Gamer joins European elite

DARREN McGee is living many a young man’s dream – he gets paid to kill people.

DARREN McGee is living many a young man’s dream – he gets paid to kill people.

Virtual people.

More specifically he gets paid to play the popular computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as part of one of Europe elite gaming teams, who compete across the continent in massive tournaments in which players fight it out in a virtual battlefield to be crowned Europe’s top team.

Sixteen-year-old Darren , a resident of Ashling Park, spoke to the Democrat as he was about to depart to Holland to compete in a massive gaming tournament, with 40 other teams in attendance.

“I’ve been playing for two years competitively, though I would have been playing computers games for years. I competed in my first major tournament last year in Blackpool in the UK.”

Darren came 7th out of a field of 256 people in Europe, and was quickly head-hunted by Europe’s top team, Apex E Sports, who now pay Darren a retainer for his services. He has quickly become one of the rising stars of the gaming circuit, all while attending school.

“The top prize at this tournament is €2500, which will be spilt between the four members of our team. I play with two guys from the UK and one from France.”

Darren attends school at De La Salle, and his friends struggle with the concept that he is getting paid to play computer games.

“I play one to two hours a day,” says Darren, who is to sit his leaving cert this summer, and who hopes to do computer game development in DkIT when he leaves school.

“It can be very intense. If you get to the final rounds of a tournament there is more pressure on you. If you make a small mistake it could cost your team and yourself money. There’s real pressure there, but I like to think that I thrive under pressure and perform better for it.”

In the world of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, opponents battle it out in various formats, be it straight up shoot to kill scenarios, or more complex games in which opposing teams have to capture their enemies flags.

“I play a mainly defensive role in the team, which allows the other players to be aggressive in what they do. I provide covering fire within the game.”

So it seems that Darren has become hot property in terms of the professional gaming world, and juding by some of comments left on gaming forums, the young Dundalk man is set to be right at the top for sometime.