The Two Faces of Entertainment

Kabir Vega Castellanos

A Dota championship.  Foto:
A Dota championship. Foto:

HAVANA TIMES — In previous articles, I wrote about Dota, a very popular game among the young (even in Cuba, despite our well-known technological limitations).

The game has caused such a stir that there have been debates as to whether to consider it a sport. The first international Dota tournament, where 16 teams competed for a one-million-dollar prize, took place in 2011.

As I was once a fan of the game (and still play the occasional match to please my friends), I have been observing the reactions it produces in people up close, and I can say it does not strike me as a very positive experience.

Putting aside the addiction it causes, it is known that many players lose interest in the real world and try to replace with it the game’s virtual environment (in China, for instance, Dota fans are encouraged to develop their skills in places where they are given food and accomodations, so they can devote themselves entirely to the game). Two things I noticed made me change my opinion about the game:

First, when you play as part of a team and the aim is to be the best out in the battlefield, you don’t have fun unless you make the enemy team taste humiliating defeat. Players spend the entire time arguing, mercilessly criticizing the mistakes of their teammates and looking for someone to blame when they lose a game. The aim seems to be to bring out the worst in everyone. Some people leave their teams and friendships are ruined because of the offensive things people say to each other.

Second, whenever I saw teams from different countries compete, I imagined they were having a good time and that, in the end, it was something like an adventure for them. When I found out that a fairly good team, the DK (I have no idea what the initials stand for) had changed all of its members, I didn’t understand what had happened until someone explained to me that the team wasn’t run by those kids but was owned by a manager who decided who the team members were in accordance with their usefulness, regardless of their personal aspirations, much less their feelings.

I am sometimes frightened by the things that are done in the name of entertainment. I wonder why things that no one – not even the winners – seems to enjoy completely continue to be considered fun.