Gaming Pub: The Playing Fields

Gaming Pub: The Playing Fields

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The Playing Fields is a bar/café where you can relax and play computer games the way they are meant to be played – with someone else. We only have the best multiplayer games that are available. Ninja fast computers with loads of RAM, a lightning fast network and liquid smooth 3D accelerated graphics. This is the way computer games are designed to be played. What’s more, all of our machines are identical so now there is no complaining about getting beaten because someone has a faster setup. It’s all down to raw skill.

We have a fully licensed bar and serve hot and cold food all day. All of the food is prepared on the premises. There are always people here who want to play – if you can’t find anyone then ask one of our staff and they will fix you up with an opponent or play with you themselves. We are located in the centre of London. The Playing Fields is at the heart of “Silicon London” on Whitfield Street and next to Tottenham Court Road.

The Usual Suspects: EuroQuake Rogue’s Gallery by Gestalt

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Gestalt and SumFuka enjoying EuroQuake .. no, really, we’re having a great time.

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When the sponsorship dollars don’t stretch to cover quality signage, do it the old fashioned way…

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A look of apprehension and terror as Eclipse samples the fine Swedish delicacy that is snus.

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Spy from Clan Nine (Sweden) shows us how it’s supposed to be done…

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Quake II, light my way…

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“Hey man, the room’s like .. spinning. Like, wow.”

One of our resident DJs from the weekend churns out the “top tunez” at the decks.

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Clan Nine are told they have to face Memento Mori in the semi-finals.

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The irrepresible Manuel, manager of our venue The Playing Fields.

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The thin blue line, seperating the teams from the chaos of the rabble on the other side.

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Sometimes the stress of Quake II is just too much, and brain lock ensues…

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UK Wireplay Champion Billox (right) and Skeeve (left).

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Back-stage at EuroQuake.

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From left to right – Edward Watson of The Playing Fields, “The AMD Chick”, some bloke from MM, a couple of guys I don’t recognise, and SumFuka

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Gestalt (left), Edward Watson (center) and SumFuka (right) looking suspicious

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Somebody’s had a few too many…

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Sweden’s Clan Nine after beating Team UK in the QuakeWorld clan game.

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Nine re-enact their victory. Unfortunately their attempt to rocket jump to the airport ended in disaster…

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Memento Mori looking rather unimpressed after their victory at EuroQuake confirmed them as the top Quake II clan in Europe.

https://www.quakewiki.net/archives/euroquake/usual.shtm

Photo Album

Welcome to our photo album. Here you’ll find photos from events we have held here as well as some general photos of Players. If you come down regularly you will probably find your photo here (if not, ask us to take a shot).

Events
 

Union Reality Party
23rd June 1999

Mech Warrior 3 Launch
11th June 1999
Starsiege Tribes Final
9th June 1999
Starsiege Tribes Launch
6th May 1999
EuroQuake
26th – 28th February 1999
Settlers III
30th January 1999
[TPF] vs. [NL] Clan Match
24th January 1999
BBC Top Of The Pops event
9th December 1998
Magic & Mayhem launch
7th December 1998
Multiple Wargasm launch
3rd December 1998
[CC] vs. [TPF] Clan Match
29th October 1998
Thresh’s visit
14th October 1998
Football Triathlon
12th October 1998
Competitions
Table Football
23rd December 1998
LAN Party
20th December 1998
LAN Party
13th September 1998
LAN Party
9th August 1998
LAN Party
28th June 1998
LAN Party
26th April 1998
General
General 2
February 1999
General 1
November 1998

https://web.archive.org/web/19991118161533/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/photoalbum/photoalbum.htm

LAN Party August 9th 1998

Early on Sunday 9th September competitors from far and wide gathered for The UK LAN Party’s 3rd event at The Playing Fields. The day was devoted solely to Quake 2. The 3 singles leagues were closely fought with the groundswell of opinion being that the Internet heavyweights in the shape of RAJ, PYRO, JUD, HECATE and DNM would topple the heretic, upstart, LAN only HERRING (the reigning champion). As it turned out HERRING doshed out nothing but punishment to the confident boys from the Internet and remains our champion. In doing so he collected some vital improvements to his computer in the shape of a motherboard and an AMD K6 processor to add to his Orchid Righteous II from last month.

