Channel surfers seeking refuge from the world might have stumbled across an esport on ESPN2 that is as brilliant as it is horrifying.
Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Excel Esports All-Star Battle.
It has a been a rocky road for competitive video gaming on the sports network. In 2016, ESPN embraced the esports phenomenon before apparently pulling the plug during the pandemic (even as traditional sports struggled to adapt to new restrictions and regulations).
However, over the weekend, ESPN broadcast a replay of the battle, replete with eight competitors fighting it out over a set of Excel tasks. Some of the participants had notched up tens of thousands of hours in Excel and favorite functions were shared. Be still, our beating hearts.
While ESPN’s showing was more of an edited highlights (you can enjoy the nearly three-hour stream here), we have to admit it was all rather gripping. The first round was a slot-machine type task. The second simulated a yacht regatta and the third involved an Excel-based platformer featuring “Modelario”.
We shan’t spoil anyone’s viewing enjoyment by revealing the winner, although will say that leading the pack after the first round is not necessarily a guarantee of success by the end of the third. There are also lessons to be learned in linking, copying, and pasting.
Certainly, many an Excel user will nod sagely at the forehead slapping from the competitors as seemingly simple errors cost them dear. But, hey, this is what competitive Excel wrangling is all about.
Excel is one of those productivity tools that seems firmly entrenched in the corporate world. Prior to its introduction in 1985, Microsoft marketed Multiplan. Lotus 1-2-3 comprehensively trounced Microsoft in the DOS world, but was slow to adapt to the Windows environment. The rest is history.
It does, however, need to be carefully handled. Recently, there was the case of lost records during the pandemic due to an outdated file format, and its errors went off planet when UK astronaut Tim Peake blamed the tool for a wrong number dialed from orbit (the importation of his contacts list had not gone well).
Heck, there is even the infamous music video in which Kelly Rowland appeared to send a text using the software. One more example, we fear, of people trying to make Excel do something that it really can’t.
Still, we remain delighted that Excel esports is a thing and await the next installment. With fans eagerly following the virtual exploits of their favorite Twitch streamers, we look forward to more competitive antics using Microsoft’s productivity suite that don’t involve malware and vulnerabilities.
Competitive Outlook? We’d love to hear your thoughts below. ®