Written by Claire Booher
Megaphone Staff Writer
Many students go through college wishing that they had no work to do. They would love to be able to just sit in their rooms all day and play their favorite video games. Wouldn’t it just be easy to major in Halo and never have to step inside of a classroom? Believe it or not, these cyber athletes exist, and they make their living playing video games.
Jonathan Wendel, known to the gaming world as fatal1ty, earned over $800,000 this past year playing in the Cyberathlete Professional League.
Fatal1ty spends 14 hours a day playing online games. He will take a break to run a few miles to get some blood running to his brain and then will continue to play. He is able to travel all over the world for free to play games. Companies donate equipment for him to play, and people pay him for gaming lessons.
Fatal1ty even has his own website filled with updates on where he is playing, merchandise one can buy and even fatal1ty brand gaming equipment.
“When I came home and told my dad that I had one a couple hundred thousand dollars playing games he responded with, ‘there is no justice in the world’,” Wendel said.
How would Southwestern students handle this atmosphere? It may not be as easy or glamorous as it seems. Anyone can create a team of people to go play in a tournament. If they were to win, they would receive thousands of dollars in prize money, possible sponsorship to travel to other tournaments to play and other lucrative opportunities.
If the average gamer was to go to a tournament, however, it is more likely they would have their ego handed to on a silver platter.
“I was amazing at playing online games so I decide to play in a tournament. I basically got my ass handed to me,” Jordan Evins, a first-year and former gamer, said. “The people who play in these tournaments don’t mess up. They play these games as a job not for fun. Many of them will blind fold themselves in order to know the map of the game like the back of their hand” Evins said.
Another professional gaming league is the Major League Gaming, which holds tournaments played on consoles rather than PC.
Halo is the game most commonly played at these tournaments. People can enter these tournaments in groups of four. One such team is known as Final Boss. This group contains team members Ogre 1, Ogre 2, Walshy and Strongside. This group of guys won the Major League Gaming national championships in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2007, and they have won eight tournaments in the past two years.
“These guys are so good because they have a reaction time beyond the realm of a normal human being, and they do not look at this as a game” Evins said.
For those of us who have not yet figured out how to turn our heads without spinning for five minutes, this career path may not be so ideal.
Those professional gamers can be looked at as any other professional who are good at what they do. Some professions are not for some.
“I would want the money but I don’t think I would have fun. I don’t think I would want to play the games anymore if they became that serious” first-year Cameron Holland said.
Others could not even comprehend the idea.
“There is no way I would become a professional gamer! Because after ten minutes of Halo, my fingers start to shut down and then my brain slowly follows” first-year Rachel Freeman said.
It is an amazing feat to do what professional gamers do, and it puts a new term on the idea of an athlete.