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Zorine Blog

Zorine's Japan Visit 2013-2014

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As some of you know, I was away during the Christmas and New Year's break. I am very fortunate to have traveled to none other than Japan for a holiday! It was my third time visiting the country, and I loved every moment of it.

Rather than gush on about how much I enjoyed my holiday, I figured to share some pictures instead. Because if a picture if worth 1,000 words, then me sharing these photos would mean I've written 17k words, right?

So sit back, relax, and join me on a journey that all began here...

I love flying. I am prone to altitude sickness, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying the excitement of traveling from one location to another. Even domestic flights make me excited.

Arriving in Japan a week before Christmas meant the opportunity to gaze upon some beautiful light displays. Christmas is not a major holiday in Japan, but the country still gets lit up with an amazing array of decorations to celebrate the occasion. That's a train station, by the way.

Beautiful scenery enchants me, so I took every opportunity to play the part of the tourist and take photos of pretty scenes. Like this iconic torii gate, Itsukushima Shrine. During high tide it looks like it is floating on water.

It seemed like there was a mascot for everything. Check out this awesome mascot for the port of Kobe in Kobe City.

Oh god, the food. I miss the food the most. Pictured above is a meal from a Japanese curry place in Osaka that specialises in customising curry to your tastes. I ate a lot in Japan. It felt like everyday was just a new culinary adventure which would result in delicious fooding...

... and eating...

...followed by more eating...

...and more eating...

...with a dessert break thrown in for good measure...

...to finish with some food.

But it's not just about food. I was also able to indulge my other great passion in life - gaming. Spending hours at arcades which spanned whole buildings, with floors dedicated to different genres - there's nothing like it.

Seeing the embrace of anime/gaming culture made me feel at home. It's something I don't really experience in Australia, outside of attending conventions etc.

Even with the fast cities and slick tech, the country has a lot of history to look at. The above is one of my favourite temples to visit in Kyoto. Yes, the top two floors are covered in pure gold leaf.

Snow! Snowsnowsnow! As you can imagine, a group of Australians experiencing snowfall (most of them for the first time) resulted in a lot of impromptu snow fights. Snow is awesome, although cold is not!

We even practiced teamwork in creating our very first snowman.

Camouflage.

I love traveling to other countries, and Japan was no exception. Hope you enjoyed the pictures (I culled them down from a thousand photos).

Happy new year everyone!

House of Horrors - 14 Oct 2013 - Knock-Knock

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Highlights

Full stream: Broken, due to haunting from the angry PC poltergeist in our games room

This week on House of Horrors was Jess' week, which I was very glad for because I felt downtrodden with illness. I seriously debated not going to work that morning but in the end, my duty to host House of Horrors won out. I hope I didn't spread my sick germs to too many commuters on the train!

Fortunately, my co-host Jess took the reins for this episode. All I needed to do was maintain a facade of perfect health and try not to cough into the microphone (no easy task, I assure you).

Jess's chosen game was Knock-Knock, a side-scrolling adventure game. I knew nothing of the game until we started playing it, and after a few technical issues we managed to get the stream rolling.

The game itself seemed pretty free of scares. With a quirky art style and interesting story, I thought to myself that this episode of HoH would be bereft of any heart-attack moments.

Until Jess started screaming.

The first freak-out she had could've knocked me out, had I been wearing earphones (apologies to those who were, but it was a great laugh!). Needless to say it definitely got my heart-rate going and shifted me to ALERT MODE.

These moments happened pretty frequently throughout the stream, and I highly recommend checking the highlights out if you're up for a laugh. Unfortunately the stream was cut short by the game machine restarting (Windows update, LOL) followed by our stream machine BSOD'ing, which was much more horrific in my opinion. Props to the viewers who stuck around!

Also, I did indeed change my hair colour. Thanks to everyone for the feedback on that.

As usual, here are some of my favourite tweets from the live stream. To join in the convo be sure to use the #HoHLive hashtag on Twitter!

That's just absurd!

A fine comparison, and the first of many.

A fine question, Hanz!

*covers eyes*

I do love me some Dad jokes. Also, I totally stole that one from one of our viewers.

See you all next week!

Games you probably thought I hated

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This post was originally published on Forevergamie.

Hate is a strong word. It is a word I seldom use; a word I feel should only be brought out when the context is appropriate.

As a gamer, I seem to have developed an image with my audience as a gun-toting, text-hating, cutscene-skipping, hardcore elitist. Whilst that is true to some extent, I am also a firm believer in keeping an open mind when approaching anything in life, and games are no exception.

