* Just a note here: some of the images and videos in this post may have some language and imagery that could be offensive to some, proceed at your own discretion. The views depicted in the images and videos are not representative of the author or editors.

Just an airplane shooting a bus-shaped soccer “ball” into the net right by a giant-headed anime-human hybrid. Nothing too crazy, really.

I don’t like soccer (or “football” if that is what you call it). …but I did just spend two days in a row watching a series of soccer tournament qualification matches. Why?

This isn’t your regular stadium, this isn’t your regular soccer…

Well, as to the reason why, I suppose there are a few factors:

  • All other sporting events are shutdown due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • It is something that I have always wanted to do, but never managed to schedule
  • I like to support independent creators

This tournament, officially the 2020 4chan Spring Babby Cup is part of a much larger production and multiple tournaments, that have been going on since 2011.

Using a modified version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 the various tournaments are populated by teams that are directly connected to the various topic-specific boards from the website 4chan.

The “players” of the /bant/ “banter” board stand for their team’s anthem.

The individual “players” on the team are representations of various memes that are popular on each board. The players represent a bulk of the modifications that have been made to the basic game, several teams have non-humanoid players and glitches and errors in models are common, something that is view as favourable, adding to the absurd appeal that the tournament possesses.

The games are played out using the game’s AI system, but each team has a “coach” that can define the strategy that the AI will use during games as well as handle player substitutions. The games and tournaments are broadcast live online. As a result of the modifications to the game, the matches are often quite humourous while maintaining the appeal of actual soccer.

2020 4chan Spring Babby Cup Qualifiers – Day 1

The games are quite the production, in addition to the modified players, special playing arenas and surfaces are used and custom soccer “balls” are played with. Each team has an “anthem” that is emblematic of the culture of the particular board and many players have a specific piece of music that is played if they score a goal. For a fan of their particular board, it is quite entertaining, for an outsider, it can be bizarre.

While the 4chan-centric nature of the tournament and concept in general can be polarizing, I believe that the effort, relying entirely on volunteer effort, is commendable. While there are numerous academic and pseudo-academic “studies” of what 4chan and its users are or represent; viewing a few games in a given tournament (especially with the chatroom) will give a unique perspective into the culture.

Those are the referees for this tournament, the very topical COVID-19 virii.

Well, after watching the qualifiers for the tournament, I am both happy and sad. I am incredibly happy that I finally managed to watch some part of any given tournament live; but, sad that this was my first time.

I am also a little sad that my two favourite teams in this particular tournament: /an/ – animals and nature and /n/ – transport did not advance, but I plan on watching the remainder of the tournament in the coming weekends, so I guess it looks like I am hooked…

Get more in formation on the 2020 Spring Babby Cup and other 4chan Cup (4CC) tournaments from the official wiki here.


Resources consulted: