Fatal1ty – Syndicate Interview Series on Complexitygaming.com

The focus of our next Syndicate Interview Series installment is none other than the famous American gamer Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel.  Fatal1ty has won over $500,000 in prize money during his eSports career and has been one of the pioneers of branded gaming products and licensing deals.  Most recently Wendel tested the broadcasting waters with the Championship Gaming Series.

Thanks for sitting down with us.  Let’s start at the beginning.  When did you first start playing video games?  What drew you to FPS games versus other genres?

I started when I was about 4 years old, playing Nintendo and some Atari/PC/Apple games.  The fascinating thing about playing FPS games was mainly being able to compete in a high caliber game against other people on the internet.  I really looked at it as a sport in another world, playing a game where you had to have some of the same skill sets you needed to compete at a high level playing sports.

You have been quoted as saying that your third place finish in the 1999 CPL Quake event prompted you to pursue a fulltime career as a professional gamer.  In the beginning, did you expect your career to last as long as it did?  How did your family and friends react to you being one of the first professional gamers in the world?

Yah, that event was really great for me.  It was truly when I was just a college kid trying to play games for fun, but also win some money while doing a hobby. I expected after that tournament to just keep playing in the games I love and keep up my hobby as long as I could win some small money on the side. I was expecting to make $10k/year after that as a hobby. It just so happened that it turned into $110k my first year in 2000.  My friends thought it was cool for sure!  It’s a kids dream to turn their hobby into a living, as it was for me. My parents weren’t too fond of it until I started bringing checks home.  My dad was supportive, though, with my competitive nature as he also is extremely competitive.

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