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Wish You Were Here?

There are some very strange stories emerging from the World Cyber Games Challenge in Korea

The World Cyber Games Challenge taking place in Korea at the moment is one of the biggest pro-gaming events ever held, with $300,000 in cash prizes up for grabs, and well over a hundred players from around the world competing in a whole range of games including Quake 3, Starcraft, Age of Empires II and FIFA 2000. The stories that are emerging so far from the tournament as it enters its second day of play range from the amusing to the downright bizarre though...

For starters, the hotel rooms which the competitors are staying in don't have any beds (or chairs for that matter) in them, just mattresses - apparently Koreans sleep on the floor. The hotel itself is apparently out in the middle of nowhere, a couple of hours from the capital Seoul and half an hour's drive from the venue itself, a theme park called "Everland", which would make sight-seeing difficult enough, even if it wasn't for the efforts of the hotel and WCGC staff.

"We soon find ourselves .. in a bus together with the UK team discussing what they've been up to during the two days they have been in Seoul", British Starcraft player Izno reports on XSReality. "Not that much it turns out, as the actual hotel isn't just located in a very remote area, but apparently the players aren't even allowed to leave it at all, probably for fear that someone might get lost or something. They also tell us that the Australians had made a daring attempt at visiting a local bar the night before but had been "chased" down by three cars and swiftly brought back to the prison, sorry hotel, again."

Sounds too far-fetched to be true? That's what we thought, but since then one of the Singapore players taking part in the event has admitted that he was "caught trying to escape from the resort" along with several other players, and that now "the moment [we] step out of the resort for a smoke, all the hotel staff and WCGC people start running out to stop us, thinking that we were trying to escape again". And that's not even mentioning the lavish opening ceremony, which was shown live on TV in Korea and featured a line-up of local pop bands. Or the fact that the local mineral water is called "Pocari Sweat". It's a strange old world...