Updated: Jun 3, 2021
The world of sport really has something for everyone, whether you enjoy football, rugby, or Bond-villain-henchman training. The same is true of esports – if not, even more so.
The games found in esports are varied and eclectic, and it’d be one serious cyber-scholar to have an awareness and appreciation of every single one. That’s why we here at Esports Scotland thought we’d throw together a few of the more ‘out-there' games that have technically met the minimum standards to be esports.
So have a gander at our list, and the next time you’re at an in-person tournament, you can lament the lack of representation of Farming Simulator, Turbo Racing Team, and Shrek SuperSlam.
1. Farming Simulator
Nope, we weren’t joking back there. We’re kicking off our list with Farming Simulator, a competitive farming game where two teams square off to see who can harvest the most wheat and store the most haybales in their respective barns.
Unfortunately, as a coeliac, I can’t participate in this league
This is one of those games whose descriptions put the game’s potential excitement levels on par with 'Competitive Paint-Drying-Watching', or 'Pro-Trips to the Dentist'. But shockingly, Farming Simulator creates some genuine tension, with split seconds being the difference between success and failure.
It has all of the elements you’d expect to find in a great esport and has a competitive edge and a tension that you really wouldn’t expect from it.
So if you’re looking to inject some excitement into your life, forget extreme sports and character-building travel, and instead find a Farming Simulator stream and get that heart pumping.
2. Shrek SuperSlam
The movie Shrek was an instant classic that taught a generation of kids not to judge a book by its cover and to always look for hidden layers. It was also notable for being the first film to be moulded out of pure spite. It went on to inspire a series of sequels, each worse than the last, as well as a musical that is better than it has any right to be - 'Who I’d Be' slaps start to finish and only a fool would claim otherwise!
And most notably, from the film came Shrek SuperSlam.
Set your Shrekspectations high for this SmashBros wannabe, where instead of Nintendo characters, you get a choice of your favourite Shrek characters, including Egg-Man, Witch Holding a Frog for Some Reason, and French Robin Hood From the First One. And just like SmashBros, you’ve got to work hard on your Shreknique or you’re likely to get Shrekt.
We were going to make a Shrexit joke, but as a serious publication we have to stay politically neutral
Shrek SuperSlam is a surprisingly fun game, but perhaps isn’t for those who want to take their esports too seriously. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t laugh every time Shrek body-slams one of Donkey’s mutant dragon children into oblivion.
And while this esport may be one of the most memey choices on our list, it still has a decent enough following to develop a culture of sorts. For example, playing as Red Riding Hood is often banned in tournaments, thanks to the character being way too OP - there is a particular move with throwing-apples that is the equivalent of leg-sweeping in Street Fighter.
So if you’re looking for a truly unique Shreksperience, get in about the Shrek esports scene – you know, I bet those words have never before been put together in the history of the English language.
3. Turbo Racing
Just like Shrek, this one is based on the timeless classic film Turbo, about a snail who runs really fast or something I don’t know I didn’t see it –no one did. But that didn’t stop someone out there from investing a considerable amount of money into making a game out of it, and it didn’t stop that game from becoming a reasonably popular esport.
The game is similar to MarioKart, excluding all of the parts of MarioKart that make it fun. Turbo Racing has you rocketing around a course occasionally hitting boost panels, all while picking up apples kindly donated by the apple tycoon Mr C. Bandicoot. And very little else.
The entertainment lies in the fact that, as all you snail-enthusiasts know, snails tend to move pretty slow, but the snails in Turbo are all real fast. This is called ‘comedically subverting expectations’, and is rarely successful.
We’ll be honest, this one is a bit of a stretch for us. We’re not super sure what motivated players to play a game where light drifting is the most exciting thing that happens, oh wait it’s because the prize was $1million.
This was unfortunately an instance where an esport became popular due to corporate interests, with heavy investment into the tie-game to advertise the film. We could spend a little while lamenting over our beloved sport’s integrity being taken to task by soulless corporations, but the film was forgotten literally immediately, so it ended up being a big L on the board for soulless corporations, and a funny footnote in the history of esports.
4. Just Dance
Just Dance was once the pinnacle of dance-based video games. No longer did we need clunky machines or unresponsive mats to allow us to throw virtual shapes!
Just Dance was one of the earlier games released for the Nintendo Wii, designed as a part of the range of fitness-based games the Wii wanted us to play after measuring our BMI’s and telling us we were all obese.
The Just Dance Esports League was another league put together by the developer of the game, Ubisoft, and ran for a few years before stopping due to something that happened last year. It’s been reasonably popular, enough for a recurring competition at any rate, and due to the popularity of the game, makes more sense as an esport than some of the other items on our list (looking at you, Turbo Racing!).
The league has an interesting feature whereby the views have some say in who would win. Alongside judge's scores, viewers can also vote for their favourite dancers, which is a fun addition and a great way to make the game feel a little more social. And to be perfectly honest, the League needed all the help it could get re:excitement, since the World Cup Final clocked in at almost 4 hours long! Imagine 4 hours of any of the other items on our list. Imagine 4 hours of Turbo Racing! We wouldn't wish that on our worst enemies. (Ironically, our worst enemies are the people who developed Turbo Racing).
Since Tetris is one of the most popular video games of all time, you’d be forgiven for wondering why this is on our list. The reason is simple: it’s absolutely insane that people are still playing Tetris.
Now don’t get us wrong, we love arranging wacky-shaped blocks as much as the next Brand Voice, but when you think about it, it’s bizarre that in a world with games that allow you to play as superheroes, action heroes, and grieving fathers, we still love the thrill of not knowing whether a squiggly or reverse-squiggly is going to be the next block in our lives. So much so that entire tournaments have sprung up around it.
I guess we're all reverse-L-blocks, in our own way.
Watching world-class players move at an ungodly speed with accuracy we mere mortals can barely dream of is the basic fun of any sport, but there’s something special about the Tetris World Championship. Few games have endured as long as Tetris, nor had as much of a cultural impact.
And while yes, it is crazy that this is an esport, it doesn't change the fact that the 2018 World Championship Final has over 16 million views! This actually makes it the most popular game on our list - certainly more popular than Turbo Racing.
So I guess, with the enduring popularity of the game, and the huge view count, Tetris isn’t that weird an esport after all. We're all learning here, folks!
6. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Senior World Cup
This one is interesting, because esports has, traditionally, been confined to the younger generations. The CS:GO Senior World Cup is a tournament that is made up of players who are all above 60 years old.
So this technically isn’t an esport you haven’t heard of, but instead an interesting development within the scene. We here at Esports Scotland love to see wider inclusion in esports, and seeing a demographic that you wouldn't expect to see is incredibly exciting. Who wouldn't want to see their granny wipe the floor with some filthy casuals?!
Well, according to the view counts, a lot of people would! The scene tends to rake in thousands of views, making it pretty popular - certainly more popular than Turbo Racing. Man, Turbo Racing sucks.
And that's our list! Did we miss your favourite obscure esport? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author
Calum Rosie is a writer and editor, and the Writing Coordinator for Esports Scotland. He is world-renowned for his elite gaming skills, charm, handsomeness, is responsible for editing these bios and is not above lying in them.