Thursday, February 22, 2007

Itching for a Good Starcraft Fight

I'm sure most gamers would love to watch a pitched battle, be it a Counterstrike match-up or an online Starcraft match. I was watching a National Geographic production, Showreal Asia Season 3: World Cyber Games, with great interest as it documented the life of a South Korean pro-gamer, Seo Ji Hoon, otherwise known as Xellos (WCG 2004's Starcraft Champion).

Computer gaming is really huge in South Korea. Gamers converge in cybercafes as this is pretty much a social thing unlike other countries where gamers tend to stay and play from the comfort of their own homes. Another reason why PC gaming flourishes in Korea is that console gaming has a poor following in Korea given the animosity Koreans have for Japan (due to their past history)... too bad for companies like Sony and Nintendo.

Most of the documentary was focused on Xellos' preparation for WCG 2005. It's pretty weird to see a World Champion having less sponsorship and living in rather dismal conditions compared to his nearest rival, Na Do Hyun (a.k.a Silent_Control), whose sponsors have his team placed in a spiffy house to live and train with all expenses paid. Both have fan clubs with members (mostly girls) numbering in the thousands.

The best part of this documentary was that some of Xellos' matches were shown (with commentary!), starting with the ones in the Korean preliminaries up to his last match in WCG 2005, which he lost to Silent_Control. Xellos' team mate, fOru won the 2005 WCG title instead.

So, have you watched any interesting documentaries lately?