GosuGamers Awards 2010: Community Effort of the Year
Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski is one of the best StarCraft 2 commentators in the world. Tasteless, his right hand man, knows his way around a pun. The complementary duo are old school to the bone and have been community staples for many years. As they bring the GSL to the entire globe, the casting archon is the face of StarCraft to much of the world. A few exceptions in Brood War notwithstanding, the duo is pioneering live English commentary on top level play and they’re doing it with style. Although they’re not even close to technically perfect, this is part of their appeal. Some of their best moments are after gaffes and unpredictable slip ups. They bring the top level of StarCraft to the English-speaking world and they seem like excited fans as they do it - after all, they are just that. Their success in conveying the game’s excitement to the world is essential to the e-sport’s future. For those who haven’t watched in recent seasons, take another look: they’re getting really, really good at what they do.
Sean “Day9” Plott is the ambassador of e-sports. His daily program is by now a gaming institution attracting thousands of viewers every single night. His StarCraft 2 countdown was the most important tournament and event of the beta and it was run beautifully, not an easy task. When Sean isn’t in school, he jet-sets around the world to cast major tournaments almost everywhere except for the GSL. Every event wants him, every sponsor is wondering how to get their logo tattooed on his forehead. Every magazine and website wants to interview him. He is loved not just by the newbies he helps but by the very top level players he grew up playing with, putting him in the uniquely awesome position of being on good terms with almost everyone in the StarCraft community (and quite a few people outside of it). His “State of E-Sports” address recently invigorated his audience, inspiring them to try to make 2011 the biggest year in e-sports yet. After more than ten years in e-sports, Day9 seems inexhaustible and ubiquitous. Sean is a positive and powerful force of nature. His fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
In a dark basement factory, Mike “Husky” Lamond seems to manufacture new StarCraft viewers for himself every night. His beta commentaries launched his YouTube channel to fame. His consistent output and business acumen (and unwillingness to go back to college to be a male nurse) has kept him there. His videos gain hundreds of thousands of views on a slow day and millions when they are something special. He’s making connections beyond StarCraft by bringing in powerful sponsors that you might not expect to see in the e-sports scene such as Netflix. He’s personally responsible for at least thousands of players keeping up with the competitive scene through his videos. His humor and energy make him more money than god - on the occasions that I’ve seen monetary figures from his channel, I got a bit dizzy.
As might be expected of someone who is so quickly successful, he is a divisive figure in more hardcore circles (and among the angriest Zerg around) but you’d be a fool to deny the impact and and energy he’s bringing to the scene. Jealousy manifests itself in many ways, the most common being angry forum posts. There are many fair criticisms to make of him as well but, often, vitriol seems more pervasive than fairness when it comes to Husky.
Esoteric divisiveness aside, he may very well be the most financially successful StarCraft 2 caster on the planet. He has a legion of fans and one eye is on them always. Love him or not, this e-sports entrepreneur is very, very important to the scene.
Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham has been a force in the e-sports world for 11 years. Several people reading this article may have been in diapers at that point. He has been a major figure in the FPS e-sports world for a decade and, after long enjoying Brood War from afar, has now easily transitioned into one of the biggest and most influential personalities in the RTS universe. His weekly shows (Live on Three, Kings of Tin, Call and Brawl, Epileptic Gaming, Weapon of Choice) are some of the most well-watched and consistently excellent content on the scene - but they’re still criminally underrated. Along with State of the Game, it is difficult to find a conversation as well-educated and interesting as this. His great content aside, he is an excellent commentator. His professionalism, sense of timing and experience are unmatched. His resume and ability often makes several other professionals on this list look like nervous hopefuls, not the established successes that they are.
His dedication to e-sports as borne out through the constant flow of high quality content coming out of his corner of the internet is matched by very few. While he is an underdog to win this poll simply by nature of how long some of the others have been visible in the scene, he is a great asset to the community and should not be overlooked.
