extravagance of a latter-day esports event: the Call of Duty Major IV playoffs.

Just as theater goers did in 1929, I entered the King’s Theater and found myself transported into a new world. But instead of a Roaring Twenties vision of opulence, I was met with a late ’90s fever dream about the “future” of gaming.

Journey to the past

The interior of the King’s Theater during Call of Duty Major IV.Activision Blizzard

I’ve never been to E3 and most likely never will despite living in Los Angeles for the first 18 years of my life. As a child who fell deeply in love with video games and video game journalism, she envied the annual coverage of the Convention Center. This was at the height of E3, a time when gamer culture was truly for the boys, riddled with scantily clad booth girls and edgy shooters. Obligations supreme reign.

COD Major IV is like stepping into a time capsule from the era of E3 past.

The theater’s gold interior was updated with LED screens displaying the logo of the home team, the New York Subliners. To the right of the entrance hall is the Mountain Dew booth, a natural sponsor of the Call of Duty League.

Mountain Dew had a metaverse viewing party.Reverse

The booth radiates neon green like a Mako reactor, offering attendees the chance to play a collection of PC games. The billboards advertise the Mountain Dew metaverse clock partywhich takes place in Decentralanda digital game filled with NFTs and cryptocurrencies, both of which have been dubious additions to the gaming industry and the subject of intense scrutiny.

None of this feels especially welcoming to the curious and the uninitiated. Instead, the space seems to burp “for hardcore gamers only” of all surfaces. This is unfortunate.

But the Dew provides. No one would ever go thirsty during Major IV thanks to the many tubs of Mountain Dew available free of charge to all ticket holders. These containers were a treasure trove of verified player drinks in every flavor imaginable. They even had cans of Baja Blast. (I took some home).

hometown hero

A moment of prayer for the New York Subliners.Activision Blizzard

In possession of my golden ticket (a press pass) I made my way to the VIP section, which took up the entire mezzanine level of the theater. I sat in a red velvet chair and watched the playoffs. Having no prior knowledge of Call of Duty esports, I avidly listened to the commentary and analysis of each play from one of the theater boxes.

As a transplant from Los Angeles to New York, I had to earn a sense of belonging in this city. For many people, sport is a way to achieve this. Most people tend to cheer for the team they grew up with, their hometown team. Being from Los Angeles complicates things as we have two teams for each sport. Baseball has the Dodgers and the Angels; basketball: Lakers and Clippers; football: Galaxy and LAFC. Hell, even the Call of Duty League has two teams from Los Angeles! That means 17 percent of the COD League is a player from Los Angeles.

So, I support New York.

Crimsix has gone to every COD League championship since 2012. Activision Blizzard

People love sports because they are a breeding ground for incredible stories. Who doesn’t want to cheer on an underdog or see a years-long rivalry come to a head? Their competitive nature gives us a place to fall back on the group mentality, to feel like we belong. Obligations Esports is no exception.

Highlights of Obligations Major IV was the Crimsix and the New York Subliners. crimsix is ​​an old man COD player, having competed in every championship since 2012. But the Subliners’ performance at Major IV could make or break that streak. Only the top eight teams in the league can attend the Championships and unless the Subliners make it to the finals at Major IV they would be out of the running.

The first matchup the Subliners had was against the Minnesota Rokkr. It was a neck-to-neck duel that the Subliners couldn’t afford to lose, but in the end they made it through to advance to the next round. By the final day of Major IV, the Subliners were undefeated and were competing in the finals against the LA Thieves (not to be confused with the LA Guerrillas).

They lost the final, but the Subliners had secured their place in the Championship. Crimsix’s streak is still intact.

The sheer adrenaline that watching these matches pumped through my veins was immensely satisfying. Esports is a pure distillation of everything great about sports. It has expert players competing in a game that is easy enough for novices to follow. It also features a cast of players with their own stories to tell.

The appeal of these events should be much higher. However, the emotions remain hidden behind a towering wall of outdated and unattractive player stereotypes. Until the League is ready to shed its Baja Blast guise and think of its audience in broader terms, it will remain stuck in the past.

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