Mar 19 2014 - 8:45 pm

The 10 best esports documentaries of all time

Free to Play, the most anticipated esports documentary of the year, just premiered earlier today
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

Free to Play, the most anticipated esports documentary of the year, just premiered earlier today. The hour-and-a-half long film, which covers the 2011 Dota 2 world championship, The International, has already been getting rave reviews.

The smash hit is just the latest in a long line of great documentaries recording the long history of the esports community and industry that stretches back decades.

We’ve compiled the ten greatest esports documentaries of all time that serve as the best history lesson you'll ever get on the subject. And yes, it includes Free to Play—we admit, it's great—but also nine other docs that are required viewing for veterans and newbies to the esports scene.

1) Free to Play

Valve’s Dota 2 masterpiece follows the 2011 International, a milestone tournament in esports history thanks to its million dollar first place prize. Better yet, the stars of the show are some of the best and most entertaining players in a booming scene.

2) The Smash Brothers

The Smash Bros. esports scene is entering a new golden age. The franchise has been an underdog for 15 years. Nintendo has done precious little to support it and even fellow fighting game fans view it as undeniably different from classics like Street Fighter. Now, as the game re-enters the spotlight, this movie does a brilliant job of articulating why so many people never stopped loving the game.

Watch the rest here.

3) Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade

The world of competitive gaming is decades old. From the first roving pixels in university computer labs, there were always players lining up to compete against one another. It took until the early 1980s for real organization to emerge out of the chaotically popular arcades that dominated the day. Chasing Ghosts chronicles the rise of the greatest arcade players of all time and the culture that surrounded them.

Watch the full movie here.



With the rise of online PC gaming in the 1990s, esports finally began to resemble its modern form in the Western world with games like Quake and then Counter-Strike. FRAG is a wonderful film that spotlights the emergence of the Cyberathlete Professional League, its founder Angel Munoz, and its first superstar, Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel. FRAG never loses its keen sense of history, something that is more and more essential with each passing day and new fan to esports.

5) King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Many competitive gaming movies are great overviews of a fascinating world but few if any can claim to have as great a story as King of Kong. Resembling something like the battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, King of Kong shows us that even after 30 years, the drive to be the best in the world never leaves some people.

Watch all parts of the movie here.

6) Beyond the Game

East vs. West is a common theme in esports. South Korea and China have both dominated more than their fair share of games, making their superstars legends in their worlds. Here, we see WarCraft 3 player Xiaofeng “Sky” Li face off against his European foe Manuel "Grubby" Schenkhuizen in a film that offers rare insight into what it means to be at the center of an intercontinental rivalry.

7) Focus

Street Fighter events are, in a word, hype. The crowd is screaming, the players are smashing their sticks and gritting their teeth, and the commentators are loving every minute of it. It’s a world made for movie magic. Focus tracks pro icon Mike Ross on his journey through Street Fighter’s biggest championships against some of the best players of all time. There’s nothing quite like the fighting game community and no movie gives you a better look inside than this one.

8) MTV True Life: I’m a Gamer

Once upon a time, getting anything about esports on TV was a huge deal. When MTV decided to put Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel on their popular documentary series True Life, it was a milestone moment in competitive gaming history.

The episode, which features a few other well-known gamers at the time, follows Wendel when he’s at the absolute top of the esports world. And if you didn’t already know how high his peak was, here’s a hint: Wendel dropped from the highest earning esports player of all time to second only late last year, nearly a decade after he put the keyboard and mouse away. This is required viewing for all esports fans.

Watch the full documentary here.

9) Day[9]’s WCG 2005 Journey

Before Sean “Day[9]” Plott became the voice of the StarCraft 2, he was merely the best StarCraft 1 player in America. It was a small game in the Western world back then, bringing in virtually no audience to the United States' World Cyber Games national finals. But this short movie proves that even when the seats in the arena are empty, the game and its players are what matter above all else.

10) e@thletes

Here’s an iconic esports image for you: Jason Lake screaming so loud standing behind his Complexity Counter-Strike squad that it looks like his red tie and white shirt are on a little too tight. Counter-Strike is undergoing an incredible renaissance right now. But we shouldn't forget that last decade, guys like Lake and teams like 3D defined esports for a good reason: You can never forget about them.

