Esports Documentaries: Glimpse at a strange and wonderful lifestyle

Esports documentaries are videos that provide crucial insights into the stories and lives of the people who work in the industry. They can range from players to teams to tournament organizers to on-screen talent to many others.

OG Documentary

Against All Odds Documentary

The documentaries use videos of relevant events like tournaments or behind-the-scenes footage and one-on-one interviews with important people in the space. Known as a confessional style, these interviews help the interviewees give their insights and reflections on key moments. Many esports documentaries help shed light on their respective scenes.

The Celebrity Millionaires of Competitive Gaming

VICE host Matt Shea travels around the world meeting various esports personalities, and glimplses at the lifestyle of esports athletes. One of the most famous esports documentaries ever made, is a must watch for everyone interested in learning about esports and get a glimplse of the culture.

Girl Gamers: Now Is Our Time

Girl Gamers: Now Is Our Time is an annual documentary series covering that year’s Girl Gamers Esports Festival. The series helps bring exposure to one of the underrepresented demographics in esports with professional female players.

The series shows the festival’s progress, both in its direct footage of the events and in each episode’s own improving quality. Despite lower viewership, the documentary series provides a platform that draws attention to the festival and competitive women in esports.

Live/Play Miniseries

The Live/Play Miniseries, produced by Riot Games, is a series that highlights significant community figures in League of Legends across the globe. The mini-series, which premiered in 2016, is a continuation of the 2015 documentary Live/Play that focuses on community figures like cosplayers, professional players, casual fans, and content creators.

The series is a tribute to the passion that motivates people from all backgrounds with many different professions and their unification through League of Legends. From North America to South Korea to Brazil to China to Taiwan to Mexico, the documentary showcases the heartfelt stories of League of Legends players worldwide.

Breaking Point

Breaking Point is a two-hour documentary focused on professional esports organization Team Liquid and their League of Legends team’s behind-the-scenes conflict during a tumultuous 2016 season of the League of Legends Championship Series.

The footage spans the entirety of the season and showcases the many conflicts between everyone on Team Liquid, from players to staff to management to the owner Steve Arhancet. It is a shockingly transparent video series that showcases footage from the players’ waiting room to team meetings to bedrooms.

Breaking Point was an unprecedented dive into the dramatic arguments, and strife kept hidden from fans behind closed doors.

A Rising Storm

A Rising Storm is a documentary focused on the Harrisburg University Storm, the esports team that arose from Harrisburg University’s esports program. The documentary centers on the program’s start in 2018 and its continued growth to the present as a national collegiate powerhouse.

The documentary showcases collegiate esports and traditional academic sports programs intersecting with the nascent esports industry. The head coach for Harrisburg University is Alex “Xpecial” Chu, a former League of Legends professional player best known for his time playing as Support for Team SoloMid.

All Work All Play

The All Work All Play documentary, produced by tournament organizer ESL, focuses on Season Nine of the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM). IEM is a globe-spanning pro-gaming tour that features the most famous teams across multiple titles (including Starcraft 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) competing for their respective championship title.

The 90-minute documentary highlights the eSports industry’s growth from small online competition from players’ bedrooms to sold-out stadiums with thousands of fans. With interviews from notable personnel such as Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere, All Work All Play focuses on the heights that esports has reached.

Free to Play: The Movie

Free to Play: The Movie is a 2014 hour-long documentary. Produced by developer Valve, Free to Play follows three professional players worldwide as they compete for the million-dollar prize. The tournament in question was The International (TI) 2011, the first world championship for Dota 2.

With the most recent TI 2019 boasting a prize pool of over 30 million dollars, Free to Play showcases where esports was at the start of the 2010s.

State of Play

The State of Play documentary focuses on one of the original esports scenes: Starcraft: Brood War in South Korea. Released in 2013, State of Play focuses on the harsh environments and struggles that young players must face if they hope to become professional players.

The 90-minute documentary focuses on legendary Starcraft professional player Jaedong Lee, and two aspiring hopefuls Joonhyuk Kim and Yohan Park. It serves as a stark look into the lives of those who would hope to become great.

Netflix’s 7 Days Out: League of Legends

Netflix’s 7 Days Out: League of Legends focuses on the week leading up to finals of the League of Legends Championship Series 2018 spring season. The 45-minute documentary focuses on the teams competing in the playoffs as they aim for the title.

7 Days Out features the immediate events of the personal family tragedy that struck Yiliang Peter “Doublelift” Peng during his semifinal match, one week before the finals.