November 23, 2005

Video Game Master Wins $150,000

NEW YORK (AP) - A video game master from Kansas City, Mo., won a $150,000 prize on Tuesday by besting a rival in the Cyberathlete Professional League World Tour Grand Finals.

Johnathan Wendel, 24, who goes by the name "Fatal1ty" in the world of multiplayer games, beat Sander Kaasjager, a player from the Netherlands known as "fnatic.Vo0," for the competition's top prize.

"It took a lot of practice coming into this tournament, training about eight hours a day for the last two to three weeks," Wendel told AP Television News after the event. "To win $150,000 playing a video game - that's the best."

Wendel has been playing video games since around the age of 5, when his father gave him a Nintendo system and he first played Ikari Warriors. At 15, he started taking home prizes from local competitions. At 18, he entered his first professional tournament in Dallas.

Wendel, who is - for now, at least - skipping college, has become the leader in titles and prize money in the world of professional gaming.

The Cyberathlete Professional League, the first organization of its kind, was founded eight years ago.