The infancy stage of professional computer gaming is nearing an end while more and more competitions gather players from all over the world in a veritable clash of the titans. Skill, strategy, experience and a healthy dose of luck are displayed in a show provided by the best of the best, as it was the case with the recent 7th World Cyber Games tournament that took place in Italy. Following the tenuous national qualifying sessions from March till September, time came for the professionals to once again meet face to face for the grand final. On the quest for fame and glory, professional gamers from 73 countries joined together at Monza, during the October 18-22 event hosted by the Autodromo Nazional.
There are several professional gaming leagues which made a name for themselves over the past few years. Notoriety is something the WCG are not lacking and prizes too were reflective of such a pleasant reality, totaling slightly more than they did last year with USD $462,000. Teams and individual players battled it out for the six official computer games, the two Xbox 360 console titles and the unofficial special additions from the special
tournament "Pangya" and "Quake4 All Stars" invitational tourney. A good mix of sports, first person tactical team combat, real time strategy, racing and fighting with FIFA Soccer 06, Half-Life: Counter-Strike 1.6, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, StarCraft: Brood War, WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne, Dawn of War: Winter Assault; Dead or Alive and Project Gotham Racing 3. The lineup is ever changing, yet some titles have the popularity and proper gameplay balance required to endure, an example splendidly evoked by Starcraft: Broodwar's 7 year longevity.
The battle was tough on all fronts as qualifier rounds had gamers and news editors tie their tongues in giving predictions and declaring winners. Such was the case with the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne fight for supremacy. Chinese Xiaofeng Li known as "Sky" won the WCG 2006 title this year. Exactly how did he win? The games were not without controversy, despite his 2-0 victory in the final against ToD, his hardy human player opponent. Most of the focus in the aftermath of the Chinese player's success has been on the incident involving GoStop in an earlier round. Much has been said on the matter, Sky's moves being regarded as rather unfair. The truth of the matter is that professionals always push the game limits and come up with innovative strategies, and this is the case with the recent events at WCG. Sky played an excellent tournament, albeit with a minor breakage of the rules along the way. Nonetheless, victory is his alone, a deserving one at that, considering the fact that he faced three tough games before even reaching the final. ToD has been dominating from the start, beating all of his opponents without loss. Sky barely made it past GoStop and the last year's Warcraft III grandmaster Grubby with 2-1 scores, before taking out HoT 2-0. Sky is now the proud owner of two WCG titles in as many years, making history in the genre.
Team Poland won the Counter Strike 1.6 single elimination team tournament. The FIFA 06 grand master was crowned Germany's very own Daniel Schellhase "Hero". The Russian USSRxAlan, or Alan Enileev, bested everyone at Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The Koreans dominated WCG again when it came to Starcraft: Broodwar, their very own national sport, and Yeonsung Choi, known as IloveOov, came on top of their country mates. Warhammer 40,000 brought up to the podium gamers from three continents, with yet another Korean pro taking the gold, Kyung Hyun Ryoo also known as SeleCT. Ryan Ward or OffbeatNinja won the first of the console wars by mastering Dead or Alive 4. USA couldn't have missed the opportunity to grab some medals, thus credit goes to Wesley Cwiklo "TTRCh0mpr" for winning the Project Gotham Racing 3 console competition. As you can plainly see, Korea proved once again to be the strongest competitor country, with an impressing medal count of 2 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze, followed by Russia and Germany. Apparently, it's very hard to beat a system that made computer gaming a national sport, where going professional is no longer a dream but reality and people generally regard gaming as an authentic sports feature.