Over 230 of the nation's top PC/console gamers primed their paddles and did battle in the National Taiwan Cyber Games Championship in Taipei last weekend. And for a lucky few it was a chance to prove that they had what it takes to represent Taiwan at the 2005 World Cyber Games (WCG), which will be held in Singapore this November.
Cheered on by hundreds of spectators, gamers battled it out for the top spots in Star Craft: Brood War, WarCraft: The Frozen Throne, Need for Speed: Underground 2 and Dead or Alive: Ultimate while team's spilled buckets of blood in Counter Strike.
After Saturday's hotly contested first round knockout competition the field of 230 had been whittled down to 28 individuals and four teams of five players.
The games took an average of 20 to 40 minutes to complete and by 5pm Sunday eight individuals and two teams of five had proved their gaming mettle and were ready to take on the world in Singapore come November.
Lin Chun-ta (
First held in Seoul in 2001, the WCG, which has been dubbed "the video game Olympics" by the gaming industry has grown to become the world's largest celebration of video gaming. This year an estimated 800 players representing 70 countries will compete in the annual event, which will make WCG 2005 the largest PC/console gaming competition to ever be staged outside of South Korea.
Along with gamers from more savvy PC/console gaming nations such as the US, Japan and Hong Kong this year's event is the first time players from Bangladesh and Turkmenistan will be participating in the event.
While Taiwan is expected to face stiff competition from experienced German, Brazilian and US gamers it is the South Korean team that local players like Chen Ko-wei (
"[The South Koreans] are always the team to watch. They treat the [WCGs] like its the Olympics. They train hard and do a lot a research in regard to tactics and how best to beat the opposition," said Chen who will represent Taiwan in the WarCraft: The Frozen Throne category.
"It will be a very tough game if we come up against them. I'd obviously like to beat [South Korea], but I'm not getting too optimistic about that happening."
Cyber Team Taiwan's players will be participating in five of the nine official games chosen for the 2005 competition. Regardless of the category, Cyber Team Taiwan's members will be hoping to emulate the successes of their peers in the 2003 WCG, when five players from Taiwan scored big and brought home four silver medals and one gold medal.
In order to ensure that the squad is at its best in the run up to the finals local sponsors Shuttle Inc will not only be providing players with up-to-date computer systems and software on which gamers can hone their skills, but they will also employ gaming coaches.
"It's the first time Taiwan's WCG team has had coaches and I think it will make a big difference," said event organizer Ricco Kwan (