After spending long hours in intense competition, sweat drips down James Prusa-kowski’s face as if he just completed a marathon.
“You might think we take it easy playing video games, but it does get pretty tense,” said the 19-year-old who was mashing buttons vying for top spot all weekend at the Pro Gaming League’s Edmonton Tournament, which wrapped up yesterday at the University of Alberta.
Prusakowski, who plays Guitar Hero III professionally, was one of hundreds of wannabe and pro gamers hoping to earn thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
The Edmonton gamer, who carries a guitar controller in his backpack, says he spends hours a day playing his video game just to be sure he’s “up to snuff with his competition.”
“If you make one little mistake, you could be out of here fast,” said Prusakowski.
“But, I’ve been practising every single week and I’ve been putting way more time into this than I’m used to. (However), the money is good.”
About 300 mostly male gamers went head to head for a total purse of $5,000. Prize money was split for the best gamer in Halo 3, NHL 2008, and Guitar Hero III. There was a prize for the best four-man team in Halo 3.
The Canadian-based pro-gamer league is only less than a year old, but founder Kyle Gronning says it’s already starting to catch on.
“Guys make so much money just by playing poker and professional sports, so I thought why not do that by playing video games,” said Gronning who kick started the PGL in Regina.
Gronning says Edmonton is a hotbed for professional gamers and some have already been invited to the league’s national tournament.
Gamers who think they have what it takes can also follow the circuit for another stop May 16-18 at Winnipeg’s University of Manitoba.