I like to broaden my horizons whenever possible and as a result have amassed a wide variety of gaming experiences in different genres.

So here are some games I loved, which most people probably thought I hated.

 

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Zork Nemesis

I have very vivid memories of being terrified while playing Zork Nemesis. I started with the horror games quite early. It is a very dark, first-person adventure puzzle game. The setting was creepy and the puzzles were insanely hard.

Zork Nemesis was also one of the rare games which employed real actors, whom did a wonderful job of bringing the game's gothic universe to life.

The game sported a beautiful soundtrack and equally stunning visuals. The puzzles were difficult because of the amount of research and patience required to solve them. The game manual even came with a detailed hand-drawn map which was necessary to progress with.

I really enjoyed Zork Nemesis and still love it to this day, but as a child it was impossible to finish. It was unfortunate, because I came so close to the ending, only to become stuck and never finish it. I will never know what happens to Alexandria. It is a mystery that will remain as such forever.

 

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Journey

I approached Journey with a lot of hesitation. I picked up the game quite some time after its release, meaning I had also already been exposed to an absurd amount of praise for the game. It was lucky I had ignored most of it out of disinterest, simply because I thought the game looked incredibly boring.

I was wrong.

I completed Journey in a single three hour sitting. Needless to say, it took my breath away. With the aid of six different people, I finished the game. I didn't know what to do. I was sitting on my couch staring at the TV screen as the credits rolled, and the only thing I could think was, "What am I doing with my life?"

Seriously.

Journey made me think about the value of my life. When I was younger, I had originally wanted to work in medicine and save lives. Or become a superhero and save lives. I don't know, saving lives was in the equation somewhere. I believe most human beings seek some sort of altruistic validation in their existence; this was mine.

As I grew up, my path became skewed. I was rewarded and praised for my writing ability, and that, coupled with my natural ability to pick up new games quickly, steered me in another direction entirely.

I don't regret what I do now in the slightest, but I honestly feel like my work has little philanthropic value compared to that of say, a surgeon's. What exactly is my contribution to humanity?

Journey brought these questions to the forefront of my mind and for that I am grateful.

 

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To The Moon

It's funny, because To The Moon carries all the traits of game that I truly despise.

It has little gameplay.

It's almost entirely scripted.

I thought it pretentious.

And yet when I was essentially forced into playing this indie adventure game as a result of reviewing it for The Black Panel, I found myself surprised at what it offered me.

A story which touched a nerve. Death is the key theme in To The Moon, and tackles it's subject matter with a gusto which prompted me to ask my own questions. What would I do in that situation?

I was so effected by the ending of To The Moon that I spent a few days trying to convince my friends to play it. To this day, none of them have even touched the game. Regardless, I am glad to have played To The Moon and appreciated that something so moving, so powerful, could come from such a simple-looking game.

 

And so that is my pick of games which I truly enjoyed. There are probably more scattered throughout my past, but these were the most recent to come to mind. Any surprises?

House of Horrors - 30 Oct 2013 - Amnesia: Machine for Pigs

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Highlights: http://l.gamespot.com/17lTKqF
Full stream: http://www.twitch.tv/gamespot/b/466132271

 

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So we finally played the very anticipated Amnesia: Machine for Pigs on House of Horrors this week.

 

Maybe it's because I had such high hopes for the game that bordered on unrealistic, but I felt like it did not surpass the level of intensity Amnesia: The Dark Descent contained. Then again, Jess only played for an hour and forty minutes. Perhaps the game becomes scarier later on?

 

There was so much in it which I felt made it less scary for me. The setting was not as creepy (going outside broke the fear for me) and the enemies were not threatening. Again, that could change further in.

 

In conclusion, I wasn't particularly impressed with what I saw of the game so I don't think I'll be buying it.

 

The highlight however, is always the commentary from our viewers. Here are some of my favourites I found using the #HoHLive hashtag on Twitter.

 

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I get concerned about her health every week, believe me.

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I lost it. Skrillbak, I swear you come up with most of the best tweets every week!

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I was hesitant to include this one because it quotes sweary words, but ah well. Still a funny moment!

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GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL!

 

Thanks for watching everyone, and be sure to tune in to the stream next week where I'll be hanging out in the stream chat to talk to our viewers!

                                                                                                                                                          

Returning home from Tokyo Game Show 2013

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Hello everyone.

