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Last Updated: Friday, 3 September, 2004, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
UK picks gamers for world final
By Mark Ward
BBC News Online technology correspondent

World Cyber Games (credit Jon Jordan)
The finals were held at a games trade show in London
The gamers representing the UK in the World Cyber Games have been chosen.

Ten players that will be going to San Francisco to take part in the gaming world's equivalent of the Olympics were decided in tournaments held this week.

The gamers will be among 700 of the world's best competing for a share of the total prize money of $400,000.

Matches were held at the ECTS trade show to decide the UK's top players of Counter-Strike, Unreal Tournament, Warcraft III and Project Gotham Racing.

Fast action

No cash prizes were given to the winners but all the top players get an all-expenses paid trip to San Francisco so they can take part in the games.

The World Cyber Games (WCG) will be held from 6-10 October and more than 62 nations are expected to send players.

This year the UK is hoping to improve on last year's performance at the WCG, when only Alex Bond won a silver medal in the Warcraft 3 national tournament.

The standard of play was high in the UK finals but the competition was dominated by members of the UK's top pro-gaming clans, Four-Kings and Team AMD Gamer (Tag).

In the Counter-Strike competition, pro-clan Four-Kings Intel cruised through to the top slot.

WCG FINALISTS
Screenshot from Unreal Tournament 2004, Atari
Counter-Strike - Marc Mangiacapra, Keir McCann, Stuart Harriman, Nygel Harriman, Dave Pratt
Unreal Tournament - David Treacy, Paul McGarrity
Warcraft III - Martin Rome, Alex Bond
Project Gotham Racing - Tom Humphris
To comply with WCG rules it had to field an all UK team, which meant that it co-opted player Dave Pratt who usually plays for the Tag clan.

The Warcraft 3 tournament almost suffered an upset when Alex Bond lost the match to decide one WCG place to fellow Tag team member Martin Rome.

Mr Rome won despite having problems with a stuck key during the opening match in the final.

However, the tournament set-up gave Mr Bond another chance to win a place which he duly took.

Mr Rome said he turned to the real-time strategy of Warcraft after spending a long time playing first-person shooting games.

"I just got sick of Counter-Strike," he said. "It was just the same. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot."

By contrast, he said, Warcraft rewarded strategic thinking and close control of the different troop types available.

The Unreal Tournament 2004 final was a hard fought affair played across three close matches. Eventually David Treacy from the Tag clan took the top slot.

Tom Humphris, aka Twist, emerged as the winner in Project Gotham Racing in a closely fought race.

At just 16-years-old, he is the youngest member in the team from the UK.

For the UK finals gamers had to use a standard PC but all brought their own mouse and keyboard.

"They are like top football players that have their own boots," said Ben Tilley from WCG sponsor Samsung.

The finalists were chosen following a qualifying tournament that took place at Newbury Racecourse in late August run by gaming and lan party organiser Multiplay.




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