Josh Berendes

ESports attracts players from all walks of life: it’s the most popular competitive gaming format in the world, where enthusiasts young and old compete for top prizes that are sometimes worth millions of US dollars.

You might have an image of the typical eSports gamer in mind: perhaps a quiet young guy who loves nothing more than spending hours a day playing his favorite game. But then, you might be wrong. Here are some of the most unusual eSport gamers around.

The oldest team 

ESports isn't just the domain of millennials and members of Gen Z. Video gaming competition has also attracted people from older generations across the world, particularly in a northern corner of Japan.

A group calling themselves the Matagi Snipers has just become the first pro eSports team made up of senior citizens. The team’s men and women members, who are all aged between 66 and 73 years old, will start competing in official events from April 2022 onwards. Like true professionals, they train together three times a week to hone their shoot-em-up skills, as their name suggests. 

As more and more computer literate workers retire over the next decade, we may start to see more elderly teams spring up – proving that you’re never too old to blast your way through Doom.

The youngest player - Lil Poison

When Victor de Leon III signed his first eSports contract with Major League Gaming, he was too young to do many things online. At that point, he still had to wait nine years before he could open an internet bank account himself, and additional two years before he could play an online casino game. In case you haven’t already guessed, Victor was seven years old

Under the playing name Lil Poison, the child star became the youngest professional gamer in history. His success led to amazed filmmakers making a documentary about him, which premiered at the New York Latino Film Festival.

While he made his name playing Halo – a game he’d played since the tender age of four – he now plays Fortnite and continues to wow eSports fans with his God-given skills. 

The female boss

The eSports industry has a lot of work to do when it comes to gender equality. For whatever reason, many female gamers are discouraged from entering tournaments, possibly put off by a macho atmosphere. 

Sasha ‘Scarlett’ Hostyn is doing better than ever, though. Her winnings of just short of half-a-million dollars make her the highest-earning eSports female of all time

Her specialty is Starcraft II. She has been Canada’s national champion and has won a string of top tournaments. Scarlett is also part of a female only Starcraft II league that has produced several talented players. 

Slowly but surely, players like Scarlett are turning the gender tide in eSports. 

The legendary ‘trash talker’ who retired at the age of 19

There’s a theory that an eSport gamer’s powers start to diminish at a young age. The sweet spot is your teenage years, when your reflexes are at the peak of their powers.

While the Matagi Snipers might furiously disagree with this, it may have influenced the thinking of Scott Lussier, also known as ScottGandhi. The Halo and Smite prodigy was one of the pioneers of the scene back in the early 2000s, backing up some incredible playing skills with some mean trash talking during games. 

He became just as famous for his linguistic skills as his playing, and in 2009 he switched the gaming pad for the mike when he retired to become a commentator. His colorful style has seen him call top eSports tournaments, where he backs his words up with first-hand knowledge of the gaming world. 

Whether ScottGandhi decides to return to action or not, he has left one legacy in the sport: a special Halo move he created – a mid-air hip-fire – has been christened the ‘Gandhi Hop’ in his honor. 

The eSports player who ended up in prison

Every sport has its own bad guys. In basketball it’s Dennis Rodman, in boxing it’s Floyd Mayweather, and eSports is no different. Lee ‘Life’ Seung Hyun, a Starcraft legend, is just as famous for his illicit activity as he is for his other-worldly skills.

Starting his career at the age of 14 when he became the youngest player signed to a South Korean team, he became one of the leading lights of the Starcraft scene. 

But this all came to a sudden halt in 2016 when South Korean prosecutors charged ‘Life’ with match fixing. Not only did he have to pay back the $62,000 that he received, but he was also put behind bars for 18 months. Blizzard Entertainment also stripped him of his titles in a notorious end to a glittering career.

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