I have resumed work in the Sydney GameSpot office after a hectic, but thoroughly enjoyable stint in Japan for Tokyo Game Show this year. I hope you enjoyed the coverage we at GameSpot provided - a lot of hard work went into it!

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, you can catch up on all the stuff we published for Tokyo Game Show on the TGS 2013 hub.

Here's a rundown of some games I saw at TGS which really interested me. In no particular order:

 

Final Fantasy XV

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It has been a long time since I liked a Final Fantasy game. The last one I truly loved was Final Fantasy X. That being said, I am quite excited about FFXV and it's style and hope Square Enix don't disappoint in this darker take on the FF series.

 

Lily Bergamo

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Very little information has been revealed on Suda 51's new project, Lily Bergamo. Despite this, I am very excited about this game. The art style is gorgeous and drew me in immediately.

What little details I have gleaned from the less-than-15-second-long trailer have hinted at themes of class struggle. This pleases my inner Marxism-studying self. Let's hope she doesn't turn into some sort of airhead.

 

The Evil Within (known in Japan as Psycho Break)

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When Shinji Mikami first announced his intentions to return to the roots of "true" horror gaming, I was beyond excited. Now, having seen gameplay footage at TGS, I am a bit skeptical.

Maybe because I have such high hopes and expectations for the game that they probably cannot be met. After all, nothing will beat the first time I played Resident Evil 2 (my personal favourite in the series) and the experiences I had.

Ah well. I look forward to playing The Evil Within regardless, but will remain wary. Jess and I gave our impressions in this video.

 

PlayStation Vita - Pink

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This may come as a surprise to some, but my favourite colour is pink. I am comfortable in admitting that I own a lot of devices that are the colour pink. In fact, I have been waiting a long time for Sony to release the PlayStation Vita in pink so that I can purchase one to match my pink PSP.

I will be buying a pink PS vita at the end of this year.

 

What did you like at TGS this year? Or would you like to go sometime in future?

 

My game character look-alike Quiet (MGS V: The Phantom Pain)

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Ever since the reveal of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, I've been receiving a few comments concerning one of the game's new characters. Specifically, the mute sniper Quiet.

According to what I've been told from a variety of people, she looks like me.

I am curious. Do you think Quiet and I bear a resemblance to each other?

 

House of Horrors - 9 Sept 2013 - ZombiU

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 FULL STREAM.

HIGHLIGHTS.

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If you're unfamiliar with House of Horrors, it is a show usually hosted by Jess McDonell and myself and sees us tackle all manner of games in the horrors genre. We alternate playing each week and choose games based on requests from our audience and availability.

 

With Jess currently on holidays, GameSpot Australia's video director Edmond Tran agreed to jump in and co-host with me.

 

For this episode I chose ZombiU, a game I had wanted to tackle on the House of Horrors stream for some time. I hoped to have the gamepad setup on a different camera so that our viewers could see what I was doing in-game, but unfortunately it was not meant to be.

 

I quite enjoyed the game. Its pacing made me feel genuinely tense and forced me to be cautious wherever I went. That I took my time to carefully round each corner and approach open areas was of much amusement to Ed, who commented that he's never seen me like that before.

 

My response was that I treated the game as I would a real zombie apocalypse - approach with caution, kill everything that moves, kill everything that doesnt move, and be wary of your surroundings. Death in the game was permanent, something I kept in mind. I'm quite proud to say that I only died once, at the very end of our stream.

 

I've picked out some of my favourite tweets for this week's show. If you'd like to join in the conversation, be sure to use the hashtag #HoHLive on Twitter!

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If there's anything playing zombie games has taught me Larry, its that you can never be too careful. 

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10/10 would definitely buy. I'm a fan of Brisco.

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I feel that as an Australian, I should be more affronted by the idea of a zombie Queen Elizabeth. Instead I find the notion rather amusing!

 

Thanks to everybody who tuned in for the show!

Unfortunately I do not own a Wii U so I won't be continuing this game at home. Edmond is in the driver's seat next week, I look forward to what madness he'll bring onto the show. I think Michigan: Report from Hell set the bar pretty high for entertainment value.

Take care everyone, and remember to always double-tap.

Fear is a choice,

Zorine

My competitive gaming history

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This post was originally published on Forevergamie.

People often ask me about what games I play. I realise that my gaming habits are dictated largely by my competitive streak and whatever happens to be the team's main game at the time. We play a lot of games together. I write this all down so I can look back on our past and fondly remember all the effort we put in and the experiences we gained from it.

