StarCraft II eSports Update – Sad Times for Korea?

[Posted here 1/21/16: https://plus.google.com/+ChristinaKelly/posts/5MagZTF5qYF]

TL; DR – This year might be the beginning of the end of StarCraft as a dominant eSports scene, or it could lead to a thousand pylons blooming all over the world as the Korean juggernaut is reined in. Maybe both. It’ll be an exciting year.

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TBS’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship and Televised League

[From 1/6/16: https://plus.google.com/+ChristinaKelly/posts/CrQ5UnqKpLC]

Tomorrow, at CES in Las Vegas, Turner Sports and WME/IMG will be hosting a $50K Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship. It’s not a bad chunk of change for the teams that battled their way from a pool of 1,100 in the qualifiers in Dec 2015 (although it’s a far cry from the prize pools in top-tier professional DotA and League of Legends tournaments), but the more exciting part of the championship is the opportunity to take part in TBS’s brand new televised CS: GO tournament. There will be two 10-week tournaments in 2016 in what TBS is calling the ELeague, with a combined prize pool of $2.4M. Tournament content will be mostly available online but some will be televised as well. Check out more details here: http://fortune.com/2015/12/17/turner-esports-ces-2016/. The finals of the Championship, Lounge Gaming vs. OpTic Gaming, will be broadcast on FACEIT’s Twitch channel: http://www.twitch.tv/faceittv.

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Why I Love Software Engineers (Yet Will Never Be One)

[Originally posted on Google+ on Dec 21, 2011]

Lisp. Perl. Haskell. Ruby. Fortran. C. JavaScript. These are beautiful words. It’s a little weird for me to admit this out loud, but sometimes I run through a little list like this in my head just to savor the way each one of them sounds in my mind’s voice, kind of like a 15 year old who’s just gotten her braces off and runs her tongue over her newly smooth and aligned teeth. They are beautiful not just phonetically, i.e. in the way “cellar door” sounds beautiful, but also (and mostly) because they are names for very special things. They are names of programming languages, and as such they stand for microcosms of peculiar depth and perspective. These words have personality and passion, but also a sort of purity that is not often seen in the creations of mankind. They represent the effort to project a logical but human order upon the unholy chaos of information in the world – to discipline the unruly mind and hone it into a tool that can create itself and improve upon itself through language.

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Storytelling in Games – How to Do It Right

[Originally posted on Google+.]

Today I had the pleasure of attending a talk by +Kent Hudson, a game designer at LucasArts, who spoke about design-driven storytelling in games (note: slides can be found at http://www.onethree.org/talks).

My philosophy on storytelling in general is that it is a crucial, hardwired part of the human experience. Human beings have a fundamental need to tell stories, hear stories, and, perhaps most importantly, create stories. The ability to construct a narrative out of the chaos of the world is part of what keeps our enormous, buzzing brains sane and stable, and is also part of what challenges us to keep putting one foot in front of the other and becoming more than we were before.

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A Day in the Life in Silicon Valley

[Inspired by http://bit.ly/p35h8Y. Originally posted on Google+.]

My alarm clock goes off. Well, it’s not really an alarm clock, because clocks are analog and made of wood and aren’t synched to anything. What wakes me up is something that has a passing visual similarity to an alarm clock, with hands and everything, but it’s a GUI for a program on one of my various devices that checks in with something on the internet that can tell the absolute correct time anywhere with atomic precision, which – let’s face it – is better. Let’s just call it an alarm.

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From Backstage to the Spotlight: Google Employees on Google+

[Some disclaimers and information: I specialize in community management for online games and the company I currently work for recently received a significant investment from Google Ventures. Also, my boyfriend works at Google.]

This article all started with a public Google+ post by Kelly Ellis, a software engineer at Google who works on Google+. She posted a short video update in the morning of July 1st describing some changes that the Google+ team would be making to their product over the long weekend. The leafy, sundappled background behind Ms. Ellis and her professional-yet-relaxed demeanor exemplified the Silicon Valley ease amidst unthinkably advanced technology. It’s like she’s just chatting with you over lunch about the project she’s working on – never mind that it’s the latest brainchild of the most cutting edge software company on Earth. 8 hours later, the video post had 1000 shares and almost 300 comments. Needless to say, a lot of people started following Ellis for future updates on the development of Google+, including me.

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StarCraft Live: Spectator Experiences at MLG Dallas vs. Korea

Sunday night I came home from a glorious weekend at MLG Dallas. I was very happy I went, even if it took some time away from my quest to get to diamond league. This was my first MLG event and I noticed a lot of interesting differences between MLG’s StarCraft tournament and similar events in Korea. I’ve been in the live audience of many eSports events, both in Korea and in the US, and so the article below looks at the MLG event in comparison to the Korean style based on those experiences.

StarCraft Live: Spectator Experiences at MLG Dallas vs. Korea

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Religious Views: StarCraft

[Originally posted on my TeamLiquid blog: www.teamliquid.net/blog/peanutsc]

This is a current screenshot (well, with some parts blurred for visual effect) of my Facebook profile’s “about me” section. For basically as long as there’s been a “Religious Views” field on Facebook (I’ve been on the site since about August 2005), it’s looked exactly like it does today. Religious Views: StarCraft.

At first it was just a “I’m not really religious and LOL wouldn’t it be funny to have a computer game as my religion” kind of thing, but upon further review it’s actually fairly representative of my relationship with this game.

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Hello!

My name is Christina Kelly, alias Peanut, and I am a professional writer and editor, typically in the video game/esports space. I’ve worked for companies like Apportable (YC W’11), ESPN, and Blizzard Entertainment. Follow me on Twitter @PeanutSC or check out my LinkedIn.

Check out some of my writing below!

Also see the About page for a brief bio.

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Cultural Obs: The Price of Stillness

Walking into a pachinko arcade in Japan is like hanging out on the runways of Chicago’s O’Hare airport the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  The constant hum and clack of machines and little metal pachinko balls is deafening even when the establishment is nearly empty.  My travel buddy M convinced me to accompany him inside one of these oases of din because playing pachinko – a vertical pinball game – was supposed to be a “must-try” Japanese experience.  After spending 2k yen (about USD$22) in 10 minutes with little success, I was standing by the door with my coat on ready for a quick exit.  As M tried to figure out how to cash in his extra pachinko balls, I watched one of the ten middle aged men playing in the arcade among rows and rows of empty machines.

His eyes unblinking, he mechanically scooped handfuls of metal marbles into the loading bin at chest height with the mindlessness of endless repetition, inured to the bright images flashing in front of him and the bells that chimed when his patience was rewarded with a flush of new balls.  At his feet were many colorful plastic bins, stacked and filled to the brim with what must have been thousands of inert marbles waiting to be catapulted into a maze of pins and flippers.  Given the relatively small number of balls I’d bought with my two 1,000 yen bills, I figured that those bins represented hundreds of dollars’ investment.  After a few frustrating minutes of scaling the language barrier, M reappeared next to me and we turned to leave.  As we walked out the automatic doors into the promise of Osaka’s Saturday night, the men played on.

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