Major League Gaming Pro Circuit comes to Dallas

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    Junior Nathan Mann has a job that would make most video gamers envious. As a graphics coordinator for Major League Gaming tournaments, the accounting and finance double major will be on-site at the MLG 2011 Pro Circuit video game competition coming to the Metroplex April 1-3.

    The Dallas competition will feature Halo: Reach, StarCraft 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops. It is expected to attract thousands of participants and spectators, according to a Feb. 3 press release.

    Mann will be working at the event to stream the Halo competition over the Internet live, so gamers across the country can watch the action happening on the screens. He said he started working for Major League Gaming after participating in several of the organization’s local competitions.

    “I played in a couple tournaments they had in Dallas, and eventually I ended up getting the job from them in 2008, and it’s stuck ever since then,” Mann said.

    Mann works part time, helping MLG at each of their six annual competitions. The company flies Mann and other employees around the country to help with events that occur in cities around the U.S.

    This year, Dallas will be the first city to pit gamers against each other for over $120,000 in prizes.

    There will be a separate screen and spectator area for each of the three games to be played, according to Katie Goldberg, vice president of PR for Major League Gaming. The venue will also include booths letting attendees play against the professional players, and also showcasing games that have not been released to the public.

    Goldberg advised students who want to get involved to come out to the event, even if it was just to watch. She also directed interested people to Major League Gaming’s official website, where they can practice against other players and test their skills.

    For Mann, the video game industry was something he wanted to be involved in from an early age.

    “It all started when I was a kid and I got a Nintendo 64,” he said. “I’d always loved playing video games.”

    Mann said he got more involved with gaming in high school when Xbox Live, a service that allows people who own an Xbox to play video games over the internet with people all over the world, debuted in 2002.

    “Eventually [Major League Gaming] had a tournament that was in Dallas, and I decided to go to it and see what it was like,” he said.

    After participating in several competitions, his passion for video games translated into the kind of job that many gamers aspire to have.

    “The company flies me out, and pays me to go across the country to work with video games all weekend,” he said. “[My friends] think it’s really cool, and it’s a fun job to be able to do that. I think a lot of them are jealous.”

    Sam Kirkendoll, a senior writing and philosophy double major, said he plays around 20 hours of video games a week.

    Kirkendoll said although he has never attended an MLG event, he did occasionally host tournaments in which he and his friends played against each other. He said he believed the MLG’s upcoming competition may garner student attention because so many people on TCU’s campus play video games.

    “If you’re good, you can make money,” said Kirkendoll, whose friend who was a professional gamer.

    “It’s kind of cool that professional gaming is becoming a thing now,” he said. “Where it’s going, it’s going to be as big as football or baseball. It’s definitely entering into the realm of professional sports.”

    Kirkendoll said he appreciated that the MLG competitions awarded monetary prizes to the best players.

    “It takes skill. Anyone who argues that video games shouldn’t be a professional sport, I’m flabbergasted why they would say that,” he said. “You see people getting paid millions of dollars to play football.”

    Major League Gaming’s 2011 Pro Circuit

    April 1-3

    Dallas Convention Center

    $25 for spectators

    $280 per four-person team for Halo: Reach

    $70 per person for StarCraft 2

    $240 per four-person team for Call of Duty: Black Ops

    For more information, visit majorleaguegaming.com