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IT WAS the kind of sight that would have left any true video-game fanatic with their mouths wide open. A raised stage with row upon row of comfortable chairs to seat those that wished to freely enjoy that which lay directly on the smooth, glossy table in front

By Abbas Ghaznavi (Contributor)

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Published: Sat 21 Jul 2007, 11:45 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:12 AM

g2of each of them; a smooth high resolution flat screen TV with the characters of the Video game Dead Or Alive 4 waiting to be selected and two brand new Xbox 360 controllers just begging to be used. A video gaming ampitheatre.

Such was the sight that met the eyes of an entire horde of gamers of all ages at the south court of the Dubai Festival City on Wednesday, eagerly waiting for their chance to compete in the qualifying rounds of the Championship Gaming Series (CGS), the first worldwide professional gaming league.

The tournament which is organised as part of the DSS activities is devoted entirely toward video game playing with the first day consisting of the qualifying rounds.

"I’ve been waiting for this event for three days," said an excited Hardik Bhatia, 13. "Video-games have been a part of my life for ten years and this event is the perfect opportunity for expert gamers like myself to showcase our skills."

Gaming is no longer simply an entertaining past time but rather a fully paid profession with gamers being paid up to $30,000 a year.

“It’s fantastic”. Said Mark Thompson, 36, administrator of both the event and the largest gaming league in Europe. “This is really where gaming is taken seriously, just on the edge where it turns into a proper sport.”

g1Many of the players attending had their hearts set on qualifying and becoming part of a professional team. “It’s my dream” said Yogesh Manglani, 13 ."I know I am talented enough, it’s all a matter of being give a chance to prove it and that is exactly what the Championship Gaming Series provides. Anyone who can hold a joystick will be given a chance, and the best part is it’s free."

Members of the media were given the opportunity to try out the games for themselves during the warm up preceding the event, functioning as little more than training dummies for the experienced gamers who had been positively itching to grab hold of the controller and begin playing the game they love, 'Dead or Alive 4' that is.

The game itself was quite enjoyable. I was unable to fully understand my character’s move set seeing as how I was being mercilessly beaten by my experienced competitor although I could fully appreciate the unbelievable graphics and realistic flow of movements from the characters.

All that could be heard were the cheers of joy and groans of disappointment as gamers battled it out with each other in the tournament. While watching them play it was almost difficult to keep track of the moves being executed as they were all unleashing every combo they knew against each other in a flurry of attacks.

This is where they are most comfortable, where they have the ability to defeat anyone that stands in their way —this is where they are in their element.

After attending this event anyone could tell that video gaming is a highly popular sport with an extremely large fan base compromising not just children but adults as well. Taking in the fact that it is now being taken seriously as a sport begs the question, will our children wish to be professional video-game players when they grow up? Only time will tell.

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