Nowadays, we have a wide variety of Esports to choose from. Be it the fast-paced FPS games like Fornite, CS:GO, or the more strategic Dota 2 and League of Legends, people would enjoy the hype of the competition. However, do you know when and what was the first Esports tournament about?

Surprisingly, the first Esports event fielded a retro game named Spacewar. The minor event took place in October of 1972 at Standford University. Students in Standford took part in an "Intergalactic spacewar olympics" to compete for the grand prize of a year subscription for Rolling Stone magazine.

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Video games since the earliest days have been a means of competition

The first Esports tournament

However, it was just the first sign of video games as a competition. The first major Esports tournament took place in America in 1980. The National Space Invaders Championship was organized by Atari – a pioneer in arcade games. Tournament attendances played the Space Invaders on Atari 2600 consoles.

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4,000 people gathered here in The National Space Invaders Championship

The tournament also had regional qualifiers in several US cities. The newspaper reported that more than 1,000 gamers showed up in each regional qualifier to claim a ticket to the grand finale in New York. Winners with the highest scores would then go to play on the main stage on the 4th floor of the Warner Building here. Impressively, the tournament attracted more than 10,000 competitors from around the nation.

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The game Space Invaders was popular during the 1980s

About 4.000 people gathered there in the grand finale to cheer for the competition – something so unconventional at the time. That was a massive record, arguably surpassing the figure some Esports tournaments nowadays can dream of.

The winner was a 16-year-old girl Rebecca Ann Heineman who had an intense love for arcade games. Instead of multi-million dollars for the champion, Rebecca won the Missile Command game for her glorious victory.

Though minor, the grand prize for winning an Esports tournament was worth the effort.

With the success of the event, Atari 2600 consoles got even more popular in the nation as it promoted the iconic Space Invaders game, then available at home. Prior to the invention of Atari 2600, Space Invaders was only available in casinos in arcade machines.