By Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman
f you keep your eyes and ears open in the gaming scene today, chances are very good you've heard of Dennis "Thresh" Fong. He was already known as a good player on the Doom scene (he won the Deathmatch '95 tourney), but rocketed to the top of the gaming scene glory when he won John Carmack's Ferrari at the Red Annihilation Quake tournament two years ago. Since then, professional gaming, with Thresh at it's front, has taken on a whole new level nobody could have predicted. Thresh has an endorsement deal with Microsoft. He's a star player of the PGL (Professional Gamers League). He was recently flown to Europe along with his clan for a US vs. Europe clan match. He writes a column for Gamers Extreme, a site he helped create.
The stakes in gaming are getting higher, and Thresh is right there the whole time, pushing the limits. Who knows where gaming will be in 10 years. But you can bet Thresh will be right there at the top.
Dennis Fong a.k.a. Thresh
When you were younger, what did you want to do with your life?
When I was younger, I really didn't think about these things, but I can tell ya one thing, it wasn't to become a professional gamer. :)
How has your life changed since winning the Ferrari?
My life's changed quite a bit since winning the Ferrari. At the time of the tourney, none of us knew gaming would eventually lead to this. I think Ferrari attracted a lot of attention to online gaming, which is really cool, and I hope there'll be more big tournaments in the future.
Most people, when they suddenly get fame and money, do something extravagant with it, buy a car, etc. I suppose you didn't exactly need to buy a car, so...what did you do? :)
Well, I won a car, so buying a car wouldn't really be an option. :) I really didn't' change my lifestyle that much, other than driving a red convertible Ferrari around town every once in a while. It's not like I won the lottery...
When people think about professional gaming, you're probably the one name that springs to mind. Did you ever think winning that Ferrari (and subsequent tournaments) would take you this far?
Nope, never. We all played games for fun and for excitement. I don't think anyone in their right mind could have dreamed that someday, gaming would a professional "sport," and that the prizes would be as big as they've gotten.
What do you think about professional gaming as it stands today?
I think it's still extremely early to tell exactly where it's going to end up, because gaming is still in its infancy stages. There are still many hurdles to overcome, such as cheating, getting more people involved, getting more sponsors involved, getting everyone's connections up to par, and so forth. When those obstacles are overcome, that's when online gaming will bloom.
What do you think about the Cyberathletes?
Well, as far as the organization goes, I think it's great. We need more leagues out there -- the more there are, the better for our "sport." Although I'm not particularly fond of the "lan only" idea, since it severely limits the amount of players that can participate in the event (there are many good players out there that just don't have the cash to pay for traveling expenses), it is still a very novel idea and I hope that they do well. Some time in the future, I hope all of these leagues come together, set aside their egos and differences, and form one big league. That would be the ultimate for gaming.
Do you think "athlete" is an accurate term for professional gamers?
I generally don't like to refer to us as "athletes," since I have to admit it sounds kind of strange -- "gamer" seems more appropriate to me. When it comes down to it, I don't really care what term they use to refer to gamers, as long as it sounds cool. :)
I was at the CPL recently, and there was a number of people with "I hate Thresh" and "I could kick Thresh" t-shirts...seeming to continue this backlash lately against professional gamers. How do you respond to that?
ROFL, I saw that! I thought it was totally funny. :) The "I Hate Thresh" t-shirts were worn by ex-DWANGO employees. If you haven't heard, I despise DWANGO, and they know it. I used to use their service in San Jose, and everything about the service was crap. We'd win prizes and wouldn't receive them. We'd call tech support for help and they'd say "You're one of those assholes from San Jose, right?" San Jose won the national team league, and some of the guys from Dallas (who were on tech support) apparently weren't very happy
As for the "I could kick Thresh" shirts, that's simply flattering. They could have other intentions with the shirts, but when it comes down to it, if they spent over 2 cents on something to prove a point about me, then kudos to them.
Why did you decide to go with Microsoft?
Well, I've always been a MS mouse evangelist. Go back to the Doom days, when I used to frequent the usenet newsgroups often, I *always* went off about why MS mice are better than others. Prior to MS, I had been approached by every joystick company, Logitech, and many more for sponsorship opportunities. I turned them down because I used MS, and couldn't lie to people about what I use. When MS finally approached me, it was a dream come true.
Would you endorse a product you don't use?
What new games are you looking forward to?
Sin, Daikatana, Half-Life, and mostly, Quake 3: Arena.
I've read what you've been saying about Quake 1 vs Quake 2. Will you play Quake 2 competitively? (i.e. are you going to be in the new PGL season?)
Yep, I am.
[Note: Thresh is playing in both the Quake 2 and Starcraft leagues of the PGL]
What do you think about the clan scene as it is now?
I think it's still going pretty strong, if not stronger than it was before. The recent international competition talks have definitely turned the fire on for a lot of players.
Who are the best Quake players around today?
There are so many good players it wouldn't be fair for me to name a bunch and then forget others.
Any plans for a Clan Nine/Death Row rematch?
We sure hope so. (grin)
What games do you play for fun?
Quake, Quake II, and Starcraft. :)
What are your favorite bookmarks?
Probably Blue's News.
- 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.