As my good mother drove me down to the airport a very strong stomach ache suddenly tore me apart. Somehow the anguish of flying back to Korea had gotten to me. I was happy to fly back, but I was leaving behind my new dog, my weed, sea side, French libraries etc.
Korea was something just so different, in fact it felt like my existence had been divided in two distinct and antagonist experiences.
It was like using a different part of myself to fit in Korea, I like to hide in France, over Korea, I had to expose myself, interact, face things, dig an impossible to dig hole. These things were shoveling my guts deep.
It kind of kept going until after a few days in Seoul. Alas, my first evening of drinking cleaned everything up. I got drunk heavy and somehow doing such summoned my Korean self back into me.
This year’s WCG was to be held in the event building center next to COEX. It was to be the main event of the game show KAMEX.
As I explored the place I ran into Richard, the one who had taken me into Triple Dice, got me sponsored, watched after me.. I was so happy ! He had moved to Gravity and was presenting Ragnarok Online beta there.
He asked if I was coming back to be a pro gamer again. I couldn’t exactly laugh and say thing like “oh man, you know how much I suck !” because he was the one who actually made his ex boss spend his cash on me for playing SC >.>.
Anyway, I went right to the point saying I would be watching over two foreign players that qualified for WCG finals and were planning to stay in Korea, and that I of course, was looking for a sponsorship for them.
He seemed very happy with the idea and went up to gravity CEO who was there and introduced me. We then proceeded to go for a lunch at TGI and I spoke about pro gaming the whole time.
I left them after the meal and went straight to the WCG venue to meet up with many faces I hadn’t seen for months.
Grrrr…, Maynard, Elky, Smuft, Kenka, Dudey, Supercondomuser and many others had just gotten there.
In an awkward demonstration of man to man love, Maynard (whos smaller than I am but way thicker !) just caught me and threw me up in the air like his new bride.
As I was talking with Smuft, MightyAtom showed up and Steven introduced him as the coolest guy ever to walk Canadian grounds, and I soon thought he was damn right.
It felt exalting to see that many SC players, I don’t know why. It seemed everything that I had left was about to grow even bigger !
The fact Kevin, Daniel, Kenka and others told me they were planning to stay a couple months, made things even cooler.
A Starcraft foreign gang in Korea… It wouldn’t only be me and Guillaume and possibly Everlast… I was pumped.
Speaking with Elky gave me confidence he could rank high up in the tournament and even why not win it. Elky always had that “tourney beast within” kind of thing, which was mainly a strong confidence in himself, but he was the first I had met that had both confidence and skill. More often, most good foreign players would have great confidence but would lack in skill. Elky seemed like another case and as the story told, I was pretty right on my hunch. (Not that it was not some mysterious intuition, Elky at that time, was arguably along with Fredrik the best foreign player. NTT would of course disagree on this (just like about everything that I can say or think).
Somehow I got my hands on a V.I.P. pass form a very charming and naïve WCG lady and was able to freely circulate through the whole thing.
As the national teams were taken care of by their own team manager, I didn’t have anything really to do to help Elky or Smuft, I was however, running around trying to get them interviewed etc… and I was able to sit down a few moments with Elky to scheme up what would come after WCG if he made it to the top.
Smuft was in the good hands of mightyatom and I was hoping he would make it far as well.
By the way people, the “manner pylon” is something that was invented at this WCG, the name came from smuft who was the very first to actually do it, he wrote it down on his WCG info quiz when it would ask “what is your favorite strategy?”.
Smuft wrote down with haste “THE MANNER PYLON”.
Sadly Smuft didn’t make it out of his group, while Elky went on crushing faces right and left.
Over the WCG’s course, I had met yet again with a Journalist, that flew year before to Korea for a week, to interview Grrrr…. He was back to cover WCG (more like a paid holiday), and introduced me to a quite hot lady working for Wired and also here to cover WCG and Kamex.
The day before the WCG finals where Elky would face his nemesis, Boxer, me, Guillaume and the two reporters went to Juliana with a bunch of Korean friends.
Somehow, the reporter girl was turning me on huge time. I don’t know, there’s something extremely sensual about the way some American girls behave that I never could quite explain to myself… anyway, as I was getting closer to her and making a good conversation out of this noisy place, the (old) male reporter stood up and told me he was going back to the hotel, leaving a nice stack of cash on the table to take care of half of the bill.
Then Jee Hae somehow showed up and the female reporter actually got pissed. My gf took me apart telling me shit about the reporter (she was hitting one me blah blah), which I had no way to argue against without looking suspicious >.<.
The reporter girl promptly left and I think I got both the reporters pissed on the same evening.
Next day I was spending it with reporter girl trying to explain her how TvT worked but it turned out Elky played Protoss.
