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author | Yohwan Lim
He is a professional gamer that carries dazzling nicknames, such as the "Emperor of Terran," and "Hope of Terran." During his 11th grade, while at a friend's house to study, he accidentally came across the game Starcraft; he now spends the most of his time playing this game. He chose Terran, which was considered inferior, and used the dropship, which was ignored by many because of its slow speed, to promote the "entertainment of watching" to the fans of Starcraft. With every given moment, he practices his games relentlessly. With over 500,000 members of the online Daum fan cafe ( Lim Yohwan's
Dropship: cafe.daum.net/yohwanfan) alone, he has established his
stardom. Debuting in the fall of 1999 as a pro-gamer with the team IS, he began with his victory in the SBS Multi-Game Championship, and made his id SlayerS_`BoxeR` known to the public. After exhibiting brilliant plays that brought his accession from the "Hope of Terran" to the "Emperor of Terran," he placed 1st in the 2001 World Cyber Games and elevated the stature of Korean progamers. Moving to the team sponsored by Orion in 2002, he set the record as the first progamer with a salary of 100 million won. In October 2004, at the age of 25, he is now the captain of the team SK Telecom T1, with an annual salary exceeding 200 million won.
10 ∙ Progamer Lim Yohwan, the E-Sports Icon
The addition of e-sports organizations to major companies, with spectators in the hundreds of thousands, and the advance of e-sports led by the government, is a phenomenon that displays our country's blooming vision of e-sports. The vital function to this e-sports renaissance is the PC game known as Starcraft. Since its first appearance to the world in April 1998, it has kept its throne for over 6 years among many other PC, online, and arcade games. Aided by the increase of PC cafes and their mutual benefits, with 6 million copies of the game sold in our country alone, and over 10 million users which is enough to reach the Guinness Book of Records, it has received nationwide affection. E-Sports, with the representation of Starcraft, has increasingly expanded its territory and created at least 200,000 related occupations, completely rejuvenating the related industries. Moreover, it has had extensive effects socially, economically, and culturally, enough for professional gaming to be the youth's most desired occupation. The person who has played a crucial role in intensifying such love for Starcraft is the progamer Lim Yohwan. Receiving affection from the fans and media, which could be considered as the most important factor to e-sports, Lim Yohwan, with the thorough mentality of a professional as his foundation, has imprinted on the minds of the public through his sincere games that progamers are not "game-addicts without any prudence," but "hard2
working professionals." The unrelenting efforts of Lim Yohwan that are placed in this book vividly portray the movement and evolution of our country's e-sports. Furthermore, by uncovering a realistic view of the spectacular progamers, I believe that the book acts as a compass to the youth, telling them what they need to keep in mind if they are to realize their dreams of becoming progamers. As a fellow e-sports member, I would like to again congratulate the publication of this book, and hope that through it many people will be able to have the correct understanding of e-sports and progamers.
October 2004 Korea E-Sports Association President Kim Yungman
12 ∙ Hope on the Road Not Taken
I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Every time I read Frost's poem 'The Road Not Taken,' I feel a twinge in one side of my heart. Six years after my transformation from the 'Internet Café bum' to a 'progamer,' I look back at myself from where I am now more and more often. I look back at the road that I took, quietly examining the footsteps I left behind. As there are footsteps
or those that gave up their dreams to take the road that was a little easier. I thank my manager Joo Hoon.' That satisfaction and altruism made me mature as a 'progamer. director of BookCare Seo Mincheol.' Through this book. BookRoad PD Choi Boyoon and others for helping me write this book. becoming the champion was my only and final goal. I also feel traces of altruism when I think. chairman Sim Hyun. writer Seo Yoonhee. coach Sung Sanghoon. 4 . I want to convey how someone worthless like me was able to stand up to the world. These footsteps make me think with satisfaction. one day. there are also interrupted ones.' At the same time. I could not even hear the voices of my fans. 'I've walked many difficult paths. Then. the ones who come to watch my games.' that the ones who did not leave but watched silently. Like a 100m sprinter who only looks forward. I played only for myself. I realized that the satisfaction that I took pride in was planted there by the people cheering me on for taking 'the road not taken. 'I'd like the footsteps I left to be someone's guiding light when he is lost.' When I first began playing.that lead in one direction. my own 'dreams and hopes' that I never gave up even when everyone ignored me. were the 'guides' who encouraged me to keep going down the road as a 'progamer…' Now I play for the ones who enjoy my games. even if I lost. I want to share my bloody tears with those who cry because the road they chose was too difficult. my unwavering supporters. Maybe this is why I try even harder to do my best than when I 'only played for myself.
The mighty opponent most likely to defeat me is not the player sitting across from me. 16 ∙ The Birth of the Emperor I haven't slept for four days. When my bright round eyes and thick lips harmoniously created a million dollar smile. My laziness is my most fearful enemy. mesmerized by gaming.From autumn's doorstep in 2004 Lim Yohwan Chapter One: The Game-crazed Kid Cutie and rascal. If only I could have remained a cutie. If I beat myself. I couldn't lie down in comfort. I wonder how upset my parents were since I didn't study and was mad about games. I couldn’t trade it for all the world and gave it all of my teen years. give it my best I will not lose this game. my two childhood nicknames. I practiced without regard to day or night for 5 . It's me. Defeat is the acceptance of my own laziness. Fortunately. Still. my mind is as clear as the autumn sky. the neighborhood adults couldn’t handle the cuteness.
But at the same time I gather myself. "YEAH~~ YEAH~~" I can hear the cries. only the last man standing has the privilege of making the victory toast. 9 seconds∙∙∙2 seconds.today's game. I input the alias SLayerS_`BoxeR` and await my adversary's entrance. Even more fans are watching me in front of their television. The game has begun. I am the protagonist and I am the victor. The lights and cameras vanish far away and even the fans' cries are now inaudible. I cannot commit another painful instance to my memory. I load the troops that are already standing by. A bit more∙∙∙ a bit more∙∙∙. 10 seconds. In a game. The moment of victory approaches me. Because of the ambition to seize victory. and my whole body is moving towards only one thing. I pushed onward until my practice partners collapsed. I had once lost everything I had prepared so long for in an instant. begging to stop playing. Instantaneously I'm alone in complete tranquility. They are the cheers of the countless fans surrounding me. The momentarily darkened monitor soon shows my position. I'm now sitting on the player's seat. Soon the curtains will rise. Finally the dropship revealed itself. Everyone is waiting to see what kind of game I will play today. and the stage for the game that only I can finish will open. Why am I sitting here? There’s only one answer—for victory. 1 second. My heart rate begins to gradually rise and my hands. my eyes. I have to strike before my opponent deduces my cards. The blinding lights are shining and the cameras are fixed on me. And I fly the dropship 6 .
the enemy will revitalize.to the region completely unexpected by the opponent. but quickly. this too was a route discovered through practice. I must not have even a modicum of hesitation. The dropship flies. he cannot stop me. That is my strategy. Of course. Even if the opponent had predicted it. I have built a new squad of units from the moment the dropship departed. I must constrict him completely. It passes through the areas where the opponent never scouts and infiltrates where the defense is weakest. Now all that's left is for the units to unload safely from the dropship. In the end. This is the most critical moment. I still have a second force left even if my tired units are eliminated by the reinforcements. Using the enemy buildings as shields. then the strategy has failed. If left alone. I have to defend my base as perfectly as I execute the attack. Even as I assault the enemy base my eyes are always observing my base. The outcome hinges on this. Hesitation about the road I'm taking. To prepare for the possible counter-attack I also check my main base relentlessly. The enemy will prey on the unguarded moment of my thinking that I've won. after having taken the unrevealed route at an unexpected moment. even before his reinforcements arrive. At the last instant. I have to steal even the time my opponent has to breathe. I destroy the units and buildings one by one. the covert dropship exposes itself in the enemy base. I construct a defensive line that is not easy to penetrate. 7 . Between the already scoped out buildings. The moment I hesitate. the future∙∙∙. the choices I'm making. If I'm hurt as much as I've damaged the enemy.
However the opponent cannot let go of even the thin thread of a hope. I will be standing on the stage for the game until the day I declare GG to myself. abandoned in a narrow alley.the opponent will find my weakness. Today I sit again on this seat. and pressure him to admit defeat. Precise timing! A moment I cannot pass by. I take off my headset and listen to the cries of the fans. I could have fun all day. Slowly I lift my eyes from the monitor and look at the fans. At last the goddess Nike timidly gives me a kiss. the opponent gives up everything and declares GG. my heart was stolen by the wheel of a broken tricycle. Tomorrow I will sit here again. With the one wheel attached to the handlebar. It was split in half between the seat and the handlebars. With a final attack as sharp as a sword and as swift as a flash. Nike. After all the fibers of hope have been severed. Yohwan!" 8 . Until the enemy completely acknowledges defeat. Until the end of the road I know∙∙∙. Coldly I must crush even that hope. 20 ∙ The Little Prince with Three Sisters One day when I was about four. I set ablaze everything to make restoration impossible. the goddess of victory. Thus I cannot stop. my units trample over the enemy base. "Yohwan. I ran to the end with only the one wheel. does not raise my hand. I must completely dominate the opponent.
all of us grew up receiving lots of love from our parents. she roamed the streets and soon went all the way to the police office in the nearby neighborhood. "I bet you were treated royally. calling out my name. When I was born my youngest sister was seven. Clutching her scalding chest. or how I ended up at the neighborhood police office. I was a very stubborn kid. perhaps they were a bit spiteful of me since the attention of our parents and others around were focused on me. I only remember very clearly that since I was young. I had to do what I liked or wanted no matter what." What kind of parents would raise their child thoughtlessly? Just as there are no fingers that don't hurt when bitten. I pause for a moment when people ask me. Also. I became a child with a lost sense of time and space. where she finally found meme. Even after the sunset and the darkness fell. They were too old to find me irresistibly cute. That day my mother couldn't find me in that neighborhood alley.Whenever the sun set. "How many siblings do you have?" It's because when I say. I cannot remember at all. holding the broken tricycle wheel. Why I kept the broken wheel and did not throw it away. Crying." the response is usually. my mother could not find me anywhere. and too young to carry the burden of taking care of the youngest one. I think my sisters were a bit envious of me. 9 . smiling brightly as I ate the bread the policeman gave me. When I was into something. "Only three sisters. not even crying. so I the age gap was too great for us to play together. my mom wandered the neighborhood looking for me. me. she went around the neighborhood numerous times. When I think about it.
They were at times like friends. 23 ∙ Arcades and Soccer When I was young. and as I grew older. my sisters were the ones who sat me down and taught me letters or read me storybooks. I was also the youngest one. I was a 'Little Prince' with three sisters. Moreover. but when I ran around outside until sunset. even if I didn't say anything the household was always uproarious and my sisters never included me when they were gossiping. and other times like teachers to me. precious people to me. People don't say that just based on their biases on how a boy or a girl should grow up. Rather. Perhaps briefly they harbored childhood jealousy and envy. It seems that they think that I got used to the feminine look without realization as I wore pink tshirts and flower buttoned-up shirts that were handed down by my three sisters. I was the silent type. I had a lot of time for myself. Since both of my working parents were constantly busy." It's a comment that I might have grown up reasonably femininely. But from the outset. And since there was such a big age difference I did not inherit their old clothes. It's because of the idea that I might have been influenced to an extent by my sisters’ tastes.There is another reaction from others to "I have three sisters. but they never sent the little me on errands. sometimes like mothers. However. Because both of my 10 . In that way my sisters and I lived in two separate worlds. the time we spent together was little. my sisters were still essential. I did not join my sisters' tea parties or doll games. my sisters became responsible for my education.
or playing with a spinning top until I was soaked with sweat. I can't leave out the memories at the arcade stores. but I am certain that I never fell behind my friends in anything that we did. The arcades were an exciting new world to me and my friends. Right away I had a bad feeling about it. and played the game mentally by watching. I was happy with anything we did. my friends were very important to me. or when my parents came looking for me. whether it was sitting there for one hour or two hours. Though the game was only controlled by my fingers. so I needed friends all the more. Especially since my friends and I were good enough to take on the challengers of the town in the arcade games. I can't remember whether I was competitive as a child. Immediately the footsteps sounded to be coming closer. as long we I spent the time together. I didn't get up until the owner of the store kicked me out. I could 11 . Of course. One afternoon. Then I heard the sound of the door opening.parents worked and my sisters were busy with their school lives. I was content. My sisters wouldn't play a game of marbles or slap-match with me. I employed all kinds of magnificent techniques and was having an exciting fight to the finish. Punch! Flying kick! Spinning kick! Finding the opponent's weakness. I was using my entire body to fight in the game. Even in the midst of the noisy arcade games. I was absorbed in a fighting game. I watched my skillful friends play. whether it was just running aimlessly down the sloping road of the town. as the sun was setting. we were immersed in the games until we couldn't hear the clanging of coins in our pockets. When I ran out of coins. Sitting in a dark corner of the arcade store.
cautiously listening to the footsteps. I knew that my mom's heart would soften and she wouldn't punish me as bad when she got home. Did I become a progamer because of the skills that I've acquired in the arcades? There are times when I think that I've been able to become a progamer because of soccer. even after being chastised by my dad. My dad disciplined me with a stick. "Yohwan!" My mom had entered the arcade store while she was looking for me. those games that I played since I was a child. but my ears pricked at the noise." The slap on the back stung. One could wonder what the connection is between soccer and games. "Slap. one can't hesitate to give up the game. I went to the arcades the next day. My dad that punished me. Maybe that is why I tried harder as a progamer. 12 . a son that he could be proud of. In a situation like that. I was strong enough to run around the field all day and not become exhausted. the sounds disappeared. sighing in distress of what I might become. There was no way of escaping on the day that my dad arrived at the arcades. At the time. I ran home before my mom could arrive. Soccer requires great amounts of stamina and physical strength. It's most certain that my dad must have been disappointed and worried. My eyes and hands were deeply engaged in the game. and never allowed his one and only youngest son to spend the time at the arcades instead of studying.I wonder how he felt. But it was only momentary. Then suddenly. As long as I fled from the critical moment. But my dad was different.hear them. when I told him that I would continue playing games even after the age of twenty. to be a better son. I just ran.
But there are certain games that you must win. many people thought that we would most certainly lose. but I had not once considered learning soccer professionally. and wasn't concerned with winning or losing. To my parents. In middle school. like this class soccer tournament. Because they were the favored group. Perhaps I was born with an inclination towards sports. But the match is only determined by the whistle of the referee. I enjoyed spending the free time playing soccer with my friends. it can be a sport that one would not like very much. there were tournaments among the classrooms. When my parents knew the truth of my playing soccer in the field everyday. a student's most important task was to study. will we not win? 13 . but we were to play against the class that was expected to win the tournament. when I played soccer. So what if I can't become an athlete? When I attended school. there were many soccer clubs. I’m fortunate to have been born in an era of e-sports. if they are not so competitive. full body-contact sport. they opposed my becoming a soccer player. Our group didn't particularly play the best. ultimately. At the same time. It seems that they were worried that their only son may become seriously injured while playing soccer. they became very worried that I might try to play soccer professionally. Normally. I simply enjoyed running and playing with my friends. Since my elementary years. or that being a professional athlete would be too physically demanding.Soccer is also an aggressive. I think my parents had some influence in it. As long as they don't score.
the most important variable is the persistence in winning and how hard you try with concentration. "Our class lost because of you.I was the goalkeeper. our victory. the goalkeeper's role is an important variable. I tried my best in my part as a goalkeeper. There are rules in a soccer match. at least you can get a knock on the head. as he knocked me on the head with his knuckles." The teacher of the losing class spited me. I should have the competitive nature to be able to pursue him with my dying strength and steal it. Soccer didn't just teach me how to be competitive. If they steal the ball from me. It may be hard when a bigger player collides with me and I may fall to the ground. There are those that freeze in fear when the opponent tries to tackle. but if the ball is given to me. The result was 1:0. soccer. When I think about it. Because you didn't get scored on. And I blocked every ball that came flying towards the goal. I must run towards the goal. My friends and I cheered happily. it seems that I really made an effort to block each ball. or games. Whether it is studying. But every player's movements are different. Under no circumstances should I lose the ball to my opponents. I don't know where that strength came from. The players move according to the rules. This is what I learned from soccer. But the teacher of the opposing class approached me. and those that crumple to the ground when hit by another player. Those players can never taste the joy of victory. where the skills were similar. Like sprinting towards 14 . In a neighborhood soccer game. it was simply the idea of a goalkeeper's role of not letting the ball enter the goal.
I didn’t try to listen to them. “Study.the goal. I would spend the day in class falling asleep. 28 ∙ You want to repeat the high school exam? The school only wanted studying. like winning a soccer match. or blankly staring outside the window. I must sprint down my path. The conferences for the high school entrance applications also began. playing soccer with my friends. my mother let out a deep sigh. I would always spend time in the field. they considered studying to be the only shortcut to success in life. After school. I had no idea of what I really wanted to do in life. The homeroom teacher then initiated the conversation. I was able to play soccer with them. I wished I could hide myself in a hole in the ground. study. My only reason for attending school was my friends. I will continue running forward until I am the victor of my life. the high school entrance examination date drew near unexpectedly. In my third year of junior high school (9th grade). and no one explained why. It was the same for my parents. No matter how much my teachers and parents repeated the words. I didn’t understand why I needed these studies. As the homeroom teacher placed my report card in front of us. “With these grades. I thought that I would be sixteen forever. But I didn’t listen to my teachers or parents.” I could not find a reason to study. After spending the third year of junior high school only with soccer. at the age of sixteen. And so my school life was simply a game of endurance. it will be difficult to enter an academic high 15 . scribbling on the paper.
sitting at my desk. there were about forty days until the high school entrance examination. After the conference with my teacher. During the forty days. no matter what.” “What? But this is my only son. but that I had no choice because of my grades. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to enter a business-industry school. If I recall those days. I became wide-awake. Yohwan will definitely be accepted. I excruciatingly felt for the first time how painful it was to disappoint my parents. that it was not that I would choose to go to a business-industry school. which my parents wanted. It seems better to just send him to the business-industry school. My pride was also wounded.’ I was afraid. how could I send him there?” “If we applied to the academic high school and were to be rejected. If I didn’t enter an academic high school.” I couldn’t raise my head. You ought to send him to a business-industry school.” “No. They wondered what had happened to the 16 . I would experience for the first time this thing called ‘failure.school. my parents would say that I was quite admirable and remarkable. I detached myself from soccer and the arcades. I hadn’t the slightest clue that my grades were poor enough to make the entrance to an academic high school difficult. I only studied. but I was sorry that it came to a point where I almost couldn’t enter an academic high school. I couldn’t remain a failure in that way. Please write the application to an academic high school. But when my teacher spoke of the business-industry school. we would have to repeat the high school entrance examination (repeat another year).
I was unable to study consistently for even six months. I wasn’t certain that only studying hard will prevent the end of the world. I was miserable in how many years I had to study without question. I safely was able to enter Sungbo High School. However. so my mother was very pleased. and I enjoyed running around with my friends. too. but with soccer. Though I couldn’t disobey the words of my parents that seemed to say that end of the world will come if I don’t go to school. Rather than ‘What shall I study in college?’ I only had a vague idea such as ‘I probably should go to college. I went to school because it was undisputed. I again spent my time not with textbooks. after entering high school. It was because I had no goals. “Dad. should I pick biology. Even with my personality that tends to finish something that I find interest in. since others are going. playing soccer. sitting in front of his desk everyday. But they didn’t have to worry any longer. Sungbo High School had better facilities and higher college acceptance rates than other neighboring schools. She considered my acceptance to Sungbo High School as a first step to entering a top-rate university. since I like to study living things?’ It would be correct to say that rather than seriously worrying about my future. who am I?” 17 . I put up with one day at a time. If I have to select a major. My parents were still very worried that I might fail to enter the academic high school. At the time.rascal that lived with a wall placed between himself and his studies. During my moments of studying.
I was wandering because I couldn’t find it easily. ‘To find life’s treasures. Not given any other choice but to enter college. I was searching for something. the father’s expression was surprisingly direct. Even though I was chastised at times for being at the arcades and for my poor grades. Back then. I spent my high school life miserably. My high school years were like a dark tunnel. I could not find my path by myself. they were only momentary. the only way is to plunge into the abyss. They were times when I wandered in the darkness.’ and that where we fall on the way is where our treasure is. not knowing where the exit was. In the deep question concerning one’s identity. I had to endure my mathematics and English classes.A few years ago.” Hard to follow. I felt as though my life’s treasure was hidden somewhere. my school life was in itself a dark tunnel. and I did not share my parent’s expectations and hopes. there was a popular commercial with this phrase. 33 ∙ Starcraft! Captured by Its Magic 18 . They were the times when I did not love myself. will I really have the world?’ In this way. I discovered my life’s treasure. I didn’t know the meaning of. Then one day. ‘What is there past this tunnel? If I pass this tunnel. But even in the dark tunnel. and inside the cave that we fear so much is where we will discover what we desire∙∙∙. and not knowing why. and I confined myself in the dark tunnel and endured day after day. “I don’t really know either.
Many ancient heroes established their kingdoms at a very young age. and then head over to the arcades when the sun set. One of my friends that I couldn’t catch up with in academics had suddenly received last place. founded his country before the age of nineteen. my school grades were obviously at the bottom. became a king at the age of nineteen. I wished that time would pass quickly. and thankfully I had never been placed last. When I look back on it now. Because I had neglected my studies. studying was something I did only because I didn’t want to get in trouble by my parents. Because I was a student. so that I could become an adult. something will come up. I was simply acting as though I was hastily preparing for the test the day before. ‘When I become an adult. And so. my teen years were drawing to a close. and never caused any big trouble at 19 . Even then. After spending time with my friends like this. though he inherited the throne. Gwang Gaeto the Great. Though I was a student that didn’t study at all. They were the years when I would play soccer in the school fields. Honestly. I don’t think I ever thought that time was precious. kicking the soccer ball in the school field like a five-year-old. I remained unchanged. though not certain. and was already preparing to command the Manchurian fields. King Onzo. I found myself already entering 11th grade.’ I thought aimlessly. I never smoked or ran away from home. King Dongmyung of Goguryeo established his kingdom at the age of twenty-one. But when I became nineteen. I didn’t particularly cause any trouble either. without a thought and without a plan. If I could finally get out of school. I only saw sitting in front of the desk as a duty. it was the same as being last place.
That is not to say that I had a big dream. And since I enjoyed biology as a child. the grades were shameful. Even in my opinion. But the recurring problem was that I had started too late. Though I was not last. my grades in the class were acceptable as well. I devoted my entire time to studying. the idea that I had to enter college no matter what dominated me. my grades were always excellent. I really studied hard during the first semester of 12th grade. but this time it was a little different.there was a big commotion at school and on TV concerning the several days of scholastic ability tests. and even attending the evening independent study sessions. I could not find a college that I could enter with these grades. Thanks to my active efforts in physical education. November 1997. I pulled out my report card. Thanks to my character of seeing things all the way through. I was to take the test next. After entering 12th grade. It was impossible to catch up with my 20 . But I could not consider the two as sufficient grades overall.school or got in a fistfight with my friends. and not because of my parents. I didn’t want to upset my parents. Of course. the time came for me to decide what I would do for myself. In particular. There were only two classes which could be considered as adequate grades. I was determined to study. always on time for school. I could not catch up with the mathematics and English courses simply by attending the classes at school. I even cut myself off from arcades and soccer that I enjoyed so much. The scholastic tests that seemed to be other people’s problems suddenly became my problem. The scholastic ability test was in one year.
so there wasn’t much difference from their grades and mine. the first person I could think of was Jinsuk. Jinsuk had no reason to be inconvenienced. But because I was in a hard and difficult situation. I was the one in need. I went to see him. I had no idea that ‘the something that will change my fate’ was waiting for me. My friends in high school were those that I played soccer with. Jinsuk was one of my old friends that I spent time playing marbles and slap-match with as children.friends that were well ahead of me. just to go over to his house to play. Jinsuk and I entered different high schools and were not able to see each other much. and just waited. who had gone over for help. When summer break began. After rampaging down the streets as children. I had the thought that maybe Jinsuk might think that I made up an excuse of studying. I looked around for a friend that could help me with my studies. Jinsuk was alone. As I headed towards his house. I’m here. “Jinsuk.” In truth. I went with the hopes of learning some mathematics from my friend that studied so much better. I didn’t say a word. I needed someone to help me. And so. the friend that I could think of was Jinsuk.” “Oh. you came? Wait a sec. When summer break began after the first semester of 12th grade. I needed a plan to raise my school grades one last time. in hopes that he would see 21 . So I took out my books and began studying. focused on his computer. When I opened the door.
It was only obvious that my parents. exhausted from going to the arcades to catch me. At the time. which they thought to be an arcade machine. who came all the way to his friend’s house. while he neglected his friend.” “Well. what is it that you’re doing?” When I went over and watched behind him. I saw that it was a computer game. Jinsuk began to tell me about the game. But I didn’t hear a word from Jinsuk for a long time. It was because I had no idea of the vast capabilities of a 386 computer. doing his own work. with a 286 computer. with worse graphics and slow response. would never buy me a computer. I had played a computer game before. These guys are persistent. I had a fixed idea that computer games were boring. but in comparison to an arcade game. and I didn’t have any particular expectations for them. had to wait and study alone. the game was too simple. It didn’t seem right that an old friend. “Hey! Aren’t you going to even look at your old friend who came over?” “∙∙∙∙∙∙.my determination and teach me seriously. just a minute.” “Oh? Not even going to answer now?” “Hold on. Let me just finish this game. Our family didn’t have a computer. It was the moment when the 22 . I became quite irritated.
and ran over to his house. my fingers were moving busily.” “This is a computer game? Whoa…the graphics are impressive. It was because Jinsuk had a computer that I did not have. From that day onward. The vigorous battles of the game especially excited me. and the movements were incredibly fast. but this game used the keyboard to create new units. Even in my dreams. and it’s awesome. it was amazing to see how my friend used the keyboard to control the game. my head was filled completely with the game. and I fell completely into its world. but I woke up each morning as though I went to work. In comparison to the computer games that I knew. But strategy-simulation games were completely different 23 . whether I was sitting of standing. Furthermore. After my encounter with Starcraft.” I was happy with just watching. I looked up the terminologies of Starcraft such as ‘zealot’ with the English-Korean dictionary that I had never used. there was never a moment when I envied Jinsuk as much as I did then. My parents thought that I went to Jinsuk’s house to study. “It’s a game called Starcraft. and played Starcraft well. the unique shapes of the units and the colorful graphics belonged completely to a different dimension. making units. The games that I played at the arcades had at most three to four buttons. Though we grew up together as children. ‘Need more minerals’ when lunchtime drew near. saying things like. I practically lived at Jinsuk’s house during the summer break.math teacher suddenly became a game teacher.
I was at a level where I could easily beat the computer one-onone. Protoss was Jinsuk’s main race. Jinsuk. I used cheat keys. and the door that led me to a world that I had never experienced was the exit of the dark tunnel that I had searched for so long. I couldn’t even beat the computer. I was captured by its magic. Though the opponent was just a computer. I sat in front of the computer and said goodbye to the world that I had lived in – the school fields.the powerful and undeniable magic of destiny called Starcraft∙∙∙. but towards the end of the summer break. A new space. the neighborhood arcades – and stepped into an entirely new world. began to teach me various things in a friendly manner. At first. there were three races – Terran. Zerg.than the games that I played at the arcades. Learning to play the game by myself did not seem so easy. After becoming rich with “show me the money. It’s because the science fiction 24 . 40 ∙ PC bang? What’s that? I enjoy watching science fiction movies. perhaps because he felt sympathy.” I only made zealots and attacked with them. with more friends. In Starcraft. and I learned Starcraft with Protoss for the reason that a chobo (beginner) could easily learn with it. Like most chobos. while my friends were grinding themselves with their text and reference books. I could enjoy the happiness of victory. watching my continuous losses. and Protoss. That summer.
Starcraft appeared. The movies continued to expand our imagination. Of course. Jinsuk made a 25 . with simple composition and graphics. I’ve enjoyed games with spaceships flying around. The thing that made Starcraft more impacting than movies was the fact that I could enter the space of my imagination. And so my 12th grade summer break began with the fateful encounter with Starcraft. ‘Blade Runner’ also shaped its overwhelming ideas the power of reason. the destruction of Earth. In comparison.movies vividly portray the future of mankind with its infinite powers of imagination.’ It displayed a new concept of the future. helping one to experience the materialization of a network world with great power while presenting a philosophical question concerning human nature. the rate at which games developed seemed extremely slow. and I spent my time thinking about it continuously. but the monotonous games remained in the dimly-lit arcade stores. ‘Who am I?’ The science fiction genre in both film and animation has developed remarkably. Then suddenly. when I was a child. The contamination of the environment. Starcraft showed how games could express our imagination and help us experience it in an exciting way. ‘Planet of the Apes’ was truly shocking. but they were just arcade games that did not require much thought. But the movie that left a lasting impression on me was Mamoru Oshii’s ‘Ghost in the Shell. and the invasion of aliens that were only imaginations came to life on the big screen. As the summer break drew to a close.
It was like a completely different world. there were many computers in the PC bang when we arrived. I wondered why. Let’s go.” “Really? Then let’s go to the PC bang. 26 . but a person! The hardest part was not being able to use the cheat keys. you’re somewhat able to beat the computer now. right?” “Of course.” “PC bang? What’s that?” “You don’t even know what a PC bang is? Haven’t you even been there once? There are a lot of computers there. “Yohwan. my friend was already preparing my first battle – not against a computer. they stopped completely. I couldn’t see my opponent’s base. That’s why it’s a strategy simulation game. Then I sent them away to attack. so we can play against each other. but after they moved a little. some of my other friends had been going to the PC bangs.” Dumbfounded.new proposal. as I continued to click here and there.” “Play against each other? You mean this game isn’t played only against the computer? You can play against people?” “Of course. like I always did. I can beat it every time. I followed Jinsuk to the PC bang. and the map was completely shrouded in darkness. While I was playing soccer at school and going to the arcades. Before I could recover from my amazement. As he said before. I first started to make zealots.
27 . I forgot that I was in 12th grade. I had never beaten a person before. until then. because I learned new things. there were quite a number of friends that already knew about Starcraft. but it was fun even when I lost. after classes ended. While the scout was attacking. On the first day of the semester. I found out afterwards that the unit was a scout. I was commanding the zealots to attack the scout. I also found out that the map was an island map. I lost ridiculously. we always ended up going to the PC bangs. the computer and Jinsuk were my only gaming partners. To cut a long story short. instead of asking my friends whether they studied a lot. Completely absorbed in Starcraft that summer. but I was unable to beat him even once during the remaining days of summer break. As I thought to myself. While I was lost in confusion. In my helplessness. Jinsuk was having a fun time toying with me. And so. “Do you know Starcraft?” Surprisingly. which they could not do.but they would not move any further. I asked them. something that looked like a plane flew into my base. Until then. I played again with Jinsuk many times. I didn’t know that there was an island map. I learned for the first time that Starcraft was a strategy game. Though I could beat a computer easily. ‘What’s this? There were units that could fly?’ the plane-like object began to attack my base. They just bunched up into a corner and remained still. and that victory or loss was decided according to the selection of your units. After that day. My skills that lost to Jinsuk every time surprisingly were enough to beat my friends. Summer break was over before I knew it and another semester started.
so let’s go.” “Battle.net. There’s no one to play with. After I became accustomed to one versus one games.” “I’m not trying to play with the computer. But then Starcraft shocked me again. are you trying to practice by yourself? You won’t be able to beat me. After an exciting time of gaming over there. you can play with them as much as you want. we were about to go home. thousands of people from all around the world. one of my friends took us to a new PC bang that had opened. but one friend said that he would stay and continue gaming. I’m going to go after playing on Battle.and on that day I was victorious. From that day onward. If you pick the person that you want to play with. I went directly to the PC bang with my friends after my classes.net? What’s that?” “If you go there. there are people waiting there. with victory after victory. I played 2:2 and 3:3 teamplay games with my friends. if you go on Battle. you can play against hundreds.” “What? Are you serious?” “Yeah. There’s no word that can perfectly express that victorious feeling.net for a bit. One day. even if you play against the computer for a hundred days. I was so happy.” Something that I couldn’t even imagine had suddenly appeared in 28 . “Hey.
front of me. How could a person like me without even a computer at home know anything about the internet? The fact that people all over the world could connect to one location and play was an astonishing experience, beyond watching a science fiction movie. At first I thought my friend was joking, but my friend connected to Battle.net, chatted to a person online, and began the game. The game that I played against my friend, sitting right next to me was being played against a person whose name, face, and identity was unknown. I never realized how shocking the meaning of ‘the space of imagination’ really was. I thought that ‘the space of imagination’ was simply the monitor that I saw in front of me. In truth, I didn’t think much about its meaning. I assumed it meant something like enjoying a game. But the fact that I could meet people in this ‘space of imagination’ and play with them was even more shocking than anything else. It was the shock of the future that no longer existed in movies, but in real life. Ever since that moment, I began to play all night in the PC bangs. It was fun that I could play with new people, but another interesting point was that the strategies that I used against my friends no longer worked on Battle.net. Though I used zealot rushes frequently, I became afraid when I saw the reaver for the first time. With each hit of the reaver’s scarabs, many of my zealots were killed instantly. “Where on earth did that monster come from?” Until then, I was only focused on winning, but I never thought of how
to win. I beat the computer and my friends, but my formulated actions never worked against the cho-gosus (experts) on Battle.net. My opponents knew exactly what I was doing and how they could beat me. What about me? Depending only on the zealots, I was only thinking of, ‘I have to make them quickly and attack,’ but on Battle.net I needed a new strategy and the ability to look at my opponent in order to win. And so I was late to discover that this was the most awesome thing about Starcraft, and why it was called a strategy game.
46 ∙ The Game that Overthrew the Academy
A high school senior in preparation for the scholastic examinations. While my friends wrestled with their studies to the point of nose bleeding, I spent the evenings fighting in the games. My efforts to continue my academic and gaming life at the same time became intense battles over sleep. I had to attend school no matter what, but I couldn’t give up gaming. Unable to pick one or the other, I led an odd life of sleeping at school and spending the evenings at the PC bang. I spent the days waiting for the moment I would be free from the senior examinations. The time when I was able to play most comfortably was after the senior math examinations. Though I’m playing games even now, it’s difficult to enjoy the game one hundred percent of the time after receiving the title of a professional gamer, because of the pressure to win. But the moment when I fully enjoyed the game was during the winter break of my senior year. Taking an unexpected path during the summer break after going to a friend’s house to study, my studies as
a result were completely behind. Even my goals to enter college were long gone. I didn’t study at all during the last semester of my senior year and lived completely immersed in the game. I bombed the math examinations as I expected, but after the exams I was free from all of the stress. At last, I was able to get away from school and my parents, to enjoy the real freedom and satiate with gaming. Of course, the freedom didn’t last long. It vanished on the day when the math examination scores were announced. On the day my parents received the math exam scores, they took me directly to the exam preparation academy. Because I had devoted my entire time to gaming while my friends studied vigorously, there was no way that my scores were up to standard. Even though I had expected this result, I was speechless. Though I didn’t think that one piece of paper could determine my future, the paper was indicating that I had spent my time in other things than my studies. If this was disappointing even to me, how much more was it for my parents? I had completely destroyed the expectations that my parents had on their only son. I was extremely remorseful. When my mom registered me in the academy in Noryang-Jin, I couldn’t tell her that I wouldn’t go to college. It’s because I didn’t have any specific plans for anything else, and I had no reason to not go to college. And so I began to prepare myself again. The biggest problem was obviously gaming. It was impossible to continue gaming while putting my efforts into studying. I had to pick one or the other.
” “Hey! It’s sad to see my game teacher telling me to stop gaming.” “Come on. How about a game together for such an occasion?” “I quit gaming. Then one day. I practiced a lot these days. “Yohwan! It’s been a long time. I liked the old days when I used to learn the game from you. You know.” “What! You’re saying you don’t game anymore? Does that even make sense?” “Yes. the only way was to cut myself off from it. so they can do better. what are you doing here? Your grades were pretty good!” “I also decided to retake the exams.” “Who says you have to do this? People have to relieve their stress while they study. I’m not going to play until after the day of the exam. it makes sense. you have to stop playing now and start studying.” 32 .” “Gyunin. I thought that if I couldn’t control myself. I’m not the same as before. I have to study. I can always play the game later. I happened to run into some of my high school friends in front of the academy. I put the game that I wanted to play so much behind me and concentrated again in my studies. Plus.’ I continued to reason with myself and did not go to the PC bang once after I had registered at the exam preparation academy.‘Let’s try hard for just one year.
but just one game. but it was different than the past when I got caught in the arcades. I can really win! Let’s just play one game. trying to forbid him. I was no longer a child that ran away because he was afraid of his parents. but there was nothing else I wanted to do but play this game. I’ll give you a thorough lesson. and then a hundred games. and never thought about finding a job. And the next day I headed for the PC bang instead of the academy. I played to my heart’s content. You’ll see when you play against me. My parents came to the PC bang to take me away. They might have thought.’ I was tormented with remorse whenever I thought of my parents. they might have seen me as a 33 . ‘It’s no use. That one game became ten games.” “How in the world are you going to beat me? Stop speaking nonsense and hurry up and go study. My parents made up their minds that they could not dissuade me any further.” And so it began with just one game. and I mustered up the courage to tell them this.” “I’m serious. I can really beat you now. Then he’ll stop.” “Really? Fine. As I began to play again I could not stop at all. so we might as well let him play until he’s sick of it. If people had seen me at the time. I didn’t want to study. I enjoyed gaming.“So. and until my stiff fingers became completely relaxed. you think you can beat me?” “I’m not your student that you’ve seen before. I couldn’t leave until I was exhausted from gaming. Not having been near a computer for three months.
and troubled ourselves with setting up various build orders. And it was then that I realized the meaning of. my first rival appeared. Our skills were similar and our win-losses between us were close as well. but my gaming skills didn’t improve with just one or two games against them. The hyung and I played together.net against gamers who were considered to be good. It was everything to me and everything else had no meaning. planned strategies and practiced them. I improved as I practiced and arranged strategies by myself. If I did not become a progamer. 34 . Other than Jinsuk that taught me Starcraft in the beginning. I wasn’t part of any guild until after I graduated from school. there was no one else that taught me how to play. then I would not have made such an effort. they were the most precious times when I really put my all into gaming. Until then.game-addict. I felt like I was alive. There was nothing that could take it away from me. Why was I so crazy about gaming? Whenever I played the game. but when I think about it now. There was a hyung (older “brother”) that was very good at Starcraft in a PC bang that I stayed most of the time. it may have been the most regretful period in my life. I began to have a rival relationship with him. Then at last. continuously modified strategies according to the opponents’ strengths. I had been playing on Battle. All of my gaming time was just playing alone or with some of my friends. As I started to play the game again. He was pretty much the “coolest” guy of the town. If there were no more opponents to defeat.
I will become the best gamer. “I can also do it. Until then. ‘How good do you have to be to be like that? If one plays that well. and another is to try to change that condition. But in a deep part of my heart I began to hear quiet but clear whispers. he wouldn’t need anything else. probably because of my timid nature: ‘How can a person who hasn’t even defeated a town become a professional gamer?’ I didn’t have any confidence. I wanted to try it. I had never thought that I needed a group to belong to. but if it was a guild that the hyung made. a gamer by the name of Lee Gisuk appeared on a commercial. At the time.’ With this childish jealousy. I was envious.’ Our amounts of practice also increased more than before. I was only satisfied with the feeling of improvement while I practiced with my guild members. being able to have a collective mind under the name of the ‘Forever Guild. but it was for the friends that we’ve always hung out with. but I told myself this over and over again. I stirred myself up. They say there are two choices in life: one is to accept the conditions given to you as it is. but it seemed like a dream. Becoming satisfied with the present and settling down. or opening a 35 .1’ Shin Juyung. And so the ‘Forever Guild’ was born. I’m confident. at the very least in gaming.” I didn’t tell this to anyone out loud.‘A rival is like a person that develops me. It was not so much of having a goal. But I also had discouraging thoughts. Of course.’ The hyung that I became close to over several months first suggested making a guild. There was also news about the ‘Progamer No. on the television.
at the time there were quite a number of game events and game tournaments. after ending my life at the academy and concentrating only in games. The difference between the players passing through the preliminaries and those that passed through the main portion was like heaven and earth. Of course. Because this was before the society ever acknowledged “progamers” as an occupation. 53 ∙ Learning to Win by Losing During the summer of 1999. I was eliminated during the first round. I was completely crazy about gaming.’ But that was my limit. it was so surprising that there were so many skilled people. pros or amateurs. I passed the preliminaries as I had expected. Because I had been playing only with my friends the entire time in the PC bang. the “progamer” Shin Juyung also was disqualified in the first round. ‘Of course. I had my own confidence. enough not to feel the hot and humid weather. To me. As soon as I entered the main portion of the tournament. anyone. Though there are far less these days. could participate in them. with my skills. thinking. Before participating in the tournament. The whole world was simply crawling 36 . and I momentarily became proud. I entered in the event tournament for fun. I should at least go this far. At the time. I also wanted to know how my skills measured up to others. someday a new door would open for me.new door by myself – my decision was always the same: challenging the new world! I believed that if I tried my best and continued to advance forward like this. and the day would come when I could do something new. I needed something new and exciting.
I was the type to do only what was needed. There are so many people who play the game well! I even thought. But because of my timid nature. I was envious of the people that played better than me. And then I came across the difference: they did not stop moving the mouse for one second. I couldn’t just return like this. I wondered about so many things. ‘Just how good do I have to be?’ This tournament doesn’t even include all of the best gamers in the country.’ Rather than being miserable that I’d lost. that they can play so exceptionally? Strategies that I had never anticipated. I never thought that the movements of the hand had to be quick. but that it had lots of gosus that really played the game well. I was not aware that finding the opponent’s weakness quickly and being one step ahead would expose more of the opponent’s weaknesses and increase the probability of 37 . How in the world do these people practice. ‘I want to be the best. Even though I was the ‘gaming specialist’ in my town. nor did I consider that it would affect the game. quick build orders. “How do they move so quickly? It doesn’t seem like they’re doing much. I saw clearly with my eyes that the world was not only wide and full of people that loved gaming. and I simply watched from behind. so what is the purpose?” Until then. My path only felt longer. The vague expectations of ‘I should do well to a certain level’ came crumbling down. where so many people gathered together. I thought that timing was only to attack the opponent’s weakness. and I’ve already been eliminated∙∙∙. good enough to beat all of these people. I couldn’t ask them directly.with gosus (advanced players). there was really nothing like this.
they would have remained substitutes. but there was no particular reason to win either. If one’s position is wretched and miserable. I didn’t want to lose. But ultimately. he should clench his teeth and remain firm. The opportunity to attack comes into view when one discovers the unguarded defense. Because there were so many people that played better than me. when I felt that the person to envy the most was the one who played the game well. But if they continued to sit there. Through the tournament. I’ll tear away the happiness of being 1st place that the player 38 . but when I tried. If one just stares. I was able to learn many things. They probably sat on the benches. my views changed. it seems so obvious. when I tasted defeat in the tournament. From that day onward. All champions probably were substitutes in a team at least once in their lives. I realized that winning one game right away was not important. the opportunity to become the hero and the champion will never appear. content with the present. those things weren’t important. I had never made this effort before. If I think about it now. I’ll win next time. One has to watch the game carefully. but preparing to win for the most important moment – this was what I learned. because it was only a game. ‘Fine.winning. my speed increased dramatically. I consciously tried to move faster. but when I played with my friends in the PC bang. I think it was since then. I thought that one could win or lose. No one is born a champion. staring down at their shoelaces. I had a quaint feeling of jealousy. eagerly waiting for their name to be called. I concentrated my practice games in speed. I’ll see you in the next tournament.
I shared many experiences with the Protoss. 57 ∙ Choosing Terran It was never easy for me to let go of the things that I’ve become attached to. Because the reaver would be a high target by the opponent. but no other unit could match its power. I probably was not the only gamer with those thoughts. If I especially did not damage the opponent’s base sufficiently and lost both the reaver and the shuttle.’ Through the experience I could gain this bold resolve. there was no such thing as strategy for me. I began to think about how I could use them and create my own strategies by combining various units. such as scouts and reavers. I only rushed with zealots. During the days when I was a Protoss user.over there is enjoying. while teaching me how to play Starcraft? For one whole year. In the beginning. placing reavers in the shuttle and destroying the opponent’s base. It was an extremely slow unit. Would I still be using Terran now. I enjoyed using guerilla strategies. And I looked fiercely at the champion’s game – how I was different. Of course. This was how I learned to exist while I spent the time gaming. and what it was that I lacked in. I couldn’t look away for a moment. Then one day. I saw clearly how many people desired to sit in the seat of the champion. the situation would reverse immediately. so I needed to pay attention carefully. The positioning of the reaver was also crucial. And with the knowledge of these new units. if Jinsuk had taught me how to use Terran instead of Protoss. so it was important to understand the map 39 . my favorite unit was the reaver. I came to know of different units.
It is also a unit that requires a lot of minerals and gas. to correct any bugs and balances among the three races. as I used the reaver strategy frequently. and with it I enjoyed the heightened tension while using the swift mobility of the shuttle for guerrilla attacks. There’s nothing I can do with Protoss. “This isn’t it. I had proficient handling of the reaver at the time. enough that the success or failure of this strategy will decide the tempo of the first half of the game. it is necessary to complement its weakness with the shuttle as its partner. failed to discharge the scarabs properly or if the scarab exploded in a random place.” 40 . It was the day when the 1. There was still the overwhelming power of the reaver’s scarab that directed towards the opponent’s units. Starcraft is a game where patches are continuing to be made. so it is extremely valuable. For this reason.04 patch was made. I was very disappointed. But the day came when I had to change my race.and the location of the opponent’s base.04 patch. If this reaver. At least this was what I thought in the past. the reavershuttle strategy was one of the strategies that I used with great risk. and so an additional amount of resource is needed. it was not easy to win. but the success percentage of the scarab fell dramatically. There are many Protoss users today that still use this strategy. With the 1. the reaver became unintelligent. And because the reaver is such a slow unit. but it requires great amounts of practice and experience to handle the reaver exceptionally. that was placed in a certain position after great difficulty.
If the marine was stronger than the zergling. and the zealot was stronger than the marine. One can clearly see numerically who is stronger and has the stronger attack. In a strategy simulation game. and the Protoss as the Protoss. Gamers want to measure one’s strength fairly in a finely balanced game. then a gamer has to choose Protoss and simply make large numbers of zealots. However. I never thought of one race more advantageous or stronger than another. and the marine stronger than the zealot? In this way. Starcraft’s allure is that it is a strategy game with a near perfect balance of the three races that no other game can match. They are all able to survive with their own strategies and distinctiveness – the Terrans as the Terrans. I have also heard rumors of how Starcraft was designed to make Terrans stronger than Zerg but weaker than Protoss. for the first time I set my eyes on other races. Protoss stronger than Terran but weaker than Zerg. 41 . I have always regarded the three races as equal. and Zerg stronger than Protoss but weaker than Terran. there are other types of units with their own levels.And so. and attack power that are all quantified. I have always thought that it was possible to have a dynamic competition. But what if the zergling is stronger than the marine. HP. The game that follows these basic principles appropriately is Starcraft. Because no match-up of races has an advantage over the other. the Zerg as the Zerg. the zealot stronger than the zergling. There are many that agree that this balance is the important factor that allows people to enjoy Starcraft. games have to be like a game of paperrock-scissors to be fun.
With the zealot-reaver drops that I enjoyed using. becoming familiar with Protoss strategies helped me greatly in using Terran. I don’t know if it’s because I’m interested in science fiction movies. It was the period of the Zerg. But the biggest reason why I chose Terran was that it was the only human race of the three in Starcraft. Though the derivation of the Zerg from insect-like organisms and the mysterious alien Protoss have their own appeal. but fun to use. When I used to be a Protoss user. The fact that so many people prefer it could mean that it is that much more powerful. the Zerg reigned as the most powerful race. one could definitely think they were the most powerful. “Man is the lord of all creation.” When I considered humans as the race with infinite potential. the increasing power of the Terrans as the units continued accumulating left a great impression on me. Someone once said. I found the games against the Terrans difficult. I wanted a race that I found difficult and tough. Though their units seemed weak individually. the games I found most difficult to play were against the Terrans. but one of the reasons why I picked Terran at the time was the fact that they were the human race. And that was Terran. but I didn’t think so. are not the humans the ultimate victors in movies? I imagined Terrans as the ultimate conquerors in Starcraft. Looking back. which had many range units. Maybe this was why the main race of so many gamers was Zerg. but it could also mean that it is easy to use. If it was the age of the Zerg.I first thought about the Zerg. Because I mainly used the reaver-shuttle 42 . I thought similarly of Terrans able to create dynamic strategies and tactics. In those days.
By applying the strategies that I liked as a Protoss user to Terran plays. Did I have that kind of personality? I was certain that I didn’t like to lose when I played soccer or arcade games. but I didn’t 43 . “Isn’t it because your desire to win is so much greater than others that you don’t want to lose?” I always paused for a moment to think when they asked me that question. I heard some people talking about how I have a strong desire to win.strategies when I used to be a Protoss user. my plays changed considerably. After changing to Terran.net increased significantly. and my win percentage on Battle. I became confident in my plays. and began a new life with a new race. it took a while to make the reaver. In contrast. After establishing a defensive line. I was able to create surprising strategies. In this way. medics. In those days. and there was nothing that could replace my happiness while I played. Slowly. Many insisted. I also enjoyed using guerilla plays. I ended my life as a Protoss user. and tanks. I used offensive plays and I could receive “GG” from my opponent much faster. When I used Protoss. But even then. I played because it was fun. I didn’t always play to win. they would push the opponent with accumulating marines. but with Terran. enjoyable. similar to the style of play when I used Protoss. I could use plays that were much more offensive. there were many that used defensive plays with Terran. After I became a progamer. because I mainly used marines and medics. using dropships as a Terran felt natural.
if it wasn’t for that person I might not have strived to be the best. Does this not mean that the person is the best in the Starcraft world? How good does one have to be. to become first place? I wanted to play just one game with this person. making me the 44 . “What is that? Whoa! So does that mean that person is number one in the ladder?” I was excited. One day. a golden badge caught my eye. you’re that good? Fine! I’ll just have to be first as well. Though I don’t remember his id now. It was when I suppressed my surroundings and began to spend more time playing on Battle. but that which was hidden inside me could have been drawn out because of this following moment. while I was looking for some friends to play with on Battle.net than with my friends. Perhaps that part of me didn’t surface at that time.net.” “What. I really wanted to be the best. “I cannot play against a person with a low score like you. He may certainly be the benefactor that brought out my competitive nature. From that day on. I strived restlessly to be first in the ladder. And so I requested a game. that you’ll refuse? So. does it break your fingers to play one game against me? What’s so hard about it. But at least during that moment. But I received a cold response. They were the times when I began to receive more GGs than when I typed GG.” I had not once desired for that position called first.have a goal.
I had never thought about aiming for first place.’ I came to a resolution – to become the greatest progamer. I became exhausted from waiting. which was considered inferior because of its slow speed. took the dropship. and had to be satisfied with being second place. There was a gamer at the time that was called an ‘abuser’ that would not give up the first place. Unfortunately.progamer with the biggest desire to win. who doesn’t like to lose. 66 ∙ Not an Internet Café Bum. developing it and practicing with it over and over again. but the ‘abuser’ user was persistent. I waited day after day for his removal from the spot. I chose Terran. But then I felt depressed. which was treated as worthless by others. and made it my weapon. but now I had a great desire – the ambition to definitely be first place in Starcraft. When I attended school. That has been a key factor in my becoming a progamer. I didn’t make it to first place on the ladder. Chapter Two: Birth of a Progamer I cannot forget the day when the title ‘Progamer’ was added to my name. but a Progamer I didn't even go to the exam preparation academy and spent my first 45 . Finally. On the day I freed myself from their cynical words of ‘Internet Café bum.
that realized humanity’s dream to fly. Progamer! The dream to become the greatest in Korea. In other words.year as a twenty-year old at the PC bangs. who was ignored numerous times for having ridiculous thoughts.' and had partially given up. The whispers of gossips and opinions around me faded away. The only one that controlled me was myself. I made efforts to ignore them and sharpened the sword of my heart. they must not do it. a synthesis of times when one 46 . no. failures. I could not make any excuses. I wagered all of my life's future on gaming and spent 24 hours a day playing games. and trials. I could no longer draw back. was somewhat like a disciplinarian that trained me. Edison. I had a dream that would waver no longer. One cannot simply cut another person's will and dreams in pieces and evaluate them. To realize one's dreams and beyond is a long and difficult process. the Wright brothers. Denmark's Dalgas. There is probably no one who has pioneered a new life without going through numerous oppositions. the greatest gamer in the world. Though others treated me with pity as an 'internet café bum. and many others persistently pressed towards their goal with firm conviction and volition and stood their ground. I felt as though I was carrying life's responsibilities by myself.' I decided not to concern myself with it. who cultivated the barren land that was considered impossible to farm. For the first time.' My parents had already changed their concerned hearts of 'What on earth is he planning to become?' to 'He'll stop after a while. some people began to call me the 'internet café bum. Soon after. No.
Then at last. It was because I simply thought that I was taking a 'different road' than others.net rankings. Because most of the people within the top ten on the ladder became progamers. In brief. On the Battle. that is truly cowardly. Standardized tests and first-rate universities alone do not give me the best possible score of my life. the opportunity came when I was able to extend one part of my dreams. to test out my wings that had just come up. Kim Jungmin TheMarine was one of the players that I competed with on the ladder rankings. I was still practicing at the PC bang that day. even before considering the fact that the road is long and rough. If this is the case. I was in second place. I am already at a disadvantage from the starting line in that race.net rankings was a good means of letting others know your gaming abilities. After reading. and other times when he springs to his feet. then it would be prudent to boldly give up and look to occupy the most advantageous position. I was quite wellknown among a group of gamers that played Starcraft well. 'The misfortune of life isn't not being able to realize one's dreams and die. It was the autumn of 1999. It was when 47 . I lived day by day trying my best to realize my dreams. at a position where my skills were somewhat recognized. it's not having a dream at all. That is why I was not in the least embarrassed.will break down on his knees. I began to consider these things and marched forward to realize my future and my dreams.' I took courage. though others pointed at me and disparaged me as the 'Internet Café bum' that did not enter a university. It is not a shameful thing to be unable reach the goal. the Battle. It's becoming afraid and running away.
Have you ever considered becoming a progamer?" It was like a dream. "Slayers Boxer?" "Yes. If it was a game. It was unbelievable that such a dream of becoming a progamer came to life. I received an offer to become a professional gamer. I hesitated.progaming teams were just about to appear.net rankings debuted as progamers one by one. that’s me. I was confident. one must seize it and never let go. It was not that I didn't want to. but the anxiety of 'can I do well?' surfaced from one corner of my heart. how I waited for this moment!' Is this what it means to be full of emotion? But now that I had ultimately received the proposal to become a progamer." "There's quite a rumor that you play the game well. Have courage. 'Oh. Just as the word 'sinabro' means 'little by little. I momentarily became dizzy.' my life came to a moment where I would gradually fly into orbit. when the opportunity arises. What can be better than having what I like and doing what I like the most as a job?' With these thoughts one after the other. to the local 'Internet café bum' that none paid attention to. I could work hard and I felt that I 48 . this opportunity may not come again. and those that were highly ranked in the Battle. 'Nevertheless. The opportunity had also come to me at last. The head of the Sinabro company came to see me.
no matter how difficult and lonely. this was the only thing I could stand on. and only waited for me to come out of the dark room. "I'm going to become a professional gamer. but I didn't even live up to half of my parents’ expectations. They did not know what a professional gamer did. Would it be selfish if I said that this was when I ascertained the love of my parents? I wasn't one to cause too much trouble. They considered PC bangs to be the same as the arcades. All they wanted was for their son to live with a little less pain and trouble.could do well enough not to lose to anyone. let's try this. They knew nothing about professional gaming. 'All right. Though it's a very naïve statement and something that everyone can say. it might be more fitting to say that they were puzzled. they trusted me and gave me permission. I continued to persuade them afterwards. and they could not even guess what future that would lead to." they were stunned. yet they earnestly tried to understand me. Let's do it!' But there was another problem. The only reason why they didn't confine me to the house was probably because they didn’t expect me to go far if I was forced to do something. They knew that no one else could live my life for me and that life was something one had to endure. When I told them. how happy I was. No. and with an earnest 49 . though they were not completely at ease. When my parents heard how I wanted to make gaming as my profession. and how I wanted to work with things related to games in my life. I earnestly told them how much I loved games. saying that they would faithfully watch over me. It was my parents. They even thought of the possibility that I was being tricked by a con man.
When I'm troubled or frustrated.' "Life is like a box of chocolates. I was determined to be a proud and respectful son. I watch the movie 'Forrest Gump. my pounding heart. I was to place my name in the world of progamers. It was the belief in the path that I picked that led me here. 72 ∙ Dropship The life of a progamer was not smooth from the beginning.' I didn't look back or to the side as I ran for that one goal. they only provided an area where we could practice with other progamers. With all of my hopes. Being a progamer was my life's first chocolate that I chose. I watched 'Forrest Gump' and prepared once again for that 'race of hope. I will definitely accomplish something in this new path that I have taken. There were no down payments or annual salaries. For these parents." When I would doubt about the chocolate that I've chosen. After receiving their consent. and all of my anxiety. there was nothing else holding me back.heart they nagged at me. Just as the taste is different for each chocolate that we pick. A professional 50 . At last. and when I would hesitate whether to eat it or let it go. the results can be different based on what we choose in our lives. I would not be standing here today. If I thought the chocolate I picked did not look tasty and changed it for another or threw it away. But it was very different from gaming at a local PC bang.
those that loved to play games were considered to be ‘people who have nothing better to do. and the second thing was also to practice.communicates in terms of his scores and results.’ and ‘immature children. but a realistic one. the player “SsamJang” Lee Gisuk was the idol of the gamers. I also envied him. I practiced relentlessly. so it was not an easy task to go and look one by one for game tournaments. register for them. To do that. and plan out the schedule. and I was free to focus only on gaming. Though I was envious of his gaming skills. my skills quickly improved. When I began my career as a progamer. In 1999. After a while. Until then. it is difficult to continue for a 51 . I also wanted to be a progamer that was acknowledged by others.’ ‘people that cannot come to their senses and are caught in a fantasy.’ But Lee Gisuk showed that one could become a popular star only by playing games. it was more of how he showed that a person can make money. there was no concept of a coach or a gaming organization. It was one of the many hopes I had. the first thing was to practice. I was now no longer the amateur that played games at the local PC bang for fun. It was not some distant hope. As I practiced with progamers of similar abilities. It may have been difficult to endure if I simply practiced and showed no results. the company took care of that work. He showed that progamers could earn respect through their work. It was hard enough with only practicing. become popular and have the recognition to appear on a commercial only by playing a game well. No matter how much one loves his job. if he does not have the confidence in his own work.
The reason was because of its slow speed. I frequently encountered many Zergs. It was because I thought the strategies could change dynamically and I was certain that if the strategies were used properly. as we do now. The reason why I chose Terran was not because I purposely wanted to take a difficult path. Perhaps I was able to create strategies more freely because there were no standard plays. ‘There are many that use Zerg.08 Starcraft Patch. ‘Why can’t they?’ On Battle. the Terrans could manifest a strength much more powerful than the Protoss or Zerg.’ and never thought of changing to Zerg myself. 52 . the dropship in particular was not used by many Terran users. I did not listen to other people’s talks of what was easy or hard. Before the 1. there were significantly more Protoss and Zerg users. ‘Terrans can’t do it!’ I practiced even harder with the thought of. but it was hard for me to understand why others did not use the dropship. In the beginning.net. I made my own way and searched for my style and strategies. there were no established build orders for Terrans such as going mechanic or two-factory rushes. During this time when people would say. The feeling of actually putting this into practice and bringing good results was an experience unlike anything else. It may have been that I saw someone using a similar play and adapted it to my own style.long time. but I used the dropship often. Among the Terran units. I could feel myself grow. I thought all Terran users used the dropship. Many people expressed that my plays were innovative and unique. Everyday. Little by little. In those days. It was also not because I thought it was easy. but I only thought.
Before becoming a progamer, I almost never watched other people’s games. Of course, I used the play of blocking the entrance that Lee Gisuk first introduced, but other than that, I never saw other people’s games and thought, ‘I could win like that,’ and used the same method. At the time, the majority of Terrans would first construct a safe defensive line, secure stable resources, and place the siege tanks leading the attack. There were almost no Terran users that used early offensive plays or guerilla plays with the dropship. Many times, my opponents would be troubled by my strategies, and my win percentage continued to increase steadily. Then came my first opportunity for victory. It was the December 1999 SBS Multi-Game Championship. After the entrance application and passing through the online preliminaries, I gradually gained more confidence. Because the SBS Multi-Game Championship determined the top sixteen finalists through the online preliminaries, passing through the preliminaries was not guaranteed. However, I boldly entered as one of the sixteen and fought my way up to the finals with consecutive wins. My opponent in the finals was Kim Iljae SpecialDra. He was a Protoss and Zerg user, and I played all my games with Terran. The biggest problem was the second game. In the first game Kim Iljae used Zerg, and in the second game, he used Protoss. I had already won the first game, so I had a strong desire to end the match with the second. The thought of victory appearing before me caught me off guard, and I lost the second game. The moment I typed GG, I looked at my opponent. Kim Iljae was also looking at me. I slowly nodded my head.
I gave a confident expression, as though to say, ‘Now I can see through all of your plays.’ It makes me laugh when I think about how I could act in such a way during that brief moment, but it seems that in the end, I was victorious in the psychological warfare. Of course, it didn’t matter to me whether the opponent was a Zerg or a Protoss in a 1:1 situation, but the fact that I gave my opponent some difficulty in choosing the race gave me the advantage. Kim Iljae looked worried for a moment and did not choose Protoss that won him the second game, but Zerg, which he lost with in the first game. I pinned against my opponent like I did in the first game and walked off with the victory cup. It was the moment when I finally stood as a champion that I had yearned for so long. My first championship prize money was 3 million won. When one thinks about it now, it may not be a large amount, but to me it was more valuable than 30 million or 300 million won. It was a year and six months since I started playing Starcraft and ten months since I graduated from high school. The memories of seeing Starcraft for the first time, when I placed a wall between me and my studies, when I ran away to play when my father came to get me at the PC bang, and when I disappointed my mother as she took me to the exam academy passed me by like a panorama. It was a path that I chose as I gave up college, but this was a priceless victory that compensated the times when I felt hopeless and could not see in front of me. It was also an exhilarating moment that gave me the confidence that I too could become the best.
There is a saying, ‘Victory belongs to one the most persevering.’ I never seriously considered whether I had the talent or not. The only thing I could trust was practice. The persistence of spending 24 hours a day practicing and thinking about the game, even in my dreams, was what brought me the victory.