There was much gaming but undoubtedly the highlight of the day was the two on two competition. The beauty of a LAN (apart from its speed) is that you can communicate with your teammate using your voice rather than using all those time-consuming long and confusing text messages. The competition progressed with LURKER and myself (MAJOR TED) being rather unceremoniously caned by DEATH DEALA and HERRING (comment from a spectator “if I ran a computer games bar I would be able to play a damn sight better than you”). RAJ and our very own [TPF]KYF looked like they might triumph, but were beaten in the final by HECATE and BILLOX who also won motherboards and processors.

The UK LAN Party is developing into a exciting, well attended competition with some good quality players. It is great to see people who know each other from the net, conversing through text messages and then pasting each other, finally meeting up in the flesh for a beer and a chat. It’s a great opportunity to show and learn new tricks, config files and generally chew the cud. The interesting thing for us of course is that HERRING is still the champion and he does not play on the net. So if you think you are the best in the UK the only way to find out is to come on down. The next event is on Sunday 13th September starting at 11am. See you there.

https://web.archive.org/web/19991113113440/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/photoalbum/comps/980809/lanparty980809.htm

Recent Press Events

We have hosted many press events here at The Playing Fields and pride ourselves on making each event a success. A selection of recent events held here is listed below and provides examples of the type of events we could run for your company.

To celebrate the launch of Top Of The Pops Mix Factory, BBC Multimedia held an evening party with us. The Mix Factory software lets you intuitively mix your own music tracks and create videos to go with them. During the evening attendees were invited to create a hit track. We set up a speaker system around the bar and connected the bar TVs up to computers so that everyone could get involved in judging the best song. The winner was Rosie – you can download a sample of the track here and, if you have the Mix Factory software, the full version here. Photos from the event are available here.

Infogrames’ new war simulation / arcade combat game Wargasm was launched at The Playing Fields to a mixture of gamers and press. This successful combination allowed the gamers to play the game before it hit the shelves and allowed the press to see the game’s multiplayer appeal. We generated awareness of the event through our gamers email list, local advertising and contacts with the press (Future Gamer example here). After the event the organiser, Sarah Kane, wrote thanking our staff: “You are all extremely helpful and efficient, nothing is too much trouble and your involvement and hard work is very much appreciated.” Look here for photos.

Thresh, aka Dennis Fong, is possibly the world’s best Quake II player – certainly the best known after winning a Ferrari playing the game. At a recent trip to the UK to play the best of the UK at Quakeadelica Thresh held a number of his press interviews at our venue. As he said in his comments on the trip “The Playing Fields staff were very gracious and friendly hosts … I did many of my interviews there, since the atmosphere was perfect (very gaming-oriented yet cool environment).”

TEAC, the data storage to consumer audio company, launched their latest Dolby surround sound multimedia speakers, the Power Max 1000 system. To demonstrate the systems at their best we switched the sound cards in our machines to take advantage of Dolby surround sound. We also checked with Dolby Laboratories to find which of the latest games offered Dolby surround sound support. Over the lunchtime event the journalists were given demonstrations of the systems in action on a range of games and DVD-ROM then they were left to try out the systems for themselves.

The follow up to the classic 80’s hit “Virus”, V2000 was previewed at The Playing Fields for an evening event. Grolier Interactive used the event to show journalists the game being played across a network. Using our extensive email list we provided plenty of avid gamers to demonstrate the multiplayer features of the game. The gamers were also available for journalist interviews.

A pre-alpha version of Daikatana, the eagerly awaited first-person shoot ’em up from Ion Storm, was shown-off to journalists at a Saturday evening party organised by Eidos. To guarantee the code ran as expected we duplicated the machines that Ion Storm use to develop the game – down to last hardware driver. As a result the game looked great and ran very well. Mike Breslin, Vice-President in charge of Business Development for Ion Storm, described the evening as “a kick-ass party”. We’re looking forward to the full launch next year.

Carrera Technology, the PC manufacturer, held their annual press games night with us. We organised acompetition for the 40 journalists – they were split into teams of 4 and competed on 3 games:  Atomic Bomberman (arcade), TOCA Touring Car (driving) and Quake 2 (shoot ’em up). The teams in first and second place went on to play a final on World Cup 98. This was broadcast around the bar on our large TVs giving the spectators the feeling they were watching a live match. Our staff ran the event, ensuring the teams were in place, setting the games up and running the scoreboard.  Congratulations went to The Biggie Smalls from VNU who emerged the winners.

