With the conclusion of the eighth Intel Extreme Masters season only a few days away, we’d like to take you on a little nostalgia trip all the way back to 2006, when filling a stadium full of eSports was nothing but a pipe dream.
While a lot has changed in eight years, however, a few things from 2006 have remained constant.
One look at its name might have made you assume that Intel being a part of the Intel Extreme Masters was a given. However, that wasn’t the event’s official name from the get-go. When we officially announced the European-only first season back in 2006, it went by the name of “Core 2 Extreme Masters by ESL”. 50 events and eight years later, it isn’t possible to imagine the highlight of the annual eSports calendar being known as anything other than “Intel Extreme Masters”.
Manuel “Grubby” Schenkhuizen was already one of the most popular and successful players when Intel Extreme Masters first began, and as such has often been a guest at our events. Since the beginning of the tournament series, the dashing young Dutchman has attended a dozen events to take part in both WarCraft 3 and StarCraft 2 competition. He’s won four medals (three of them in Warcraft 3) and even put a ring on the finger of his beautiful girlfriend – and now wife – Cassandra.
“The world’s most dangerous nerd” (according to him, anyway) wasn’t part of the ESL when Intel Extreme Masters traveled the world for the first time. However, that didn’t stop him from creeping into our events. As an editor for GGL.com, Carmac attended our eSports events right from the beginning to pose tough questions, pick people up and find hapless victims to troll. In 2009 he switched sides by joining the ESL, taking the lead on Intel Extreme Masters to henceforth answer the tough questions of other journalists, pick people up and find hapless victims to troll.
Nine game titles have featured during the eight seasons of the Intel Extreme Masters in total, although some of them only briefly as local side-tournaments such as Dota in Chengdu in 2009 and Shanghai in 2010. While Counter-Strike 1.6 is the longest-running title, featuring at events up until the sixth season, Warcraft will still be played in a sense at Katowice this year, both thematically with Hearthstone – the third title set in the Warcraft universe in Intel Extreme Masters – as well as genre-wise with StarCraft 2, Blizzard’s eSports RTS successor.
5. Suits (somehow)
The very first finals were tied to the business presence of Intel in a rather small area at CeBIT 2007. As a result, we at the ESL were asked to dress accordingly, and everybody – including our referees – had to suit up. However, we (Carmac especially) are grateful to be allowed to rock our nerd garb again – now only our handsome casting crew is still bound to suits.
All photos are from the first season in 2006 and 2007. Visit flickr.com/eslphotos to keep strolling down memory lane and explore the roots of Intel Extreme Masters.