|Whilst posing for his Press photo, Fatal1ty continued to frag n00bs with his spare hand|
When the E-Sports scene was emerging from the primordial soup of freshly drawn 3D, I was head admin at ESReality.com and found myself covering perhaps the most exciting time in E-Sports.
During this frenetic period there emerged a handful of players who transformed the FPS genre into an art-form. They gathered fans as their "demos" went viral through the online gaming community. As the fan-base grew, the handful of players found themselves presented with sponsorship deals.
First there was the unbeaten, Ferrari winning legend that is Thresh. His impact on a largely HPB * scene was seismic. Never before had a gamer been spoken about in playgrounds, offices and pubs with such awe.
And then, in 1999 came Fatal1ty. Effectively surfing in on the first E-Sports wave, Fatal1ty shafted his way through the Quake3 crowd with brutal efficiency. Totalling over $500,000 in prize money, he has reigned victorious in a staggering 5 different games. Holding titles in Doom 3, Alien vs. Predator 2, Unreal Tournament 2003, Quake III and Painkiller, he is unmatched.
What's the big deal? How hard can it be to shoot and move?
Check this movie out for frags ...
And this for silky moves
Clearly I spent too much time covering this guy when I was writing for ESReality as my 2 year old son used to point at Quake TV and say "It's Fwatality!" The simple fact is that Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel is an awesome sight to behold when packing a virtual gun. Years later, I can remember with unusual clarity his most audacious moves and his poised, snake-like aggression.
He remains the benchmark by whom all else gets compared to. Even Cooller ...
Rich Elliott. Do you ever sneak onto Quake Live under an alias? What do you make of the way it's regenerated Q3 to a large degree?
Jonathan Wendel. Thank you first for the intro. I'm honored your two year old son was trying to say my nickname at two years old. As for hopping on with a fake nickname, not so much. I usually logon with my real nickname and play a ton of Clan Arena and FFA. Quake Live has been great for bringing a lot of old school quakers back in the scene even if it was for casual or competitive play.
RE. If they did Quake 5, would you like it to be more like Quake World?
JW. I enjoyed PainkilleR because it was so much like QuakeWorld, fast and action packed with acrobatic fighting. I believe the railgun really slowed down the game. The faster the game, the more excitement and more of the raw skill comes out. Hit and run tactics became very boring, so if Quake 5 was like QuakeWorld, that would be amazing!
RE. I check out your FB activity and notice you're generally hopping from city to city still. Are you competing as much now?
JW. I'm traveling a lot promoting Fatal1ty Gaming Gear around the globe with my licensed partners. I do a lot of exhibition / show matches with gamers while I'm on tour. My mission has really moved towards more of the business end to help gamers improve their gaming experiences through products I've developed with the dedication and knowledge I've learned through competing in the battlefield over the last two decades.
RE. How healthy is International Pro-Gaming compared to 10 years ago?
JW. I feel its doing extremely well. The games today are being played in tons of different ways compared to how tournaments were back then. Today, gamers are finding multiple ways to make money around gaming, either through sponsors, tournaments or streaming. It's great to see the gamer regaining their own identity instead of just being a player on a team.
RE. You hold the world record for killing the most people in an hour (April 2009). What will you say when this is read back to you at the Pearly Gates of Heaven?
JW. I did what I had to do.
RE. Is there money to be made with ESports right now? (for the aspiring gamer)
JW. ESports is just like real sports. Only the best will really thrive, and only the hardest working and dedicated ones will find their way.
RE. Who is the most interesting gamer out there and can you tell us why?
JW. I'm always a fan of a gamer who puts it all on the line. I find that every gamer is interesting, because they all have their own unique story to tell how they did it, and how they got to the top.
RE. What game are you utterly rubbish at?
JW. If I had to say a game I'm really bad at, its definitely any kind of Karaoke game. There is nothing that is going to help me sing better, so forget about me hitting any of the notes.
Fatal1ty vs AIM Quakecon 2002. Check out his Comeback from 8-0 at approximately 6 mins.
RE. As graphics become more complex and picmip_16** becomes a thing of the past, what kind of game do you think will pull in the big audiences for E-Sports in the West?
JW. Right now I really enjoy playing Battlefield 3! Game is amazing, because you have jet airplane dog fighting, tanks vs tanks and infantry vs infantry. Then after all of that, all three of those aspects of the game interact with each other! It's almost as if you have 3 games all built into one.
RE. Conventional Dual competitions have dominated the prize purses since gaming went Pro. Can you see team games superseding them in the future?
JW. I believe they already have. The big money has really fallen to the side for duel competitions and now it’s all about team games.
RE. PC Gamer
recently reviewed Battlefield 3 and gave it 80% ....