This represents a small selection of events we have hosted. Other companies include:

  • Activision
  • Bluebyte
  • BT
  • Cendant
  • Computer Exchange
  • The Daily Telegraph
  • Debenhams
  • Electronic Arts
  • Future Publishing
  • GT Interactive
  • IBM
  • Microprose
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Mythos Games

https://web.archive.org/web/19991009143011/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/corporate/recentevents.htm

Sujoy Roy Interview

Author : [TPF]Sney

How long have you been a pro-gamer?

Well doing it professionally, I started that in January 2000 so it’s been just over a year now.

You recently placed 25th in the Babbages CPL, what do you attribute that to?

Well to be honest I didn’t get enough practice in. You see it’s always something unfortunately, whether it was while I was in England with a slow net connection, and then we ended up in San Diego where we didn’t have any internet connection! The only time I did practice, I managed to get a weekend in San Francisco, I practised with Makaveli and c3, c3 finished fourth, he was really good. So yeah I need more practice. I’m always moving, that’s the problem, I need to be somewhere, where I have my computer and my internet connection.

How come you’re always moving?

Well obviously we’re working on the website, we’re trying to raise money, we’re trying to keep things going and it’s tough right now. For example I’ve been in L.A. this last month before I came to England, talking to companies there, trying to bring in money, and all that time I’ve just got my laptop with me, and I can’t play Quake. Recently I’ve just had less time to play.

So you feel like the business side has taken its toll on your gameplay?

Oh absolutely, I think that’s happened to everyone really. For a while when I was in Sweden, and I had a 100Mbit connection and my computer there for me everyday, that’s when I was playing my best probably. But yeah I need to settle down somewhere I think.

How’s XSReality going?

We never expected it to be as big as it is now, it’s just snowballed.

How many staff do you employ?

At the moment we’re not bringing in much money from advertising, so we have mostly voluntary staff, of that they’re at least ten that are active, and then maybe another ten more that contribute from time to time. We’re getting so many hits now it’s ridiculous! We picked this market, tournament gaming, and decided we wanted to make a channel for it, a sports channel for computer gamers, but we never expected it to be so popular, and the sites grown dramatically since we first started it.

Is it profitable?

Right now it’s pretty much breaking even, which is ok, but we haven’t got very good advertising, but we’re fixing that and it will be profitable.

So you’re not going to go the way of Barrysworld?

Oh definitely not, we haven’t got extravagant amounts of money to spend right now. Most of our expenses are sending people to events, buying equipment and covering costs. Barryworld was a lot bigger, they spent their money on marketing, it was a different ball-game.

How much traffic does XSReality get?

Right now we hit a 100,000 a day, I’m not sure how many of those are unique. Our biggest concern is making sure the server doesn’t die because of the load.

You moved to San Diego to find better opponents, has that materialised?

Well I moved to San Diego for the life as well, that’s one of the best things about what I do, the fact that I can travel and see the world while I’m working, that’s the beauty of an internet company like we are and being a gamer. I’ve been in Sweden all of last year, so it’s time for a change, and we’ve got so many friends in California, we thought we’d go there. Yeah it’s been good and there are a lot of people to play with over there.

It’s a different scene, for example you can play pickup games over there, you can just jump on a team server, and people will just join the game, and you can get into games quickly. You don’t get that in England for some reason, I’m not sure why. So yeah it’s good, internet connections are cheap, lifestyle is good, it’s great weather, it’s pretty great all round.

You said that in America, that the scene is a lot different, and better, is that all down to the internet connections?

Oh absolutely, it is, it’s kind of a sorry fact in England that the internet connections are so bad.

What do you attribute that to?

Well it’s hard to say, but from a personal standpoint, I came back to England, and I was trying to get my house wired up with some kind of decent internet connection because last time I was here I was online all day and racking up thousands of pounds in phone bills. So I asked for ADSL, but they couldn’t install it because the exchange was at capacity, so I tried to get cable-modem, but NTL couldn’t do that because my cables were old Cable&Wireless; cables. It’s just crazy (laughter) that someone living in London can’t get fast internet access.

Do you think that’s damaging pro-gaming in the UK?