78 ∙ Hope of Terran
My game plays continued to develop after my first victory. However, something happened that would help me understand the saying that the true grandeur of victory comes after tasting the bitter pain of defeat. The Ongamenet Starleague, which received the most attention from all tournaments in the gaming world, began its preliminaries. Though I had always been able to pass the preliminaries of most tournaments with ease, I experienced the bitterness of being eliminated from the preliminaries of the Freechal Ongamenet Starleague. While I had been refining my speed and strategies, I had forgotten one thing. I had overlooked the first fundamental principle that a game was ‘a fight with oneself.’ On July 2000 during the first preliminaries of the Freechal Ongamenet Starleague, I faced Lee Jaehang SiR@SoNi~, who was in the same team as me. For four days I did not sleep and only practiced for this event. It was an event worth striving for, and I was full of confidence with the thought that it was about time for me to accomplish something. It was a bit problematic that I would meet a fellow
everything was my responsibility and it was something that I decided. it was also possible for me to get Zerg if I selected random. there is no reason to stop the game unless GG is typed. my skills with Zerg were only that of an average amateur. I got Protoss after selecting random and won the game. My mind became cloudy after the first two games. I had never played against a Zerg with a Zerg. 3∙∙∙∙∙. I decided to select random for the third game. Of course. For the second match. 4. In a moment of bewilderment I asked Lee Jaehang if we could restart the game. Because I had not slept the night before.teammate in the first round of the preliminaries. Hastily. I used to play with Protoss. What if I had gotten Zerg even if I selected random? If I had not become so confused after selecting Zerg and 56 . as he did. I selected Terran and lost. I said something that didn’t make sense at all. At the time. my mind was gradually becoming faint. For the first match on the map Space Odyssey. Lee Jaehang first picked Zerg. but it was a match that would have to be played one way or another if I was to fight my way to the top. whether it was randomly selected or not. now the third game remained. Now it was my turn to pick the race. The game began. so at times I would alternate between Protoss and Terran. My whole body was telling me that it had reached the limits of its physical strength. Before I switched my main race to Terran. but somehow I ended up picking Zerg. and on my screen appeared a hatchery and drones. When a game has started. 5. I was unable to do much of anything and eventually typed GG. so what was I to achieve by griping to my opponent? Until that moment. The countdown for starting the game began.
No matter how hard one practices and tries. And so my preparations for the next event began. I don’t know whether people remember more of the games where I won. I raised my standings in the ranks of another tournament that I entered. As I defeated progamers one by one that were considered to be good at the time. but until I rose to the top. In that case. I had been thinking that I could beat my opponents simply by practicing a lot. Up to that point. and all players try their best to practice. I thought of myself as the final victor and I could not remain in that state. would I have given up so easily and typed GG? Through this painful mistake I realized that maintaining one’s condition was just as important as practice. the efforts come to nothing. Ultimately. But with this amateur mindset I cannot completely subdue my opponent. luck also plays a role. I tasted the bitterness of defeat in many games. if he ultimately cannot execute his plays properly. After scrutinizing why I lost. what determines the winner on the day of the match? The winner is the one that is able to bring out his greatest potential. However I had not once thought of defeat as failure. In May 57 . I had lost to nobody but myself. It’s expected for one to practice hard before a match. and I had a good feeling that the prime of my gaming career was approaching. I continued to develop as well. I started practicing again to win the next match.boldly accepted the situation. Even though I lost at that moment. it is only logical that he cannot properly employ his plays. Of course. But if one was to enter the event in an exhausted state like I was after practicing all night.
The hardest part was when I met Park Yongwook Kingdom in the semifinals. Anyone who receives one loss 58 . But in the first match of the semifinals. No one asked me. But from the moment I entered the preliminaries. Because I was eliminated before from the Freechal Ongamenet Starleague preliminaries. but I was confident.” the person would not have believed me. he has to appropriately prove himself in front of many people. I had my eye on the championship. Terrans were rated as the weakest of the three races.2001. “What is your goal?” If someone did ask me that question and I were to reply. I had the confidence to beat him. Game broadcasting stations were established and many people that liked games began to gather in front of their televisions. but at the time it was only expected for a Terran to lose. I was at a state where I definitely wanted to prove myself in the HanbitSoft Ongamenet Starleague. it was a period when Terrans were viewed as nothing. and they were only thought of as an extra that the Zerg or Protoss passed through as they won the finals. many say that one must defeat a Terran to win the finals. It was not surprising. “To win the championship. so no one saw me as a winning candidate. as I did not play against a single Terran from the 16th rounds to the finals. To put it briefly. I had not lost once since the preliminaries and had entered the semifinals with six consecutive wins. Today. I welcomed the spring that was blindingly more beautiful than any other day. Others thought of me merely as a rookie with an ambitious spirit. I lost to Park Yongwook. At the time. No matter who the opponent was. If one truly wants to be accepted as being the best.
Because of the long rush distance and the topographic conditions with slopes. and this scenario was to neutralize the dragoons with the vultures and enter the main base. This scenario turned out to be right on target. as they were not strong and their striking power was not very high. but they were not easy to control.after carrying consecutive wins is bound to feel an enormous mental pressure. there were not many that predicted I would beat Jang Jinnam who was recognized as a cho-gosu of the Zerg. However I did not give up a single game and embraced the championship cup with three straight 59 . He was a Zerg user and had a significantly high name-value among the fans. In those days. If the Protoss was using a fast tech build. I faced the last hurdle. After winning the second match. 2001. On May 5. I made an effort to find my own pace. The vultures were swift units. Because I was close to being anonymous as well as being a Terran that entered the Ongamenet Starleague for the first time. Terran users did not use the vultures much. So I prepared a plan to quickly enter the opponent’s base early with a large number of vultures. but a fast tech build. who was enjoying his greatest peak at the time. Children’s Day. the third game that took place at Neo Jungle Story. How well one attacked from a favorable position was the same as how well one freely controlled the vulture. the opponent of the finals was Jang Jinnam Kiss)JinNam. it was certain that there would only be a small number of dragoons. I was able to enter the finals after winning the last match of the semifinals in this way. I determined that the Protoss would not use the strategy of an early push with dragoons.
A game is a delicate situation where one cannot relax for a single moment in every match. when he expands. and the terrain and natural features of the map are analyzed. Secondly. which tech-tree he tends to take. HanbitSoft Ongamenet Starleague – 11 wins and 1 loss. The time and direction of the opening scouting are calculated. and where only the winner is remembered. the basic routes that the computer takes are followed. And every moment felt like a battle. and even the 60 . I cannot be negligent in a single game. it is important how accurately and closely the new maps are understood. the opponent’s plays are analyzed. It is the same for a gamer. Because the maps are different for every match.’ 88 ∙ Using the Team Melee Method I hated the examination periods the most while I attended school. and a mental note is made of whether he has an offensive style or a style that prefers a secure play. When the maps for the matches are decided. On the battlefield. From that moment on. To be victorious in such a battle where I am defeated if I do not defeat my opponent.wins. he must first analyze the battlefield – the map. Many preparations have to be made to win the war. people started to call me the ‘Hope of Terran. So it’s quite ironic that the occupation I chose was a game where I had to frequently take tests. a soldier must inspect his helmet and rifle and determine the location and movement of the enemy. Victory and defeat are determined by momentary decision-making and control.
To make matters worse. the situation was that I had to just about beg for practice from other players. it is impossible to to do well in all three races.point in time when he uses guerilla attacks. Consequently. Naturally. During the first round. and myself. if I prevent the attack. the next best way is brainstormed and practice is continued until the strategy is brought to completion. the second time. because they were not from the same team. two female progamers. there are random players. And so I used a new method of practice – the team melee method. The practice partner is designated with a certain playing style. But in situations when this does not work. Of course. When the opponent’s style is grasped like this. I will undergo the attack. so whenever I had a match against a Protoss or a Terran. a strategy then is devised of a certain style to attack the opponent’s weakness. Lee Jaehang SiR@SoNi~. Though one may be a progamer. winning is not easy. as the game is played after the strategy is told completely. our team consisted of but five people: Park Hyomin ComBi. a Zerg user cannot use Terran or Protoss as well as his 61 . it will be a success. and the third time. and the practice is started. I will defend the attack in one way or another. So far this is purely in my mind’s eye. there was a significant risk of the strategy being disclosed. Both were Zerg users. The strategy that has been constructed is then adjusted and completed through actual practice. but even random players are bound to have a race that they are particularly good at. Until the spring of 2001. It would not be an exaggeration if I said that my only practice partners were Park Hyomin and Lee Jaehang.
there were those that worried that one could lose confidence from losing. It came to mind that instead of a single Zerg user controlling Terran. The Terran and Protoss users that I faced were each considered experts at least in their own races. Naturally. one can almost never win during practice. no matter how good and original the strategy may be. it would be more efficient to practice with two people controlling it. as well as control of units. In the case of practicing with the team melee method. I desired victory from the actual battle. Though I lost during practice. I could only request help from the two players. I grew even more confident. Practice matches are just practice matches. the critical feeling is quite intense. In addition. as one will produce units while the other uses guerilla attacks. it is possible to accumulate diverse styles of attack. Even though the opponent was trying hard. After practicing with the team melee method. there is almost no lapse in resources and production. Losing like this again and again during practice. I could continue finding the opponent’s openings. It is very hectic. When practicing with this method.” No matter how well the opponent managed. and still the other will expand. I gained confidence when I entered a real match.own race. when one sees the enemy base operating perfectly without a single break. if I were to see an idle probe in the opponent’s base. While barely even scouting properly. and with the only Zerg teammates that I had. but I rather liked it more. “Hm. because two players are controlling one race. I felt relieved with just the fact that I could scout comfortably. is he only that good? That not much. I would only see the openings 62 .
How much experience one has and adapts appropriately to deal with the situation is also another variable towards victory. I would have to adapt to the situation in the middle of the game – that is the know-how of a game. But even though I practiced with the team melee method. and was attacking with carriers. Though I lost during practice. I faced Bong Joongu SKELTON on the map New Remote Outpost. For a while now. even though I had not used them during practice. I was learning how to win. There were moments when I would use various strategies that were on my mind. Bong Joongu used Protoss. Carriers are always accompanied by observers. This was when I entered the third Game-Q Starleague.because I remembered the perfection from the team melee practices. there was a strategy that I thought I should use sometime. I could destroy the carriers quite easily. there were times when I could not unfold the game in the direction that I desired. If the opponent were to bring a completely unpredictable strategy or if I were not able to properly use my prepared strategy because of my mistakes. but I saw that if I could remove the observers. The reason why I was able to beat Park Yongwook Kingdom during the semifinals of the HanbitSoft Ongamenet Starleague was also because I had benefited greatly from the team melee method. Though there was a small amount of gas on the map. my confidence continued to grow even greater when the actual matches began. It was a strategy that I had never used during practice and only remained in my mind. By losing like this. so I increased the number of barracks and steadily gathered 63 . the minerals were plenty.
marines. Kang 64 . Ultimately. Though the risks were great. and eliminated the last observer with cloaked wraiths. It was in fact a strategy only visualized and never used. The beauty of strategy games are in such intense mind games. I remember that there had never been anyone that used optical flare on observers during a formal match until that moment. there were many game fans that recognized me. the victory or defeat of the game depends on which player uses a more perfect strategy and tactics. I was confident. Though it was a strategy that I had not once used. my thoughts were right on the mark. Without the observers. Of these abilities. Those that some consider to be the ‘first generation gamers’ such as Lee Gisuk SsamJang. the fleet of carriers were instantly destroyed by the cloaked wraiths. all gamers appear like comets. Many began to say that I was a gamer that appeared like a comet. because of the dangers of disclosing the strategy. even during practice. In the game called Starcraft. it is the gamer’s part to decide which ones he will use and how he will use them. each race and unit has various abilities. But in truth. After sending the marines ahead as a meat shield. 93 ∙ From ‘Hope of Terran’ to ‘Emperor’ After winning the championship at the HanbitSoft Ongamenet Starleague. with a single scan I used optical flare to blind the four observers that were in the carriers’ perimeter. It was a memorable match that even I compliment myself for such a ‘killer’ tactic.
In the end. I was able to win with good luck at any tournament. there is a point in time while gaming diligently when suddenly one’s spirit is on the rise.” Though all things could be like this. But the player that has begun to rise will receive the strength to relentlessly continue fighting his way to the top. from the moment he rides on the rising current. The fact that there are almost no players that win the same tournament in a row plainly shows how intense the world of 65 . and Kim Dongjoon [=N2=]Rookie also were complimented as being amazing when they first emerged. the ups and downs of one’s scores are quite severe. receiving comments like. This is because the player will almost never play losing games. any player like this will seem like he appeared like a comet. and had the confidence that I could win. From the standpoint of the fans.Dogyung H. When one rides on that spirit. For me. an opportunity to ride on that spirit is not given. To a gamer that does not practice diligently. these players that appeared like comets. From that moment on. The point in time when one rides the rising current as a gamer – only when that point is used will he grasp the key to success as a progamer. no matter what opponents I faced. there is a period of time where whatever you do there is good luck.T-Forever.O. Naturally this is the result of diligent practice. “where did these gamers come from. and whatever you do there can only be success. my opportunity was the victory at the HanbitSoft Ongamenet Starleague that allowed me to ride that spirit. Using the same strategy will work on some opponents. even luck comes from ability. In the case of progamers. and on some not at all.
the Coca-Cola Ongamenet Starleague had begun. the world of competition is heartless. Hong Jinho – offensive style. 66 .competition is. as I was called to here and there. that the game fans began to call us rivals. With all of that completely in my undertaking. it was the finals at last. In addition. Through much difficulty at the end of a rematch. Though in private he is a colleague and a dongseng (younger “brother”) that I am extremely fond of. the pressures from my schedule were enormous. as well as the high expectations of the fans. Because of this.. The rough times persisted from the round of 16 in the Coca-Cola Ongamenet Starleague that commenced in the summer of 2001. Though I had received the nickname ‘Hope of Terran’ through the HanbitSoft Ongamenet Starleague. The races were different.. I was successfully able to enter the round of 8. Hong Jinho is a player that I do not want to encounter. maintaining a starved-state with almost no waste of resources from the beginning of the match to the end. I think it was since then.YellOw. guerillacentered plays. protecting that hope to the end was not an easy task. It may be that they found our games to be the most exciting. it was inevitable that we would play matches where we could not relax for one moment. There obviously was the burden of being the winner of the previous tournament. It was not Hong Jinho and I that made ourselves into rivals. but in terms of game styles there were many similarities. and one of the difficult players to face. and my opponent was the ‘Storm Zerg’ Hong Jinho [NC]. but our fans. After safely passing through the round of 8 and the semifinals.
And that had to be me. many fans remember the first match played between Hong Jinho and I to be a distinguished match. in the matches that ultimately would have to be played between Hong Jinho and I. After transferring my main base three times. Nevertheless. where the steam from just one breath could melt the ice away. I had a presentiment that victory would not be easy. Even now. But. It was a strategy of using 9-drone zerglings (zerglings from a spawning pool made with the ninth drone) and capturing the opponent’s cliff with a layer of sunkens. finding resources and relocating. the precariousness would always feel like standing on thin ice. The fourth match was at Ragnarok. plunging me into the lake. as luck would have it. Hong Jinho had come out with a special strategy. 2001 – the Jang Choong Gymnasium was filled with game fans. in the center of a lake during the coldest winter. I finally received my first win. Capturing each other’s expansions. At any rate. Even that was on the day of the match. I was pushed to the edge of a precipice. starting with the first match. Of the two people. The match was close to 50 minutes. I was one step ahead. after giving away the second and third games in a row. only one will be remembered as the victor. September 8th. Park Hyomin 67 . But actually the point of victory that allowed me to win the Coca-Cola Ongamenet Starleague was during the fourth match.and possibly our matches the most anticipated. then getting attacked again∙∙∙∙∙. I had already experienced the special strategy that Hong Jinho had prepared. But. And on top of the stage were only two people – Hong Jinho and I.
in the actual battle I was also able to play comfortably and receive GG from Hong Jinho. During practice. Hong Jinho seemed rather perplexed. Because the strategy was one that I had comfortably defeated even during practice. I may not have been able to win. It was a strategy where one could simply lose all of his units by a counter-rush. in situations where one’s front is blocked like this. but in reality when entering the actual battle. But in this case one needs a time of patience. helped practice a few games just before I left for the Jang Choong Gymnasium. It is normal for one to play a few games and briefly loosen the hands at the living quarters on the day of the match. And when we practiced on Ragnarok. 68 . The key point of that strategy was not to advance until the tanks came out. who was on the same team as me. before going out. From the standpoint of a Terran. I was delighted the moment Hong Jinho used this strategy.ComBi. if one were to hastily break through the sunkens. one becomes restless because of his attachment to victory. enduring and enduring again until the tank comes out. If this was a strategy that I had not experienced during practice. Park Hyomin had used a similar strategy. one may comfortably play with the mind that it is okay to lose. ‘How did he block this?’ Whether he was in disbelief at his loss from the fourth match. It is because of the desire to somehow quickly change the match to a situation where he has the advantage. His expression showed. one attempts to somehow find a timing and break through. When I easily blocked the strategy quite unexpectedly. But since it was a strategy that I had defeated during the practice matches.
yet claims he controls the entire galaxy. I saw the figure of my mother that had earnestly prayed for me. however. that day onward people began to call me the ‘Emperor of Terran. and heads for another planet. The day when the whole world felt like it was mine. But after a while it seemed to me that to be called ‘the Emperor’ in the field where I ran about was too narrow. This continuous joy of victory returned to me like a boomerang. Like the king from a novel that I like. The Little Prince – the little prince leaves his planet and arrives on the first planet. a king that does not have any servants. and their cheers! How could I forget them. but now I felt that I could be a proud son.’ 104 ∙ A Frog in a Pond to a World Champion The year 2001 was a year of victory. During that time. And so I was able to lead the fifth set to a victory. At that moment. where he meets a king. I was looking over the first match. saying that I would not study or attend college. The little prince then turns away from this person that declares himself as king on the tiny planet. I used most of the break time to find Hong Jinho’s weakness. I had only worried my parents. as a confidence that I could win in any game.he seemed to look over his mistakes from the fourth set instead of preparing for the fifth. Since the fifth and first sets were played on the same map. I won the HanbitSoft Ongamenet Starleague and the Coca-Cola Ongamenet Starleague in a row. Their overwhelming emotions were all mine. The game fans that filled the Jang Choong Gymnasium. 69 .
at least in games. China. Japan. I had not forgotten that during my chobo days. that I would not be too different from the king that the little prince disregarded. and Korea gathered in one place. but through a game. I wanted to be recognized as the world’s best. I was rejected when I requested a game from the foreign player that was ranked first on the ladder. Where there’s a will. there’s a way – the opportunity to receive the recognition from the world as a progamer came quite easily. and like ‘the Conqueror’ Alexander the Great. that captured the world during 4th century B. the WCG – World Cyber Games. it is possible to freely play in real time with gamers in foreign countries through Battle. 70 .C. I wanted to be like Genghis Khan. More important was the fact that it was a tournament that all of the world’s gamers participated in. that led his army all the way to Europe’s Danube River after raising the 13th century Mongolian Empire. I had to a score to settle from the grief I went through during my chobo (beginner) days. Europe.My self-consciousness of being satisfied with the title of ‘Emperor’ as Korea’s top progamer constantly tormented me. the true ‘Emperor of Terran’ that the world will acknowledge. The tournament prize money was also of the highest level in the country. As a member of the national team representing Korea. In addition. So I resolved to compete against the gamers of all countries around the world and be the one that the world admires. that was called the Olympics of Games. – but not through blood.net. Gamers from 37 countries. But the amount of the prize money was a secondary issue. such as the United States. On October of 2001. opened in Seoul. In Starcraft.
But those were only the wishes of the fans. I was able to enter the final qualifications without losing once. would naturally take the gold. it was not easy from the first hurdle. Though I had anticipated that the road to becoming a world champion was long and rugged. The four Korean players that had passed the intense preliminaries were decided. One after the other. Because of this.There was no way I could forget it – I had not yet been able to take revenge. There were even predictions that our country. Cho Junghyun V-Gundam. England. and all around the world dived into the fiery competition. the foreign players that played games as a hobby were eliminating the Korean progamers who had gaming as their 71 . The national representative preliminaries was as hard as winning a national tournament. The competition between progamers to capture the golden opportunity of being able to wear the national flag of Korea was more intense than any other tournaments. Japan. But at last I had the opportunity to take revenge on the player. and bronze. Choi Soobum [Na'G]DoGGi^^. The Korean national representatives for the category of Starcraft in the 2001 WCG were Park Taemin GoRush. silver. I poured all my strength into the 2001 WCG. and myself. There were four that were given the eligibility to be the national representatives in the category of Starcraft. At last the final qualifications began. and was prepared to be the world’s best. I had the confidence that I would not lose to anyone. the only to have the profession of a progamer. Russia. China. Gamers from the United States.
Bertrand Grospellier Elky. but the one who typed GG was Park Taemin. I was troubled that if a player with gaming as his profession lost disappointedly to a foreign player that played games for fun. the number of games played was much less. But as I actually faced him in the finals. For our country’s progamers to be recognized worldwide. Among them was a rumor that the skills of France’s representative. Park Taemin and I were the only two that made it to the round of 16. I realized that the skills of the foreign players were not that low. I wanted to win with all that I had built up to that moment. he was a player that stood out as the greatest threat. The group leagues that had started out with full leagues went through a double-elimination method starting with the round of 16. From the beginning of the tournament. and also could receive an advantage in the finals. it would show the whole world that the profession called progamer was in the end ‘a frog in a pond’. As the tournament progressed. I had hoped that Park Taemin would defeat Bertrand. Winning the 2001 WCG now became a matter of pride of the Korean progamers. The double-elimination method divided the winners’ group and losers’ group. I was the only one remaining of the Korean representatives. the victory cup was a must. In the semifinals of the winners’ group.net. he was also quite famous on Battle. In the case of the winners’ group.profession. I had ten wins from the ten games played. and entered the finals. In the end. From the final qualifications alone. was impressive. My opponent in the finals was Bertrand. Of course. so I knew that he was a good player. the 72 .
