By Dilini Perera
Gaming has come a long way since ‘Pong’ and ‘Space Invaders’ and the reflexes, skills and technique that one requires to play the console games of today are mind-boggling. However, recently, a group of individuals did Sri Lanka proud by representing the country at an international cyber games tournament against teams that have been competing for years.
The Sunday Leader sat down with one of the participants, Teague Gray, to speak about his experience as well as discuss the state of gaming in Sri Lanka.
The World Cyber Games (WCG) is an invitation-only tournament with 14 countries participating from across Asia. This year saw the participation of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei and host city Singapore. This is the second time that Sri Lanka has participated in this tournament and a local qualifying event organised by Lanka eSports (www.esports.lk) decided the competitors.
A team of seven represented Sri Lanka at the games held earlier this month. A team of five for ‘Defence of the Ancients: Allstars’, one member for ‘FIFA 10’ and Gray for ‘Forza Motor Sports 3’ (A driving simulation game for Xbox 360). Gray lost to Chinese Taipei, the eventual winners of the tournament, in the group stage but won against China and Indonesia which moved him up to the quarterfinals. During this round, he lost to Singapore by a mere three seconds, something he believes he can definitely improve upon.
“I exceeded my expectations at the tournament. I want to go next year and get to that podium,” he said when asked about his future gaming plans. Gray said that there is definitely more scope for gaming in Sri Lanka and that there should be more exposure for competitive gaming. “It’s a multi-million dollar industry that has global appeal”. Despite only making it to the quarterfinals, Gray remains optimistic and stated that he enjoyed himself at the event which was quite large scale. “It was an amazing experience and I was proud to represent my country,” he said, adding that he was honoured to be the flag bearer for the opening ceremony.
When asked about public opinion that console games are a waste of time and an often-harmful addiction, he smiled, “Some games are a waste of time and not every game is considered as competitive. For example, Forza was only introduced to WCG this year. Like everything else in life, you shouldn’t get addicted to it.”
Console gaming is currently a lucrative market, with games being converted into movies and vice versa, with expansive merchandising opportunities. Gray believes that local and international companies should look into this market in Sri Lanka and host tournaments in order to tap into local talent that could represent Sri Lanka in future tournaments.