Free to Play: The Stories of Those Who Play the Game We Love

“It’s easy to look at pro players like Dendi or Fear and think that they must be on top of the world given that they are where they are now. It’s true, they are playing a game full time and being paid to do it but that doesn’t mean they are without their personal battles (in addition to the ones they face in the video game world).  Behind each professional player featured in Free to Play (Dendi, Fear and HyHy) was a story of just how vital the ones close to them were to their success. Without the approval and love of Dendi’s family who recognized the gap he was filling with the loss of his father, or Fear’s mother who worked so hard to make a living for herself and still let Fear go down the uncertain path he chose, or HyHy’s girlfriend who was there for his to share  his every success and failure with (until she’d been through too much with him) these players wouldn’t have gotten to where they are now.

This is the true success of Free to Play. It shows just how important succeeding in the game is to the professional players who live and breath it. And by doing so, helps to create understanding for those who don’t live in that world but witness their children being completely taken in by it. It shows that playing games isn’t about just sitting at a computer. It’s about building ties with friends, practicing as a team, and constantly seeking to improve oneself. Most importantly, it demonstrates that even if these players are so devoted to the games they play there’s always someone they care deeply about and yearn for their approval and support. We aren’t throwing away everything else just to play games. We’re doing something we love and wish we could have the support of our family, friends and partners to pursue our dreams.

As a gamer, this combination of huge moments from the tournament, with some reenacted beautifully in CGI, (like Fear drawing attention away from the throne and turning the game, HyHy suprise picking Tiny and carrying his team, Dendi casting Black Hole, as a first time Enigma!, and grabbing four of the enemy team after Tidehunter’s ultimate and orbing out of the Roshan pit to Dream Coil the whole enemy team in the final game) with the personal stories behind left me with a serious case of the feels (so many people were touched by Free to Play that some were referring to it as Free to Feel). These are the stories of our lives everyday, but from the perspective of those who are fortunate enough to play this game for a living.

The stories in Free to Play are especially pertinent given that I’ve decided to jump full time into the world of gaming. Free to Play shows that personal stories carry their own significance and has inspired me to include more of my personal touch when it comes to writing about games.

All I can say is well done Valve. I enjoyed every moment of Free to Play and thought that the pacing and emotional points that were touched on were excellent. Now I’ll see if I can convince my parents to watch it!

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

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