Enjoy Netrunner as a spectator sport

, | Games

I don’t get sports. I just don’t. Why do people care so much about teams of dudes who aren’t even from the city they’re representing engaging in excessively formalized, heavily regulated, and ridiculously overpaid contests of athleticism? And why do people who watch sports care so much when most of them certainly don’t play the game they’re watching? Is it just for the cheerleaders? That I could understand.

I do, however, get e-sports because I actually play the games I’m watching. I know the rules, I understand completely how the players feel and the dilemmas they face, and I enjoy the tension and drama of a game without necessarily being inside it. But I feel like a prerequisite for enjoying e-sports is knowing the game at hand.

For instance, Netrunner, a masterfully designed card game of bluffing and asymmetry, with a superlative sense of theming. Listening to a cast of the game really plays up the theming. Experiential Data, Datasuckers, Account Siphons, and Heimdall ICE! “That is a rather mighty server!”, “I’ve seen this before, the old ‘don’t care about tags’ strategy”, and “He has not been lucky running the centrals!” are all proclamations in the above Netrunner cast.

These casts for Netrunner’s clunky but serviceable OCTGN module are narrated by a friend of mine with an actual British accent. He goes by the name Mr. Skinny as he Britishly commentates on the cyberpunk proceedings. A generically bitchin’ techno soundtrack plays discreetly in the background. I don’t know if folks who aren’t hip to Netrunner would get these, but if you’re going to watch a bunch of dudes kick a pigskin around, wouldn’t you just as easily enjoy this weird cocktail of Hugh Grant-a-like, William Gibsonism, and faux Daft Punk?