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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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Warcraft III tournament

A videogames tournament with a difference

While cash prizes and hardware sponsorship are all well and good, what every self-respecting pro-gamer really wants to win in a videogames tournament is a life-size statue of an orc. [Er .. are you feeling ok? - Ed] Unfortunately they're going to have to wait a little longer before this golden day dawns, but their dream has come one step closer to reality with the launching of a UK-wide Warcraft III tournament. The competition is taking place on Saturday 17th August in several LAN gaming centers around the country, although given that it's called the Warcraft III National Single Player Tournament, there's not likely to be much LAN gaming going on. Once every venue has got a winner, the top scorer from each will battle it out online for the ultimate prize - a top of the line Athlon powered PC, complete with GeForce 4 Ti4600 graphics card, a rather stingy 256Mb of RAM and an 18" flatscreen monitor. Meanwhile runners-up will receive a GeForce 4 Ti4200 graphics card, worth around £200. Also on the prize sheet is one of Vivendi Universal Games' six foot tall orc statues, last seen adorning the Po Na Na nightclub in Hammersmith for the game's lavish UK launch party. The bad news is that the orc apparently goes to the LAN center where the winner was playing, rather than the champion himself, which is a shame. An orc standing next to your TV set would really be a spectacular addition to the average living room... More details may or may not be posted at some point in the not so distant future on the VGA website. In the meantime, gamers will apparently be able to play Warcraft III for free at VGA centers for the first two weeks after its release. Related Feature - Warcraft III interview

Now that's what I call a prize