U.S. Universities Join the Star LeagueS

No, not the Rylan Star League. Princeton and 25 other colleges have teams in the "Collegiate Star League." Friday, the Tigers took on Tsinghua U. of Beijing, and The New York Times covered the action.

The New York Times covered the match for yesterday's edition, describing the genesis of the league and dropping in some comments that should make a few tuition-paying parents recoil.

"We're looking to get more people off the athletic field and into the gaming room," said Peter Liu, who is also described as having an A.P.M. (actions per minute) of 200. Korean pros go upwards of 500.

The Collegiate Star League seems to have gotten its start at Princeton, where the concept was initially laughed out of the room. But a match against M.I.T., and some well produced hype videos leading up to it, brought people around to the idea.

The League is currently in its playoffs - Princeton, having been eliminated earlier, took on Tsinghua in a friendly on Friday and took at least one victory in a five-round match. The Times calls the action:

The match began as green (Princeton) and beige (Tsinghua) drones, fluttering triangles with tails, and jellylike spawning pools, started filling up the screen.

"Here we go, here we go," Liu said excitedly as Princeton's legions of green-winged Zerglings started attacking Tsinghua's half-built defenses. Flames shot up from Tsinghua's bases. Standing now, the audience hooted and clapped. It was Princeton's first win of the evening. A few moments later, Zhang came back in, a broad smile on her face, and double high-fived a few teammates.

Every time I want to say the idea of gaming as a spectator sport is flat-out absurd, I remember that it's a million-dollar business in South Korea. And that a friend and I once set a point spread, over-under line, and bet on both while watching the computer play itself in Madden.

Princeton Goes International for StarCraft E-Competition [The New York Times]