Cyber-athlete. Even as an avid gamer, I used to relentlessly make jokes about people who considered themselves "professional" gamers. Who the hell want to watch someone play videogames? And how could you ever make a living off of it? Course, I don't get the draw of watching Poker either. But what used to be a fun hobby has definitely grown into a living for a few selct individuals. Far evolved form the ancient days of Starcade, where some random geeks would match up on simple arcade games, we now have official Madden Tournaments & Halo tournaments and even Arena, a competetive gaming show on G4. But surely, none of these non-athletic geeks can be like real sports athletes and get sweet sponsorship deals, right? Wrongo. Fatal1ty is generally considered the best player in the world, and is sponsored by numerous computer companies. Ubisoft sponsors the Fragdolls-and although the group reeks of corporate construct, it's a start.
And it's about to get a whole lot bigger. This holiday season USA will start airing the Major League Gaming circuit, and it will become a regular fixture on the network. Now, my initial thought was nobody will watch this, but it's at least as exciting as watching people play poker, and obviously has huge implications of making this a very legitimate thing. The best players win sizable amounts of cash (not compared to say, golf or big stakes poker, but 25-$100,000 is nothing to sneeze at regardless), cars, or kickass gaming rigs, and this has the potential to make everything bigger (if anybody is looking for a commentator, I'm happily available!). It'll be really interesting to see if this takes off. I have no doubt every serious gamer will watch this because they want it to succeed. I wonder if that will be enough, though.
Somehow I completely forgot to mention that I beat Kingdom Hearts II last week. It was a trying experience, as most of the bosses in the later half of the game are actually pretty damn orritating. But I really enjoyed my time, with Sora and the Disney gang amd will definitely go through it again and cannot wait for the third intallment. But this luckily leves me completely free to play lots of Oblivion, which is exactly what I'm doing.
The Xbox 360 gets its first MMO this week, but it's already been available to PC & PS2 owners for some time. FFXI hits this week, and it should be an interesting test. Although it does have a monthly fee like nearly every other MMO on the planet (12.99), the good news is that you don't need Xbox platinum service to play it on top of that, just the free silver service. The bad news? No in-game voice chat. You can still theoretically do voice chat while playing the game with your friends, but I don't see why if they could do it on PSO, they couldn't do it on FFXI. Sure, there are a lot more people playing, but different channels to communicate on could easily solve that (ala WOW). And MMORPGS are nearly impossible to play without a keyboard, and the 360 does not have one as of yet. It should be interesting to see how this goes, as there hasn't really been a solid console MMORPG since PSO, which has been around since the dreamcast days. Sure, Everquest & FFXI are available on the PS2, but neither has garnered much of an audience (especially since the new slim PS2s can't even use the hard drive adapter necessary to play FFXI).
And finally, I'm not usre how often I'm gonna do this, but there are a ton of fan videos of games out there. Some are well done, some aren't. So I've decided I'll start positng ones I really enjoy on a semi-regular basis, so here's the first one: A Final Fantasy IX fan vid set to "Yellow" by Coldplay. Enjoy!