Neoseeker : News : 'Free to Play' Review: Valve's eSports documentary plays it suspiciously safe
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Vapid Soul Mar 19, 14
"...experience then it is." Then? Then? Than.
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Praetorian_Lord Mar 19, 14
I guess it makes sense that Valve wouldn't be interested in creating a documentary that paints any kind of gaming in a negative light. Vested interest and all that. Think I can safely give this one a miss.
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SZJ Mar 19, 14
I am not sure you watched the same documentary, The main three gamers are showed as wealthy? Like when Fear was using a CRT monitor and a desk that was from the trash? Or when we see how HyHy's dad has worked 16 hour days for his family to scrape by?

I sense massive bias in this review, more-so than in the documentary.
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bluexy Mar 20, 14
SZJ Uh, yes, absolutely each gamer is for the most part shown to be successful, their gamer lifestyles glamorized. Fear was shown to play on a CRT, a good base of comparison for where he started before becoming the persona that Dota 2 The International turned him into. The closing shot of Fear in the film, despite the short-lived implication that losing in the International was damaging to him, was him with a brand new desk and computer, the text reading he was now captain of a large and successful team.

Hyhy too was positioned similarly. He was shown to come from humble origins, but then Dota 2 and The International happened. He joined a gaming house, which the film described as a much more progressive way China supports professional gamers that western countries were yet to embrace. He was shown to be a superstar of sorts.

Yes, absolutely, all three were shown to be successful as a result of their dedication to gaming and their involvement in The International.
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Crystalline Mar 20, 14
bluexy And what makes you so sure they didn't find happiness through their endeavors during the tournament? Why do you insist on painting their situations and the stories that were told as fake ones? "...almost scripted, overly dramatic..." See, with that choice of words right there you're already assuming things and jumping to conclusions.

Valve wasn't glorifying these players' lives and linking that to Dota. They were simply showing glimpses of hope that did eventually arise from their hard lives--very hard ones, mind you. And so what if playing games like Dota provided these kids with happiness and fulfillment? Was that all scripted too? Millions of people around the globe play video games. It's only natural and logical that a lot of those experiences have helped them get through tough times and perhaps even better themselves as people, which is what happened to me and several acquaintances. If a company came over and did a documentary on all of that, it still wouldn't make it any less truthful.

Nothing wrong with a major developer taking pride in their products, especially when they deserve all the praise they get.

The documentary was beautifully shot and addressed what it needed to address. There's only so much you can do in a one hour film, so don't expect the impossible. Having chosen just three individuals to focus on was just right. As for the rest, I've said what needed to be said.

The gaming industry deserves the exposure it's been getting as well as the glory and the spectacle. It's the most riveting and outright beautiful form of entertainment out there, and with good reason. eSports should be as big as any sport, if not a worldwide phenomenon recognized by every society and culture. Hopefully one day that'll be so.
Last edited by Crystalline :: Mar 20, 14
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bluexy Mar 20, 14
quote Crystalline
The documentary was beautifully shot and addressed what it needed to address.
I suppose we'll have to agree that we each saw two different movies, because the one I watched seem much more interested in portraying only what it wanted to address versus what it needed to.
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Welp Mar 20, 14
Just as you are entitled to your opinion, well, so am I. This is a trash of a review.

At times in your review, I am confused. At other times, I feel you watched the video on mute with Malawi subtitles. Just to note some of them:
1) Anyone excited to hear about the realities of eSports?
What do you mean by "realities of eSports?" Do you mean the player's realities? Do you mean the gaming scene's realities? This is an hand-wave sensationalized claim that fails to be clarified explicitly. From what I can gather from what I am reading, I believe you wanted something like listings of Dendi's tournament winnings and how much he plays on a day to day basis.

2) "three Dota 2 players taking a risk and everything ultimately coming out just super"
3) "Both Hyhy and Fear's International trips seemed shattering, but both players are portrayed as becoming happier, more fulfulled and better human beings as a result."
4) "all three players in the film are shown to be successful, even wealthy, which is absolutely not the case for a majority of professional players."
Well, I do agree with what you are saying to an extent, but you really should be more specific. The way you are phrasing it makes it seem that everyone had an A+++ "Happy Ending." I would say Dendi got an A++ one, HyHy got a B- one, and Fear got a C one. For example, apparently although HyHy threw the game for his team and failed to make it, although he has to repeat a semester, although his parents are disappointed in him and his career, and although he's had signs of depression for the past two years, at the end he at least got some money got his girlfriend, which I guess is a "Happy Ending" but by no means addresses all his problems.

5) "Add that the documentary treads a very tight rope to avoid painting eSports including Dota 2's eSports environment in any sort of negative light and, to be frank, the film seems like advertising at points -- perhaps even light propaganda for the eSports scene"
lol. It is 100% bonafide advertisement for Dota and esports. You're pretentiously trying take the highroad, thus (maybe inadvertantly) implying that you did the same for the rest of your article. Also,...

