StarTalk®'s photo of NicoThePico skyping in to Playing with Science.
StarTalk®'s photo of NicoThePico skyping in to Playing with Science.

Esports, with NicoThePico

NicoThePico via Skype. Credit: StarTalk®.

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About This Episode

Game on! On this episode of Playing with Science, hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice venture into the rapidly expanding world of Esports. Esports is an ever-evolving umbrella of video game players, teams, and leagues that compete against each other in tournaments across the globe. To help our somewhat skeptical hosts understand the nuances of this world, they sit down with Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgård, head coach for PostFinance Helix, “Switzerland’s first professional full time League of Legends team.” We also check in with neuroscientist Heather Berlin, PhD, to see what’s going on inside the brain of an Esports athlete when playing.

To start, Nico explains how the world of Esports shares a similar structure and framework to the worlds of chess and soccer. You’ll find out the daily routine of an Esports athlete. Learn what it takes to be a top ten player in the world and Nico shares what he looks for when choosing athletes for his team. Get details on Nico’s current team, PostFinance Helix, and how his journey brought him to helm this first-of-a-kind opportunity. Discover the importance of mental and physical dexterity. You’ll learn how Nico deals with the age and maturity range amongst his players. Find out more about League of Legends, one of, if not the most popular Esports game. You’ll also find out if you have to be a great player in order to be a good coach. You’ll hear about the difference between preparing and mastering games like League of Legends compared to FIFA. Nico explains how one of his players trained by playing opponents who were using cheat codes – codes which make your gameplay unbeatable – and ended beating them anyway. We also explore how Nico elevates an already great player’s skillset. Chuck has his mind blown when he learns how much an Esports athlete can make per year and by winning tournaments. You’ll also discover how professional sports teams, like FC Shalke 04 in Germany, are developing their own Esports teams to appeal to future generations.

Finally, Heather stops by to help us understand what’s going on in an Esports athlete’s brain while playing. We discuss the high level of focus needed to play at a professional level. You’ll find out what parts of the brain are being used when playing Esports and how games can increase addictive human behavior. All that, plus, you’ll hear how Nico is taking his team through “neuroprotective” exercises. Game on!

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Esports, with NicoThePico.

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