A documentary about Esports, Surely not? What the hell are Esports? Why should I care? All Work No Play aims to answers these questions. This documentary focuses on a very small part of a worldwide phenomenon.
Directed by Patrick Creadon, All Work No Play attempts to show a bigger audience that esports is the here and that it’s real deal. These aren’t just kids in their bedrooms playing games, they are traveling the world and competing in front of tens of thousands of shouting and cheering fans in sold out arenas. The documentary opens with clips from all areas of sports and esports from Olympic athletes to chess champions to sports stars. Patrick Creadon is definitely on the right track here.
What are esports? According to the dictionary website it defines it as “competitive tournaments of video games,” These competitions range across a broad spectrum of games, including; League of Legends, Counter Strike, Starcraft, Halo, Gears of War and many more across every genre of game. These tournaments hold massive live events and present a very large prize pool for teams to win.
This documentary focuses on the Electronic Sports League’s (ESL) Intel Extreme Masters tournament in League of Legends, it’s one of many tournaments that ESL hosts and they always pull in a very large crowd.
We follow three teams on their journey through the event. The most popular North American team, Team Solo Mid (TSM) who are there to prove they can compete at an international level. The second most popular North American Team, Cloud 9 (C9) who are sometimes considered an underdog but after impressive results in the national league they come into the tournament confident. Then we have a team from South Korea, the GE Tigers, who at the time of filming were on the best teams in the world and in there home country they are basically celebrities as South Korea is practically the birthplace of professional esports.
All Work No Play is very focused on giving the viewer a small insight into the world of esports and it’s generally at it’s best when it focuses in on the drama within each of the teams. Whether it be the rivalries between each of the teams, what they do in the down time or interviews with the players on how they got to where they are. Creadon really fleshes out the stories and helps to fill in the larger side of each one’s road to success.
A criticism of the documentary would be that it doesn’t focus on gameplay enough, we get a good look at the teams but don’t really get to see or understand what they are doing on screen. We are told via on screen text who wins what and where they place. This is really unfortunate as its hard to communicate the the raw passion and determination of these young guys. Obviously Creadon has decided to paint with broad strokes and give a cliff notes version of the entire scene. What could have been an up close and personal look at the new type of athlete and super-gamer turns into a more paint by numbers overview.
We really only focus on League of Legends but esports is so much more than that. ESL hosts so many tournaments, yet there seems to be no mention of them in here and it would have been nice to hear a mention of these since the project was in partnership with ESL and its a great podium to be able to shout and scream about the games.
I’m an evangelist when it comes to talking about esports and games in general, I’d like to spread the word and help get rid of stigma and nerd-shaming that follows gaming as a whole. I’ve been to Wembley three times to now to watch esports events and the atmosphere is electric, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, I went down with my friend Chris Taylor and it was his 1st event and he felt exactly the same as I did. Very similar to a football match, with chants, mexican waves and boos and cheers echoing throughout the sold out arena.
I’m a regular viewer of esports and I genuinely believe its going to be huge in the coming years. It’s already bleeding in to the ‘real’ sports world when ESPN and the BBC aired the world championships and NBA superstars such as Rick Fox who owns an esports brands and team across multiple games, and Shaq O’Neill who is an investor in a team. There are teams owned by the Sacramento Kings, Paris Saint-Germain F.C., FC Schalke 04 and Beşiktaş. The money going into esports now is insane and is driving player salary and prize pools up and up. Its definitely worth paying attention too. Get Involved!
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