Prepare for marbles to become the next major esport.

I don’t think there’s a finer YouTube channel right now than Jelle’s Marble Runs, which hosts Marbula One, the world’s premier marble racing event. Marble racing is, in fact, a legitimate sport. Yes, it includes athletes—are you going to tell me Minty Maniacs team leader Minty Flav isn’t a racetrack star? Jelle’s Marble Runs, like Blaseball, is a charmingly bizarre sport with its own rich mythology. And it’s now going to be a video game.

Marble League 2021: Jelle’s Marble Runs has released a trailer. I’m watching The Game on Saturday, and I’m loving what I’m seeing. I mean, let’s just go through the trailer highlights: Aiming gonna be the next big thing in esports:

  • “Ultra-realistic physics”
  • “A compelling story mode”
  • Design your own marble team
  • “Take key managerial decisions as the season unfolds”
  • Stats for marble athletes
  • Multiplayer
  • Commentary by Greg Woods (*the* marble racing commentator)
  • Marbles

Do the visuals in Jelle’s Marble Runs appear to be rudimentary? Yes, but I say it doesn’t matter when the field of marble esports is so fertile. I’m not sure why you’d watch League of Legends on Twitch when you could see a dozen marbles hurtle down a track instead.

Jelle’s Marble Runs will undoubtedly create an excellent esport because it is accessible to everybody. Of course, you won’t have direct control over the marbles. That would be absurd. They’re the athletes, and you’re the coach putting up a championship-caliber squad. That will set this game apart from other marble games I enjoy, such as Marble It Up!, but there is certainly no one way to have fun with marbles.

Jelle’s debut videogame, according to the teaser above, will be released this autumn, but it’s tied to an Indiegogo campaign that appears to be failing to meet its financial target of $81,817. I’m not sure what happens if the game falls short, but I hope the devs have the means to continue working on it. Based on the “early development footage,” it appears to be in bad shape, but there is no other sports game I’d rather play this year. One YouTube commentator puts it succinctly:

“Of all the sports games in the world, all the corporations that tried and failed, a small YouTube channel outperforms them ALL with a game about marbles… Jelle, you’ve done an excellent job, and may we continue to roll for a long time!”

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