Yours truly is in chilly Edmonton this weekend, but things are heating up at the Intel Extreme Masters professional gaming event. More than $50,000 in cash and prizes are up for grabs for those competing in games like Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft.
In case you haven’t been following the eSports revolution, professional organizations such as the Electronic Sports League (the oldest and largest league of its kind) pit teams of players against one another for serious cash and prizes.
Edmonton, Alberta is the latest stop on the tour (Taipei is next, in February), and in the centre of West Edmonton Mall is 12,000 square feet of Gaming Goodness (TM) for the entire weekend. In fact, Intel Extreme Masters has taken over the hockey rink here in one of the world’s biggest shopping malls. Kids and adults are pouring in to watch the various competitions and lay their hands on new games and tech, too.
That is, along with the pro-level competitions – which you can watch from the stands (where I’m currently blogging from) – spectators can also play around with new games at stations showing Ubisoft Montreal’s Avatar, Codemaster’s DiRT 2 and Activision’s Guitar Hero games. You can sit inside one of two modified Formula 1 cars to grip the steering wheel and engage in online iRacing.com matches against others.
Attendees can also compete in a select computer games, such as Unreal Tournament III, and the winner gets to take home a new Intel Core i7 processor worth about $1,000 (one a day will be given out this weekend, plus other prizes).
You can also test-drive Intel quad-core processors in laptops and desktops (be it Core i7 or Core i7 Extreme CPUs), visit the Dell station to see their latest PCs or answer some questions about what you use your PC for at the GreatComputing.ca station, and the interactive guide will help pick your next computer for you.
A Redmond, Washington start-up, Microvision, is here with a unique concept called PicoP: it’s game controller with an integrated laser projector; when you’re placed into the dark tent and choose between the kid-friendly Aladdin or Operation Flashpoint 2 military shooter, you can interact with the game while projecting it on the wall at the same time. Pretty cool stuff.
So, if you’re in the Edmonton area (or heck, drive in from Calgary), come visit us this weekend to get your hands on the latest games and PC technology. It’s not like you can miss us…
Oh, and be sure to check out my video interview with Robert (“Black Panther”) Tindale from Team EG, shot here on location.