Terran, Protoss, Zerg, and then Human: Starcraft World Champion Stays at Hanwoori Hall
Published in Ewha Voice, April 2000
A lot of his life takes place out of this world. In fact, most of the time, he’s not even human. Meet Guillaume Patry (ID: X’Ds~Grrrr), 17 years old, and world champion of Starcraft, a computer simulation game featuring morphing aliens (Zergs) and throbbing spider-like creatures (Protoss) that fight broods of human warriors (Terrans). Originally from Quebec, Canada, this young man is currently living at Hanwoori Hall, Ewha’s dormitory, while pursuing the life of a professional gamer.
Patry started playing computer games when he was 12 years old. In Canada, playing games is not thought of as a `proper’ thing for young people to do, so at first his parents were a little wary about his fascination with the game. “Playing Starcraft here is something that is cool and a lot of people do it. But in Canada, computer games are not so cool,” he says. Nevertheless, he proved himself worthy by taking first place in tournaments such as the Battle.net World Championship and PGL Season 4 Starcraft Tournament. Then one day, he was scouted by PROeSPORTS, which manages pro gamers, and came to Korea. Now, he is sponsored by U2U4.com while his cash prizes alone total $52,894 and are on the rise.
But why would a pro gamer come all the way to Korea to play games when there are enough computers in Canada? That is because Korea is the perfect environment for game play. First, Starcraft is more popular in Korea than in other countries; thus there are many tournaments as well as competitors to practice with. Second, there are PC rooms.
“PC rooms are a culture that can only be seen in Korea. This environment helps raise many of the world’s top professional gamers. Currently, more than 4 foreign gamers practice here,” says Kim Eun-sang, system manager of Seulki Bang, a popular PC/Internet room in Shinchon. PC rooms make game situations more realistic and exciting for players because the opponents are sitting right next to them.
Patry has been in Korea for 10 weeks and he is enjoying all the attention he gets. His manager has his hands full arranging all the interviews and television shows that Patry has to be in, not to mention the handful of tournaments that open every week. However, his busy schedule doesn’t get in the way of his games. Patry’s cool, calm manner works well for him in the tournaments. “He knows how to control his stress and is flexible within the game situation, unlike many Koreans who just memorize strategies. I think he understands the game better than anyone else,” says Patry’s manager Park Hong-suh.
Meanwhile, life in Korea also has its downs. Starcraft made Patry a star but it’s the same Starcraft that can sometimes tie him up. He used to attend the Ewha Language Institute to learn Korean but is now too busy because of his games. He also misses his friends and family back home as well as alpine skiing, a sport he enjoyed for ten years.
“Everything I’ve done here has something to do with Starcraft. It may seem boring to others, but it’s what I like, and I like Koreans. I’m planning to stay for at least a few more months,” Patry says. A professional comment, but one can’t help but feel how much he pines to be on the slopes.