When preparing for tournaments, I really dont practice as much as I should. In the past, my performance was ninety percent natural ability and ten percent whatever practice I've had. That is how little I practice. I perform well on seemingly random days. Must be something I eat. However, these days, it's all starting to change.

So here's my history with competitive gaming.

It all started with Tekken 5. My friends and I hung out at my local arcade a lot when we were teenagers. We pretty much grew up in that area. Looking back, it wasn't a very nice place. Somebody got stabbed there and the arcade was shut down as a result, but every time we walk past that spot we reminisce about the good old days skipping school and playing Tekken.

I thought I was pretty damn awesome at Tekken because out of my circle of friends, I beat everyone the most (and was the loudest about it). One day I turn up at the arcade to find a larger crowd then usual had gathered around the Tekken machine. Intrigued, I approached the group of spectators.

It turned out two pros who usually played in the city had come to our little arcade and were owning everyone. They were pulling combos and impossible, top tier gameplay I had never ever seen in my LIFE. I was blown away. It was the first time I had ever witnessed such high level play in any game, ever.

It was a life changing moment.

The impact that had on fifteen year old me was deep. I was so impressed, I had to know who they were and how they did what they did. I wanted to be just like them.

These two Aussie pros turned out to be saiyuk and Crimson, who are respectable Tekken players both locally and internationally. I tracked them down online and befriended Crimson, because he showed up to our local arcade occasionally and our high schools were close. Being in the same grade, we became fast friends started meeting up regularly, playing Tekken. He gradually introduced me to the rest of the local scene. Shortly after, I entered my first ever gaming tournament.

I'll never forget my first match.

It was a random draw, but somehow I ended up in the opening round of the tournament. I was matched up with a player named Toshin. At the time he was one of the best Mishima players in Australia. I wish there was video footage of it. I actually managed to take a round off him, and the crowd went off. There was so much yelling and screaming, it was overwhelming.

He ended up beating me, but from that moment onward I was hooked. I started regularly entering tournaments afterwards. Toshin and I became good friends and he pretty much trained me to be the Tekken player I am today. He taught me not to be cheap, anticipation, movement and somehow ingrained in me some sort of consistency. We'd have these crazy, five hour Tekken marathons playing till three in the morning.

By then Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection had hit the arcades and I was learning all sorts of new tricks. I look at this period as the peak of my fighting game form.

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When Tekken 6 was released in Japanese arcades, I had started university. At this point, my highschool friends were over fighting games and had progressed to the PC side of things. We were always PC gamers, but with no more local arcades everyone was less vested in fighting games. I had made close friends in the Tekken community and have maintained ties to them since. If it weren't for the community I would have lost interest much earlier than I did.

I still visited my local trading card shop every week because they stocked fighting game arcade cabinets like street fighter, etc. Every week I would ask if they had received the new Tekken yet. And every week the shop owner would shake his head and say no, not yet. It got to the point where I'd walk in and he'd look up, see me, and just say, "Not yet!"

Tekken 6 had a very long life in the scene. I'm pretty lucky because the Sydney Tekken scene is such a great group of people; I love hanging out with them even when we're not playing games. But we were all very, very dedicated to Tekken. One of them worked at a camera shop and bought some gear and started recording our matches. We'd study videos, look up players overseas, and improve the local level substantially.

And thus I am brought to the second highlight of my Tekken career: Zhan.

Zhan is known to the Sydney Tekken Community as the walking Tekken encyclopedia. He plays a lot of characters, and he plays them well. He has placed top three in Australian tournaments easily.

So one day at one of our local tournaments I am matched against Zhan. Sure, I thought. He'll beat me, but I won't go down without a fight. I'd played against him several times before, and I had seen him play enough to know that at that stage, I wouldn't have been able to beat him.

Imagine my reaction when I did.

He approached me afterwards and offered to train me to be the (and I quote) "best female Tekken player in Australia". I politely refused, saying I did not wish to be the best female player, I wished to be the best overall. /cue pokemon theme

I then went on to explain that other games had found my interest by then but appreciated the offer nonetheless.

With the newly acquired recording equipment in the community, I began commentating matches with Australias resident champion, MMT.

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By the time Tekken Tag Tournament 2 hit arcades, my interest had already been largely captured by my PC.

