I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole recently while researching Street Fighter V and came to a very important conclusion: I wasted my childhood.
I spent so much time playing video games, but I didn’t specialize in just one. Had I focused solely on, say, Tetris for a while, I could have been a future contender to win a sweet-looking block trophy and proved to my parents that I wasn’t wasting time (which I still stand by).
With that in mind here’s a list of games that you could play for a championship and — for some — money, which may be surprising for those of you not as familiar with eSports:
We’ll lead off with the game and the video from 2016 that inspired this list. There’s so much to love here: The commentary (“BOOM! Tetris for Jeff!”), the fact that they’re playing at ridiculous speeds, the strategy (we all know this one, but the more Tetrises, the better) and the trophy, a giant Tetris block.
The Classic Tetris World Championship — which is where this match is from — reports the winner takes home a cool $ 1,000, and the runner-up gets $ 500. But really, the title of Best Tetris Player in the World is worth more than that.
2. Tecmo Super Bowl
Tecmo Madison — which takes place in a Wisconsin bar every year — pits competitors on this Nintendo classic against each other. Recently, new management took over, Tecmo Madison XIII drew in a whopping 292 competitors in April of 2017, and Koei Tecmo, the company that made the game, is involved now.
3. A whole mess of Nintendo classics
In 2015, Nintendo held its World Championships, in which players qualified by playing various games across various platforms — including The Legend of Zelda, Super Metroid, and Mario Kart 8 — before the two finalists played never-before-seen levels made by experts using Mario Maker. Trust me: Watch the video above and tell me you wouldn’t be stressed out when presented those impossible levels.
Anyway, the prize was given to the champion by legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, which was cool. Nintendo should totally bring this tournament back again.
I played a lot of this in college, and now it’s a huge part of eSports.
Again: Played hours of this in college, wished I had played a lot more.
6. Street Fighter
Did you ever imagine you could win money after playing Street Fighter II endlessly at the arcade and on various platforms in the 1990s? Eventually, new Street Fighter games hit the market and now you’ve got big-name players battling each other in Street Fighter V.
7. Super Smash Bros.
Another side-scrolling fighting game that’s become its own sport.
If you’d been playing the EA classic since the 1990s and following the evolution of the game over the years, you could win the FIFA Interactive World Cup. Watch the wild ending to last year’s tournament above.
A guy named Frank “Stiff” Sardoni Jr. won the Madden 2016 Championship, and 16 finalists got to compete for a share of $ 50,000 in prizes.
Looks exciting, but I have no idea what’s going on here.