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Saturday, 7 October, 2000, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Gamers zero in on top prize
Quake III
Quake III: Frag fest for game addicts
The top cyber warriors from across the world are battling it out in the largest international computer game tournament to find out who is the best of the best.

More than 160 game addicts from 14 countries have gathered in the South Korean capital, Seoul, to take part in the World Cyber Game Challenge.

The competitors have come from countries as diverse as the UK, Singapore, the US, China, Mexico, Japan and Sweden.

They have survived tough national preliminaries held over the last few months.

Armchair football

The gamers have been honing their killer instincts to zero in on the $25,000 cash prize for the winners, who can also look forward to lucrative contracts.

starcraft
Starcraft: Sci-fi strategy
Four titles are up for grabs. Players are in for a frag fest in the shoot 'em up Quake III game.

Those with an interest in armchair football can show off their skills on the cyber pitch of Fifa 2000, while those with a more strategic bent can compete in either the futuristic Starcraft or the civilisation-building Age of Empires II.

The climax of Quake III and Age of Empires II events is on 14 October, followed by the Fifa 2000 and Starcraft finals on 15 October.

The organisers hope that future tournaments will be seen as the international cyber Olympics.

Rising upstart

South Korea is hosting the tournament as part of its efforts to establish itself as a rising upstart in the computer game industry.

Age of Empires
Age of Empires: Old-style strategy
It has one of the world's largest computer games markets, with millions of people online.

Gaming centres known as PC rooms, equipped with high-speed internet access, have sprung up across South Korea. There are now 20,000 PC rooms, compared with less than 100 in 1998.

"Korea is the world's largest online games market outside the United States, and growing faster than the United States," said Nigel Sandiford, of the entertainment software developers Electronics Arts.

South Korea's computer games industry was worth $560m in 1999 and it is expected to grow by 15% annually.

See also:

23 Dec 99 | Health
Computer games pose injury risk
23 Apr 00 | Health
Video games 'increase aggression'
20 Dec 99 | Business
Christmas video games war
18 Jan 00 | Business
Is Lara Croft losing her touch?
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