Yeah I think it’s damaging a lot, not just pro-gaming, but any kind of internet advancements, we’re really missing out. I’ve been to places like Sweden where they’re totally geared towards new communication, anything to do with the Internet, it’s same with California. I think we’re missing out in England because the infrastructure’s not in place. People still have to connect with slow analogue modems and pay extortionate phone bills just to be online.

Do you think that pro-gaming is beginning to appeal to the bigger sponsors, such as Coke and Nike?

They’re taking more of an interest sure, it’s still gonna take some time. I think we would have said it was a lot further away last year, but now with Microsoft Xbox and the PlayStation2, which are all gonna run pretty much the same games, particularly the Xbox. You’re going to be able to play Counter-Strike and QuakeIII and everything, it’s not going to be a techie thing, it’ll be something people do for fun and it’ll be a lot closer to the mainstream sponsors for sure. You can bet that Microsoft and Sony will make sure that does happen.

So do you see yourself ditching a PC for an Xbox?

It makes no difference to me, I’ll just play the game. The actual platform makes no difference to me, what’s important is who you’re playing against, and who you’re mingling with when you’re online.

So you see consoles as the future of pro-gaming?

It’s possible, you see consoles and PC’s are now becoming so similar, so you’re likely to get to the point where there’s no division between the two, it’ll just be a box.

Do you feel that pro-gaming is moving forward as an industry?

It has definitely moved forward, during the time I’ve been involved with it, I think the biggest steps were at the start of last year, when we had so much happening, it’s kind of stalled now, which is to be expected with the markets being in the slump that they are. It’s moving forward though, more people are aware, we’re watching the traffic on our site build up. So many things are developing, it’s sort of slowed down right now, but there’s nothing to stop it in the future, so it’s going to keep going.

Where do you see pro-gaming going in the future?

Well it’s kind of plateau’d a bit for the last few months, but there’s a few things I’m looking forward too, particularly the CPL World Championship that’s coming up. I think that it’ll have something that we’ve been missing recently, teams that you can support because they’re the national side. You’ve seen the Russians doing it, Russians are crazy, they love their national teams, they love Russians doing well. We’re going to see this when we have a UK team, an American team, a Swedish team, that’s going to be half the fun, that you can just support your team, even if you don’t know anything about the game. So I think it’s going to take pro-gaming a long way, and it’s going to come across well to the media too.

What do you think the life span is for QuakeIII?

Hmmm, tough question. The game will only last until the next better one comes out. I don’t think we’re going to see a lot of QuakeIII after the next Doom is released, or just the next game.

What does that mean for players who’ve honed their skills on QuakeIII?

Will it put their careers in jeopardy? There’s only so much practice that’s specific to QuakeIII, a lot of the skills you pick up and train are transferable to other games and occasionally real life, such as hand-eye co-ordination, strategy, psychology, prediction, these aren’t specific to the game. Obviously it’ll take time to get used to the new game, the new peculiarities, being able to exploit bugs, things like that, but they’re small things, good players will stay on top because they have these skills and they’ll make themselves practice.

So are you going to make a comeback in the next CPL?

Oh absolutely. I don’t think I’m that far gone, 25 is bad if you’re aiming for a Top 10 finish, but with the quality of players there, that wasn’t that bad. I ran across things there that were unfortunate for me. I had to play my team-mate and I always hate doing that, and then I wound up on DM6 which I cannot play at all, and Timber says the same thing. With more practice I can fill in the holes and make sure there’s no map I’m weak on next time.

There was news recently that Thresh is to start up his own pro-gaming league similar to the CPL. Do you think there’s room in the market for more another league, or will it dilute the existing market?

I think if you add more events, you’re going to generate more people. There are so many people playing games, that maybe you don’t get a chance to go to events, or play in an online league, so I don’t think there’s any lack of players, and I think it’s good to have some competition as well. It’s still too early to tell, there’s always companies that want to run leagues and events, but until there’s an actual event, it’s hard to say.

Have you ever considered abandoning the pro-gaming circuit to concentrate on the business side like Thresh has?

I think you have to do a bit of both, I mean for one thing you’re not going to be playing forever. Since it’s my job, I have to build a career out of it, so that does involve the other things I do, particularly the website. It would be crazy to just ditch a career and just be a gamer and expect to live off it for the rest of your life. In all honesty that’s not going to happen, you get to a point where you can’t compete with the best players any more.

