Gone are the days when playing video games would merely be seen as just a hobby or something our parents would nag us about.
Over the years, gaming or e-sports has only growing to encapsulate the world’s most sought after careers! All those hours put in to ranking up and overheating our CPUs are finally about to pay off and now, this goes for people with disabilities (PWD) in Malaysia as well.
Now, Malaysia’s first ever Para Malaysia Esports League 2021 (Para MEL21) is calling for registrations, and here’s the best part: the main prize pool is RM10,000. Yes, thats four zeros.
Para MEL21 is a month-long tournament aimed to encourage aspiring esports athletes to showcase their skills in line with the government’s objective to develop the esports scene.
The event, organised by Techninier and E-Sports Integrated (ESI), is an initiative to catalyse a sustainable and inclusive e-sports ecosystem under the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) in collaboration with the Malaysian Youth Council (MBM) and is supported by Malaysia Disability Youth Council (MBOKU).
“It’s important to ensure that access is given to as many e-sports enthusiasts as possible and that includes people with disabilities,” said Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Ahmad Faizal bin Dato’ Azumu, Minister of Youth and Sports.
The tournament is a part of the National E-Sports Blueprint to promote inclusivity within the local e-sports ecosystem where anyone can become professional gamers, regardless of their circumstances.
Whilst the e-sports scene has been booming, not to mention with a worldwide pandemic going on and all we can do is stay at home and grind on sweaty matches, it has yet to fully embrace complete inclusivity within its many programs.
Persons with disabilities (PWD) especially, do not have a nationwide platform to compete and showcase their equally as impressive skill set to a larger market, as compared to able-bodied people.
Taking inspiration from the Paralympic Games by International Paralympics Committee (IPC), KBS aspires to bring PWD-only tournaments into the mainstream.
An event such as this will hopefully gain recognition and support from industry stakeholders and organisations to start giving attention to the underserved and, some would say, neglected PWD segment of the gaming community.
An article published by Washington Post talked about how video games help people cope with their disabilities, and how it has been a great way for PWD to be competitive in a way that they can’t physically.
Gaming is also one of the many avenues and careers available to PWD, in a world where their disabilities are prejudiced as limitations which restrict them from joining the workforce.
“Understanding that there are very few channels for disabled youths to show off their esports skills, we are pleased to partner with ESI and MBM to launch the Para MEL21. This tournament is the first step Malaysia is taking to open doors to more opportunities and empower PWD esports players to break out in the professional scene,” said Dato’ Lion Peh, the CEO of Techninier.
“As long as they have passion and ambition, we believe that anyone, regardless of their identities or abilities deserve a fair chance to play no matter if they are hardcore gamers or casual gamers.”
Para MEL21 will run from now till 24 October. Throughout the month, all players can also participate in the Hebat Challenge featuring Techninier’s self-developed game Super Jones for a RM1,000 prize.
The main Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBGM) para-esports tournament will be held on 18-24 October where players will battle it out in respective solo and squad categories.
Additionally, the PUBG champions of Malaysia Esports League 2021 (MEL21) have been invited to participate in a PUBGM Show Match on 9 October in conjunction with the Malaysia Esports Festival (MEF), which is open to all registered players.
Register on esukan.gg now while slots last and GLHF!