Much of the StarCraft community view HD and Husky as a pair. HD is slightly behind his cohort in views, subscribers and, lately, visibility but this doesn’t diminish what he’s already accomplished. He has more than 3 times the viewers of ESPN’s YouTube channel. He is the #3 most subscribed reporter of all time (Husky is #2, iJustine is #1) and, over the past year, has been one of the most visible faces in StarCraft (most specifically for the first three quarters of the year). He was asked to work at major events by ESL and MLG and helped organize and publicize the large HDH tournament during beta. I have never seen specific numbers as to how much money he makes on his YouTube channel but I have a feeling that is for the best: more than 316,000 subscribers and over 100 million views will net you a pretty penny, that much is for sure.
If Husky is divisive in the more hardcore circles, the feelings toward HD are generally even icier. Even his nickname, a fairly blatant self-promotional advertisement, turns some people off. In the end, you may love or deride him and his style but the results are undeniable. He’s a successful e-sports entrepreneur, a self-made man in the world of competitive gaming. At the very least, he ought to get plenty of credit for that.
John “Junkka” Park, the Robin to the Batman that is Tastetosis, is a key part of the GSL team. His most visible job is to translate interviews with the Korean gamers giving the English-speaking world unprecedented access to the top players of their favorite game. Beyond that, he does awesome community outreach by posting in various forums around the scene as the GSL games are rolling, providing the team in Korea with real-time feedback from their audience. And he’s a benevolent god, too: when the GSL stream is having trouble and he sees you post your restream in a thread, he’ll quietly post “I’ll pretend I didn’t see that” and dutifully continue his job.
Forgive him that he recently had to go to rehab for his WoW addiction. He’s a very visible, active part of one of the most important teams in e-sports, the folks over at the GSL.
Geoff “iNcontrol” Robinson is a very, very good StarCraft player, true. But he’s much more popular than other players at his level. Why is that?
First of all, the man is a competitive weightlifter and a giant. At a StarCraft tournament, he simply stands out physically. Legends of how he once tore off an opponent’s arms are told at night to scare children who cheese. Appearing on television’s “WCG Ultimate Gamer” certainly helped. He is outspoken: on the forums, at tournaments, on the podcasts (State of the Game in particular) and everywhere in between. Geoff has been playing StarCraft since the original game’s beta and has long been a top level North American player and figure in the community.
Recently, he hopped aboard the ‘e-sports entrepreneur’ train when he joined GosuCoaching, a StarCraft teaching site that would become one of the most visible tournament organizers on the scene starting in the beta. Although the site has experienced severe public difficulties - running a growing business is no easy task - it remains popular and has attracted some of the biggest names in Western StarCraft. And even with heavyweights such as Idra and ret on board, iNcontrol remains the name most associated with the brand.
He is as prolific a player as he is a talker. Lucky for us, he tends to put significant thought into both (cue the peanut gallery) and will probably be doing so for years to come.
Dennis “TaKe” Gehlen is the man you might have seen interviewing gamers at IEMs. Or, perhaps you’ve seen a tournament he’s thrown. You’ve probably seen some of his high quality interviews on YouTube or the mob of players he led to meet TLO on his return to Germany. Chances are that you’ve seen something TaKe has done even if you don’t know it.
What he lacks in self-promotional zeal, he makes up for in uniquely high quality content being put out on a regular basis.
ESL is home to a pretty impressive stable of e-sports journalists. Carmac can lay claim to greater fame among English speakers (most of TaKe’s content in German) but that is part of TaKe’s charm. To viewers, he does not come across as a vulture trying to capitalize on the burgeoning world of e-sports, simply a talented man who takes what he does just seriously enough. It has won him a number of notable fans.
The face of Team Liquid and the man who has orchestrated the West's return to Korea is one of the most important and influential figures in the StarCraft community. Team Liquid's presence is South Korea has single-handedly grabbed the interest of countless non-Korean observers, giving them familiar players to root for and hear from on a regular basis through streams, interviews and posts.
The team has not won a championship but Jinro's success last season coupled with players such as TLO and Ret have given hope to countless players and teams. It is no coincidence that after Team Liquid's success in the GSL, we are suddenly hearing more and more talk of foreigners going to Korea: the EG house, FXOpen's Moonglade, the GSL foreigner house and more.