I have a love/hate relationship with this game. Mainly because I have dedicated nowhere near as much time as I did in Tekken 5: DR, when I was at my prime. Theres so much new stuff to learn, and the rest of the scene is so far ahead itll be hard work catching up. Ill admit Ive lost some enthusiasm for the game and simply do not have the same amount of time as I did before.

I both competed in and commentated Tekken Tag Tournament 2 at Shadowloo Showdown 2012 (Stream starts at 1 hour 5 minute mark), as well as the OzHadou Nationals 2012.

To this day I still enter Tekken tournaments for fun, but I no longer keep up with the game.

TF2

Somewhere between Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection and Tekken 6, I was gifted a new PC, one that I had so desperately wanted. I have been a PC gamer my whole life, and with the new upgrade came new opportunities.

Steam was starting to hit its stride around this period and my group of friends and I began to dedicate around thirty hours per week to gaming (I was still a student after all).

Then I stumbled across a local LAN tournament and suggested to the guys that we go check it out. Of the games available for competitive play, we could enter Team Fortress 2. After much convincing needed from me, we dragged our PCs out and entered our very first tournament as a group.

It was when we steamrolled our first opponents when I sort of realised, Hey, we're not half-bad.

Unfortunately technical difficulties prevented us from getting much further than that, but the experience left me with a craving for more. We were good, and I wanted to see how far we could stretch our talents.

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Warcraft III is without a doubt my favourite game of all time. I love the storyline, setting, and I loved the custom maps that were born of it. After all, DOTA came from Warcraft 3. I played Warcraft III for such a long time.

I used to 1v1 frequently with one of my teammates, who is now an amazing Starcraft 2 player. Of team I was the best Warcraft 3 player, despite the scene being so dead here in Australia. When I discovered that Warcraft III was one of the games available at a local tournament, I entered without hesitation.

In hindsight, I seriously underestimated the level of play that would come from that tiny tournament. I figured nobody played the game anymore and it would be easy prize-grabbing for me. Boy, was I wrong. I rolled through my first opponent easily and then faced off against MiranaKerr. He proved to be too good for me and made short work of our match. He ended up placing second in the tournament.

I honestly had not expected anyone actually skilled to enter and had planned to cheese my way through to the grand final. Imagine my utter disappointment when I did not actually win! To his credit, MiranaKerr was the nicest player I could have lost to. He was a very friendly guy!

There, I learnt to no longer to underestimate my opponents. I also met playwithonehand, who had placed first in that tournament. Playwithonehand had previously lost to moonglade in the previous WCG, placing third. He was really nice, helping to analyse my matches and provide constructive feedback on what I needed to improve. He invited me to play on Garena with him and ladder there, but I was otherwise occupied with DOTA at the time.

Then Starcraft 2 peaked, and WC3 was all but abandoned by the scene.

DOTA

Im actually not sure which happened first for us collectively - Dota or CS:S, but I can say with certainty that DOTA (the original) was a huge turning point for me. I played that game a lot. I honestly would not be surprised if I have clocked more than 500 hours over the course of my life in DOTA. I loved that game.

Our first DOTA tournament experience could have gone smoother. It was a poorly run affair.

The tournament was at another local LAN. We played our first opponents and won the game in the standard 45 minutes, except that in the last 10 minutes one of their players experienced technical issues and dropped from the game. He put up an argument against the admins, demanding a rematch. The admins turned to me and said it was my decision.

We had already forfeited from our next round of CS:S in order to play this, so I figured our chances were good. If we could beat em once we could beat them again. I agreed to a rematch. It shouldn't take long, right?

We agreed to play the same line-ups again. The game swung well in our favour, and we were on the verge of approaching their base for a final push when the power cut on their area, dropping half their team. The way the Warcraft 3 engine worked we could not pause the game and have them reconnect.

So we played again.

We won, again. With setup and game time combined, we had been at it for three hours. Three hours of one match of DoTA. We threw our next match. The guys were tired, I was irritated at how things had gone and our wasted CS:S opportunity. Our opponents were less then gracious, especially since I had fixed Warcraft 3 for them so that they could participate in the tournament in the first place. To their credit though, the captain shook hands with us.

After that experience, we took an extended break from DoTA.

It was nearly a year later before we entered our second DoTA tournament. I figured a 3v3 would be right up our lane. We could sub in players when needed. It wouldn't be another three-hour long test.

Despite our extended break from the game, we managed to fight our way to the grand final. During the course of the competition some of the team had to leave and attend to real-life matters, and we were down to the three of us. Right before starting, our third player received an urgent call and had to leave for twenty minutes. I stalled as long as I could, but the opposing team were pushing for us to either start or forfeit.

