Yesterday my brother showed me footage from a Street Fighter championship game with a passionate audience response. I watched it seven times in a row.
It's the third round of the championship, tied 1:1, best two out of three. Hundreds crammed into the room to watch the young player Daigo face off against an unnamed opponent.
In "Street Fighter", when your opponent attacks, you have one frame (1 / 30th of a second) to block him. During that split second, if you swivel your joystick a half-circle, your character defends the attack. The game writes "Tech bonus" onto the screen.
Daigo plays the boxer in a white robe. In the first 25 seconds of this video, he is beaten down to zero health, where a single blow would end him. Then watch for his consecutive "tech bonus" streak, and ensuing revenge.
"It's madness! It's unadulterated madness!"
Next Tom pulled up a Korean video from a Starcraft battle. In South Korea, Starcraft competitions are shown on national TV.
What a wonderful country.
Tom showed me the popular Stacraft player YellOw. "Lots of girls like YellOw because he's rich, plays Starcraft really well, and he's hot."
He must have gone through a geek-to-hot transformation, because in the video, he looks like two different men. The teenager peering through glasses at his computer screen does not resemble the cocky youth strutting through a cheering stadium.
In the battle shown below, the handsome YellOw is head to head against the top-ranked player Boxer. They duke it out on a stage, observed by hundreds of audience members. Amongst the screaming teen girls sit many middle-aged people waving streamers.
Boxer issues a rush against Yellow in the first five minutes. The two male announcers' voices rise in fevered pitch, as Boxer's minions rage through YellOw's town. Before the sixth minute is up, YellOw writes "gg" (slang for "good game") and resigns. Both announcers scream in voices so high they hit falsetto, "GG!!! GG!!!!!"
Smoke explosions fire upward from the edge of the stage. The camera pulls back to reveal the audience cheering at top volume.
You should queue this video and then skip to minute 4:45, unless you love watching starcraft moves.
Watching people go nuts is so fun. That's why I watch basketball and soccer. Not for the sport, but for the audience.