By Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman
Many images stand out in my mind from QuakeCon (aka the CPL Event), which took place over the summer. One of the most lasting ones, though, is that of this guy running around constantly, never having time to stop for more than a few seconds, but always waving and trying to talk to people. He reminded me of runners on the stock exchange, run there, do this, run back here, yell at them. When a hub blew, he was right there to fix it. And when an internet connection was desperately needed, there he was. Iím talking about PoliSh, of course. Any questions you had at the tournament, he was the man to answer them, and I have no doubt that things could not have run as smoothly as they did without him. Since we certainly bothered him enough then, I figured why not bother him now too. :)
Name/rank/serial number? Jaroslaw Krzysztof Marcin Wolski /aka/ PoliSh /aka/ Friggin' foreigner.
What exactly do you do for the Cyberathletes? My official title is Director of Cyberathletic Events. The main task I am responsible for is general coordination of our fabulous Cyberathlete events. It involves just about anything that has to do with the making of an event, but to list a few important things:
How did you get involved with the Cyberathletes? As you know I was heavily involved with the organization of QuakeCon 97. After a couple appearances on QuakeCast, and a few interviews on various websites, Monolith and I were contacted by Angel Munoz -- founder and President of CPL (and of course Adrenaline Vault), to talk about his brand new concept that "will set standard to the future of gaming". Two highly recognized members of the community: Tom "Paradox" Mustaine and Stevie "Killcreek" Case were already on the team. Right after QuakeCon 97 was over, we met for lunch and talked about that new concept, which from the very beginning was an incredibly intriguing idea -- something that nobody had ever done before -- professional gaming. During our first lunch, we came up with our first event, that was to take place during the Halloween weekend, The FRAG (The Foremost Roundup of Advanced Gamers). That was the beginning of what's now been my, over a year long, relationship with the Cyberathlete Professional League.
What do you think caused this craze that has led to us having 2 separate organizations dedicated to professional gaming? Although both organizations share the same goal of pushing the idea of professional gaming forward, they both do it in completely different ways. The biggest difference of course, between the CPL and the other league, is the fact that CPL creates LAN based tournament, unlike the PGL, which specializes in online tournaments. That's a very thick line between both organizations. We also have different sponsors, different ways of ranking, different ideas, etc.. From a spectator's point of view, I don't think it's a bad idea, having two leagues to follow, both offering something else and unique. And as far as I am concerned: I've always believed that competition is one of the best motivations to get better and continue with what you are doing, right here is a great example. Both organizations are making sure that the top gamers get the deserved recognition for their excellent skills, and the whole concept of professional gaming, in general, moves forward faster if two, instead of one organizations put efforts into this.
CPL vs. PGL? Which is better, more fair, etc. There really isn't better or more fair. Both leagues offer something different and good. Like I mentioned, the CPL's goal is to provide good and fair tournaments that are LAN-based, while PGL focuses on online tournament. The decision, which organization is better, belongs to the spectator. If they prefer to compete while playing on their own computers, at home, they will assume PGL to be better. But if they would rather come to an event and play in a LAN-based tournament, meet the rest of the community, the CPL is going to be their choice. Personally, if I was a spectator, it would feel more adventurous to drive or fly to an event, and watch the best players duke it out, hear them scream, feel the tension in atmosphere, as the matches get closer to the finals, witness the blood splatter, etc.
What does the future hold for the Cyberathletes? As we make more events and get more media and spectator attention, many things will change/improve. First of all, the tournament prizes will be far juicier and even more intriguing than they already are. Instead of the current average of 500 attendees, there will be as many as 2 or 3 thousand. We are taking steps to push the concept not just in the US, but in other countries. We'll do it by introducing a Cyberathlete event in another country; the first one being already worked on -- an event that will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, where we believe (and according to many gamers in Europe), over a thousand players/spectators from Sweden and surrounding countries will compete in our tournament. Another goal is to get the recognition for our star players, not only in the gaming community, but on national television and media... how about Rix and Gollum beating the crap out of each other on Jerry Springer? :)
So, in a nutshell, the changes that will take place in the near future include:
Is there a set date for the CPL switching to Q3:Arena? Will they at all? Personally, I believe that we will switch to Quake3 Arena fairly soon after it comes out. But that's not something that we will do without a necessary research, to make sure that the game offers all the necessary elements to be played on a professional level. If Quake3 Arena is going to be what it is supposed to be, we will use it as a platform for all of our tournaments. I am definitely looking forward to it.