He selected Terran in the finals. my dreams of becoming a world champion would come to nothing. the timing was extremely small.burdensome feeling was immense. How could I forget the moment when I became the world champion after beating the best players at home and abroad. It was a situation where if I were to lose that timing that may only come by once. 73 . I had never been as happy as I was that moment. In Bertrand’s case. Bertrand gave me that feeling. Bertrand was a player that used both Terran and Protoss well. the timing when Bertrand was the weakest. Because a progamer is a profession. The finals was played on the map Lost Temple. I will find the timing in the end. As his style was quite different from the Korean players. However. I continued the attacks with my style and strained to find the timing. he was at the time merely a player that enjoyed gaming and tried hard.’ In the end. Unlike other players. Though I had participated in numerous tournaments and won many times. Words cannot express the fear that one feels when the opponent is strong. the method of countermeasure in itself was not easy. one must go out in tournaments. he was one that had almost no openings. Because there were too many expansions. Bertrand’s characteristic multiple expansions began. the fear that comes from the existence of a powerful opponent. Though Bertrand is now living as a progamer in Korea. I received Bertrand’s GG. it was not easy to decide where to attack and at what timing. I had won the fight with myself again. The only thing on my mind until the last second was the belief ‘if I am stronger than him. As expected. even perfect strategies are bound to have a moment of weakness.
I wanted to tell everyone that progamers are people that express games in the most awesome way. when they would approve of those that watched movies and read books as a hobby. not only as a progamer. began to call me the ‘Emperor of Terran. If there are people that develop games. But the 2001 WCG helped me feel the joy of being the best. It has been a long time since games have boldly settled as a business just like any other. I wanted to show to the adult generation that thought enjoying games was a waste of time.win prizes. and will advance endlessly in the time to come. and not only in Korea. and continuously maintain a good record for the fans. At the 2001 WCG I was able to realize that earnest wish. I wanted to ask them why they would consider one with games as his hobby to be an immature child. As long as gamers around the world have an passion. the Korean gamer that had become the world’s best through a game. games will never disappear. but simply as an ordinary gamer of Korea that enjoys games. And that was the role I wanted to take. and that the progamers of Korea are of the world’s highest level.’ Chapter Three: The Hidden Passion Explodes During middle and high school. the worthless me narrowly escaped 74 . I wanted to shout to the world that the Korean gamer was the world’s best. there is also a need for people who know how to enjoy those games in an awesome way. Gamers around the world.
our team also recruited several players. and Sung Hakseung MuMyung joined our team. Lee Yoonyeol Nada.being last in class. As the scale of game tournaments grew bigger. but during crucial moments. don’t they benefit from helping each other practice?” But among 75 . so even I wonder how I am able to practice gaming everyday and became so attached to victory. In addition to Lee Jaehang SiR@SoNi~ and Park Hyomin ComBi that were members since the early days.net before. Hong Jinho Yellow. and without doubt the members of the team IS were enjoying their prime. It is a good thing that the players of the same team have outstanding skills. The players of our team swept every tournament. ‘Passion is talent. But the problem lay in the fact that no matter what tournament we entered. “If there are many players with great skills on the same team. Like someone once said. I only knew of his ID. I had chatted with Jinho a few times on Battle. facing a member of the team was more than just uncomfortable. At first it was great. The passion that I myself do not understand – dragged by its fearsome strength I challenge myself again today. 118 ∙ A Fool Crazy for Victory In the spring of 2001. its accumulation becomes ability.’ my passion that burns for games may perhaps be the answer. and with Yoonyeol. there were many changes to our team. Kim Jongsung [z-zone]SalMoSa. it was inevitable that the players of the team would face each other. Some people say.
When looking back at the fall of 2001. we almost never practiced with each other. there was an uncomfortable and incomprehensible competitive spirit among us. where even requesting practice was difficult. it is more important to develop oneself rather than increase each other’s skills. The number of 76 . In addition. the mood of the team worsens and it could actually affect all of the players negatively. I had to fit in all kinds of interviews and gaming broadcasts. “Lim Yohwan is only good at games and nothing else.” Whether they were games or broadcasts. It seemed that in comparison to other players. Perhaps it was because of this? Though we were together. in terms of the desire for victory. I had to try my best in whatever was given to me to be satisfied. they were players that were second to none. When this happens. Who would want to go out into a match and lose? And I also didn’t want to hear people say. where even time to breathe was a waste of time. I could feel myself growing tense. we practiced a lot with other players. I was so busy that there was no time to catch my breath. But just because I was busy I could not take a single thing lightly. Because formulating strategies and practicing together with teammates that one may face in the future would lead to disclosing each other’s style.players that have risen to a certain level. Rather. As time passed by. it could only be unpleasant. My third consecutive entry to the Ongamenet Starleague finals was before me. It was because the game schedules were so tightly packed. Furthermore. and at the same time I was taking the WCG preliminaries. so losing even a simple practice game would create a cold atmosphere.
Though there are fans that simply come to watch me win. I did not want to lose. and the new maps that I had to practice on were always waiting for me. ‘How he wins’ . This was entirely my task. In that way. 2001 SKY Ongamenet Starleague – because I had won the two previous tournaments. and more than anything else I did not want to disappoint the fans that looked forward to my matches. and winning with a scenario that I desired – that was the kind of victory that I hoped for. I did not and could not think of anything else. how my friends were doing – I had no time to spare for anything but games. And so I practiced even harder. I made much of that one minute. During the 24 hours that I remained awake. Obviously a progamer must play games well. And little by little. there was much attention to whether I would 77 . I spent the entire time gaming. Controlling the game with a strategy that I created. What happened around me. The most important thing is to win. But that was insufficient.that was what the fans expected. one second practicing.games I had to play increased more and more. I was becoming a fool for victory. I had to think. ‘How will I win? With what strategy will I make a dramatic impression and win?’ Playing games with friends as a hobby and being a progamer are different. but they must also play games that make it enjoyable for the people that are watching. No matter who I faced. A progamer does not hope to win through the mistakes of the opponent. No one can play the games for me. Even the expectations the fans had for me continued to rise higher and higher. and was something I had to do alone.
the Jang Choong Gymnasium was filled with game fans. Because it was a five sets-three wins system. More than anyone else. It was because the map for the first set was used again for the fifth set. whoever took the first set and would control the map from the first set would be a great influence to the flow of the entire match. 2001. If I were to succeed in this strategy. I measured the route and distance that the computer took. It was quite a narrow spot. I promised myself that I would not give away a single 78 . and confirmed the most advantageous positions. The 2001 WCG final selections and the 2001 SKY Ongamenet Starleague was that opportunity. that when the tank was placed there. And then I happened to discover a very good spot. On December 28th. I first began analyzing the map Incubus. I had discovered a very good place where I could place my tank. If I were to succeed in this strategy. but the days of the two matches were almost on the same day. behind the front expansion. I decided on my initial build order. I obviously lacked practice time. That opportunity that I earnestly desired came to me with great difficulty.indeed take the third consecutive victory. Because I had to go back and forth from the two tournaments and play the matches. The map for the first set was Incubus. the opponent could not place a zealot there at all. the first and fifth sets would be mine. and my physical strength was just about gone. I myself earnestly desired the third consecutive victory cup. The maps were decided. so I had to double my concentration. I could render my opponent’s front expansion useless. and continued to practice the strategy of transporting the tank with the dropship and placing it in that position.
And the first set began. I was forced to turn my dropship around. I was victorious in the second and third sets. Having only practiced that one strategy all this time. I could not understand it. but nonetheless it was beyond my capacity. Initially. After the match had ended. And I tried hard to forget about it.’ and calmed myself. I loaded the tank into the dropship. began. saying that I had done a good job. Because I had not won the championship. with the same map from the first. The people that consoled me encouraged me. but the result was the same. Without giving any damage to the opponent. but in the end I was defeated. But the tank would not unload. even with second place. ‘Let’s forget about the past defeat. I tried to place it. I was defeated in the first set. Now I could no longer use the strategy that I had constructed. and after giving away the fourth. I did not know what else to do. And then I placed the tank on the position that I had remembered. but my goal was victory.game. As Kim Dongsu Garimto took the front expansion. I could only be confused at the moment. the fifth set. and take the third consecutive victory title with three consecutive wins. “Why did your dropship go and just return?” They knew that my dropship would not make a trip for 79 . What in the world could have gone wrong? In the end. I had failed on that day. I made several attempts. I pressed my opponent with a quick push. Why had the tank that could definitely unload during practice not unloaded? Those that knew my game style asked me. No. I thought. I had to make a strategy on the spur of the moment. the match unfolded in the way that I had planned.
128 ∙ I am Not a God When I was eliminated from the Nate Ongamenet round of 16. if I had prepared the next best strategy. I loved games. and was a fool for games that played games. But rather than enjoying these games. Because it was only a slight difference.no reason. In a game. people 80 . but to me it was an important thing that made me collapse on the doorsteps of victory. the map had been uploaded incorrectly. I also had regrets of ‘If I had prepared a better strategy. sometimes I wonder. one may have thought that it would be no big deal. I would not have lost. I could have won with a 3:0. and times when one loses. At the time I felt so wronged that my tears were about to come out. there exists a winner and a loser. I then checked the map again. ‘Was I looking for an excuse after losing?’ If I had made a more thorough preparation. I had now become a fool for victory that cried and laughed with victory and defeat. Though it was unfortunate that after hard practice I could not use the strategy and was defeated hopelessly. But I realized all of this was brought out by my own selfconceit.’ When I think about it now. If I had only won the first round. I could not acknowledge that there are times when one wins. if I had at least confirmed the map just once. I wouldn’t have been so confused. The conclusion was that from the sponsors’ side. and I had all kinds of game tournaments and was exhausted from the event schedules – I would make these excuses.
I couldn't play whenever I felt like it. That my fingers would not lose their senses.’ And when that happened. and that I would not forget the fact that I was a progamer. Some players were happy to enter the round of 8. But that came to me as a tremendous burden. the players that defeated me in a match became a star. But I was not a god. there were over four broadcasting stations that ran game 81 . Something that was just as important as winning a game was how much I was enjoying the game. I had always played winning matches. the moment the game had become a profession. I had to definitely practice several games a day. the game was a sacred duty that I had to practice with self-discipline. and others were satisfied just to have entered the semifinals for the first time. Whenever I entered a tournament.called it a ‘phenomenon. he cannot win every game. he would not be human but a god. Of the three times. “You said he defeated Lim Yohwan? Then does that mean that he plays the game better than Lim Yohwan?” I had entered the finals three times consecutively. Even if I was exhausted and didn't want to play. I was first place two times and second place once. No matter how tough it was with other schedules. But for me. At the time. If he were to fight 100 times and win them all. and stop when I didn't want to play. and it was taken for granted that I would always enter the finals. I sat in front of the computer. “Why did you place second?” No matter how excellent a progamer may be. there were fans that would even demand. Of course.
Of course. Though I had always received the seed allocation before and had been able to play comfortably. but in the matches where I used my race. people would criticize. I would not practice. the fans would be the reason for my existence. Even if I was to lose. and lose brilliantly. and the only way to win was to practice. who would be watching my games? There would be no reason to broadcast matches that were not being watched. but I thought that a match that was to be played in front of my fans would have to be won no matter what. I wanted to win no matter what. If it was an event match and not an official match. Is it not because of the fans that I am able to continue gaming? If there were no fans. “Can’t you just wing it?” and “Aren’t you going to lose an important tournament while practicing for that sort of thing?”. I felt that it was my responsibility to present a strategy that I had prepared through practice. no matter how insignificant the match was. I could not take it lightly. If I were to exaggerate it a bit. due to the elimination from the round of 16 in the 2001 Ongamenet Starleague. if I were to change races and play a match. And if one were to include the event matches and additional broadcast appearances. I had to pass 82 .tournaments. And so I thoroughly practiced for the matches that would take place day after day. or if it was a tournament that did not use a normal map but a special map for the event. The tournament that approached was the 2002 SKY Ongamenet Starleague. it would be an intense schedule where matches would have to be played constantly for almost a full week. and won dramatically.
While I am playing a game. at the Olympic Park Peace Square – that was the day when the new record was set for the most number of spectators at the time in the history of game tournaments. But in contrast to that determination. As I entered the arena. I almost never blink. Because I cannot take my eyes off the computer screen for even a moment. Though it was a more tough and difficult situation. When I thought of the many people that were watching. During such a game where I 83 . October 12. I have to be careful of even the time I blink. and it felt as if the fatigue had come all at once. But the match started exactly at the appointed time. I had not washed properly or slept soundly. my body gradually began to lag behind. For days. One way or another. But the outcome was entirely the opposite. I thoroughly made the preparations. 2002. It seemed that going to the sauna was the cause. the spectators had really gathered like the clouds. The players that entered the finals that day were Park Jungsuk Reach and I. I challenged myself again for the championship. But the problem was on the day of the match. With a desire to enter the day of the match with a refreshed feeling. but my body continued to wither. Whether it was because so much moisture had left the body. my body would feel lighter.through the Dual Tournament. my eyes felt thick. My mind tightened with the tense atmosphere. I went to the bathhouse. I became a bit nervous but also had the desire to try even harder. I stayed at the saunas for a long time and sweat quite a lot. The muscles that had clumped together for the past few days had become loose in every direction. I thought that if I did that.
the buildings were constructed at a late timing. Without being able to unfold a play that I wanted. At first everything was fun and exciting. There is a saying – if there is an uphill. I yielded my seat as a champion. Without even time to wipe my tears away. I was defeated 3:1. my eyes began to hurt as they became thick. I could not defend my position at the top and 84 . 136 ∙ Standing By Myself…I Must Win After becoming a progamer. I was busy with climbing up to the top. In the fall of 2002.had to concentrate this much. I felt like I could do anything. Isn’t it said that ‘Every why has a wherefore?’ Because of the sauna. One by one. he cannot exhibit 100 percent of his plays. and I was filled with confidence to the point that it seemed obvious I would win in any tournament that I entered. defeat was as obvious as day. I keep the washing as simple as possible. But nothing happened the way that I had hoped or wanted. I do not even wash with hot water. my ability to see the monitor screen decreased and I could not see well even right in front of me. That day forward. On the day of the match. I never go to the sauna. there awaits a downhill. I lost the victory cup from right under my nose. In the end. no matter how thoroughly one has prepared and practiced a lot. I had always thought that the seat at the top would be in my possession. the game pressed on. Just staring at the monitor made them teary. and my control was inaccurate. and eventually tears continued to flow. the sauna became one of my jinxes. Because of the tears. When one has not maintained one’s condition properly.
Of each group. there would be talks that the problem was with leaving the company.stepped onto the downhill road. only two could enter the round of 16. I thought increasing the amount of practice and playing well in the matches would work out. and it was possible that a contract with a sponsor that was not finalized would not be easily resolved. a harsh winter was waiting for me. I was in need of a championship. I had to show everyone that the seat of the ‘Emperor of Terran’ was a position that one could not easily look down on. The contract with the company was also over. Without a single partner to practice for me. but in the matches that followed. and I was at a point where I had already two losses from the players from the US 85 . This tournament had a special meaning for me. and very urgently. the problems began with the group leagues. my feelings of insecurity surfaced clearly in my plays. I had thought that just doing what I had always done would make things all right. I was completely alone. To break through the mountain of problems. all I could do was to show my strength. I thought I would continue to rise forever. If my performance was not good at a state where my contract with the company was over. I was eligible to participate as the champion of the previous tournament. Fortunately. the opportunity came very quickly. I was alone. At the 2002 WCG that was held at Daejeon in November 2002. but that alone was not enough. After that. In the 2002 WCG. but as soon as I passed the peak of the summit and stepped onto the downhill road for the first time.
It was because after losing all of my units. while my opponent defended well and continued to expand. and that was a situation that I could not come to terms with. it only became more disadvantageous for me. With several guerilla maneuvers I tried to strike a blow to my opponent’s base. while using an expansion-centered play where one would expand in several places. and the Bulgarian player picked Protoss. but with repeated failures of the initial attacks. Among foreign players. While trying to advance to the center. I unexpectedly saw the number 86 . the situation had developed to where I continued to unfold a precarious strategy with units being produced from my remaining resources. My standings in the group league was four wins and two losses. but a loss would mean immediate disqualification. The map was Neo Legacy of Char. He was also the same. Disqualification from the group league was something I had not even considered. The Bulgarian player blocked my attacks well every time. I was at 7 o’clock. and if I was to win the final seventh match. there were many that expanded at an early timing. and it came to a point where the resources of the map were almost completely used up. there would be a rematch. and continued to expand one by one. My opponent for the last match in order to enter the round of 16 was Dimitar Aleksandrov DIDI8 of Bulgaria. As the game progressed. One way or another. After watching my opponent effortlessly take the starting point of another region.and Peru. I had to overcome the crisis. I also attempted to secure another starting point as my own expansion. the situation became more and more difficult. he was at 5.
I took out 30 to 40 of the opponent’s probes. By the numbers. but my main units were vultures. I would not be able to enter the round of 16 and I would be eliminated. but he had over twenty gateways. I could truly experience the feeling of being pushed to a bleak condition. In the end. it came to a situation where they were killed together by the explosions. I seized this opportunity to attempt a guerilla attack. I found out about this later. It was at a point where the Bulgarian player had already taken two-thirds of the entire map. I had to push this to a rematch. and simply pushed his way through. The moment I saw the zealot troops that had accumulated. With his overflowing resources. Inside his expansion with two vultures. Somehow. But this was something I could not give up on. I had barely used one-fourth of the resources. My opponent as well as myself entered a state of momentary lull to produce units again. he had increased the number of gateways and was pouring out zealots. and continued the guerilla attacks to buy time somehow. In the fight at the center. If I typed GG. Was this what a critical and hopeless moment was like? It was the first time I saw a Protoss produce zealots like zerglings of the Zerg. dropped 3-4 goliaths on the slope to cut off the resources. But with the attacks of the vultures and the splash damage of the mines. The number of the zealot troops was immense. It now came to where the winner and loser would be determined based on who would take the last remaining starting point. I was definitely behind. it seemed as if the opponent barely controlled at all.of my opponent’s zealots and was dumbfounded. destroyed his pylon before the carriers could come out. I was 87 .
and the U. But the road I had to take was still long. it eventually came to a fateful match with the Bulgarian player. While I sat there absentmindedly. so I had no choice but to use the strategies from the previous year’s tournament. Without any practice partners. Though the match was an hour long. giving away a game that he had won. If I were to return to defend. I had not been able to practice properly. more than anything else I would have been angry at myself. The rematch took place that day at the living quarters. I suddenly heard a sound of a crack. and because the conditions were bleak throughout the entire match. Like this.S. my strength was depleted even more. With the dropship. while my opponent had produced dark templars and had broken into my base. whether it was the keyboard or the computer. The player afterwards received a warning. It seemed that the foreign players saw right through my strategies.S. I was completely exhausted. After the match was over. The opponent had broken his keyboard and left. U. The four countries of France.. If I placed myself in his position. I seized the slope of the opponent’s base and blocked his gathering of minerals.S. If I were to give away a game that I had already won. After losing to him. I was being dragged along from the start. How wronged he must have felt. I lost again to the player from the U. I would also have wanted to smash it all. and Korea were tied.able to take the expansion and pull the hour-long bloody battle to victory. player had already known the strategies well. Bulgaria. the opponent would be able to gather resources. but if I did 88 . I was narrowly able to enter the rematch.
it seemed that my main base would be destroyed. and was attacking other buildings. my mind was a bit at ease. I was quite moved by the victory. It came down to who would be killed first. For a moment I was conflicted. I would have lost the match. My opponent’s mistake had pulled me out of the pit and led me to the bright skies. I was smiling with victory. The turrets should have been destroyed first. I showed that I was able to jump right back to the top. a Hundred-Millionaire Twenty-three years old – three years passed since I began the life of a 89 . I was able to show that the ‘Emperor of Terran’ would not crumble so easily. but I decided to continue my attacks. who I entered the tournament with as a Korean representative.not go to defend and continued to attack. it was an elimination battle. The result was two consecutive WCG championships – whether it was because I went through the tournament during the difficult time. Whether it was because of the thought that the Korean representative team would receive the gold medal no matter who won. my opponent made a critical error. But after the game was over. The finals was against Hong Jinho Yellow. As if I had received a compensation for entering the round of 16 with such difficulties. Like this. 146 ∙ Twenty-Three Years Old. I unexpectedly was able to enter the finals quite easily. But during that moment. I did not lose this opportunity and constructed a defensive formation. and though I did for a moment step onto the downhill path. If my opponent had moved in a little further. In a word. but he had only destroyed the turrets in the front.
