Beyond the Game

Established in the year 2000, the World Cyber Games are a celebration of e-sports that takes gaming to a whole new level.

Sydney gets ready for the World Cyber Games

By Cec Busby

Established in the year 2000, the World Cyber Games are a celebration of e-sports that takes gaming to a whole new level. The Olympics of gaming – the WCG has grown from a contest between 17 countries and some 160 000 particpants to a global event. In 2008 the WCG Grand Final will be held in Cologne Germany. 80 Countries will be competing for 14 titles and the event organisers expect close to 2,000 000 people to have partcipated in the games globally by the event’s end.

The WCG slogan is ‘Beyond the Game’ and for the event organisers this credo drives the passion that keeps them focused to deliver a world class game event. Put simply, the WCG is not just e-sports it’s also a cultural event – where the digital collides with mainstream culture. Nowhere is this more apparent than in each country’s national final.

In Australia, the WCG national final is slated to take place in August at the ‘home of fun’ Sydney’s Luna Park; and the Australian WCG crew have a huge three day digital/gaming /fashion/music event planned that will excite not just the avid gamer but families, teens and anyone interested in having a great day out.

Event Producer Simon Micarone has a boyish enthusiasm for gaming that is coupled with a man’s passion for staging phenomenal events. He is particularly proud of the calibre of event that Sydney will hold for WCG. It is an event where fashion/ gaming and sport will collide.

Gaming is becoming more mainstream every year.

“Gaming is becoming more mainstream every year,” says Micarone. “It now competes directly against traditional entertainment choices such as music concerts, sporting events and movies and this is precisely the reason why WCG is more than just gaming, it needs to be a spectacle in it’s own right.”

Over the course of three days, Australia’s best gamers will compete for slots at the national final, with the winning teams then jetting off to Cologne Germany for a chance at the world title. Tournament co-ordinator Jake Gardiner says gamers can look forward to three days of “intense competition and gaming in a professional tournament environment where real prizes and opportunities are on the line.”

Does he have any tips for who will take out the top prize?

Like any good tournament director, Gardiner doesn’t want to name favourites – however he tips, “that the competition will be fierce”.
He says: “Having already travelled around Australia to State Qualifiers, the National Final event will be a close one. I think the finals will consist of Queensland and Victorian Counterstrike players- but who knows?”

However you don’t have to be a staunch gamer to have a good time at WCG – in fact Micarone believes the event is something that the whole family can get into.

‘The appeal is broad reaching – if you are into motor sport then we will have the closest experience to actually driving the car yourself. A purpose build garage with racing simulators and the chance to meet some of the drivers themselves. – to the fashion enthusiasts, where 14 up and coming fashion designers have created a selection of garments inspired by arcade games’

With the WCG Australia event being a national final – obviously there is competition involved – but you don’t have to be a part of the gaming elite to battle it out on some of the games. As part of the event, WCG and NOVA will be holding a Guitar Hero Shredding competition – in the hopes of finding Australia’s Guitar Hero. Entrants will be judged on showmanship, technical ability and crowd response… If you think you’re rock enough to battle it out with the Nova celebs on Guitar Hero than you could be in the running for an awesome prize from Samsung – competition details will be revealed next week.

But wait, that’s not all (no it’s not a free set of steak knives)… A stack of Australia’s leading electronic and gaming vendors with have stands at the event. These stands, which Micarone has labelled ‘Interactive Areas” will feature the latest in tech and gaming gadgets and gear. Vendors such as Samsung, Asus, Dick Smith, Xbox, and AMD will be on hand to explain and showcase new products.

“Technology now touches all our lives and this is a fantastic opportunity for people not just gamers to experience the latest and greatest in gadgets and gaming.”

Finally the whole shebang will finish up with a big party at Luna Park – where it’s tipped that one of Australia’s fave young bands will be headlining. Stay tuned for more details…

What: The World Cyber Games Australian National Final

Where: Big Top, Luna Park

When: Aug 8-10

Cost: FREE