Life & Leisure

Esports tourney aims to promote Argentine cult classic

By Sebastian Meresman

Buenos Aires, Apr 7 (efe-epa).- An Esports tournament set to take place early next month aims to bring greater visibility to Argentum Online, a multi-player, role-playing video game that was entirely developed in Argentina and has a cult following in that South American country yet still lacks mass appeal.

Roman Petreniuk and Nicolas Nuñez, the co-organizers of Copa Argentum, told Efe that this game developed in 1999 fits perfectly into the format of an electronic sports competition and said they foresee the emergence of professional players in the medium term.

“Copa Argentum is an Esports competition that will be featuring a 100 percent Argentine game, which is Argentum Online. It’s a game that’s already over 20 years old. It was programmed by a team of young Argentines, and what’s unique about it is that its source code was released in 2003,” Petreniuk said.

The release of the code enabled anyone with programming skills to create their own version of Argentum Online.

“It was a great thing and what’s kept the game going. That also helped tons of young people start to get a sense of what programming is, including me, because it was about taking that game … educating yourself a little and trying to create some version of the game,” he said.

Six five-player teams will compete in the inaugural edition of the nine-day, online Copa Argentum, which will begin on May 1 and be broadcast on Twitch, an American video live-streaming service. Although a version of Argentum Online especially designed for the tournament will be used, the essence of the original game will be preserved.

“We’ve been Argentum players for many years and we program thanks to Argentum. I’d been closely following Esports – both at the gaming and competition level, as a consumer and at the industry level – because I’m very interested in the business that’s being built here in Latin America. Overnight we came up with the idea of reviving Argentum Online with this type of competition,” Petreniuk said.

Nuñez, for his part, described Argentum Online as a role-playing game that takes place in a medieval fantasy world populated by different races and professions, including gnomes, elves, assassins, carpenters and pirates.

“You’re in a hostile world, you have to face enemies and creatures. You gain experience by overcoming enemies and creatures and gradually move to higher levels. The interesting thing about the game is fulfilling the role of your character, your class, your race. And there’s also the gameplay, how you interact with other characters and with the game,” he explained.

“Everyone has their own way of playing and moving. That’s a very unique characteristic of this game, of Argentum. I didn’t find that in any other game. Essentially, it’s a role-playing game, and the interesting thing for me is the confrontations with other players when you find yourself in this hostile world,” Nuñez added.

One of the motivations for creating the tournament was to push Argentum Online, which enjoys a rabid cult following in Argentina, more into the mainstream, according to the competition’s co-organizer, who said he and Petreniuk saw a great opportunity to capitalize on the growing popularity of Esports. EFE-EPA


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