Doping is rampant... among pro gamers


— 4:46 PM on August 28, 2008

Drug testing has become mandatory for many athletic competitions, and it has led many athletes' careers to ruin as a result. Testers screen for doping in disciplines from cycling to weight-lifting, but they might one day have a whole different breed of "athletes" to test—one that's typically a whole lot paler and scrawnier.

Australian site Game Player has published a six-page interview with Alex Walker, Director of the World Cyber Games Tournament, on the subject of doping among professional gamers. Walker makes some startling revelations in the interview:

I noticed that you made a mention about people claiming they were better after having a bong or two. That's true. I've seen a number of players at national tournaments who came in "baked" (that's stoned for the uninformed) purely so they could play better. In most cases they did, although obviously they couldn't just pull out another joint midway through.

In one WCG, a player I knew took amphetamines an hour before his match to boost his reflexes. His team ended up losing the match, although it certainly had an impact - his performance helped his team to win one map out of three - it kind of hits home that only the really talented will come out on top in the end.

What's the WCG doing about this? Nothing. "Nobody has the budget to bring in any form of anti-doping agency, let alone keep it afloat or professional enough to adhere to standards that would make it reliable. The scene isn't big enough or stable enough for any world agency to enforce it right now, let alone stop gamers from taking drugs," Walker admits.

That said, he specifies that gaming tournaments go on for "ages," so "you wouldn't be able to consistently keep yourself high for the whole duration of a tournament." And gamers do get thrown out for being under the influence sometimes. "I know one tournament overseas where a player was denied permission to go to the toilet, so in his drunken state he decided to urinate in a plastic bottle instead which got him ejected after he placed the bottle on a table in front of the admins," Walker recalls fondly. (Thanks to Gizmodo for the tip.)

   
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