"Today the competition begins," said WCG Senior Vice President Michael Arzt. "A battle to decide who will represent the USA at the world finals in Italy."
The World Cyber Games kicked off today, taking at least a tiny corner of Vegas by storm, drenching the ballroom at The Aladdin Casino in teenage testosterone and gamer enthusiasm.
"It's an exciting time for 'E-sports,'" said Arzt, addressing the more than 100 assembled gamers at today's opening ceremonies. "Many in this room will help define E-sports ... let the games begin!"
The ceremony included a rousing pre-game cheerleading session by emcee djWHEAT, a multimedia presentation of the National Anthem and a recitation of The Gamer's Oath:
We the players of the World Cyber Games agree to abide by the rules of fair play and good sportsmanship mandated by the WCG committee.
"We hope you'll respect the sheer power of friendship and harmony," said Arzt, perhaps sensing that the biggest obstacle to the dream of professional gaming might be the gamers themselves.
The assembled "combatants" then retired to the eight separate game areas to organize their teams and begin the weekend's competitions, while front-and-center, Black Mamba dominated the featured Dead or Alive 4 match, trouncing his opponent on the gigantic projection screen.
It was an inspiring start for the event; a celebration of videogames and videogamers, a contest to see who really is the best, and a statement to the world that videogames are serious business, and just might be worthy of the title "sport."