Nearly two decades ago I started playing a game called Quake. From there, I continued to grow as a player and would eventually start realizing my potential early on and striving to get better. I quickly found my passion for faster-paced gameplay and moved over to QuakeWorld from NetQuake. For a few years I would learn a lot of the basic concepts of duel and just play, never thinking about where it would take me. Eventually, I was introduced to a mod for Quake 3 called CPMA. I watched videos of players like Matr0x and Apheleon, players that seemingly took the game to unbelievable heights and looked to be unstoppable. The game was extremely fluid and full of dynamic play. The better player would always win, but no two players played alike. This intrigued me, as the rigidity of other games I had played meant that I had to follow a specific style of play to be successful. Not here.
I quickly established myself as a player that relied heavily on movement. I wasn’t as good at aiming at the time, and I certainly didn’t have the map-awareness most of the top competitors I played had. But I did have speed, and it served me quite well for some time to come. I would play this way and end up with a few reasonable finishes in some rather high-profile tournaments in the scene. But I was never satisfied, and always knew that there was room for improvement. I’d keep playing, no matter how small the scene became, because I simply enjoyed the game and constantly growing as a player. I’d continue to play CPMA for some time and eventually try out some other games, like Doom 3 and Painkiller. This is where CPL announced a $1 million dollar World Tour and that the game would be Painkiller. This was my chance to actually put to use my skills that I had built up over time and prove that I wasn’t just an ordinary player.
Fnatic would be the team that would end up sponsoring me to my first tournament, CPL Winter 2004. I knew Vo0 from my time in CPMA, as well as the owner of the team (who I had also played a bit of CPMA with) so they were familiar with who I was. However it wasn’t an ordinary signing. I had to justify my position on the team. This tournament was basically a trial for me; my first LAN – ever – and if I didn’t perform well then I jeopardize my ability to attend the World Tour. So the deal with me staying with Fnatic for the tour was dependent on my finish. I had a great start to the tournament winning my first few matches. Then I’d have to go up against Fatal1ty (also still fairly early on). The pressure was immense. My first LAN and playing the most successful professional gamer in history at the time. I started off great, but then quickly momentum shifted and I was left completely stunned. Never had I experienced that kind of pressure while playing games. It came so sudden that after the match I was left wondering: Was this for me?
After that game, I collected my thoughts and quickly realized that everything I had learned didn’t teach me the most important thing in competition while playing video games. That was how to handle such a high-pressure situation. I knew I wasn’t as bad as the score had shown, so I knew I had to change how I approached the game, and games to come. And from there, I fought through the lower bracket defeating opponents who had already ruled me out because of my devastating loss early on and eventually narrowly losing to Zyz (who went on to be the runner-up to Vo0 at that tournament). I finished 5th, and Fnatic was impressed I was able to recover so they had a contract ready for me to sign. Other teams began approaching me, but I was thankful Fnatic provided the opportunity to play that I had felt an obligation to play with them for the rest of the year. This was probably the most exciting year of my life, travelling to all corners of the globe playing an aFPS. While I’d never win a tournament, I would continue to finish within the top 8, unfortunately falling early in the finals. This was another learning experience that will stick with me forever.
After the World Tour, Fnatic decided to focus on a European squad for their Quake 4 team. I was beginning to get a bit homesick, so I didn’t want to spend more time in Europe like I did for most of 2005, so that was when Fnatic and I had mutually decided it was probably best that we part ways. Team EG had already expressed interest in me to help build their Quake squad, and they were a huge part in Canadian gaming, so I had decided that this would be my next step. During my time in Team EG, I quickly established myself as Canada’s best Quake 4 player, winning ESWC Canada, along with other competitions and minor LANs. I’d continue to play, but realized that I’d have to change a lot in order to do as well internationally like I did in Painkiller. This is when I took a bit of a focus off of myself and playing, and more on bringing in players and promoting the brand. Eventually, I took a bit of a back seat to being “the player” of Team EG’s Quake 4 squad, and would work on getting players on board like DaHanG, Chance and Griffin.
Ironically, because of Team EG’s reach in the North American market, I did a lot more interviews and other events with news outlets, radio stations, and TV shows (during WSVG Toronto I was doing about 3-5 interviews a day leading up to the tournament). While I was used to doing this kind of thing during my days with Fnatic, I started to realize how it was just a matter of time until gaming would just blow up all of a sudden in the Western world. The interest was definitely there. I’d continue to play and support the players of Team EG for some time, eventually parting ways as I’d end up realizing that I just simply couldn’t commit the time they needed to continue to grow and expand. At this point I had a job and a family and my experiences had taught me a lot and let me grow substantially. Gaming was now a hobby for me and I was fine with that. I’d been given the opportunity to do things that not many others get even the chance to do. Which leads me to today:
These days I do the things a lot of regular late-20s kind of guys do. Gaming is still a hobby for me now. So why come back into the competitive scene? There are a lot of players out there that were like me when I was younger. Hungry for competition and ready to go. PHGP seemed like a great fit for me, as they are a group of guys looking to grow and help the community in any way they can. Reflex is also the perfect fit because of the all-too-familiar feeling of when I first started playing CPMA. Because of these two things, I’ve decided to come back into the scene and support the players of PHGP as well as others in order to help grow a healthy scene of aFPS players that may someday get the same opportunities I had when I was younger.
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Edited by phgp_zEv at 11:23 CDT, 31 May 2015 - 5787 Hits