Posts Tagged ‘Pokemon Pinball’

WCG 2009: Here Comes The Hero

Life has been a little hectic since I’ve returned from my trip to the World Cyber Games in Chengdu, China.  I’ll spare you my touristy run-down of airport delays (Beijing rockets silver iodide into clouds to make rain, but ended up blanketing Beijing in an unseasonable blizzard), sleep deprivation (left a forehead print on the glass revolving door, poured noodles on my partner’s laptop trying to show my mom my breakfast over webcam), internet restrictions (no Wikipedia, no Facebook, no blogs, no Youtube, and a very sensitive IP blocker), and personal excursions to different corners of Chengdu (the mountain where Daoism was founded, tons of street market haggling, and harrowing cab rides).  I will, however, name-drop it like it’s hot.

TorcH and I sat across the aisle from SirScoots, a well-known personality in eSports, and MoB Shift, one of the two Guitar Hero players for USA.  The flight was uneventful save for my sudden and unparalleled achievement in Pokemon Pinball: access to the Mewtwo Bonus Level and an all-time high score of 1,517,277,700 on the Blue level (which after some research I’ve discovered is not a very impressive score… let down).

Waiting in the Beijing airport, I lost track of TorcH and glommed onto the group surrounding the US WCG managers, Paul, Aaron, and Natalie.  Also in that group were Jamal, an Ultimate Gamer contestant, and one of my new friends, Sean “Wraith” Snack.  Paul ended up saving the day and getting us to Chengdu that night whereupon we were greeted by… a gaggle of uniformed volunteers speaking English, offering bottles of water, and encouraging us to relax in a special seating area while we awaited our shuttle!  It was our first taste of celebrity, and it was pretty neat.

At the hotel, the lobby was set up with tables dedicated to registering teams.  There were uniforms and meal cards and room keys for the players who all shuffled off to bed by 2am China time (all of China is one time zone). I had been awake for 25 hours and most other for much longer than that, so I was determined to sleep as long as possible.  Fortunately I didn’t because then I would have missed the players’ tour of the Panda Research Base the next morning!

Ah, the day of the police escort…  For the 30 minute ride to the panda base, we had a cop leading our bus the whole way (as a note, the banners for WCG still lined the road two full miles from the venue) and other cops along our route blocking intersection traffic so we could pass.  We were rushed around the base by our volunteers/herders and tour guide, but the pandas were epically adorable.  On the ride home, I sat with a group of referees in panda (excuse me, pander, as the Chinese pronounce it) hats and got to know Nicholas White, an Australian ref who has attended several WCG final events.

Upon returning to Century City, the combination hotel/event hall, we got our passes and entered the venue for the first time.  And here, we come to our agreement from my last post.  These aren’t the original “scantily-clad ladies” I was promising, but readers, feast your eyes on the lovely booth girls of Samsung!

These beautiful girls (and several very attractive guys) populated every exhibitor booth in various teams of costumes.

There were futuristic soldiers, elves, school girls, deal-or-no-deal types, space aliens, airline stewardesses, and even some cat-girls… whatever best related to the individual products (however tenuously).

What’s more, they all spoke at least some English, and were always eager to help me understand or get me to participate.

So suck on it, boys… I got to be around tons of hot Chinese girls and you didn’t. 😛

Coming next installment… how Team USA fared and who owned the most face! (hint: it wasn’t us)