Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Singapore beat Italy at WCG2008 Finals

Singapore strikes gold in World Cyber Games (WCG)
Team also wins a silver at World Cyber Games
By Tham Yuen-C

A silver, came from Mr Danny Koo (left), 28 in the fighting game Virtua Fighter 5. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF RAPTURE GAMING

A SINGAPORE gamer has delivered the Republic's first gold medal from the World Cyber Games (WCG), considered the Olympics of the cybergaming world.

Mr Jared Beins, 19, beat Mr Steven Anderson from the United States to become the top player of mobile phone game Asphalt 4.

Another medal, a silver, came from Mr Danny Koo, 28 in the fighting game Virtua Fighter 5.

'The best part was waving the Singapore flag for the first time ever,' said Mr Beins, whose gaming name is Slyfoxlover.

The national serviceman was representing Singapore for the first time at an international meet, and had set aside two hours every day in the last three months to practise the car racing game.

It was the first year that mobile phone games were played at the WCG, in a bid to attract a wider range of competitors.

'They're very simple,' said Mr Beins, of mobile phone games. 'Anybody can figure them out.'

Aside from those, casual games such as Guitar Hero III and Fifa 2008 were also introduced this year.

Singapore fielded 19 gamers in nine games at the annual tournament's grand finals in Cologne, Germany. Some 800 players from 78 countries competed in 14 computer, console and mobile games such as Warcraft III and Halo 3.

Singapore's other medal, from another WCG newbie, Mr Koo, was hard-fought.

'When my teammate Wilson [Chia] lost against the US, I was really nervous,' he said.

Players assume different characters with different skills in the hand-to-hand combat game. The business development manager of a fine-dining restaurant lost in the final round to Japan's Hiromiki Kumada, the country's top player.

'He's won a lot of national tournaments,' said Mr Koo, who went to Japan in August to spar with the gamers there.

To compete on the world stage, players first have to win their regional championships.

The wins put Singapore in the top seven of the medal tally - behind gaming powerhouses like first place-winner South Korea which was followed by the Netherlands and the US - and more than made up for the disappointing performance at last year's tournament.

At the WCG finals in Seattle last year, all but one of Singapore's top gamers crashed out after the first round.

'We're an underdog, no one expected us to get two medals,' said Mr Herman Ng, managing director of Rapture Gaming and manager of the Singapore team.


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