“That’s a profession? How much does that pay?” Before. ‘Is money that important?’ but if I were to continue playing games with the profession of a progamer.” others would press with questions of. The contract was over. “I am a progamer. because he cannot study. with this ‘money’ that adults loved so much. The meaning of a progamer. But this time I had the thought that something must definitely change.progamer.” I wanted to send one flying to the adults that denounced progamers like this. Winning in games was the most important. If there was a tournament. “Is playing games well also a skill? I guess one must at least be good at games. No matter how much I said. But little by little. including the issue of money. I decided to leave the company that I had been with for two years. I entered it. one’s mental attitude. and if I won. money was not a particularly important issue. But this was not everything. I had thought. To a progamer. It was also the most intense time that I had ever spent. I liked that I could feel at ease and play games openly. money was a measure of self-respect. Adults could not easily accept that one could earn money by playing games. For a while. At first I was happy simply with the fact that I had become a progamer. I did not have the leisure to think about what was right or wrong. that would be the end of it. vision and such were just momentary worrying of principles that brushed by. I began to worry about the occupation of a progamer. I began to realize that I would have to fight all prejudice and win. Because the company I was with operated without sponsors and only with the 90 . but I did not renew the contract.
but I felt that a sponsor should be first. 91 . how can they support the salaries of so many professional players? Simply holding onto the aid of the prize money would not increase the size of the playing field. The terms was receiving operating expenses in addition to the individual salary. the actual amount of money received was not much. and to be recognized as e-sports. there must be a coach and players to practice with. performance fees and events was the entire income. and invest in progamers so that they may only concentrate on the matches. I concluded a sponsor contract with Orion that presented the best terms.’ And afterwards. It must be a sponsor that can support. The salary was one hundred million won. trust. not all players lived with a salary. a sponsor is most certainly necessary. Of course. the gold medal that I grasped at the 2002 WCG was more than just ‘gold. For a game organization to receive a stable support. I left the company and started working on my own. For a progamer to be one of the professions. Even if one were to exclude the operation costs. at the age of twenty-three. Receiving earnings through tournament prize money. It is the same for baseball or soccer. the support of a large corporation is absolutely necessary.income of prize money and revenue. And like this. Right after the 2002 SKY Ongamenet Starleague was over. Though it has been three to four years since the start of the occupation of a progamer. I felt things could not be this way. I was financially quite poor. Because it was a time by myself to meet a solid sponsor. I became a progamer to receive a salary of one hundred million won. Without the support of a large enterprise.
It means becoming a hundred-millionaire after living a life of working from early in the morning until evening.Though there were those that said earning that much for being in the teens or twenties was a lot. At first. living in a state of addiction to their work. My receiving a salary of a hundred million gave hope to the junior gamers that they too could be hundred-millionaire. And while acquiring skills like this. playing at least 16 hours a day. But my goal was not to become a hundred-millionaire from the start. When I met these two conditions. There were also fans that liked my game plays. It can be compared to being a ‘gameholic’. I would not have survived. for games to be recognized as e-sports along with the development of the gaming industry. A progamer must stake everything on his abilities and popularity. They say that a person with a salary of at least a hundred million won works on average of 14 hours a day. I started because I liked gaming. the treatment of progamers that stood at the center of it all must first change.’ that is. they are ‘workaholics. It is the same for me. While living deeply with the work that I wanted to do. and the number of people that sought after me increased. People ask how I became a hundred-millionaire at the age of twentythree. If I had become a progamer while chasing after money. he could not give hope to the juniors. And I was also happy that I was the first to have achieved it. I unwittingly ended up at the top. But afterwards I fell into gaming and barely slept. I had without realizing it become a hundred92 . If a senior progamer did not properly receive a salary and lived as a progamer. large corporations that wanted to be a sponsor appeared. In a word.
Ultimately. Gambling has a high probability of failure. If luck does operate within a match. Though my aim is for victory. 93 . formulating a perfect strategy and applying it through practice will decide the outcome. 156 ∙ 1 Percent of Hope Destroys the 99 Percent of Despair A game can never be won with just luck. because I had gone out with the utmost method. but I only bring to the match a perfect winning strategy which can never fail. I cannot do anything about the luck of the position. it is because I do not think there is a safe way of reaching the destination. But no matter what position I start on. Others say that I enjoy a venture. but I do not enjoy risky plays. but I only desire a perfect victory. Even if it does not work on the opponent. They say that I often use risky plays which have a high probability of failure when it is discovered in the beginning. if I create a strategy in which I can perfectly control the opponent.millionaire. and map. it is only the positions that are randomly assigned by the program of the game. It is true that there are advantageous positions for every player. I do not think that I failed myself. I do not choose a safe path. even the luck of the position cannot be the decisive factor towards the outcome. It is a problem that must be overcome for every match. race. The strategies that others say are a gamble are what I developed after tens of hundreds of times of practice.
Among them was the round of 16 of the Ongamenet Starleague. Instead of expanding. the days of playing matches without a single day of rest continued. poured all my resources into units. I was determined to see the outcome through the use of units. There were more instances in which they arrived after having seen through my strategies.But my strategies were disclosed to many players. I gave up on expanding. I became restless. As I faced the match. But as though the opponent had already anticipated my strategy. But it was not enough. and with the increase of individual leagues. Now I could no longer win against my opponents with only a strategic advantage. I could not neglect a single game. the strategy that I constructed was to determine the outcome early in the game with only goliaths. several dragoons during that timing. Because he defended so well. this was the season that had worn me out. The expansion or the main base – one of the two had to be destroyed. the victory would go over to my opponent. That is why the match against Do Jin-gwang [DaK]Joyo seems to be all the more unforgettable. and had been responding perfectly to the number of my offensive units. and managing the matches gradually became tough. Though I was exhausted from the pressing game schedules. he placed several cannons during this timing. A fierce struggle to stay alive to the end had now begun. If I could not end the game in this condition. Just as hot as the summer of 2003. and continued attacking. Each broadcasting station began their team leagues. there was no way for me to break 94 .
A situation where I could not ensure my victory while attacking. If Do Jin-gwang had not chosen to expand. The reason would not be because I had lost. and the remaining resources and units in comparison were worthless. I was undoubtedly at an unfavorable situation – no. and because I did not have an expansion. but one in which I had no other choice – I attacked with the mindset of ‘Ok. Do Jin-gwang also lost some timings. All I could do was to expand quickly and find an opportunity to attack before the difference increased even more. Though it was a situation in which 99 percent was of 95 . my thoughts were correct. the game leaned towards Do Jin-gwang. but rather to upgrade and produce more units to attack my main base. to defend his main base and expansion. The one that had given up on the match was not I. he had protected his expansions. In the end. but Do Jin-gwang.’ In the end. I went in for one final rush. If I had given up in the middle and left after typing GG. both for weapons and armor. While he kept on defending. Gathering all of my resources and units. It was a game where not giving up on the belief that ‘the best defense is offense’ was the driving force to victory. Furthermore. But I remained determined. but Do Jin-gwang’s upgrades were late. let’s see this to the end. as he had been concentrating on expansions. It was only after the match that I found out that my units had been well-upgraded. My main base was in ruins.through. It would be because I had given up hope. it was a state in which his units were divided in two. it was a situation in which I could not win. I would not have wanted to remember this match even in my dreams. I would have definitely lost.
I felt as though I could understand how Robinson Crusoe felt when he was alone on a deserted island. Then I met someone that saved me. 166 ∙ The Best Coach. Besides the fact that I did not have a practice partner. Up to the moment that the company made an exclusive contract with Orion and me. the coach of SK Telecom T1 that I am a part of.despair. it seemed that I would not have regrets if I gave up after having used up all potential of that 1 percent. I did not let go of the match to the end. The one that helped me is Joo Hoon. that was the only way in which I myself could become fearless. Not giving up until the end. my determination and confidence of playing in a certain way as a progamer was faltering. even in the 99 percent of despair. Others think only of the number 99 and 1. If I were to give up on a match like that. and said that it was something that could never happen. as long as 1 percent of hope remained. Though he has now become the best coach with great charisma. Though my remaining resources and the number of my units were extremely small in comparison to my opponent. But that 1 percent brought a 100 percent victory for me. I suffered considerably. trying my best as long as that 1 percent of hope remained – whatever situation I was in. In 2001. I knew well that in the end I would be the one to regret it. while I was part of the IS team. Hoon-hyung (meaning older brother) explained 96 . Our first encounter was at the previous company. he was like a brother to me only three years ago. The Best Players ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’ is a saying that I’ve actually wept over.
our team also needed a skilled Terran user. I begin to realize the effectiveness of controlling one’s psyche. As the Terrans slowly became powerful in the flow of Starcraft. who was by my side during the moments I felt alone. Changhoon ZergLee entered. My father. It was Choi Yeonsung iloveoov. so we decided to pick a player among the rookies. It was when I struggled with having no opponents to practice Terran versus Terran. suggested that I should create a team with Hoon-hyung as the coach. I was at the time negotiating with Orion concerning the annual salary. and Yongwook Kingdom and Sungjae IntoTheRainbow joined together. Hoon-hyung was open to the idea. Not being able to find a practice partner. I felt so thankful to him. and naturally he and I set out to create the Orion team.that he wished to research sports psychology and progamers. but now that I am under his continual guidance. Hoon-hyung found practice partners for me. watching us at the time. I found practice through almost begging. the members of the family continued to grow. When I entered the 2002 WCG. And with Hyunjin [z-zone]kOs that entered. At first I thought it was a rather strange topic for research. not a mere entrepreneurial partner but like an affectionate blood-related brother. Among the rookies was a player that caught my eye the most. that I came to know the 97 . It was more difficult to scout a skilled player than anything. and came to visit our team. as well as taking care of the affairs that followed the tournament events. And it was around the time Hoon-hyung became familiar to our team that I left the company. We first began to gather the team members.
Park Gyungrak Junwi_[saM]. and listed in the entries of the Hanbit team were players such as Kang Do-Gyung H. The opponents were the Hanbit Stars. But as we repeated our practices. he had no system of organization and had many blind spots. Our team members’ skills at the time had not been proved to the public. receiving praises as the ‘appearance of the monster.net. Choi Yeonsung especially continued to grow immensely. In comparison to the progamers. On the other hand. but I felt that he had a lot of spirit and a potential for development. Most of the game specialists also predicted the Hanbit team to have the edge.gamer called Choi Yeonsung that was quite famous on Battle. I could not afford to be particular between an amateur or a pro. Byun Gilsup Sync. all who were skilled and had experience in championship matches.T-Forever. Because it was quite urgent. and at first I did not feel that he particularly played well. but as time passed by I came to know what excellent players our team members were. He practiced a few games with me. We were proud with just the fact that a newborn team was standing on the stage for the finals. I did not expect much at first. As one or two gathered in this fashion.’ And so our team entered the Ongamenet Proleague finals that opened for the first time. And so I personally suggested that he enter our team. Park Jungsuk [Oops]Reach. But 98 . who were considered to have the best teamwork.O. we had nothing. so there was nothing to lose. and straightforwardly requested his help. before we knew it we had formed a decent team. there was a somewhat different feeling from him than the Terrans that I had seen up to that point.
so we realized that if we followed just as we had practiced. We had no intension of getting second place. our team took hold of the championship cup. In the best of seven games. The opponent was Byun Gilsup. The coach and the players gathered together and spent several days preparing the entries. we would have the advantage. and because we had predicted this. My role as the first batter was to bring the first win that would lead our team to victory. Though we were not completely on the mark. starting with planning the player entries. and because the player entries were announced the day of the match. and sweating while we practiced. And so the game finally started. the first batter’s role must be to get to first base.now that we had entered the finals. In baseball. It was for this victory cup that we spent our time at the quarters eating. The secret to our team’s victory was that our players had the endless 99 . 2003. Others only saw our outward appearance and did not see our true appearances. I used the build that I practiced during the Terran versus Terran practices. the first game was the important match that would set the pace. we had to practice according to which opponent we predicted would appear for the matches. With a satisfying first victory. the finals opened at the Olympic Park Peace Square. We worked hard. That heavy responsibility was given to me. sleeping. we had correctly guessed more than 50 percent. to the last win from Park Yongwook that stood as our last batter. The maps had already been decided. August 30. our goal was definitely for the championship victory. The Hanbit team’s entries did not deviate too much from our predictions.
] 176 ∙ I Also Want to Play “Play ‘Norwegian Wood. I had already established my life’s goals and was striving towards it. During my 20s. I realized that the priorities in my life had reversed. Blindly aiming for that goal as ‘the best progamer.’” said Naoko. and Naoko dropped a hundred-yen piece from her purse into its slot.potential and the hope that our dream would come true. 100 . [Note: "A Period of Loss" was the title given to the initial Korean translation of Haruki Murakami’s book. Chapter Four: A Period of Loss That day when I became 24.’ it was until that day when my life suddenly felt empty. and even brighter the day after. as long as we never gave up. Norwegian Wood. Reiko brought a porcelain beckoning cat from the kitchen. when I should be traveling and meeting with friends. that I was born as a young man in my 20s. We will shine brighter tomorrow than today. as though I was in my 30s. It was a coin bank.
I thought about the ‘reasons for those 101 .” “And that way I get my cigarette money!” said Reiko. “I don’t know.’ I have to put a hundred yen into the bank. and nobody comes to save me. “That song can make me feel so sad. “Thank you. “It’s a rule. in Watanabe’s love story. the lively. “When I request ‘Norwegian Wood.” said Naoko. Reiko gave her fingers a good flexing and then played “Norwegian Wood.” “Sounds like Casablanca!” Reiko said with a laugh. truthful Midori.“What’s this all about?” I asked.Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood clearly illustrates the unlimited loss and restoration of the young generation living today. It’s my favorite. and Reiko in her 40s that dreams of a normal life – three women that become entangled with the protagonist. but never allowed it to become sentimental. so I make a point of paying for it. I guess I imagine myself wandering in a deep wood. While I was reading this book.” Again she played with real feeling.” said Reiko with a sweet smile.” said Naoko. I took a hundred-yen coin from my pocket and dropped it into the bank. That’s why Reiko never plays it unless I request it. I make a request when I really want to hear it. -From Norwegian Wood The emotionally troubled Naoko. I’m all alone and it’s cold and dark.
' Since 12th grade. but I could not live the 102 . like an uninvited guest that makes an abrupt appearance. And because I considered myself to have lived life to the fullest. I had a girlfriend for a little while. what do I have left but games?’ What I had were only memories and people related to gaming. I was a little late in meeting my fated destiny. those times were very precious to me. As my friends began to end their days of roaming about the big clubs after their heartbreaks over their first loves. but it did not last long.’ It could be somewhat described as the vertigo that one feels as they suddenly exit a dark tunnel and face the bright sunlight. Starcraft was my destiny. But one day I looked back on the past events. the emotions they go through are thought to be a kind of ‘dizziness symptom. At 24 years. I began to worry not as the ‘Progamer Lim Yo Hwan. But questions that I had never thought before. It seems like a fated destiny that those in their 20s are troubled when they confront freedom. I had no hobbies other than gaming. I was registered in a university.’ The youth that completely forfeited their teens to receive that ‘College Admission’ notice. I had no interest in anything but gaming. such as ‘How are my other friends of my age doing? What are they striving for?’ began to enter my head.’ but as the ’24-year-old human Lim Yohwan. From the moment I first played the game called Starcraft. ‘Being 24.troubled in their 20s. I lived only playing games. My work was gaming. I had not once regretted the path that I had chosen.as they enter their 20s. and my hobbies were gaming.
And so it was difficult to go travel or watch a movie by myself.if I had to eat alone. The only traveling I did was following game events and touring through all the cities of the country. I hardly saw any tv or movies. It was also awkward calling my old friends. But even playing was not an easy thing. The thoughts of wanting to play pressed heavily. Obviously I did not get to go to an MT (“membership training. But the thoughts that coiled around inside my head that would not budge. I did not know what to do. I had rather wanted those thoughts to secretly disappear.’ There were many days spent just thinking of how to go about playing. and did not know how to resolve that feeling. I was filled with thoughts of wanting to play. I was the type that did not like to do things by myself.” a fun trip between college students) and had not traveled with friends. or who to play with. The genial days of spring had arrived. I had no one that would play with me. I wanted to play. I could not concentrate in my games. but I was still confined in my 103 .. but I did not know how to play. I simply spent the days idly at the living quarters. ‘one that has eaten meat before eats it well. Someone once said. it was difficult to make time with their own game tournament schedules. I wanted to play like my other friends of my age. because I had not been able to keep in touch with them during the time I was gaming. And because most of my close friends were progamers..these simple wantings to play then developed to a youth’s troubles. On top of that. The album of my 20s was only filled with championship photos and newspapers clippings. The games that I was so crazy about were no longer interesting. I would rather not eat.college life like other students.
The biggest problem. was not being able to concentrate during tournaments. thinking. Even practices require a significant amount of strength and concentration. Though I had prepared a lot for the match. People began to say. Simply put.own cave. If one thinks about something else and just goes through the practice. He’s not the old Lim Yohwan. When one cannot concentrate in the game. as though I had not awakened from the winter sleep. I lost because I was thinking of something else. “Why is he doing that?”. A 104 . I could not see the daylight. The game was being broadcasted live.” There were talks of “How did Lim Yohwan become such an easy opponent?” and disappointed voices of “Lim Yohwan is not like before. I had begun to play games where I was continuously dragged along. even during my practices. I cannot concentrate in my games. The fans that watched were probably confused. the opponent steals the timing from you. all reflexes slow down. but I involuntarily was thinking about something else. With my head mixed up like this. even when I thought about it. there was no way that my games could unfold properly.” It was true. How could something like this happen? Something that I could never allow in the past. It happened to a certain tournament that I had entered. something that just could not happen was developing. however. the practice becomes useless. At some point. One that acquires the timing within the game is able to control the game. “The days of Lim Yohwan have passed. I was the one most surprised by the fact that I had begun to think of other things during the match. When there is a difficult problem.
my juniors performed better than myself. I was not able to produce any exceptional results in the individual leagues. In the past. The problem lied in my overconfidence. I went straight for a rush.’ I thought I was unfolding my plays in the way I had intended. I thought to myself. but continually showed myself losing. I prided myself to losing brilliantly. and we took the championship. I faced the rookie Zerg. but Park Sungjun calmly blocked it. In the proleague and team leauges. Still. With the initial marine. I had not left the Starleague scene. And now the Dual Tournament started for the tenth consecutive entrance to the Starleague. I entered the winners' final. After defeating Jun Sangwook Midas[gm]. The results were obvious. And the results surfaced during the matches. and my fans liked my hardworking self…but they were just thoughts. and we fought for the last ticket to the Starleague. I had not once been unable to enter the Ongamenet Starleague. Park Sungjun July[z-zone] that appeared like a comet. I leaned against the cheers of my fans and sat alone. but that was a miscalculation. as I had not produced any wins. I would be able to finish it off with this amount. ‘This should be enough to put me at an advantage. My units were not able to damage the opponent’s 105 .progamer is evaluated based on his results. but I lost to Park Jungsuk [Oops]Reach and fell to the losers' final. and the dogfight of attack and defense continued. Starting from spring 2003. Nine consecutive advances to the Ongamenet Starleague was a record that no one else could follow. afflicted. even when I had lost. and firebat combination. Since the 2001 Hanbit Ongamenet Starleague. medic.
“It worked when I used that. After living the life of a progamer. I am merely tired and just stopping to rest. As I 106 . and had been annihilated. But I did not collapse.” Strategies that were wellknown among progamers also became popular. I have not lost my wings. But I do not consider a slump as not being able to concentrate. Because I could not concentrate during practice and matches. There are popular strategies even in the game of Starcraft. and the dreams of a tenth consecutive entrance to the Ongamenet Starleague came to nothing. A slump is when things do not work out. Am I falling right now? Just because a bird does not fly does not mean it has lost its wings. A poet once said that something that falls to the ground has wings. In the past. it was obvious that my results were poor.base. The tide of the battle had turned. even when one tries his best. There cannot be such a thing as slump for me. starting with a safe early play and planning towards a quantity-oriented late game was quickly becoming popular.” It seemed as though everyone was waiting for the ‘Terran Emperor’ to collapse. I almost never saw the matches played by others. Just for a brief moment… 186 ∙ The Slump I Cannot Acknowledge When I failed to enter the Starleague. people said. I had not once thought of a moment as a slump. “Lim Yohwan has fallen into a slump. Rather than using a risky play. It was because even watching the games I needed to watch were unbearable.
” These sayings then began to be linked with “Lim Yohwan threw away his own unique style. People began to say. In the past. I had diligently constructed strategies according to my style. learned another person’s strategy that was not my style. But the results continued to flow towards a worse direction. and went out to the matches. that more important than winning was to control myself and focus. and without realizing my problems. And so I changed the direction of my practices a little. It was because of my inclination to win no matter what. I had forgotten that the 107 . I had forgotten the most important thing. I had prepared myself with the desire to carry out an amazing match. But the opponent responded with an even better counter. With every failure of the initial attacks and continual losses. whether I won or lost. The problem was not the strategy. Pushing through with this strategy that others won easily with had instead produced an opposite effect. But I began to see other players winning and began to copy them. I even listened to how certain strategies on certain maps were effective. and to perfect those strategies I had practiced intensely. I thought it would be the strategy that would help me regain my confidence and end the vicious cycle of defeat. I thought perhaps changing to a quantity-oriented late-game play might be better. I began to accustom myself to these popular styles. I lost my confidence. “Lim Yohwan’s plays are different than before. The problem lied in my heart.continued to lose.” and “His style changed. but I continued instead as a losing spectacle.” This was a path that I had chosen during my afflicted situation.
