By Roberto Campos
|Team Brazil competing in the Magic World Cup|
It’s become common for the world’s countries to come together and compete under one roof to see which country’s competitors reign superior, and at the 45th annual Gen Con, Magic: The Gathering continued this tradition.
The World Magic Cup was one of the must see events at this year’s Gen Con. Rarely is a card game put on in with as much spectacle – except for ESPN’s coverage of poker tournaments. Estonia, Chinese Taipei, the U.S. and 68 other countries came from all over the world to the Indianapolis Convention Center for a chance to make their country the top dog in the Magic realm.
Even if you’re not a fan of the game, or have never even hear of Magic: The Gathering, to see the lights, cameras and cash prizes for this tournament was astonishing. Chinese Taipei won $10,000 cash prize for winning the World Magic Cup, but it wasn’t a pot split between each of the four teammates, each team member won $10,000 – a hefty pot for a card game. However, it gives prospective on just how large this game has become since its inception.
The World Magic Cup was set up like the World Cup for soccer, placing 71 teams of four into pods that consisted of four teams each. Then each team had to compete to get out of the pods in the hopes of making it into top eight on the last day of the three day competition.
While you could cut the tension in the air during the competition with a knife, there were moments of comedic relief for the teams. Team Uruguay won best dressed showing up in business formal wear ready to get the job done while Team Japan won farthest traveled by car.
But what does an event like this mean for table top gaming and gaming in general?
|Two members of the Uruguay team plan their next move.|
For video games there’s already an event like this held at a different location every year called World Cyber Games - a festival where people from around the world compete in computer and console competitions. So the idea of creating world tournaments for games isn’t something new, although the World Magic Cup is a first for Magic, it could mean that gaming could become somewhat of a sport someday. Similar to how StarCraft is to South Korea.
Gaming has grown to monstrous proportions since its humble beginning in the arcades, owing much of its growth to the internet and its ability to connect people of common interest together. While not everybody has the genes to become the next LeBron James or Peyton Manning, video game and table top games don’t require a particular build , so if things like Major League Gaming and World Cyber Games continue to grow it could be possible to develop professional players for games like Magic.
Of course, that is all speculation on my part. And assuming people would want to play video games for a living is rather lofty, but if Texas Hold ‘Em can be big on ESPN I think gaming could be as well.
The first ever World Magic Cup was a test for the game of Magic, to try and innovate a game that has thrived and dominated table top gaming for years. But it also could be a model for world competitions for games as it expands from a focus on more individual play to more team representation.
|Magic World Cup banner displayed at this year's Gen Con.|
|Players from the Slovak Republic (left) square off against the Dominican Republic team (right).|