Major League Gaming's premiere broadcast was on the USA network this past Saturday, and it issued a killtacular to other gaming shows (listen up, G4). Looking very slick and professionally produced, MLG covers a seven week long Halo 2 tournament that eventually crowns one four man team the national champion and hands out over $250,000 in prize money.

Each week's tourney is three days long, and uses standard bracket tournament structure. Lose once, and you drop to the loser's bracket. Lose twice, and it's pack your bags and head home. At the end of the third day, one team is left standing and advances to the next round. The show excels in game coverage, and we can only imagine the hours of editing that go into this thing. When you cover a sport like baseball, you pretty much know where to point the cameras and what to expect. In Halo 2, unless you're extremely familiar with the game, you'll be clueless if you try and cover it in a video format because of the chaotic nature of the game. They use a combination of in-game video feeds both from players and from spectators, and have cameras covering the real-life players as they shout instructions to teammates.

Speaking of the players, there's a lot of smacktalk that happens here, although it's pretty good-natured for the most part. Except for this one punk ironically named Gandhi. He's the sort of person who you imagine was probably bullied a lot of a kid, and now takes it out on anyone within the sound of his voice. Every sport needs someone you hate to love, or love to hate (much like Terrell Owens), and he's the one. In this show he screams "WHY DO YOU PLAY THIS GAME???" to the opposing players. Zing!

The two hosts, Penn Holderness and Sundance DiGiovanni (Sundance? Really?) are not bad for the most part, although Sundance looks a bit uncomfortable on camera, and seems to be reading from a teleprompter half the time. Penn is much cooler under fire, although some of his in-game commentary is off the wall, "That's an inordinate amount of motion in the Team Slayer game!" Wha? It is? We're willing to forgive him because video game color commentary is extremely fledgling, and there's going to be a learning period that will feature some invented language, obvious-isms like "Whoa! He killed that guy with the sword!" and non sequiturs.

They feature fairly in-depth team and player interviews, break down each gametype and explain the maps well for non-players, and do a good job of making it seem exciting. If you've played Halo or Halo 2 and spectated during a match, that's the look this show is going for. We'd like to see more variety in the games played, because watching people play Halo 2 is going to get old after a couple of shows (how about some SOCOM or Guitar Hero 2 tourneys?), but so far we like it.

You can watch the first full episode on their site. Major Leauge Gaming airs on the USA network at 10am every Saturday for the next six weeks. Be sure and check out their "Don't get schooled by Grandma" commercials during the show.

[Thanks, R Gnome]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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