Ultimately. the match became a battle between their levels of concentration.results are better when one makes an effort to win according to his own style.but it did not seem like everything would be taken care of with that alone. may appear crude and unshapely. That concentration I had when I was constructing strategies for 24 hours a day. I was at times able to discover my old self. the frightening gaze at the monitor – there were many fierce rookies. but rough and difficult seas can make a competent sailor. but they bloom flowers that have a tenacious survivability. The passion towards the game. Not once able to play and worrying about how to play. there was no way that I could think of game strategies. and I am navigating 108 . the resolution one makes to give everything until the day of becoming the greatest progamer. where did it go? Watching the rookie players. and how much one practiced to learn those things. The plants inside a greenhouse quickly bloom beautiful flowers. how well one knew the properties of a unit. It was how well one concentrated. exposed to the wind and the rain. Finding my style again. I especially felt that their control had gotten a lot better than before. a psychological warfare. It was not a simple matter of having the quicker hands. I am exposed to the wind and the rain in the plains. even in my dreams. The plants that grow up in the plains. I could not deny that my concentration and controlling my condition was in a mess. Calm seas cannot raise an experienced sailor.
Then one day my attention was drawn towards a certain girl. I could not even properly face a girl. but I was happy with just the fact that we were together. even when staring at girls. I simply cannot find the answer. when I looked at her. I found out that she had a boyfriend. When will I be able to solve this problem? Or should I just ignore it. we were not even college students. and my friends just could not understand why I would turn red. On top of that. she could be my girlfriend. The rough and difficult seas will soon become calm. But I was not once able to have a proper conversation with her. She had broken up with her boyfriend. and I wanted to say something to her. The wind and the rain will stop someday. it is certain that the brilliant sun will rise. This is just one course of my life that I must overcome. This was an opportunity given to me by heaven.through the rough and difficult seas. Others could think that it was just a quarrel between friends. I would probably respond with. Without having to directly mention about us being in a relationship. leaving it as a problem that can never be solved? During my school days. and the storm. Looking through the books that point out the equation of love. and I did not have any girlfriends until I graduated from high school. but I became exhausted from the repetitive fights. And it was most likely because it was my first time having a girlfriend that I could not control my emotions of wanting to know what she was doing. I was a child that did not have any interest in having a girlfriend.’ Like that. She was a girl that would come once in a while to the PC bang that I was always at. we naturally became close. we began to fight every time we met. my eyes would continue to look at her. I had no future and it was before I became a progamer. and with that start. There was not much I could do. I was not adept at creating the kind of atmosphere a girl liked. and even after substituting with this formula and that formula. ‘amateur’ in love If you ask me what is harder than games. I had three sisters. The first girlfriend I met was through gaming. there was no stopping to our disputes. I comforted her. Whether it was because we were of equal age. But our happy times did not last long. no matter how hard I stare at it. Because I went to an all-boys’ middle school and high school. and I did not have the ability to buy her expensive gifts. but I still felt shy in front of girls. But then a chance came across like fate. after all. Now that she was single. along with our tempers mixed in. With the feeling of insecurity of the uncertain futures each of us had. It was during the time when I used to play games all day long at the PC bang. Strangely enough.” Love to me is like a very difficult math problem. Obviously there weren’t any girls that liked those kinds of boys. And that was how my first love began. It was because we had no jobs. and what I could do to make her happy. and I spoke quite well and made great progress. And afterwards. my first girlfriend. 190 ∙ ‘pro’ in games. I just cannot solve it. I felt no envy towards my friends that had girlfriends. No matter how much I think about it. but it was the time when I was happy with just the fact that I could play to my heart’s content. ‘Why do I need a girlfriend? We always have a good time just by ourselves. One day I saw her crying on the steps. through the wind and rain. “love. She was. But there were girls that I met regularly while playing games at the PC bang. As I continued to come across them. and were no more than a relationship by enjoying 109 . With my introverted personality. we met frequently and spent time together playing games. there weren’t any chances of meeting girls. my face color returned to normal.
and I was given teammates.games at a PC bang. And with the increasing number of fans. gaming took priority over my girlfriend. Why our love kept on missing each other. I entered in all kinds of game tournaments. it was full of practice. For a while I could not have a girlfriend. My first goal was to be the greatest progamer. Though I met her for a short while. and also the most brutal. And so my third love remained as an untreated wound. Our timings didn’t match. it seemed there would be no opportunity to have a girlfriend. I might have lost her because I could not express my feelings for her properly. But before long. she understood my situation as a teammate. We were teammates at the same progaming team. 196 ∙ The Way To The Cemetery 110 . I think I was a very boring boyfriend. Because we could not put in enough time. A company team was created. and stayed by my side when I lost. Though I was heartbroken. But there are no winners in breakups. And so my childish first love came to an end. as well as being a boyfriend and girlfriend. and so I let her go. she left her life as a progamer. and it seemed that there weren't many opportunities to meet potential new girlfriends. because I could no longer be with her. and could have just been looking for an excuse. my second love was gone like the empty wind. I had no time to think about her. and her main race was also Terran. a girl appeared that caught my eye. And I fell for her at first sight. “It’s too difficult to wait any longer. There are always winners and losers in games. Finally. but when she left the team. and many places began to ask for me. I continually became very active. Though we did not have time alone together when she was in the team. I began to take hold of championships in game tournaments. Let’s break up!” I was not ready to let her go. even once a month. She knew well the stress that one received as a progamer. If I had not begun the life of a progamer and had enough time. There is also a need for timing in love. Didn’t someone say that love was like an accident. it was hard to see her. saying that I had to practice. things might have gone well with her. I knew that there was nothing I could do for her. the most we could do was play games. Shortly after letting her go. Exhausted from fighting. I forced her to keep waiting. But I became a progamer and I needed even more time for practice. All the people that I met were related to gaming. But I would rather be a loser than fear love. perhaps that is why both become losers. And like that. and I knew that I could not spend the kind of time that she desired. But that might have just been an excuse. my time was completely full. And she became a progamer as well. she was a person that I really liked. and I introduced her to the team that I was part of. Day after day. I was very resentful. I became a progamer. I intentionally made time that I could be with her. I am waiting for a new love. but I did not consider time wasted when I was with her. and I had no leeway to have a girlfriend. Mutually letting go of their hands. Obviously the time I could spend with her decreased. When I think about it now. At the time. and with the increased amount of practice. each side giving up on each other. I did not give her many mementos. That spring of 2004 that I spent with her was the happiest month of April. and so she celebrated with me when I won. At first. With the practice that I had to do. Saying that my schedule was busy. I was too busy. where love was like running into another person? I truly met this girl by chance. We gradually spent more time together. and was too busy to eat or sleep. Though one could consider being together as dating. But I realized that it would be more difficult for her to be by my side. I became a loser after my third love. my outings continued to decrease. she was worn out. I met a third girlfriend. But as the time passed by. After becoming a progamer. we decided to take some time off. the amount of private time decreased. While I continued to drive on relentlessly as a progamer. Now that I was playing games again every day. we could still briefly see each other. She was a friend that greatly liked gaming. By saying that I was teaching the game. and everything else was second. and that was how it ended.
and his face looked swollen.“Yohwan! I’ve been discharged from the military service. I could not see Jinsuk. Jinsuk was in the military. it was Jinsuk. I kept in touch with my old school friends irregularly. It wasn’t even time for me to be discharged. you’ve grown a lot. We should play a game. That Jinsuk who used to be so sturdy was now scrawny.that’s me. It’s because he was the friend that taught me Starcraft for the first time. While I was actively working as a progamer. When I arrived at the agreed location. you're going to definitely receive a payback. When I looked closely. and could not meet with them often. I was in high spirits. Spending the time only playing games. huh?” “Is it that time already? And are we even on the same level?” “Hah. When I thought about seeing a childhood friend after such a long time. “Are you Jinsuk? You’re him? What happened to your face?” “They say the unlucky idiot breaks his nose.” Kim Jinsuk – he is the friend that took a decisive role in my becoming a progamer. but what I received that time. He had gone to the military a bit early in comparison to our other friends. I was so surprised I could not speak properly. But then a certain guy waved at me. and one day I received a phone call. even when he falls backwards. It seems like only a few days ago that I contained you on an island map. and now you say that we're not on the same level? Come out! Let’s have a match!” “All right. but they told me to leave. They say it’s leukemia…it seems something 111 .
” Jinsuk seemed to understand. Looking at Jinsuk. it didn’t seem like it would be fun playing games. but because my schedule was so tight. and agreed. “What do you mean. But one day I received a voice mail.went wrong while I was donating blood. I wanted to believe it was so. so if it was a number that I did not know. so my 24-hour schedule was filled with games. A lot of the calls were prank calls. Though it was a difficult disease. I could not see him often. My brother is at the funeral chapel 112 . There were more people that looked for me. and I could almost never meet anyone other than my family members. I participated in game tournaments whenever I was outside. and had to practice when I was at the living quarters. Jinsuk kept on asking me to play a game with him. but I was opposed to taking him to a PC bang where the air wasn’t too clean. a game? I haven’t seen you in a while. It was Jinsuk’s younger brother. My life was hectic with game tournaments. and I thought he would fight through it. We met up a few more times after that. Looking at Jinsuk. Jinsuk with leukemia? That wasn’t a disease one could easily cure.” I could not believe it. and my cell phone frequently received unknown calls. And so the revenge battle that I had waited for three years would have to be pushed to another day. “Yohwan-hyung. I hardly picked it up. he was such a strong friend. We could always play later when Jinsuk got healthier. Jinsup. let’s talk and catch up. it’s me. it seemed that his hair was going to turn white.
and I was just spending the time casually practicing and laughing. he briefly went into the water. He wanted to see you. he could not last for a moment. Even after looking at Jinsuk’s portrait photograph. Jinsuk had been calling me while he was dying. ‘Jinsuk is dead. I looked for you a lot. At the church retreat. but I totally could not contact you. The times when we ran about the alleys. it did not seem real. but because his immune system was at a weak state. quarreling over a trivial thing when we were a little older. His church and his family dissuaded him from going. I became very angry. If you get this message. Sitting in the funeral chapel and looking at Jinsuk’s photograph. getting into a fist-fight after saying he smelled of fish. “Yohwan-hyung. Jinsuk-hyung looked for you a lot. He said he wanted to see you once more…” This could not be. They said that Jinsuk was receiving cancer treatments. the moments I spent with Jinsuk flashed through my mind. and his swollen face when I last saw him.” I was so shocked that it seemed I was frozen stiff. I could not forgive myself. the cheerful feeling of playing games together during the summer break of 12th grade. I could not believe what I had just heard. Jinsuk and I shared unforgettable memories. playing cards and marbles. The moment I heard that.’ I ran to the hospital. but he was stubborn. I wanted to just curse 113 . because his parents ran a fish store.right now. come and see my brother go on his way. my friend Jinsuk died? It can’t be. but he wanted to go to the retreat with his church.
how he wanted to go play with his friends. I arrived at the gravestone of the person that enabled me to meet my ‘destiny. I’m going to try hard. What if I can’t wait until then. It’s because 114 . He may have for a moment wanted to forget that he was a patient. right? You’ve given me such a precious dream. If he was to leave this world so easily. I’m going to definitely beat you. I wanted to carry Jinsuk’s portion as well and try harder. Just wait. isn’t it strange that I’ve never been able to beat a commoner like you? You just wait. You like that spot? Thanks to you.at him. I even get the opportunity to come to a cemetery. But I felt terrible thinking how much Jinsuk wanted to go there. Letting go of my friend like that. Did you want to go to heaven that soon? It was fun when we used to play soccer at the field. I drove alone to the cemetery where Jinsuk rested. I made a greater effort towards the dream that my friend gave me. And after a year. What about me. Hey! Even though I’m a progamer like this. Do you remember when we went to the Boramae Park swimming pool? It was so fun when I was learning to play the game from you. But it could not be this way. Because you’ll be watching over me.’ “Jinsuk! I’m here. that I could not even watch over my friend that was leaving. After asking for directions here and there. How could I not know Jinsuk’s desire to play with his friends at the beach. what about me. but it seems there’s nothing I’ve given you. and want to see you? You can come whenever you want to see me.” I’ve heard it said that a true friendship is like one’s health. When I see you in heaven later.
I spring at the chance. and they wished to discuss the ways of overcoming game addiction. What I heard from the writers in charge was that the topic was about game addiction. Now that I could not see Jinsuk. the MC. the studio audience. and even though progamers are supported by e-sports. When the public broadcasting station asks for me. Could you tell me about the life of a progamer?” I received a call from a broadcasting station. and the listeners were elderly people of my parents’ 115 . and even today the Jinsuk that I used to run around with in the alleys crosses my mind. I decided to go. Professional baseball players or soccer players always let themselves be known to the national audience through sports news. as I felt it was a good opportunity to let others know about the job of a progamer.one cannot understand its true value before losing it. But this phone call was from the public radio morning talk program. I missed him all the more. they are still at a distance from the public broadcasts. It’s the morning talk program. I blamed myself for not being able to spend more time with Jinsuk. Besides the fact that it was a morning talk program. I wanted to see him all the more. To spread the word about the profession of a progamer. I think that talking even once for a public radio is more effective than going on a gaming cable broadcast. 201 ∙ Fight Against Prejudice “Good morning. as well as expressing my views about game addiction.
generation.” and I was so confounded that I could not speak properly. I anticipated that it would be a bit difficult. they spoke in a “how could you do this” kind of tone. do you feel the urge to kill them in real life. It seems that more time is needed for games to take their place as one of our society’s cultures. in a reprimanding fashion. Even when the middle school and high school students wrote that they wanted to become progamers in the future. I did not think that other people would have such hostility towards them. and continued to ask outrageous questions. the atmosphere turned strangely. but the music artist Chae Rina that liked to play games was there as well. “Is cyber-money worth around 100 million won. But when the broadcast began. I had to come out of the station. Chae Rina. Even when a story about a game addict appeared on television news. There were even people that believed the purpose of progamer groups was to produce game addicts.” “If one kills another player in a game. I did not even have much time to speak. also could say a word. they thought it was just a passing phenomenon. who was there with me. so it seemed that she would be on my side. Suddenly they started talking about cyber-money and asked me. Because I liked games. I assumed that it was only half of the story. I thought that it was because the profession of a 116 . I did not know that there was still an adult generation that looked at the people that loved games as game addicts. They had left out the most important discussion about how to solve the problem of game addiction. Without being able to say a single thing that I had prepared. Rather than asking me questions.” “Are you not addicted to games.
there is a higher chance that one will fall into game addiction.’ And their blames also include progamers. and how they are living. the children will look for attention and go where they can make friends. They can say all that they wish to say.progamer was not well-known. If they talk to the parents about games. then I feel that they can naturally narrow the generation gap. I think it is because the parents never know how their children are doing. But still the parents are too busy blaming others. where they can communicate without letting themselves be known. there will not be any game addicts. and so falling into game addiction can be an easy thing. It is because one can find many friends through the Internet. It is more important for these children to make something that they can share with the parents. and build up their self-control by playing games during allotted times. If games are a way for the parents and children to communicate. But the adults misunderstood becoming a progamer as becoming a game addict. If instead the parents do not give their children their attention. increase the time spent together. and that they did not properly know the truth. If the child does not have many friends and is introverted. saying. 117 . If they converse while playing games. Those that normally don’t talk much can find online games more appealing. according to the rules that they created together. They raise their voices. but because the game is violent. I think the biggest reason why some youth become game addicts is because they do not receive attention from their parents. ‘Our child is good. then they will not become game addicts. our child is being spoiled.
not only will the game industries improve. the negative thoughts towards games will disappear. They. smoking or alcohol. but the progamers will be able to play games in better conditions. I feel that more effort is needed to spread the word about games in broadcasts and in writing. There is no need to force the generation that does not know games or does not have any interest in games. twenty years. or music. It could be gaming. To decrease that time period. they will not directly think of their children playing games as being negative. and understand that happiness. But game addicts are those that throw away everything they have and can do nothing else because of the game they love. Anyone can briefly experience the feeling of addiction. I feel that all progamers. had a time when they liked to play games. More time is needed.The biggest reason why I picked my job as a progamer was that I could earn a living while doing what I liked. The adults today think that if one falls into playing baduk. But if one falls into gaming. including myself. and popularize the games and make them more common. and are not treated properly. But after ten. I believe that when the fans of progamers grow up and become part of the mainstream society. When that happens. playing baduk. Still. games have not found their place as one of our society’s cultures. they think that it is only playing mindlessly. And with a heart to see that day come quickly. should be more active and make a 118 . Our parents’ generation think that games are just entertainment for people that have nothing better to do. too. it is very adult-like. when the generation of parents in their 20s and 30s arrive.
The matches where I could keep myself from losing. And each time I made up my mind. When I lose a game and return to the living quarters. I will analyze how to win. or because the setting did not function properly. This is also a very important task given to us. I do not know whether it is the period in which Lim Yohwan has passed. Until that day when my heart stops beating… 208 ∙ Let’s Not Regret After Losing ‘Let’s not regret after losing. I was not once moved to tears. But I have cried after losing. ‘Let’s not regret after losing. I will continue to play. and I will practice again and again.’ This is my favorite motto after becoming a progamer. the matches when I lost because of the surrounding environment. today as well as tomorrow.greater effort. 119 . or when one mistake was made during a match that I had practiced a lot for.’ Every progamer has their own way of releasing their stress. Chapter Five: I Will Not Stop From where I stand presently. But. as people say. No matter how big a tournament I won in. I cried because I felt wronged. I have never cried because I was so happy after winning a game. I start playing again. or whether it is still the period of Lim Yohwan that has not yet passed.
there will be even more moments of regret. regrets always come afterwards. Receiving the second-place trophies. moments of regrets will always come after.Not knowing how to drink properly and not being a smoker. but to me they are an unforgettable proof of taking second-place. going to the tournament and controlling one’s condition on the day of the finals. these experiences one by one decide the outcome in the finals. It is because I cannot display a play that I am satisfied with. heading towards the arena. Only in that way will I be able to win next time. Coming back after losing. I have many second-place trophies. If I don’t even try my best. and regretting about it is already a loss. People will probably remember the first-place trophies for a longer time. Not practicing. It seems like gaining experience so that I will not lose like that the next time. whether the game is won or lost. Just as I have many first-place trophies. all that I can do is play as hard as I can. Like all finals. 120 . all I have left are games. The learning experiences of having plenty of time so that the setting can be done beforehand. I practice harder so that I will not make a mistake ever again. In a situation where I feel angry and wronged. I play games all night long. rechecking the maps one more time. Though I try my best during every moment. I was not satisfied by the matches from my perspective. the last fight to the finish seems like a learning experience. but they were valuable experiences. No matter how fast it may happen.
Around the time when I was regaining my composure. the sponsor that I had been waiting for appeared. If I spend the time given to me meaninglessly. that I had a high influence in gaming. The foolish will lay their head on it and enjoy the nap. SK Telecom 121 . I waited for a sponsor that was more encouraging. The sponsor contract with Orion was not with the entire team. It was because I had no sponsor.’ I wanted to go hide somewhere. In the enterprise of becoming a sponsor. The skill level of our team players had increased. but limited to only me. I was looking for a sponsor using the fact that I was the player with the largest number of fans. the players must return the effect for the amount invested. and they had acquired the ability to sufficiently win individual championships. and preoccupied myself with practice. I started to become restless. there was a gap of time. Until we found another sponsor. But now the situation had changed. It was SK Telecom. and whenever I saw an article such as ‘Lim Yohwan’s stagnant record. 211 ∙ Captain of a 200 Million Won Salary At the end of 2003. What I will write in my life’s book will be what I choose. the sponsor contract with Orion came to an end. and I played more losing games than winning games. my life will be a book filled entirely with regrets. Now there was a need for a sponsor contract where it was not only for me but for the entire team.Life is like a book. My confidence had fallen. and that I was the most recognized among progamers as a representative figure. but the wise will work hard to find the path from the book.
promised us the best treatment. SK Telecom had a plan to create a new progaming team called T1. They were looking for a suitable team, and they came to support our team that did not have a sponsor. From the side of SK Telecom, the reason why they counted on me, even though I had average results, was that I was thorough in selfmanagement as a professional. And besides the fact that I steadily kept at my record, it seemed that they highly valued the image of the ‘Emperor of Terran.’ Unlike the previous sponsor contract, SK Telecom requested an important role from me. It was to become the team captain. With the increasing number of team leagues, ‘Team First’ was becoming a significantly important strategy. It was that the captain had to set a good example to all the team members. The Orion team was a team that I made by myself, but SK Telecom T1 was the result of all of our efforts. If the team members did not put in their effort, the best team of T1 could not have been founded. All of the team members now had a salary contract, so the sense of responsibility increased, and they helped each other during practice and more effort could be put in for the team matches. As a captain, unlike before I was given a responsibility to not only concern myself with individual results, but with the results of the team. If the captain were to not practice and go out with friends, there was no way that the team members would follow my orders. I practiced more than my team members and did not go out. To fulfill the amount of practice that the coach assigned, I encouraged my
juniors and took charge of practices. I successfully established another contract with SK Telecom T1, with a salary in the hundred million wons. And it was the highest salary among the progamers, with 200 million won. It was a salary twice of what I had while I was in the Orion team. Everyone gave me an envious look, but I now had the pressure to produce a result of at least ten times of that amount. But that pressure turned to confidence, and it became an opportunity to take another step as a progamer.