I was so pissed at them I wrote them a letter . What would you score
JW. BF3 is as good as it gets for that type of game! There is nothing else like it, and you’re getting to experience so many different types of gameplay, from ground units, to vehicles, to air units! It's amazing how they found a way to interlace all of them together and make the game look drop dead stunning at the same time! Love it!
RE. I noticed your brother plays BF3. Is this a game you unwind with, or is it something you take seriously?
JW. I take everything seriously. If I'm playing a game, I want to dominate it!
RE. I will always have a soft spot for Q2DM1 and most of Quake 3. What were your best games and maps over the years and why?
JW. Original Tourney4 was an awesome map with the floor damage! Loved that map!!! Thought it was so intriguing and surprisingly sneaky for being such a wide open ranged map.
RE. What was the best dual you have ever played?
JW. World Tour Finals against voO. With so much on the line and coming from the lower bracket, I feel I came up clutch when it mattered the most. I remember a specific fight in the 3rd match on Psycho when we were tied 4-4 going into overtime, and I landed 7 shots in a row with vo0 hitting 0 and effectively taking control of the OT and winning that match which took me onto winning the $150,000 just one map later on my favorite map Meatless.
RE. What was your most important match ever?
JW. I feel winning the Unreal Tournament 2003 on MTV True Life really put me on the map. If I didn't win that, I feel a lot of things could have been different for me in the mainstream light.
RE. What's your Fave I-Pad App?
JW. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
RE. Thresh has his config buried in the code of Quake2, just type "Exec thresh.cfg" and apparently it will load up. Apart from having your name on inside a good percentage of computers in the world, have you been buried into the code of any games?
JW. iD software has always told me they would do that for me, but I've never really followed it up. After QuakeCON 1999, DieharD (friend of mine) got his config buried into the q3test for winning their first tournament.
RE. I have a Fatal1ty motherboard which I broke when I dropped it. Do I send it back to you?
JW. Haha. No you would not be sending it back to me. You would be dealing with my licensed partner directly for situations like this.
RE. Thresh once said of you (in an ESR interview) ... "Fatal1ty plays a more methodical, running patterns type game, whereas I played a more thinking, strategic style game"... He also spoke about his slower, strategic style of play. Is it possible that such gameplay could withstand the ferociously fluid style most Pro-Gamers employ today? I'll cut to the chase ... do you think you would have beaten Thresh if you were both at the peak of your powers?
JW. I feel I played the game however it needed to be played to win the game. If a certain pattern was 100% effective, why not use it? As gamers got more complex to read and play against, I had to change my game to win the match. The game over the years has changed so much, so no one style is bullet-proof. Playing all the different games I've played, each game had a different way to play them, and if you tried to employ a q3 tactic in PainkilleR, it was impossible to win! I tried it, didn't work. I had to become more aggressive and more fierce with decisions and movement to bring the fight to me. I even had to change to no accel to play the game at optimal settings. As for the match between Thresh and me, we will never know. Thresh was a great player and I much enjoyed watching him when I was 15-16 years old.
RE. Have you got advice for the aspiring Pro-Gamer? Are there pitfalls now that didn't exist 10 years ago?
JW. Being good, isn't good enough. You need the full package to really take gaming to its limits. Focus on being very well rounded in a lot of categories, not only in gaming.
RE. ESReality has remained faithful to the hardest of hardcore gaming. Do you still drop by to see what's going on within the forums?
JW. I have always been a fan of reading ESR. I remember the first invitational I was invited to that ESR put on in Sweden, and it was a blast. ESR has definitely been a home for me for a long time to visit and check to see what’s going on. Reading comments on here has always been entertaining.
RE. Are you a Cycling Gamer?
JW. I use to ride bikes a lot when I was younger, but I'm nowhere near your level in cycling as I've seen photos of you tearing up the roadway.
RE. Lastly Johnathan, before the ESR crowd rip me apart for kissing ass .... Is it fair to say that Cooller is better at Quake III than you? ...
JW. Cooller is cool, but not that cool ;)
14 years ago, standing on a Q2DM6, I met a guy called Koogar. We formed a clan called Mistermen and took it to the top five in the UK for Quake 3. I even got to travel to London and play against a German team called Unmatched. It was then that I realised there was a gulf between "good" and "professional" (when they beat us 200+ - 0). In this ferociously competitive world, Fatal1ty has made his indelible mark on history. As to whether he is resigned to being a part of history and nothing more, that's one question left hanging in the breeze.
* HPB = High Ping Bastard (Someone with a modem connection). The moniker implied sporadic "laggy" ping. An LPB was the name for someone (who was winning) with a good connection.
** r_picmip 16 was a setting in Quake III which enabled the gamer to strip the game of any extraneous detail. It looked like lego and was thought to improve your gameplay by minimising "distractions".