I grew up during the time when the gaming revolution was going full throttle. That’s right, I’m old enough to have played some of the most iconic games that are being displayed in the video game docuseries “High Score” on Netflix, even the must useless game of all, E.T Extra-terrestrial.
That feeling of being 8-10 years old and going to the 25 cent 1980’s arcades that you currently see on “Stranger Things” or running to the nearest pizza shop after school in the 90’s to welcome all the challengers that were willing to challenge each other to a tournament of Street Fighter. Those amazing machines are now used to spend $85 so you can get tickets to win a hand sized elephant that looks just like Justin Bieber.
A lot of people do not know that the earliest record of a video game tournament was in 1972 in sunny California. An intrepid group of students of Stanford University took part in a “Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics”. The prize? A year’s subscription to Rolling Stone magazine.
Since that time the industry has evolved, making more of a compact way of gaming (Sega Genesis, PC, Atari, Xbox, PlayStation, WiiU) where the players had that world from the arcades in their own homes. Hell, at 33 years old I was playing every night as a guild leader of one of the top 13 high level raiding guilds “Audeamus” on the Alexstrasza server of the infamous World of Warcraft. Weird right? It is actually not, a majority of the top Latino hard core gamers have an average age of 31-34.
Then a new development happened a new professional style of gaming. Yes that’s right, Esports. You have seen it, stadiums featuring tournaments of CS:GO, Call Of Duty of people cheering on teams on. What is crazy is that low tier player can earn 35k, a mid-to-high tier professional is $50,000 – $75,000 annually from salary only, the top gamer in the last 365 days won $3,703,856.04 playing Dota 2. Earnings from tournament winnings, sponsorships, and streaming are added and calculated based on how popular an individual player is. That a pretty big difference from the “one year subscription to the Rolling Stones magazine”.
You may ask why are we even talking about this? Well, because as always is another area that we have little representation in; which is rare for me because I am a numbers guy and according to Simmons 32% Hispanics/Latinos are more likely than whites or blacks to categorize themselves as gamers or as their source of entertainment. In a Pew research Some 19% of Latinos/Hispanics say the term “gamer” describes them accurately, compared with 11% of blacks and 7% of whites and the number increases depending on the study conducted. So why are we not representing almost 20% of all of these tournaments? The answer is simple – access. Such as the story of Fernando Reyes Medina from Mexico City who as a teen was playing “Halo” at an Internet cafe with his friends because he could not afford a console of his own. He later decided to pursue game development, but he first had to teach himself English because as we know a lot of the programming languages and materials for computer programming were not available in Spanish. Reyes Medina played a key role in the development of “Halo Infinite”. Seeing the lack in diversity for Latino representation in the industry he and a few other latino developers founded the non profit organization Latinx in Gaming whos mission is to connects Latinos/Latinas across the gaming industry worldwide. The Mission on their website states “Latinx in Gaming connects Latines across the gaming industry worldwide to promote cultural appreciation and representation in games and related content, providing a platform for Latinx community members to elevate each other and themselves.
I am 46 now and the same thrill that I experienced with Pac Man, Galaga, Donkey Kong, and the many others that came after are an important part of who I am today. My son and I play Call of Duty together and we just starting getting into League of Legends (yes im pretty good at that too, about to start playing ranked). So with that said I leave you with some of the most popular Hispanic eSports players in the circuit, because representation matters.
Real Name: Juan Carlos Tena Lopez
Team: Kosmos – Kosmos is an international professional organization based in America and competing in StarCraft 2, CS: GO, Clash of Clans, Valorant, Call of Duty, and Pubg Mobile.
Game: StarCraft 2 – StarCraft 2 is one of the oldest eSports classics from Blizzard. StarCraft 2 is a one vs one real-time Sci-fi strategy game.
Achievements: SpeCial has been on the Champion place in 48 tournaments, runner up in 23 tournaments, and 38 3rd places in Semi-Finals.
Real Name: Leonardo Perez
Team: T1 – T1, formerly known as SK Telecom T1, is an eSports team based in South Korea.
Game: Super Smash Bros – Super Smash Bros is Nintendo’s arcade fighting game with Nintendo’s iconic characters such as Mario, Luigi, and many more. The platformer fighting game garners many players for its fast action fighting game mechanics.
Achievements: MKleo has competed and won in some of the most prestigious Smash tournaments, and his best career highlights are:
- Evo Champion
- Evo Japan Champion
- Two times CEO champion
- Two times SSC champion
- Three times Genesis champion
Real Name: Sergio Eduardo Ramos
Team: SK Gaming – SK Gaming is based in Germany and has deep roots for an eSports team founded in 1997 by a group of Quake players, one of the oldest eSports strategy games out there.
Game: Clash Royale – Clash Royale is a real-time one vs one card strategy mobile game spun off from the critically played Clash of Clans from the house of Supercell. The real-time vertical arena makes the card collecting game very competitive and card placement timings are among the main aspects of winning.
Achievements: SergioRamos has competed in major Clash Royale tournaments and earned first place. Here are some of his best carrier golds:
- CCGS World Finals 2017
- Clash Royale League 2018 China Spring Season
- The Ani-Com and Games Hong Kong 2018
- Clash Royale League 2018 China Fall season
- World Cyber Games 2019
- QLASH League 2
- Clash Royale League 2019 West Fall Season
Real Name: Emilio Leynez Cuevas
Team: Team SoloMid – Team SoloMid is a professional eSports team based in the USA and founded in 20069 by Andy “Reginald” Dinh.
Game: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Rainbow Six Siege is a First Person Shooter game, and it has managed to creep into the eSports arena for its team coordination, strategy, and tactics paired with realistic gun mechanics.
Achievements: Geometrics’s unique playing style has managed to bag many close to victory seconds for his team. Here are the best career achievements.
- Second Place in NAL S1
- Second Place in Six August 2022 Major North America
- Second Place in NAL S1 – US division
- Second Place in Pro League Season 11 North America
- Second Place in Pro League Season 9 Finals
Real Name: Daniel Hernandez
Team: Any Trolls in Chat – ATC is a professional eSports team. Putting aside the choice of name, ATC is based in North America, competing in PUBG tournaments.
Game: Pubg – Pubg is a Batlle Royale style game and has popularized the genre. Pubg is a squad game where they compete with 100 players for a chicken dinner and the number one spot.
Achievements: – Sharpshot4K has competed in 18 tournaments and bagged three chicken dinners.
Real Name: Edgar Maldonado
Team: Chaos Esports Club – Chaos Esports Club is a professional eSports team based in North America and founded by Shannon Scotten for Dota 2 tournaments. They made a shift into Counter-Strike Global Offensive in May 2018.
Game: Counter-Strike Global Offensive – Counter-Strike is the game that never dies for casual gamers or eSports tournament organizers, and professional players. And with the growing and everlasting Global Offensive craze, professionals are hooked on the game for team coordination and individual head shooting skills and action.
Achievements: Here are the most notable wins for MarKE for Chaos Esports Club:
- First place in ESEA Cash Cup North Aerica Summer 2022
- First Place in Mythic Cup
- First Place in ESEA Rank S North America September 2016