Got Dota?
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR - Singkit (The Philippine Star) - May 5, 2019 - 12:00am

This is a neanderthal attempting to get with it.

I was quite surprised to learn that electronic games have been included in the list of sports – under the category ESports – at the Southeast Asian Games that we are hosting later this year, and that tryouts are being held to form a national team, spearheaded by the ESports National Association of the Philippines (with the catchy acronym ESNAP). I am told it is a really big thing worldwide, wildly popular and involving big money, big even by superstar athlete standards. The Oxford Dictionary defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill” (I can hear someone out there saying only neanderthals still use the Oxford Dictionary); I am sure there is skill involved in working those devices, but still…it’s a sport? And there is even talk of getting it into the Olympics!

Anyway, I google’d eSports and came across DOTA and Dota 2 and Tekken and Tekken 7…all fighting games involving multiple players with the goal of blasting everyone else to smithereens. In the earliest incarnations of the games you could download them and play by yourself (there’s this guy who played Minecraft for five years, finally done in by a baby zombie because he forgot to use the golden apple – so there), but now it’s an online activity where you compete against other players, trying to stay alive by annihilating your opponents. Thus it has become a competition, across borders and time zones.

Also across borders and time zones and all other distinctions is GOT, which seems to have everyone transported to the world of Winterfell. At Sunday dinner last week my niece was faced with a major dilemma: she had a kids’ golf camp to run the next morning, which meant she couldn’t watch episode 3 of GOT, which was the big battle among the kingdoms. It was small comfort that she could watch the replay in the evening; it’s sort of like watching Tiger win the last Masters – you had to watch it live, as it happens.

Before this final season started, with all the hype and the anticipation, I had entertained the idea of getting into this whole GOT thing. I would catch up on seasons 1 to 7 so I could join the rest of the world in the final season, and finally know who is the real heir to the Iron Throne. I even have a list of who’s who in the GOT universe. Before dinner a few Sundays ago (a lot happens at my Sunday dinners) I sat my niece down to give me a briefing, sort of like 7 seasons in 7 minutes. But it was so confusing I didn’t get very far, and I had to go and check if my fish on the steamer was done. I haven’t given up on GOT though; I’ll just jump straight into season 8. But for now, excuse me, anha dothrak adakhataan. 

By the way, do I even need to translate DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) and GOT (Game of Thrones)?

DOTA ESPORTS NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES GAME OF THRONES
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