Why did it take so long for the CPL to switch to Quake 2? The CPL over the summer was still Quake 1. Although Quake2 was already out long before the CPL Event , it was still somewhat in a "getting used to" stage, especially the 1-on-1 side of it. It just didn't seem that the gamers were ready for a Quake2 tournament just yet. We did receive quite a bit of e-mails suggesting that we should already have switched the platform to Quake2, and posts of similar nature were appearing on our public message board, but it wasn't convincing enough to make that switch. The interesting thing was, that despite the fact so many people sent those e-mails and made those posts about the switch to Quake2, when the unofficial Quake2 tournament to take place at the CPL Event was announced, only a small group of players have signed up for that competition, yet the Quake1 tournament waiting list (that's after 256 initial registrations) was overwhelming. I am very glad we used Quake1 as the platform for the CPL Event Tournament, I believe that switching to Quake2 for Frag2, was the perfect timing.
Where do you see professional gaming in 10 years? Will people be buying tickets to Madison Square Garden to see Thresh play Immortal? Whether or not our particular organization or the PGL succeeds, if the gaming industry continues to grow so incredibly fast (especially as it has in the past few years), and it will, I believe that professional gaming will be a standard; to the point where when you think "a computer multiplayer game", you also think "great show and cash prizes!". Regardless of whether it's a first person shooter, or a new version of Pong.
Sure, there are people who find the idea of professional gaming ridiculous. It does require a bit of open-mindedness. A little over a hundred years ago, somebody suggested that golf qualifies to be recognized as a professional sport. Some people thought that it's a ludicrous idea, that getting a white ball into a hole would ever be spectacular or interesting enough to make it a professional sport. A few years later it was recognized as one of the most popular games, and ever since it has been considered one of the main professional sports, aired prime-time on national television.
It just takes some time, a group(s) of creative people, patience, much effort and of course capital, to push a new idea forward. Buying a ticket to see a "Rix vs. Immortal Match" at the Madison Square Garden? Sure why not. It doesn't take more than 10 years for gaming to be recognized as a true sport. And once it gets nationally recognized as that, it's just a matter of time before going further, like having baseball cards of Star Players, press meetings, and of course a real locker-room where they can keep their mice? :) So you better get an autograph from RiX now, before he is overwhelmed with fans.
Who do you think the best Quake players are? Without a doubt in mind, and as I have been hinting in my earlier questions, RiX is the best, undefeatable player. He has proved himself to be that, on several occasions. RiX has beat everybody who has officially challenged him, and he will accept any challenge. Except for me of course, even though I never played him, I could beat him into negatives. Everybody knows it :)
What do you do "in real life?" Or is the Cyberathletes your real life :) I try to separate real life from the CPL, though I find it very difficult to do on occasions, not only because there is so much to do, but everything about it is just so fun. But when I don't work, I play a lot of pool, spend time with Tikilite (my girlfriend), have an impressive collection of DVD's which I watch often, and when the weather is right, I camp a lot; I don't mean hide in the dark room with the rocket launcher, ready to frag some sucker that just came in...but set up tent, fish and all that good stuff.
You're known to be a VERY good Doom II player. Have you played GL Doom? Do you like it? I have never tried GL Doom, even though so many people told me I should. For some reason, I never wanted to do it. It's like "coloring" old black and white movies; it just doesn't seem right. I think Doom2 is already (still) such a powerful game, that doesn't need a single change. I treat it like an antique; what makes an antique so beautiful, is the fact that it hasn't been touched for so long. But I am a little curious how Doom2 looks in GL, and I've decided to wait until the next LAN Party, when somebody can show it to me.
Why don't you compete in Quake/Quake2? One of the main rules, required for all CPL organizers is that we cannot participate in any official CPL competitions, prize giveaways, including door-prizes. It is a very fair rule, basically, organizers organize, and players play. Besides, it wouldn't look good, if the organizer would win the 1st place in the tournament, which of course would be the case, if I played :)
Do you wish you could? No, not really. Even if I wanted to, there is no way I would have the time. During The FRAG 2, it was difficult to even compete in the small All-Star Doom2 Tournament, every 10 minutes something needed to be done, looked at, or helped with. I love to have a small unofficial matches with the Star Players, when I have some free time, but that's just about it.
What are your favorite games to play? I found myself very addicted to Tribes, recently. I was very skeptical when I first started, the common "Too much stuff going on!" was my reason, but after getting used to the new game, just the first night I spent over 6 hours playing it. I have been playing it ever since (about a week now), every day, sometimes for several hours. Other than that I play a lot of Quake2 CTF, along with my fantastic clan, The Association. (http://inferno.iminet.com/quake/)
What are your favorite websites? Here is a list of some of my favorite netscape bookmarks, in no particular order
Thanks!! Check out the Cyberathletes at http://www.cyberathlete.com!
- Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman is an associate editor for loonygames.
Credits: Community Profile logo illustrated by and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. Community Profile is © 1998 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is just a bad idea. We have lawyers.