So I pretended to be our missing member, and we played 2v3.

Our opponents had absolutely no idea. With our LAN setup, we had our PCs seated three in a row next to each other. We placed our absent members PC in the middle, so I could multitask moving his mouse with my left hand and my teammate could hit the hotkeys with his right. We were both multitasking.

It was a bit risky. If the admins had looked over to our area at any time they would have realized what we were up to. It was also the most challenging early game of DOTA I have ever experienced. But we held out.

After one or two deaths to neutral creeps in the jungle (lol) our teammate finally returned, and resumed playing as if nothing had happened. We ended up winning.

I am pretty sure I was grinning like an idiot when we walked on stage to be presented with our prizes. As I turned to my two friends, each of us clutching a prize in our hands, I could tell that the expressions they wore on their faces were identical to the one I wore on my own.

We had finally won a tournament.

CSSLogo

I have fond memories of 1.6. I played Counter-strike 1.6 mostly in high school at our local internet café. Clan warred once or twice, lost horribly. When CS:S was released I had little interest, but eventually bought it to play with my friends.

Our first CS:S tournament was at another local LAN. I had barely begun to play the game at that stage, but we entered the tournament anyway. Me with my ten hours of CS:S experience.

Needless to say, we defeated our first opponents 16-10. It was a hilarious match, comprised of me messing around and doing stupid things like trying to knife an AWP'er. We moved up to the next round to face a team comprised of members of Team Immunity.

They were clearly above our level in skill and we got demolished, but I took it as motivation to improve my CS:S. Im very lucky in that some of the guys are very good at the game, taking the time to train us. Our training was brief and sporadic but useful.

With about thirty more hours under my belt we entered a few more CS:S tournaments, doing about average. After winning a tiny local tournament, we took a short break from the game.

HoNLogo

During our extended break from DOTA we shifted to Dota-like game Heroes of Newerth. I have about 100 games on my record, so I didnt play the game as much as I did DOTA. Regardless, I still enjoyed it. Despite our brief experience with the game, we entered a local HoN tournament and did below-average, going two and out. Regardless, it proved to be a fun experience. I met a lot of new people in the eSports scene and we had fun.

It was at the next tournament when I witnessed us play the best I have ever seen us play in my entire life.

It was at another LAN an overnight one that ran for 26 hours. We had stayed up all night waiting for our HoN tournament to start. When we were finally called out for our game, it had been a ten hour delay. The tournament was supposed to have kicked off in the evening but by the time we played our first match, the sun had begun to rise. We were all quite tired.

Our first opponents had a member missing and requested to substitute in a professional player from the eSports team MindFreak. Bleary-eyed and sleepy, I agreed.

It was at nine o'clock in the morning when we started up. They opened the match with, "Dont worry guys, their captain is a girl"

Oh, were they going to pay for that jibe.

I don't know if it was something we ate, or if we were just reading each other minds or something, but my teammates and myself coordinated and played as one. I hope the replay is saved somewhere. Our opponents were good no doubt, but we worked together better. Every action executed was precise. We were talking calmly to each other and pushing furiously, timing our movements. Not once did the match swing in their favour.

I don't know how it happened. Maybe the stars aligned or something, but we won. We won.

The player from MindFreak, ever professional, waltzed up to us and said, "I can't believe we lost to you guys". He was bitter. They didnt even shake our hands. I gloated, and yawned. Too tired to go on, we pulled out from our next match and started packing to head home.

After that, with a lack of HoN tournaments in the scene, we stopped playing the game.

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It would be a long time before we got into playing a game competitively again. Dota 2, now our current title, happened much later. The transition felt very natural to us, and the game had been tweaked to a very polished experience. It was Dota without the limitations, without the disconnect issues. We are currently playing Dota 2 without a fifth member (who has quit to play SC2) and waiting for the next tournament to happen. It's harder for us to play competitively now. We no longer have the luxury of free time. Some of us work night shifts. Our combined availability makes for organizing tournament play a complete nightmare.

But I still love the game. And as long as were having fun, I'll keep on playing.

Conclusion

Despite the set-backs, I dont think I could ever leave competitive gaming. The rush of adrenaline, the test of skill, the metagame, it's all too much fun. It's a bonding experience. It's what we do best. It's rewarding. The reasons are endless. So long as my team is still with me, I'll always be trying.

See you on the field!

- Harli