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The Rise Of Competetive eSports & Its Use In The Movies

by Paul Heath

What is eSports, and how new is it? Well, the term eSPorts refers to competitive video gaming in front of a crowd – an actual sport that has made millionaires from its biggest players. This industry is huge with tournaments going on all over the world – you can even bet on eSports via many outlets. However, although the term is new, the concept of eSports has been around for nearly as long as video games themselves. Here, we look at three times this emerging world has been featured in the movies.

The Wizard

Yes, this is a film from the 1980s – eSports and the movies have been around for that long! The Wizard was a film that starred the then hot-property Fred Savage and also a very young Tobey Maguire (though he doesn’t speak at all). Savage plays a teen runaway who hits the road to get to a massive video game tournament in California. The film, which heavily features Nintendo, was a huge hit upon its December 1989 release date -the height of the video game explosion all over the world.


Tron was ahead of its time in more ways than one. As well as being streets ahead of its contemporaries in terms of visual effects, the Disney-made film was also one of the first to be set in a world of competitive video gaming – albeit in this movie, the players are in the game, led by Jeff Bridges chief programmer stuck inside a synthetic world. The film famously spawned a sequel decades later – the Joseph Kosinski-helmed Tron: Legacy, which was released in 2008 – and the series still remains a huge favourite with fans the world over.

The Last Starfighter

It is a film that is rumoured to be getting a reboot/ sequel sometime soon, but The Last Starfighter remains a fave to this day. The cult classic revolves around a teenage who is an absolute ace at the video game ‘Starfighter’. Because of this, he is recruited by a mysterious alien defence force to help stop and intergalactic war. Like Tron, The Last Starfighter was one of the first films to feature ground-breaking special effects, most of which still remain hugely impressive to his very day.

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