Your dramatic career change has been quite well documented in the press, a year or two on now are there any regrets?

Er no, no regrets, it’s been good. It’s a hard time right now for anyone in gaming or internet or tech businesses, so it’s a tough time now, but at the same time I still wouldn’t want to go back to the bank. I just met a lot of my friends who are still working there and most of them want to leave still. People always want to follow their dreams, so I’m glad I did it as early as I did.

https://web.archive.org/web/20010622100158/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/article.php3?ref=art-sujoyint

Angel Munoz Interview

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Author : Sney “DoctorSney” Noorani

TPF: For the record please state your name

AM: Angel Munoz, and I’m the founder of the Cyberathlete Professional League.

TPF: Founding professional leagues is not an everyday activity, could you tell us how that came about?

AM: (Laughter) Well a little bit of background, in 1995 I founded a website known as the Adrenaline Vault. So I was fairly familiar with computer gaming, and that whole entire environment. I was based in Dallas, and through the Adrenaline Vault I met a lot of developers, especially of the first person shooter genre, and saw some of the LAN parties and how that was developing. From there it was natural progression – in my mind – that at this point in 1997, the players a level of skill level that was bordering on the professional or athletic type of performance, and that’s what gave me the idea of launching the CPL.

TPF: Currently how many events does the CPL run a year?

AM: Well every year we’ve been progressing, the first year in 1997, we ran one event which was the FRAG. In 1998 we ran two events, in 1999 we ran three events, and in the year 2000, we’re going to do five events, three in Dallas, one in Asia and one in Europe. The one in Europe should be during the first weekend of December. The one we did in Asia was in Singapore. Then we did the Razer CPL in April and we’ve just completed the FRAG 4, which was our first team event. We’re ending the year with the Babbages CPL $100,000 Tournament, so we’re repeating the same cash prize for that event. I’m not including in that number the Gateway event we’ve just announced, because we’re not providing the venue, it’s taking place in all 320 Gateway stores across the country. I always put this one aside because it’s being done in close partnership with Gateway computers.

TPF: Can you tell us more about the Gateway Event?

AM: We announced just before I came to London, that we’re doing an event with $300,000 in cash and prizes in November, in all 320 Gateway Country stores across the US. The game that we chose was Midtown Madness 2, however you’re not playing directly against each other, you’re racing trying to get the best time. At the end of the race, the software we developed, with the help of a third party, gives you a score and tells you how you did compared to other people who played at that store as well as nationally.

TPF: Why Midtown Madness 2? When most people think professional gaming they think Quake or perhaps RTS.

AM: It’s a good question. We think the sport is going to develop better and faster, if we include events that people who are not familiar with Quake can participate in, and get to know the CPL and see how we organise things. Midtown Madness 2, is a driving game, which is a familiar interface to everyone, it takes place on a normal street, not on a racetrack. We felt that by using that format, it would allow people to experience, to a lesser degree, what professional gaming is all about. We see it really as another form of promotion for the league.

Another reason why we selected the game was because Gateway wanted this to be a family event, they wanted people from all ages to be able to participate. The unfortunate side of it is that Quake and all the first-person-shooters are rated ‘M’ for ‘Mature’ in the US by the ESRB, and as you know in the press, the whole issue has become really political. People are polarised, some say “it’s bad” or “it’s good”, there’s no one in between so it makes it very difficult for the league to do an event, and allow anybody under the age of seventeen to participate.

Gateway didn’t want that stigma, plus Intel and their partner Microsoft, well obviously Microsoft wanted Midtown Madness, but Intel also requested that we choose a game that was accessible to the public.

TPF: Do you believe there should be a more diverse range of games played professionally?

AM: I think that no one in the world has done a good job yet, of building an amateur level of entry. The CPL since 1997, has concentrated on the professional area, and I think to expect people to come from very little gaming experience, to playing Quake, it’s a little bit of a jump. So that’s why the league wants to do an event that’s not so professional. This event will have over 2000 winners, the top prize is only something like a $3,000 dollar computer and $5,000 in prize money. So it not anything you can make a living off, but it definitely introduces people to the concept of competitive computer gaming – and that’s what we wanted to do. So yes we think diversification is interesting.