You can watch the full documentary on Netflix.

Photo via Valve


Jan 23 2017 - 8:37 pm

Armada takes out Genesis 4 Melee crown

His win at Genesis 4 helps solidify his claim as the best Melee player of all time.
Xing Li
Dot Esports

We've seen this story before. Adam "Armada" Lindgren vs. Joseph "Mang0" Marquez for the Genesis Super Smash Bros. Melee title.

Once again, Armada emerged victorious.

Both players are idolized in the Smash community for their stunning success over the years. But if any venue has been the site of their personal rivalry, it's Genesis, where the two have met in the finals again and again. There were other talented players in the field, but this is the matchup most fans wanted to see at Genesis 4.

Armada had the easier path to the final by virtue of his 3-1 victory over Mang0, which sent his rival to the loser's bracket. Armada had a relatively easy time, absolutely controlling stages and strangling life from his opponents. His run seemed relatively routine until he ran into Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman.

Mew2King was on-point with grabs and air attacks on his signature Marth. Many times, Armada was stalling on Peach, trying to get into winning situations. Mew2King had a lead and momentum.

But Peach is hard to finish off and Armada's stalling got him to a deciding fifth game. Even then, Mew2King had chances, but missed key inputs. Small mistakes compound against a talent like Armada, and he punished Mew2King relentlessly.

In the loser's bracket, Mang0 survived by grit and guile, coming back from numerous deficits. First, it was against William "Leffen" Hjelte, where Mang0 mounted an insane comeback to tie the set at two games apiece. But Leffen came out strong in the deciding game and quickly took a two-stock (life) lead. Down to his last stock, Mang0 found his way back to the middle of the stage and went ham, somehow ending Leffen's run. The comeback ignited the crowd, with fans hugging and high-fiving at what they just witnessed.

Things wouldn't get easier. Juan "Hungrybox" Manuel Debiedma, valiantly playing with a broken finger, used Jigglypuff's burst to take big stock leads. But Mang0 continued to control the center of the stage to take Hungrybox down. He then beat Mew2King—reeling from his loss to Armada—to set up the finals rematch.

Fans wanted to see a show, but it was a different one than they might have expected. Though these two have gone back and forth in extremely close sets over the years, Armada has been on a tear for the last several months. And the final against Mang0 was no different. Instead of a close, tightly-fought match, fans got a coronation.

Armada had an answer for everything Mang0 threw at him. He floated around and seemed to take no damage. It was perhaps his most convincing win of the day.

Melee has been ruled by the Six Gods (which includes all the aforementioned players) for years now. But Armada is beginning to separate himself from the pack. He stands alone at the top at the beginning of 2017—if he ends the year in the same position, he could cement himself as the greatest Melee player of all time.

Today - 4:16 pm

Funko Pop! releasing new wave of Overwatch toys

We're most excited about D.Va's tiny vinyl mech.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Funko Pop! is extending its Overwatch toy lineup. Mei, McCree, Lúcio, Symmetra, Reinhardt, and D.Va were unveiled on Monday at the London Toy Fair.

Previously, only Tracer, Winston, Soldier: 76, Widowmaker, Pharah, and Reaper were available as vinyl Funko Pop! toys. Mei, McCree, Lúcio, and Symmetra will likely stand around 3 3/4 inches tall—standard for Funko Pop! toys—with D.Va in her mech and Reinhardt hitting the six inch mark. Funko is known for its adorable, stylized Pop! vinyl toys—big heads and extra large, round eyes—and these don't disappoint.

Image via Funko

From the photos on the Funko blog, it appears that each character will come with its own weapon. Mei's got her tiny blaster, McCree with his cigar and pistol, Lúcio has his sonic amplifier, while Reinhardt holds his giant hammer and Symmetra places her mini turret. D.Va, of course, gets her mech—but there's no bunny blaster in sight.

Neither Overwatch developer Blizzard Entertainment nor Funko have announced exactly when the toys will be released, except that they're expected in 2017. A tweet from the official Overwatch account suggests they'll be available on Blizzard's website.