The landscape of eSports is dominated by competitive gaming giants like Dota 2 and League of Legends. There’s no denying that these games draw a large crowd both digitally and physically. But they don’t control every aspect of the industry and there are many lesser known eSports games that you probably weren’t aware have a devoted competitive following.
These eSports games and titles may not carry a big buy-in price tag or have competitors vying for a tens of millions sized prize pool, but that doesn’t mean they should be discounted. In fact, some of the titles on our list are favorites that you’ve likely played casually in the past or currently.
Smaller scale eSports games offer would-be competitors an opportunity to compete on a more local level with less commitment and lower stakes. If you’re interested in entering the realm of eSports at the pool steps rather than diving right in the deep end, or you’re interested in the smaller scenes of eSports games, then check out this catalog from Gamercraft!
You Can Compete in these eSports Games?
1) Super Smash Bros
You may or may not find this one surprising, but Super Smash Bros is definitely one of the smaller scale eSports games you’ll find. As widely popular as Super Smash Bros is and has always been as a franchise, competitions for the beloved brawler are kept fairly lowkey in the world of eSports. In fact, you’ve likely only seen groups of students on college campuses playing the game in between classes out in broad daylight (perhaps that’s just my personal experience). Super Smash Bros tournaments are held year-round in cities around the world, usually only hosting around 1,500 or less competitors.
2) PuyoPuyo Tetris
It’s hard to believe that a Tetris vein game would develop an eSports following. Well, believe it. This character-centered cartoonish styled Tetris eSports game is definitely small in scale, but local play tournaments crop up quite frequently. While not quite on the scale of Super Smash Bros, this puzzle solving adventure touts a loyal following that can’t be ignored.
3) Team Fortress 2
Remember The Orange Box? With Portal, Half-Life 2, and Team Fortress 2? Maybe that’s a gaming history deep cut. Team Fortress 2 (TF2) is an older character team-based multiplayer battle game that’s been around since 2007. As old as it may be, twelve years has done very little to dwindle the player base of TF2 and stop it from becoming an eSports game title. Most competitions take place in the United States and prize pools typically reach into the tens of thousands. The tournaments don’t reach $14 million in prize money like one of the most recent Dota 2 tournaments, but it’s a decent chunk of change to take home for playing one of OG champion based multiplayer battle games.
4) Pokémon Titles
Not only can you catch them all, but you can compete with them too! Believe it or not, your favorite pocket monsters compete with their trainers for awesome prizes in ways you wouldn’t expect from this beloved classic franchise. Play! Pokémon events provide friendly competition for Pokémon trainers of all ages from around the globe. Prize pools max at $25,000 and smaller prizes are awarded to those who place lower in the tournaments. Winners can either take a cash or scholarship prize.
5) Mario Party
Let’s be real, Mario Party is far less intense than Mario Kart (think back to the last time you tried to play with your family). But, aggressive family competition aside, Mario Party has developed a decent following as an eSports game. The board game play style combined with head-to-head competitive minigames make for a perfect title that pairs skill and chance. Tournaments for this eSports game are regularly held in Las Vegas throughout the year with less than 150 participants. Competitors receive a portion of a prize pool and often can compete for a less than $10 entrance fee.
While we mentioned PuyoPuyo Tetris earlier in this list, classic Tetris still enjoys a large competitive following. The beloved puzzle solving game is the center of the Classic Tetris World Championship hosted each year. The 2018 competition saw a spectating audience of 41,000 and more than 100 players competing. Long-standing rivalries have developed year-after-year and the competition is hosted over the course of two days. Prize pools consist of a $1,000 grand prize and a $500 lower place prize. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it can’t still compete and draw a following.
Many games we’ve played throughout our childhoods have found competitive play aspects with the rise of the eSports industry. Who would have thought that we’d see games like Super Smash Bros and Tetris become competitive? They may not feature all the glamour and fanfare of a Dota 2 or Counter-Strike tournament, but there’s something to be said for competing on a more intimate level with games we all know and love.
If you’re looking to get into the world of competitive gaming, start with one of these eSports games!0