We watched in pain Elky getting demolished by Boxer while she kept on saying how Boxer looked cute for a Korean and me thinking “fuck it, Elky lost And all she finds telling me is how good boxer looks” .
Anyway, taking the loss in the finals wasn’t such a huge blow and I prolly was just as extatic as Elky was of getting 2nd, because we both knew what it really meant : for a week, Elky would be in many news papers, and getting 2nd was enough to stay in Korea and try and find a sponsorship.
Smuft would tag along and live in the same place as Elky, while we would rent me and Jee Hae and appartement in the same building to monitor their fucking behavior (I’m not joking, you guys have no idea of what were Elky and Smuft paired together at that time. For instance, the first month, they would say “shibal seki” to every single person they were introduced to. People living in Korea, imagine what I had to deal with!)
Elky had won 10K usd. Now that’s great and it would allow him to live for a while in Korea, but, winning a tournament isn’t the most difficult, the hardest comes after when trying to get the money from Samsung.
After the WCG ended, as I said, a bunch of foreign players stayed a few months in Korea and we would basically all meet up and spend our free time together in pc rooms, restaurants, bars etc…
The first night of drinking with mighty atom was something special. I had a huge Canadian raised Korean, about twice the size of any Korean man in the street, yelling around to anyone willing to listen, that he was a :"fucking true Korean man, with big balls, a big macho heart and the thoughest drinking acolyte you could find".
Thing is, he couldn’t exactly word anything in Korean, so he was basically yelling in English and people would of course stare at him in a weird way, now that was not to stop this man, actually quite the opposite, and if a girl would dare making a comment or stare back at him, he would run to her yelling to her face she was the prettiest women he had seen in his entire life and that he came to Korea to find a bride.
I might speak more of mighty atom in the future. He’s one of his own kind…
NTT who was staying as well, wanted to try out pro gaming. Prior to our real life meeting, we had insulted and hated each other for a good year over the internet, him mostly spending his time on battle net making new ids to whisper me shit and getting ignored.
At first in Korea, it felt like we could get along better, but it didn’t work out, namely him saying I looked and behaved like a fag, which I can’t really blame him for, as I was acting the way some Korean chicks see and love European men. But meh, we just didn’t get along and he isn’t exactly of the merry type.
Back then, dragging NTT into a Korean club or bar would basically mean having a dead weight sitting in a random corner staring at his shoes for hours without a word, and that’s not a fucking joke.
Now truth is, he asked me to provide him the kind of help I was giving Elky and Smuft and I said yes, but didn’t have any time for and NTT wasn’t helping either by not wanting to DO A SINGLE THING and playing elastomania 10 hours a day instead of raping faces on gamei and trying out the gamei weekly’s.
That was about the time smuft introduced me to spunky, that he knew online prior to coming to Korea. Spunky was the kindest and one of the most sympathetic English speaker I met in the Starcraft Korean community.
As I had access to many people at MBC game, I could get good practice partners sometimes for Elky through Ophium.
But Spunky had much better connections with players and clans on battle net and soon enough, he showed up with Cho jja in our practice pc room to pit him against Elky.
Now, Elky, smuft and I, upon seeing Cho Jja playing irl agreed right away he couldn’t be anything else but the best player in the world, but Cho Jja always kind of lacked confidence, and for their first games, Elky demolished him so hard Cho Jja seemed depressed.
Well, to his discharge, at that time, Elky prolly had the best TVZ in the world, much more efficient than Boxer actually. But Boxer was just a tournament god, you know, that guy you see in lans and you just know he can’t be beaten.
We rapidly set a couple of goals, like getting Elky / Smuft into gamei weekly tournaments, where money was to be made.
Also getting top ladder of gamei to get noticed, thing that smuft did within two days, losing only a couple of games out of one hundred. I still remember Smuft raping top gamei zergs in the most humiliating fashions (like 22 dts rush on lost temple against).
With the good help of Jee Hae, I was able to use the many business cards I had gathered for a year and a half, and basically call everyone to get appointements, either it to be with OGN and MBC pds, potential sponsors or even to bargain a month rent in a good pc bang for them to practice.
We were making calls all day long and soon enough, meetings began to schedule and to pile up.
Then, OGN pd called and asked us to come over their headquarters outside Seoul, they wanted to get a closer look on these fresh new foreign gamers.
MBC also called saying they were sending a reporter squad to follow us for a day long and make a documentary on our lifestyle in Seoul.
Done for now. Next entry will follow events from there. Elky / Smuft duking it out in front of all OGN employees in their main Office, with all of them (about 50!) standing up watching the whole game and actually making a huge applaud when they finished. Was crazy !
Also, Elky’s first broadcasted game on MBC against gorush and Grrrr… and their first Korean 1024 players starcraft lan held by KTF!
Hope you enjoyed !