6) "When Valve decided to produce a documentary focused on one of their games, I'd hope they'd go to lengths to distance themselves from the content and not the other way around."
............. lol? You spent the first part berating Valve for not talking enough about the content, now you're berating them for sticking too close to content. Do you mean to say they're not being completely objective? If so, I feel your wording could be... better to say the least.

7) "Then there's how Dota 2 itself is represented in the film. Very little direct feed gameplay if any is shown, instead using post-processed and recreated highlights from the game including Valve's move maker cinematic sequences of certain fights that distort the actual in-game events. That is to say, Valve goes out of its way to make Dota 2 look like a completely different and more visually compelling experience than it is. "
Well, just to be clear, I don't think they did recreated the fighting sequence using CG's or something that you're thinking of. That would take too goddamn long to perfect everything, especially if you can go in the game itself, load up a replay, and zoom in and do all those wacky stuff in game. People use it for top 10 videos and the like. They didn't labor for months trying to recreate the exact game scene and the like. They used a replay and played around with the camera.

8) Either Valve didn't think the game could speak for itself, which is saying something in an eSports documentary, or they wanted their game to be glamorized for a non-gaming audience.
You're giving a really misleading it's either this or that, with both being pretty negatively word choiced statements and negative underlying causes. I feel the cause was more about understanding the viewer, and I believe that the reason is also a combination of both. Dota is a complex game, and I doubt many people unfamiliar with the game would understand the intricacies. I do believe the things were glamorized, and personally I disliked that, but I understand that it was probably to make it more understandable for the average person without any knowledge of the game.

9) The film also touches on Chinese gaming houses, though it paints this sort of situation as a refuge for professional gamers as opposed to a very controversial situation where players are often introduced into unhealthy environments.
........................................................................................................................ What kind of sensationalized forum posts have you been reading? I don't disagree with you that there have been cases of that (even recently with the Korea suicide scandal), but if you think that the majority of gaming houses are abusive, and that purpose of a gaming house is to abuse people, well, really, wtf.

10) "Yet the film not only glosses over these issues, but seems to actively avoid directly addressing them. There are many storylines in eSports that are inspiring and uplifting and hundreds of thousands of watchers tune in every week for live events to see them. They're a dime a dozen."
Lol? Your statements:
a) There are lots of stories with people failing
b) There are a lot of stories with people succeeding. There really is a lot (a dime a dozen).
The argument flow is lacking to say the least. You don't actually use these statements for much, proving, expanding, etc. Just one line generalized statements. Please clarify. Continuing...

11) Perhaps Valve would have been better served to show a more honest and bold side of eSports, a side where not all players' stories end in families reunited, love rekindled and million dollar prizes.
So what exactly do you want Valve to do? Show more of a) ? What is a)? The average pub player? Failed aspirations? Maybe like that of Hyhy and Fear? Or possibly you consider those "B" rated "happy endings" as too good for us, they show too much realism and we need to see people crying in a corner and not picking themselves up and being depressed over failed aspirations.

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All in all, I feel this review is pretty shitty. I've named a few points, but yea. I really hope you actually took the time to watch this documentary before posting, and by watch I mean, sit down without distractions and listen and see it without skipping anything. That's the least courtesy you can give if you want to give a pretentious review about the documentary as a whole.

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Well my favorite part of doing comments. My attempt at psychologically analyzing your behavior. Tin-hat foils on people.

Speculation Phase:
What I feel was the reason you had problems accepting with this documentary was that it glamorized Dota rather than eSports in general. As you have prior interests in League of Legends and perhaps other games, you felt annoyed that they were not included in this "eSports documentary." This negatively influenced your review and reduced your enjoyment of the movie, thus leading you to skip parts of it or not paying attention to it. You claim "the one I watched seem much more interested in portraying only what it wanted to address versus what it needed to." I agree; it did not address what YOU wanted it to. If it was not apparent, the documentary was designed to focus on Dota, and not on what you're interested in. You wanted <<insert game="game" here="here">> to be praised. However, Dota was, and pretty prominently. Although they did state facts, they did not mention other facts such as, idk, LOL WC Season 2 had also huge prize pool 1 million plus, and that got you mad. Real mad. Welp. Time to put your bias into high gear and churn out a review with hate, vagueness, and misdirection. Go you.

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Welp Mar 20, 14
Welp, really didn't want to make another post, but uhh... does this site not sanitize the comments? Notice my <insert> </insert>...
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bluexy Mar 20, 14
@ Welp Wow, well, I'll at least say I respect that you felt passionate enough to respond in such kind.

I did want to say that I'm actually a huge Dota 2 fan. I'm not a particularly great player of Dota 2, but I follow the pro scene very closely.
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