I went to the GOMTV studio for the first time to view professional Starcraft 2 playing in person. I had been in Seoul for a week before attempting to find the studio, so I considered myself somewhat proficient at using the subway by that point in time. Armed with directions and a little pad of notes (including Korean names of players), I set off through the Seoul underground to the studio. I got off at the 신정 (Sinjeong) stop and proceeded to travel the wrong way until realizing my mistake and correcting myself. Eventually, I saw up high on a building to my left the words GOMTV on a sign and I was filled with excitement for I had found the studio.
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To get inside, you have to go through a schoolyard, so I felt kind of awkward walking in even though hardly any kids were present (it is summer vacation after all). I worried whether I was in the correct building even, but then I got up to the second level and was promptly greeted with an excellent view of the lobby.
As I walked through the lobby, SlayerS_GanZi passed right in front of me. It was a little surreal to have a pro player just casually walk by like that. There was a very small turnout of about 8 people (surprising, considering it was the semifinals). I noticed another foreigner standing alone, so I went to introduce myself. We talked a bit about Starcraft and the blogs we write for (he writes for a French site that I would link to, but it does you little good unless vous parlez français). Three languages is one post, I feel so cultured! Shortly after we got to talking, Wolf walked up the stairs followed by Moletrap and DoA. Wolf and Moletrap were casting that day, so they went in to get makeup while DoA introduced himself to me and Sam (my new friend). Eventually, the stage director signaled that the matches were about to start. Likely because we were foreigners, Sam and I were invited to sit in the front row. As a result, you can see me on the English stream.
In the studio, the Koreans are the in-house commentators as well as for their stream, so it is relatively impossible to hear the English casters unless you choose to sit right next to them. To be honest, I usually watch Code A on mute back home because it is not Tastosis casting, so I was more than happy to talk with Sam throughout the games. The experience was very cool, getting to see the players microing so intensely whenever you want is very fun. Between games and during breaks, people are free to get up. Because Pepsi is sponsoring the event, the studio has a small fridge filled with Pepsi products that you are allowed to take in infinite number for free. I only wound up having one that day because I was not thirsty. They do not run out though, so don’t be afraid to grab one and enjoy.
After the matches ended, all the spectators stuck around. Sam and I were waiting to see if the SlayerS players would come out and the Koreans seemed to be waiting for MarineKing. As soon as he finished taking victory pictures in the players lounge, he poked his head out into the lobby at which point he was promptly rushed by about 6 young (I feel old for saying this, but they were probably just starting college this year (and I consider that young T____T)) Korean kids. An odd thing occurred then however; one of the kids in the group produced a box of pizza that still contained a couple of slices. He offered a slice to MarineKing, which I thought was very nice of him to do, but still something very odd. MarineKing smiled very big upon seeing food and gladly took a pice, thanking the boy for it. Immediately following that, the other boy standing next to the one that had just given the pizza produced a small bottle of grape soda and offered it to MarineKing. He happily accepted that as well. After this, he took pictures with all of them before they thanked him and left, giggling. MarineKing then began to eat his pizza, wearing a big smile on his face after having won his match. After finishing his food, he came out from the player lounge into the lobby at which point my friend Sam asked if he could get a picture. As I was a fan of Leenock, I did not get one as well, but I did congratulate MarineKing on his win before he left. Unfortunately, I did not know at the time, but Leenock had left long before.
But shortly after MarineKing left, something even greater happened, SlayerS_Jessica walked by with GanZi AND TaeJa! GanZi went ahead to get something from the players lounge, but Sam and I were able to catch Jessica to ask if we could get a picture with GanZi and TaeJa. She smiled and said “Sure, wait here.” She then told TaeJa something in Korean which I assume was “Stay here” and she went in to get GanZi and dragged him (gently) out of the players lounge for a picture with us.
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She then offered to take the picture herself and I think she did a pretty good job. I don’t know why, but GanZi got his hand around my shoulder (which he did not do for Sam). Maybe it was because I bowed and said hello to both him and TaeJa before getting the picture. Either way, note the lack of hoverhand, what a smooth operator. I found out almost right after that encounter that Leenock had left, so Sam and I headed back to our respective stops via the subway. I said goodbye to Sam as he was not sure whether he would be able to make the next day’s Code S match.
Overall, it was a very fun experience and I can’t say enough that if you like Starcraft 2, you should definitely go check out matches at the GOMTV studio if you ever get the chance.