Follow three professional video game players as they overcome personal adversity, family pressures, and the realities of life to compete in a $1,000,000 tournament that could change their lives forever.
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Most Important eSports Documentary of this Generation
The film shows that professional gaming is a real industry. The viewer base is growing exponentially. Video games can be more than just button mashing and a waste of time. At the highest level, it requires skill, discipline, sacrifice, team work, and maturity.
We see most of the film's journey through the point of view of Michael "Carmac" Blicharz (the man in charge of organizing Intel Extreme Masters (IEM). I've heard of IEM from my Starcraft friends, but the film really gave me a sense of the scale of IEM. It feels like it's kind of like the Masters for golf or the U.S. Open for tennis. Suffice to say, winning one of these is a pretty big accomplishment.
We also get perspectives from two of the top League of Legends (LoL) teams - Cloud 9 and Team Solo Mid. Most notably, the players Hai "Hai" Lam and Marcus "Dyrus" Hill.
I'm not a League player. My only experience with LoL is playing through the tutorial and a couple of matches.
So don't worry if you don't know anything or even care about LoL. The documentary isn't about LoL or is trying to push anyone to play LoL. It only uses LoL as a backdrop and I love the way it presented the rules without overwhelming someone with all the details.
The amazing and inspiring thing was finding out rookies can get salaries of $30,000 and some professionals are well into the $100,000+ in earnings. I went in expecting some of them to say, "yea but I also have a day job."
I really enjoyed the rivalry and mutual respect between Cloud 9 and TSM. There were moments I wanted to shout USA, USA, USA (I'm a sucker for patriotic moments in any movie).
It's also the first time I've heard of Robert Morris University (RMU) and their eSports program. How freaking awesome is that? If I was 18 right now, RMU would definitely be on my list.
I've read a lot of reviews that mentioned the documentary didn't create enough of an emotional connection between the characters and the audience. I disagree. I think the film did an excellent job with Carmac and while the film doesn't connect the audience to any single person as well as say, Free to Play or Indie Game the Movie, it did make me feel like I had a stake in certain teams winning.
What did annoy me was the top of the heads on some of the interviews were cut off. I just recently took a head shot photography class and I understand it's OK to have a bit of the subject's head being cut off. However, when it comes to movies and especially documentaries, I prefer to see the entire head of the interview subject.
I really didn't like the way the film started off. It begins with 30 minutes of Starcraft 2 game play. This was probably done to build hype for Legacy of the Void and has nothing to really do with the film itself.
Be sure to stay after the credits roll, because there's an interview panel that provides some interesting insights from Carmac, Patrick Creadon (director), C9's Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi, and Jack Etienne (C9 founder).
I've watched Free to Play, Indie Game the Movie, and I Got Next (fighting games documentary) and All Work All Play is my favorite gaming documentary so far.
We can debate whether eSports is a sport and if professional gamers should be classified as athletes, but one thing is for sure. It really doesn't matter what you call it. If tons of people want to watch something and will actually pay to watch, it's the real deal.
And plus, as gamer myself, it's just so awesome to see people playing games they love and actually making a living out of it!
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