Gamers try to skewer esports with an awkward mix of humor and drama

Gamers try to skewer esports with an awkward mix of humor and drama

all the time i saw playersa new Paramount Plus show about the competition League of LegendsI kept feeling that something was a little off.

players is a mockumentary about Fugitive Gaming, a fictional team that is a member of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), the North American wing of professionals League of Legends esports Much of the show revolves around the relationship between Creamcheese (Misha Brooks), a brash veteran who has been a star of the team since its inception, and Organizm (Da’Jour Jones), an inscrutable rookie who promises to be one of the greatest players ever. (american hooligan creators Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault are the minds behind players.)

You may have seen many sports stories that explore this type of dynamic, and players it faithfully hits many of the marks you might expect. I’ve been following the LCS for years and was excited to see a sports show in an esports environment. But the show has some issues that make it hard to tell who it was created for, and the fictional events can seem less exciting than what’s already going on in the league.

players it frequently relies on crude humor, and I wish it hadn’t. Creamcheese often makes rude or insensitive jokes with a mischievous smile on her face, but they usually backfire. There is an extended part about a player who urinates in bottles so he can play more. League of Legends. I get that the show focuses on socially awkward people, but the juvenile humor seems dated in a show that also celebrates what’s really cool about esports. On the contrary, a lot of dramatic moments land, especially later on: I found myself rooting for Creamcheese through some rough patches, and I wish the writers had leaned more towards that angle.

While Fugitive Gaming is a fictional team, they compete in a world that has many of the characteristics of the real LCS, and that never ceased to feel strange to me. Actual LCS anchors (basically sportscasters but for esports) announce matches on the show and are interviewed for the “documentary” about Fugitive Gaming. Long time League of Legends fans will recognize cameos from Scarra, LilyPichu, and a few other well-known figures in the broader LCS community, all acting as if the Fugitive does, in fact, exist.

The weirdest part was seeing Fugitive compete against real LCS teams that have made-up players. Without the actual rosters, each with their own stories and storylines, not unlike what Fugitive goes through on the show, most matches just didn’t have the stakes I feel when I watch even the worst LCS teams play each other. .

I also think the show could have used a different format than a mockumentary. It’s not hard to find documentary-style shows made by LCS teams on YouTube right now. Some of those shows are released weekly, meaning they provide deep (if partial) insight into a team’s successes and struggles in a way that feels more immediate than usual. players scripted theatre.

Frankly, the events in players stay away from some of the really wild stuff that’s already happened in the LCS this year. In the recent mid-year international tournament, the representative from Europe had an impressive winning streak, but lost in the semi-finals. In the United States, one of the most prestigious teams in the LCS, TSM, has just announced the results of an investigation into its founder, owner and CEO. And because so many LCS players, personalities, and fans are extremely online, the drama can quickly take on a life of its own in the form of memes, discussion videos, and huge Reddit threads.

Still, I found myself enjoying players in the end, and I got involved in the fate of Fugitive. Despite my criticism of trying to bring the team into the real world, much of the show felt true to life nonetheless. I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of a larger-than-life streamer character, which was essentially an annoying YouTube clickbait thumbnail brought to life.

If you are interested in learning more about esports, players It’s a decent way to get an idea of ​​the League of Legends community. But, in his attempt to string the scene with awkward humor, he becomes an awkward hybrid himself, one who never leans far enough into drama or jokes.

players debuts today, June 16, on Paramount Plus. The first three episodes will be available to start, with future episodes premiering weekly. The season has 10 episodes.