Cape Town - For years, eSports and geek culture have been associated with 'nerds' and people who have no social lives.
But lately, things have changed. It's okay to geek out now and again. Gaming is now a new way to meet new people (sure, they'll be salty at first but you'll get used to it) and even 'nerd' glasses don't have the stigma attached as it used to.
A fine example of the change is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before Marvel made superheroes cool, those superheroes were only the subjects of fanboys' (and fangirls') excitement.
However, the rise in Marvel movies meant that more and more were getting into the universe.
At the Electronic and Gaming Expo (EGE) that ran at the weekend, we saw hundreds gathered unashamedly under one roof to celebrate their geekiness.
“What I like about EGE is that it provides an event for gamers in which we can all come together. Other events would focus on the things such as comics and anime among many other things but EGE caters for its gaming community. It lets us try out demos for newer games, and try things that we wouldn’t ourselves be able to do at home such as VR gaming as not everyone has access to that,” said League of Legends gamer, Dylan Manasse.
“It also allows for casual gamers and pro gamers to compete on stage with each other as seen in this year Injustice 2 tournament which I had the pleasure of taking part in. There was also the VS gaming tournament for the top Dota teams, this includes En (energy esport) which is a team that did really well on stage at the venue. All in all, it is a more interactive event when compared to others and is a lot better for any who consider themselves a gamer, whether it is pro gaming or just casual across all platforms.”
So what has been the growth of eSports and geek culture?
"These e-sport headset wearing, Taurine guzzling excuse for athletes have captivated the hearts, minds and souls of millions of fans worldwide. Three years ago and that answer would be plucked from a realm of fantasy, those with the gall to believe were rendered with stereotypes and labeled utopianistic. Alas, how times have changed, Star Wars is no longer a bone of contention among those lads seeking to avoid the main party, nor is it exclusively for those lasses that get a weekend fix mulling over fantasies of the Force."
"More than simply growing into a multimillion dollar industry, the growth of eSports has enabled individuals to have heroes that they relate to, the diversity among the infamous is truly the highlight of said growth," said professional gamer Abdulkader Elyas, who plays League of Legends as 'Jinzaroth' in Energy E-sports Black.
EGE showcased the latest games, figurines, collectible card games, comics and cosplay.
It was all about letting go of reality and living your best - and many - lives.