When I was 18 years old, I dominated all challengers in Street Fighter II. (Well, most challengers.) I came as close to ruling the arcade roost as one can do without being the big bird. Two younger scrappers—Frank and Jose—reigned as the fighting-game gods at Coney Island’s legendary Faber’s Fascination, my local video-game venue. They had incredible reads. They had impeccable execution. They had poise under pressure. But if you weren’t one of those two titans, then I would serve you piping hot cups of defeat. I was so prolific with handing out Street Fighter II losses that I’d often arrange money matches with the few brave souls who’d step up to the challenge. In retrospect, my winnings were quite meager, but a $25 Saturday-afternoon take was a pretty big deal for a poor project kid back in 1992. Now, nearly three decades later, those winnings look absolutely paltry as video-game players—professional video-game players—compete in sponsor-backed tournaments that boast cash pots in the millions. In fact, Newzon, a research firm, estimates that the multi-million dollar business known as eSports will generate $1.1 billion by 2019. 40-something-year-old me is more than a little envious, and very much inclined to hate everything… Read full this story
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