On Veterans Day, CBS Sports Network will unveil “Triumph Games” a seven-day competition pitting 12 military veterans head-to-head in challenges of mind and body. Among the challenges are a triathlon, an obstacle course, a car race and America’s new favorite pastime—playing video games. Its producers tapped Frank Lee, PhD, director of Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio and the man responsible for skyscraping feats of video gaming in Philadelphia, to help put together a video game competition worthy of America’s finest.
Lee’s guidance led the producers to select Blizzard, Inc.’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, a head-to-head, turn-based digital card game that is one of the most popular competitions in the e-sports community.
“We wanted to keep as level a playing field as possible,” Lee said. “So we picked Hearthstone because it favors strategy over dexterity and speed. This part of the games will really put the competitors’ mental acuity to the test.”
One of the other driving factors behind the decision was the game’s significant worldwide following. Some 30 million people have played Hearthstone since its release in 2014, and high-profile competitions are viewed by millions on Twitch’s live video game streaming channel.
“E-sports is really taking off around the world, so it’s a natural pick for a competition that is putting a broad skillset to the test,” Lee said. “It also could bring a big audience to the competition. More than 32 million people watched the world championships of League of Legends —that’s bigger than the World Series.”
Lee sees his contributions to the “Triumph Games” as a way to thank veterans for their service and sacrifice, but also as a way to raise awareness within the game design industry about the importance of considering accessibility in their games.
“Many of these competitors are overcoming physical challenges to succeed at what they’re doing,” Lee said. “It’s important to remember that as a company or as a designer, a successful game is the one that can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.”
“Triumph Games” will air Nov. 11 on CBS Sports Network at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.