Watching other people play video games is not something that everyone considers fun. Our very own Sammy Barker scoffs at the idea of gawking at another person's gameplay, and that's totally fine - but you can't really ignore how popular streaming and gaming 'personalities' have become over the last several years. Successful YouTubers and Twitchers must be doing something right, otherwise thousands upon thousands of viewers wouldn't tune in to see them play games that you could just as easily play yourself.
For the record, I'm not a huge fan of watching other people play games either, but when there's something at stake - when there's pride and glory on the line - I start to get interested.
This leads me onto the topic of fighting games, and, more specifically, Evo 2017. For those who don't know, Evo, short for Evolution, is an annual fighting game event that hosts huge tournaments complete with cash prizes. It's essentially the most well known event of its kind, with players from all over the world travelling to Las Vegas in order to compete. It's also streamed pretty much in its entirety via Twitch.
From Street Fighter V and Tekken 7 to Injustice 2 and Super Smash Bros., you can simply sit down, tune in, and watch some of the world's best players duke it out in a bunch of different fighting games. If that sounds like something that might interest you, then you'll be happy to know that this year's Evo is actually happening this weekend.
And that's really the point of this article. Even if you're not into watching people play games, I'd recommend giving Evo 2017 a try. There was a time when I had no interest in viewing fighting game tournaments whatsoever, but one hot summer day many years ago, I decided to give Evo a shot. At first I didn't really understand the hype. Two people sitting on a stage, battering each other in a virtual fight. I went into it open minded, but my initial reaction was one of "I don't get it".
I kept the stream on in the background while I went about my business, however, and slowly but surely, I found my eyes wandering towards the screen now and then. After a couple of hours, I started to recognise the faces and names of the players as they'd progress through the tournament, and after I'd built up some familiarity, it all started to click.
Suddenly I found myself invested. I'd only been watching these players for the best part of an afternoon, but their passion for the game was clear to see - and it's that passion that grabs your attention. In many ways it's just like watching sports; you start finding favourites and picking up on the terminology that the commentators use. It's not long before you're basically a fan.
Jump to the present day and I watch fighting game tournaments all the time. I've come to know the players and the community surrounding them. Heck, I even learn new things about games that I play on a regular basis.
Now, I'm not saying you'll tune into Evo this weekend and have the same experience that I did, but if you have any interest in fighting games or if you just enjoy seeing skilled individuals put their abilities to the test, then I say why not try it out? You never quite know what you're missing.
Are you a fan of fighting games? Do you ever sit down to watch them being played? Let us know if you'll be tuning into Evo 2017 this weekend in the comments section below.