In recent years, the latest evolution in gaming has been it’s transition from something that was casual in the family room and bringing it into convention centers filled with fierce competition and screaming fans. Competitive gaming is taking video games to new heights as it’s providing the opportunity for gamers to receive credit for their skill, hard work and practice. Where they get to be considered athletes just like any other athlete in their prospective sport. Not everyone can hit a home run out of Yankee Stadium, but not everyone can get a No-Scope head shot in Gears of War 2 (across the map mind you) either. This past weekend, in conjunction with the New York Anime Festival, The World Cyber Games held it’s United States Final in order to help find what players would represent the good old U.S. of A. in Chengdu, China for the World Championship of gaming. A collection of the best players in the nation were among those looking for a shot to represent Team USA, and judging from those that made the final cut, I’m sure we’re bringing some hardware back to the states. Since DualShockers is all about bringing you the reader non stop video game news coverage, we thought it would be appropriate to give you some insight about the WCG and our weekend at the U.S. Final.What separates the WCG Tournament from most leagues out there (that are left) are the sheer number of different titles to participate in. Here’s the complete list:
You can also count Gears of War 2 on that list too, although that one is only played competitively here in the US. With such a broad line-up it’s easy to consider the WCG the most diverse league on the planet. I managed to get an interview with the very busy man of the hour at the US Final, Mr. Aaron Smolick, the do-it alot-all for the WCG here in the US. Here are some highlights from the interview.
So how much fun is involved in the competitive gaming industry (You know because it’s so laid back)?
(laughs) Everyone says that and thinks that, but it’s all business.
What goes into putting together such elaborate events like the final here in New York?
It takes about 3-4 months, with our online tournament going on since March which feeds us our players. Then we get space, a venue, build the whole thing, get the signage, stuff from all the partners (Samsung, Dell) all of these things going on at the same time.
How would you compare the MLG and the WCG?
The MLG is like the NBA, where we’re more like the olympics…we embrace their players, their more than happy to come and play for the WCG.
Do certain titles make themselves exclusive for certain leagues? Does that happen often?
You would be suprised, sometimes you’ll get a publisher that signs an exclusive deal with a league. That’s been happening the last couple of years, but now that some of the leagues have fallen it really comes down to us and MLG. They’re cornering the market on Halo and that’s fine, we might even pick up Halo next year, not saying we will but it’s certainly an oppurtunity we have a great relationship with Bungie great relationship with Microsoft. Every single year we have our Legacy titles…the Warcrafts, Starcrafts, Counterstrikes, they have great communities, great following. We always keep an eye on the new titles, keep a close eye. It has to be popular globally…we like to see a nice big following and have support from the publishers.
How much does a games rating or “gore” affect game selection? Considering that Gears of War 2 will not a be a game played at the Grand Final.
It’s Big. Globally they weren’t going to pick up a 4 v 4 Xbox game. And here in the US we said ‘Man, we have to have that’ Halo, Gears, COD whatever we have to have a game. They finally gave in and said you guys (The WCG in the US) can give the US gamers what they wanted. So we gave them Gears of War, unfortuantely their not going to Chengdu but we hope they had a good time.
I’m pretty sure (Gears of War 2 Champ Team Legacy) did have a good time considering they managed to walk away with a check for 10,000 greenbacks. It wasn’t just players filling the seats as the WCG provided some of their own in-house star power. Contestants from the Sci-Fi Channel’s WCG Ultimate Gamer were on hand to meet and greet the fans and take on all challengers on the show floor. Titles like Guitar Hero 5, Halo 3: ODST, and Street Fighter IV were all fair game for anyone who wanted to try their luck against these reality-show gaming powerhouses.
Right next to the free play area, Samsung had the nicest booth on the show floor; Packed with monstrous 55″ Led TV’s helping to shamelessly promote Samsung’s latest solid state drive technology. Showing off the benefits of SSD in regards to PC gaming. On one screen you had Resident Evil 5, and on the opposite side you could get behind the wheel in Need For Speed: Shift. Both of which looked a sharp as a tack.
To top it all off the WCG and Samsung joined forces to combine 2 words that all gamers and fans of gamingabsolutely love to hear. Free. Swag. All weekend long, free stuff was handed out to the crowd during every single break in the action. WCG Ultimate Gamer contestant Adande “Swoozie” Thorne and host Joel Gourdin were Emcee-ing the event and made sure everyone stayed in action while their wasn’t any actual action on screen. With all types of crazy contests they made sure they kept the crowd on their feet, pumped up and screaming out for free stuff all weekend long.
Here’s the complete list of this past weekend’s big winners moving on to the WCG Grand Final in Chengdu, China as Team USA.
- Counter-Strike 1.6: Team Evil Geniuses and Team Turmoil
- Starcraft: Brood War: Greg “Idra” Fields and David Fells
- Warcraft III: Nickolaus “sonkie” Cassidy
- Virtua Fighter 5: Eddel “ChiefFlash” Dioquino
- Guitar Hero World Tour: Robert “smokyprogg” Michaels & Michael “MoB Shift” Najman
- Gears of War 2: Legacy (US only, not going to China)
- Fifa 09: Yfran “Eafra” Garcia
- Carom 3D: Zach “zsta2k9” Woltersdedfe
Considering it was our 1st time covering a competitive gaming event, I must say we had a blast and plan on covering more of them. The whole team at WCG knows how to put on a great show. Seeing many of the best gaming athletes in the country in one room was pretty cool. We had an interview with Legacy the Gears of War US Champs and it should be up in a couple days so make sure you look out for that. For more in depth coverage of the event, check out the WCG official site here. If that’s not enough check out their official YouTube channel here. Before that though, don’t forget to check out our awesome gallery below. Enjoy!