214 ∙ 10th Starleague Entrance
The past results, the present state of mind, and the future potential that SK Telecom believed in. I could not let down the team that believed in me. Turning this future potential into a good result – that was what I had to show as a progamer. The first step was the Challenge League. It was my first Challenge League ever, and I was determined to make it my last. Because I passed the Ongamenet Starleague preliminaries nine times, I had no experience in the Challenge League. But just because I had made it to the final selection nine times, there was no guarantee that I would enter it again. If I did not progress, the only way I could go was downhill. And so the Challenge League that was as hard as the Starleague preliminaries had begun. They were all skilled players that were not much different than the players that had passed the Starleague preliminaries. And so no one could guarantee an easy pass
through the Challenge League. After going through all the difficulties, four players were at a tie, and there was a final round for the first place of the Challenge League. The final 3-rounds, 2-win matches had begun. The opponent was the Zerg user Shin Jungmin Qoo)Max. Though I had prepared a lot, things did not unfold as I had intended, starting with the first game. While warming up my hands, I practiced a few games, but the mouse would not move as I wished. I was using a kind of mouse that only I was used to. To a progamer, the mouse is like a soldier’s rifle. If the weapon is worn out and does not fit well with the person, how can the battle be won? Whether it was because my amount of practice increased the past few days, the condition of my mouse rapidly worsened. The buttons and the ball were very worn down. On top of that, I did not have an extra mouse. As the time for the match approached, I could do nothing but head to the arena with an uncomfortable feeling. My insecure presentiments finally surfaced from the first match. The first match was an important stage in which I could not lose, but I ended up losing. The mouse did not respond properly and it was uncomfortable. Those that have not played the game will not understand the feeling of not being able to move the way one desires. The outcome of the match between progamers can be determined from minute differences. Because I lost even after bringing a perfect strategy and taking an advantageous position, the loss was an enormous shock. I continued to hesitate right up to the moment the second game
and there was no place to run. Winning one 125 . and my heart began to burn until it was black. After failing to enter the Starleague preliminaries and winning the Challenge League was perhaps my most difficult period. There was nothing I could do but enter the match and try my best. and I won the second match. I had to win no matter what. I continuously attacked my opponent and finally took the victory.’ With this one thought I devoted myself to the match. I bit my lips. I would be at a disadvantage. whether I was confident or not. I had no way out. Though it was not a satisfying match. the results were good. At the time. I came to a conclusion that if I took it towards a late game. The only thought I had was to definitely win. But as those talks came from other people. The second game was a map that I was least confident on. The word ‘retirement’ had not once crossed my mind. We were at a tie and at the third match. It already did not matter how many victories I had in the past. people were saying. or whether I was the progamer with the best win percentage. With a build that I had prepared. Because the mouse was in a bad condition. I could not use another person’s mouse and could not delay the broadcasting time. My strategy fell right into place. What was important was winning the present tournament. After losing the first game. I had received a direct ticket to enter the Starleague.started. “Shouldn’t Lim Yohwan retire now?” But I had not once considered retiring. By placing first in the Challenge League. ‘If I don’t finish him off in the beginning. I will lose. I chose to use the initial rush strategy that had the highest win percentage during my practices.
There are opponents that I will destroy.I like being outside the circle where it’s swarming with strong opponents. I suddenly receive a rush of strength when I hear. But I did feel that there was something special about the nickname ‘Emperor of Terran’ that was given to me. fighting!” from the voices of my fans. I sense a tingling feeling. If you stay inside the circle it will be safe. “I’m going to destroy all the enemies outside the circle. As I dominate the opponents one by one. The nickname ‘Emperor of Terran’ is a driving force that makes me 126 . Though I regularly practice over ten hours and my entire body feels like it will melt down. Will you still do it?” The son’s answer was resolute.000 Supporters The title ‘Emperor of Terran’ is like a luck charm. he speaks.’ Even during games when I feel like I will lose. Quenching my thirst for victory was the only way to lift myself up once again. After stretching out his fist. there is a movie called ‘GO. “Terran Emperor. It’s like the charm that the mothers give at every New Years’ for a good fortune and to ward off any misfortunes.’ There is a scene where the father and son stand facing each other. ‘I should live up to the name. “Outside the circle is swarming with strong men. 222 ∙ Strength of 500. Among the fun movies that I watched. I hold myself up. thinking. the feeling that I am alive.” That was it. I was still thirsty for victory. rather than being inside the circle where it is safe.game after another and regaining my confidence was my ultimate goal. I don’t believe in superstitions.
000 really was.practice endlessly as a progamer. ‘If I go out with this strategy. All I could do for them was to display amazing games. Whether it is really an ‘invisible charm. when I heard that the Daum Fan Café ‘Lim Yohwan’s Dropship’ members passed the 500. When I construct strategies.’ the more my fans came.’ I received many things from them. there is a sense of achievement that I feel. it was hard for me to get the feel of how big the number 500.000 mark. and when the last attack towards victory has finished.’ as they taste the essence of a strategy mind game. but what if I can’t show it properly in the match?’ I don’t want to just show myself winning. A while ago. making them wonder. but how I can win brilliantly. The game must be played 127 . I would also not exist as the ‘Emperor of Terran. ‘Why does he do that?’ ‘His hand movements are strange. That many fans were watching me and cheering for me. If I did not have any fans. will the fans like it?’ ‘I prepared so much. I think about my fans.’ ‘Is there a hidden reason?’ Watching my plays. I want them to exclaim. The person playing the game should not be the only one that is happy. but I could not do much for them. ‘Oh! That’s what it was. but it is the cheers from my fans that fill my heart. And I thought the fans would also expect this from me. When my prepared strategy brilliantly catches the opponent unprepared. as well as being an ‘invisible charm’ that protects me from having insecurities of winning. the stronger I felt and the higher my win percentage became.
But my fans did not scold me. 128 . and all of a sudden I felt warm inside. When I did well. Instead of scolding me and asking what was wrong with me. but I was once again greatly moved. And without realizing it myself. telling me to go for it. I sometimes used to live without realizing that my fans existed. I am such a happy idiot. and the way to gather fans at the gaming arena and in front of the television. They each gave me a single rose. If the fans could watch me playing and they each could have their individual ideas.the fans had filled the place. with words of congratulations. they encouraged me. my fans prepared a place to celebrate my 25th birthday. encouraging words. the people came towards me one by one. whether I had won or lost. I had not been producing the results that my fans were expecting. I could not bear to show my tears. The unchanging people that watched over me. when I showed myself losing. I was brought to tears. When my mind was scattered and I would shake.so that the person watching the game can enter the game together. I scolded my foolish self. so I left the fans and had to run behind the stage. That is the true significance of a strategy simulation game. As the birthday song echoed. ‘What if the way they look at me is not like before? What if too few people show up…’ With a worried heart. September 2004. I tried hard to turn away from my fans. they were not only happy for me. they helped me to stand firm. When the game was too difficult. Because I have these fans. but when I was tired and worn out. and I was very apologetic. they consoled me. those that cheered for me. then I could not be happier. I entered the birthday party. The fans became my support.
He had been thinking it was not likely that ‘Boxer’ would come. I became very nervous. “You look a lot like Boxer. 129 . But it was I that could not believe there was someone that could recognize me.226 ∙ Lim Yohwan of Korea After deciding to participate in the 2003 E3 show. Because the game of Starcraft that I play was a game released in 1998. How will I seem to them. asking if I was really him. The recent game shows have had a trend of leaning towards console games. a person that plays a game that is becoming forgotten? Before I stepped into the event hall. he asked me several times if I was really ‘Boxer. the E3 game show scene was filled with console games. at the world’s greatest game show of E3. Still. I was happy not only because I was attending the E3 show that all gamers aspired. With an incredulous expression. the day when I visited Universal Studios before I left for Korea was truly unexpected.’ and asked for an autograph. I was anxiously preparing for the event while an American person approached me and said. it almost appeared as a classic old game among the new games that would appear at the E3 show.” As Coach Joo Hoon responded. not as an ordinary spectator. I concluded that it was possible for some people to recognize me. “He really is Boxer. as I was not in Korea but in America. However. As expected. but that I was especially invited by them.” the man became excited. I was quite restless on the plane that was headed for the United States. because it was a place where people related to gaming gathered.
There was one father and son that traveled for three nights and four days just to see me.I was having a great time among the different tourists. It was a moment when I was truly surprised. They say that the land of China is 96 times bigger than Korea. In such a vast country. they came to know my game id of ‘Slayers_BoxeR. The enthusiasm that I 130 . there were fans wherever I went. But then one Korean student that was studying abroad recognized me and asked for an autograph.’ and they say there are many gamers that selectively watch only my matches. There was even a fan that made a ceramic jar for me. There were many people that uncontrollably swarmed to come closer to me. As I gave him an autograph. the words ‘Boxer’ was shouted out. They say that there are many gamers around the world that subscribe to the Korean gaming broadcasts. I was so surprised that they had traveled such a distance just to see me. but a star of the Universal Studios. following and asking me for an autograph. they say that certain news cannot be known in full detail. Especially in September 2004 during my visit to China. Starting with the fans that recognized me at the airport. but I wondered how big such news of the gamer Lim Yohwan that came from Korea would be. And so I became not the star of the Korean broadcasting studios. I felt that the popular Korean culture was not only limited to singers and actors. the people around stared with an expression of. and there were reporters that were determined to receive an autograph after the coverage. Through them. ‘Who is this person that he receives an autograph?’ But among those that stared at me.
the words of ‘legendary Boxer’ that I heard was the most thrilling moment during my life as a progamer. so I could not accept all of their requests. There were especially many players that asked me to play just one game against them. “I can lose to other players. but the fact that they 131 . There were players that had arrived just to beat me. There was something that the players at the World Cyber Games publicly spoke about. Those at the World Cyber Games were gamers and participants just like me. I had never forgotten my dream of wanting to become a player around the world. if only I could beat Boxer…” I had become a public enemy among all the players around the world. I entered it twice and took the championship both times. and they carefully watched me whenever I played a match. From the friends that said it was an honor just to meet me. not just in Korea. It was a very different feeling than the ‘Emperor of Terran’ that I heard most frequently within the country. There were official matches that I had to play every day. they asked me for an autograph.’ “Are you the legendary Boxer?” was the question they asked the most.experienced in China gave me a new hope that I could be acknowledged as a gamer anywhere around the world. I realized that dream at the World Cyber Games. and was able to meet many foreign gamers. The expression that they used most frequently for me was ‘legend. And though we faced each other as gamers. to the gamers that lined up to receive an autograph on the last day of the World Cyber Games.
I will be walking down the path of a progamer in his 30s that none has walked before.called me a ‘legend’ meant that they had a certain level of respect for me.From Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’- I had resolved to take the path that none had taken.’ Chapter Six: Dreaming of a Progamer in His 30s I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood. and II took the one less traveled by. 132 . I was glad that I had become a professional gamer. I had changed from a Korean gamer idol to a world gamer ‘legend. Though I thought it could possibly be an excessive compliment coming from indignation. . I was happy. I was not just a frog in a pond. And that has made all the difference. and was happy that the gamers from around the world acknowledged Korean gamers. And like that. With all the endurance and passion until now that fought the prejudice against games.
We had to definitely win. But as a captain. The coach assigned each player a number of games. and we began to practice. until my fingers cannot move. As our team approached the MBCGame Team League in the fall of 2003. she must have endured the pain and practiced again. until I cannot move my wrist. As the renewal contract with Orion failed. only through the bloody repetitions was she able to become a world-class ballerina. I was astonished by her feet that expressed such fluent beauty on the stage. if I could not follow through in this difficult situation. ‘Yeah. The tedious repetitions. he assigned me the most number of games.232 ∙ There Is No Shortcut One day I happened to see a photograph of the feet of the ballerina Kang Soojin. I will practice. I sat again in front of the computer. She had been dancing again and again until her toes were in that condition. The hardened skin of her toes was an strange sight. It was a number that I could not fulfill within a day. our team needed a new sponsor.’ They said that when the French artist Renoir could no longer move his fingers. Though her toes swelled and bled. our team was able to enter the finals and all that was left was to bring back the championship trophy. Whether it was because my results were poor or whether he thought I was lazy. we were at a critical moment. I was embarrassed by my fingers that looked so comfortable. I made up my mind to practice until my fingers became unsightly. I looked at my hands. there was no way that my juniors would 133 . he strapped the brush to his hand and continued to draw. Luckily.
If I liked games just as a hobby. and 134 . and when they rest. I chose because I liked games. Every now and then. My wrists could move no longer. But there were just as many things that I had to give up. After 24 hours passed. go out for a drink. I would suggest that they do not make what they like into a job. even when he does not want to. I began to practice. After 20 hours passed. There were many times when I wanted to watch movies. After 12 hours passed. I was only mechanically moving my fingers and I could not sense anything. I collapsed and fell into a deep sleep. In the end. I would not have been able to endure the life of a progamer. And like that. It is a hobby as well as a duty. my entire body began to grow stiff. There comes a moment when a progamer must play. Gaming is everything to a professional gamer. not just myself. there are those that desire to become professional gamers because they like games. we were able to win. they must play games. I had not slept and had been practicing for 30 hours. It was after 30 hours that I fulfilled the number of games that my coach assigned me. They must be prepared to give up a certain portion of their personal life. It was the result of the enormous number of hours that we had practiced. I could not move my fingers. Gaming for a progamer is like laboring. Of course. When they play. I ask that they would think about it one more time. my mind was in a daze and sleep pressed in on me. they cannot freely go outside.follow. they must play games. And if they are a part of a team.
But if one is a progamer. There is no shortcut to becoming the greatest progamer.’ I had been forgetting that I could not have both. I am a person too. and games are not all that is fun in the world. The way to get out of a slump is to practice. 236 ∙ The Challenge Continues “The path of a man that pioneers into a new field during his youth is very important. I started again from the beginning. I also wanted to play and hold onto the seat of the ‘Emperor. The person that looks for a shortcut is not a true professional. he will not want to play games and will not be able to practice properly. and when I determined the victory through strategies. But if I have to choose. my answer is certain. with ‘But I want to do this…I want to do that…’ In the end. The key to success is to persevere through practice. And the strategies are a product of practicing more than anyone else. and the only thing that is fun must be games.spend a comfortable time like other friends of my age. The reason for falling into a slump is careless practice. The life as a professional gamer. that is my everything. There will be a moment of realization that he cannot hold on to both horses that are running in the same direction. I must return to the time when I played with my own style. the most fun thing in the world must be games. then there will be a day when he is filled with thoughts of wanting to play. If one cannot endure that. I had to pick one side. The juniors that will come later will then be able to 135 .
Though even now I have not changed from the basic mindset. One of the important reasons I play is to present an exciting match to the fans. I became a little more comfortable with it. Aside from gaming. It is something that I have not once forgotten. and if it was at all possible. my time spent outside slowly decreased. It is because of these words that I was always careful of my actions. as I became considerably more wary of people. and have kept the words close to my heart. I am only representing everyone 136 . they are like that. even now. as I had just started my life as a progamer. I was careful not to make any mistakes so that I was not a bad influence to others.follow in your footsteps. As those thoughts became more severe. ‘I’m not fighting by myself. I came to realize that meeting people was also one part of my life. Though I am not typically the type that causes big problems. from the perspective of a person that does not know my life. I ended up not going outside. That was why I became more motivated when my fans came in person at the gaming arena and encouraged me with cheer posters. and that others could not make a sweeping criticism about progamers. If I were to go in public and act in a wrong way. how then can the juniors find their way on the path that you have taken?” This is something that I heard quite frequently from President Kim Yang-joong that I worked with. he could have a bias towards the professional career that I am associated with. If you leave without cleaning up. Is there anything special about progamers?” so I was even stricter with myself. If I acted even a bit strangely. At one point I wondered whether I had sociophobia. they could dismiss that as “Yeah.
I have merely started. But from the perspective of being part of the game. Before I was only fixed on the outcome of the match. I have now come about half of the way.when I go up on the stage. now that I had “accomplished almost everything” as a progamer.’ At times I think that I am playing the game in place of my fans. I responded. I would like to commentate for games. I was at times afraid of facing my fans. only to find that my fans had prepared a lunch box for me. Before I thought there was nothing more important in my life than winning the match.“ I think that as a progamer. rather than saying that gaming is everything in my life. raise progamers. But now. Someone once asked me what I am going to do now. Later on. The expectations of the fans are so high. of course. This is now the beginning. There were. my goal is to make 137 . I am thankful for the times when I had arrived at the arena without having eaten anything. To be honest. times when the fans felt like a burden to me. and their cheers when I won. within that fear regarding my fans was a fear of the outcome of the match. I will be able to think of other things. And after having experienced all that is in gaming. and become a trainer or a coach of a gaming team. I am also thankful of their encouragements when I lost. that is a burden I must carry. I say that the most important part of my life is gaming. But as a progamer. and when the thoughts come to mind that I cannot fulfill those expectations. I feel that only after accomplishing the dream of being a ’30s progamer’ that I had always promised to my fans. and ignored everything else. “There are still many things I have to accomplish.
I wish to be a progamer as long as I am able. 138 . Whether it is being a baseball player or a soccer player. such as dealing with technical information. The curtains are being raised. and there is no need to hurry up with the things you can do when you are older. is it not true that they can play until they are in their 30s or 40s? If I have the energy to keep going. you do what you can when you are older. However. I want to first achieve that goal of becoming the ‘30s progamer. my life has now just entered its gaming period. My age of 25 years. There is no need to stop experiencing all you can when you are young.a game of my own. I do have enough knowledge of Starcraft and the progaming world that at times helped me throughout the process of translating the book. I feel that when you are young. you do what you can when you are young. Only then will people consider progaming as a job that does not just shine at one point and disappear. and 6 years as a progamer. and when you are older. as my gaming life has matured and has now appeared on stage.’ I feel that it is something that someone must do. I am not a professional translator. obviously. Translator’s Notes First of all. I start again. There are. or trying to accurately describe the atmosphere of Korean progaming culture. When looking at my whole life’s plans.
please understand that the structure of the Korean language naturally is very illustrative at times. perhaps to emphasize the question. and that the language is perceived as being used normally. and not as though everyone spoke as literary poets of the 13th century. or if something seems to have been expressed incorrectly in the English language. while sounding a bit strange from perspective of the English language. eastern-culture sense. or keeping it almost completely literal and staying close to the Korean literal meaning. 139 . There are also idioms where I tried to express it as accurately as possible with the western version. please understand that it was my attempt to provide the western interpretation. Saying something in one language might imply something else in another language. if the readers find that the text sometimes sounds very “oriental. In Korean prose. There were also places where I did not put question marks where it would seem to be appropriate. certain questions are not put at times when they express their thoughts or emotions.cultural differences that at times I had difficulty describing. Sometimes the authors do put a question mark. There were times when I had to decide either translating the text completely into western terms and losing some Korean meaning. If the readers find something that sounds awkward or does not sound completely right. In addition. There is a very subtle difference – perhaps it can be viewed as asking a rhetorical question.” in a somewhat mystical. while still preserving some Korean meanings literally in hopes that the readers might have a deeper understanding of the author’s words.
Yellow. Numerous significant things have happened since then: the highly controversial match against his rival. The biography ends with his entrance to the Starleague after having fallen all the way down to the preliminaries and having made his way through the Challenge League. Lastly. almost like a rookie. as though he spoke of a colleague or a well-known figure. partly due to my laziness. the unforgettable EVER Starleague finals against his student iloveoov. there are several things to consider when reading this autobiography. but just their actual Korean names. but by a e-sports writer. it is important for the readers to remember that he spoke of the progamers with a respectful tone.There were several short intermittent breaks throughout the book describing some of Lim Yohwan's Starcraft matches. with colored photos and screenshots of the match. in 2004. his incredible reversal during the So1 Starleague semifinals. “Try to be as crazy as me. The book was written almost five years ago. In that sense. The author of the book also did not refer to the Starcraft players by their gaming alias. I did not translate these. challenging tone.” but with a slightly stronger. but also partly because they were not written by the author. Besides the technical things relating to the translation of the book. the 'Storm Zerg' in the semifinals of the EVER Starleague in 2004. as I had translated for the readers’ convenience. the literal translation of the book’s title would be. his entrance to the So1 Starleague finals as he faced his 100th win and third 140 . his amazing return in the So1 Starleague during the time of the Three Neo Protoss when almost all Terrans were eliminated. encouraging the youth of this generation to be passionate about whatever it is that they are doing.
even with his limited practice time in the military. He has indeed achieved that dream of becoming a progamer in his 30s. as well as allowing a way for others to follow his footsteps. he is already a living legend. his rebirth that was followed by an unbelievable number of consecutive wins that was cut short just before the semifinals of the following Starleague. Whatever dream he tries to achieve next. . but everyone that has come to know him. and his legacy lives on not only in other progamers.Starleague title. his heartbreaking entrance to the military where he created a way for progamers to continue on after their mandatory military service.Marencielo 141 . his astounding and thoughtprovoking matches during the Proleague. and his return to the progaming world in the team SK Telecom T1.
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