It may seem ludicrous to suggest esports in the United States is not yet known as far and wide as other popular past times such as American Football, Major League Baseball or the NBA, but for many people in the US, esports still remains something of an enigma.
However, Sunday, March 17 may have been an expected benchmark in esports’ cultural centrality. That’s the night it became the narrative conceit for an episode of The Simpsons.
Sunday’s show took a sideways look at esports, titling the episode “E My Sports.” (That’s a pun on Bart’s famous catchphrase “eat my shorts” for the unfamiliar.) It was clear from the off that The Simpsons‘ writing team had done its best to capture the developing world of esports in a true, yet humorous way. That is particularly impressive, especially given the somewhat tiring propensity for many people, who lack knowledge of the industry, to portray esports gamers as overweight, tech-obsessed misfits.
To help them strike the correct tone for the episode, The Simpsons enlisted the help of Riot Games. The episode dealt with Bart’s foray into the world of esports playing the fictional game Conflict of Enemies. With the help of Homer, who has his head turned when he realizes there is money to be made playing the games, Bart enlists the help of his friends Nelson, Martin, Sophie, and Milhouse to found the Evergreen Terrors. The episode portrays Bart’s team making its way through to the $500,000 finals of the Conflict of Enemies tournament, which is based in South Korea.
There are some wonderful asides in the episode that hint at the level of knowledge the writers gained about the industry. For one, Sophie announced she would be the most famous female player of esports in the world should she win the trophy and “also if I lose!” Another highlight was the burnt-out gaming tutor, who is past his best at age 19 and goes by the name The Detonator.
Getting deemed worthy of parody by The Simpsons is perhaps the biggest compliment esports has ever received from a larger pop culture institution. Millions of people watched the cartoon’s 30-year legacy interact with this contemporary phenomenon.
Call of Duty coming to mobile
When it comes to console-based first-person shooters, Call of Duty is held in very high esteem by its millions of players over the years. Now also a very popular esport, and with the revamped Call of Duty World League due later this year, Call of Duty may soon live on your phone.
Developed by Tencent’s Timi Studio, the new Call of Duty: Mobile game will cherrypick content from the full range of Call of Duty titles available today and combine into a single game for iOS or Android devices. As yet, there is no official release date for the mobile version. That said, this year or next is a safe assumption.
Fans of COD can register to participate in a public beta trial of the game. This stage is set for the summer across a number of regions. Details about where the trials will be held and what hardware will be required to play are available here. You will need your current COD account details or to create a new COD account in order to register your interest.
Given the prospect of playing some of the most popular maps from across the range of COD games on the go, many fans are eagerly awaiting this development.
Image credit: Noam Galai / Contributor / Getty Images