AM: At the Babbages CPL event, we’re doing our first official Counter-Strike tournament, which has $15,000 in cash prizes. Also, we haven’t announced this yet, so let me give you an exclusive: next week we announce another female tournament. We did one at the last FRAG event, which was very successful, where “Kornelia”, who was considered the top ranked female gamer in the world, was defeated by an unknown, by the name of “Succubus”. So eveybody is looking forward to a rematch, Stomped.com are putting up $7,500 to do another female tournament, hopefully to see a rematch between Kornelia and Succubus.

TPF: How many female gamers actually attend these events?

AM: Not many, when we first did one, it was just six, and this last one had twenty, which compared to the three-hundred male players, which is about five or ten percent, which we consider quite high. We’re hoping for maybe twenty-five to thirty at the next one. We think that maybe these kinds of events, will motivate someone, from the UK, to get a sponsor, fly out and be ranked and be considered. Succubus is now on our star-player page because of that victory, here’s a fairly unknown gamer that came over, and really defeated Kornelia over two matches.

TPF: Given the embryonic stage of female gaming, do you see real opportunities for female gamers to make a name for themselves?

AM: Well the whole sport is embryonic, so yes, I do believe that the event does facilitate female gamers to not only make a name, but attract sponsorship. I believe it really helps their careers as professional gamers. If a league is really serious – which we are – about professional gaming, and not about turning their events into a marketing campaign, then they have to provide opportunities for gamers to ‘have their day in the sun’, to get the spotlight, and that’s what those games are for.

TPF: There are games released all the time by publishers, how do you decide which games are suitable for professional play?

AM: It’s an interesting question, but there are only a few games that can be used in a professional environment. One of the things that we look for in a game that use for tournaments is a strong following, and the process by which we select a game, is gauging how well it does in the tournament format. Say if a community is being built round Counter-Strike, which as you know is a game that’s being played a lot. Well we didn’t just ‘decide’ to use Counter-Strike, what happened was, over our last four events, we had ‘unofficial’ Counter-Strike tournaments in out bring your own computer (BYOC) LAN area. The officers and the directors of the CPL, all watched and interfaced with the main co-ordinator of the event, who was obviously seeking our endorsement to make this an official game.

Over the last year and half, we decided that the community is strong, in fact it’s stronger than Quake, and the same thing is happening with Unreal Tournament and other games. Instead of just jumping on them because other people are doing tournaments with it, we really want to have some experience with it. For us it’s easy, we tell people: if you really want to see us use a game…’.

https://web.archive.org/web/20010622092109/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/article.php3?ref=art-aminterview

Computer Gaming As A Sport

A talk by Edward Watson at The Institute of Contemporary Arts

Good morning ladies and gentleman. My name is Edward Watson and I am the cofounder of The Playing Fields a computer games company in the UK. As well as running computer games centres, The Playing Fields runs most of the professional computer games tournaments in the UK as well as providing promotional services to the computer games industry. We are also the UK representatives of the Cyberathletes Professional League, the only surviving worldwide professional league for computer gaming.

The brief for my talk today was a bit open. In addition given that this is the institute of Contemporary Art you could be forgiven for asking as I have on numerous occasions why I have been included. Therefore I thought I would structure the talk around the growth of multiplayer computer gaming and in particular our campaign to get computer gaming recognised as a sport. This should at the very least raise some interesting questions about the role of sport within society but hopefully also shine a light on what has until now been quite an underground culture. If time permits I hope to have time to answer a few questions at the end.

Myself and my business partner started The Playing Fields three and a half years ago. Advances in computer hardware and in computer games software had by then made it possible to be able to connect up a number of computers and for groups of people to play some reasonably good computer games each other. The philosophy of The Playing Fields was and still is that computer games are just that; they are games and that the best way to play them is with other people, face to face in a social environment. And so we put 20 high spec multiplayer computer games machines into a bar and started to educate the uninitiated to the joys of multiplayer computer gaming.

Our initial problems were mostly to do with overcoming intense prejudice. I’ve been a computer gamer for over 20 years and I have to say I have become pretty fed up with the being exposed to that prejudice. I know that computer gaming is a perfectly valid social activity and not one to be ashamed of. Most people, when they think about computer games, and in particular the people who play them, think of spotty teenagers and dark rooms; or if the victim is older he is most certainly a nerd with inadequate social skills. The reality is different. My generation and generations after it have grown up and many have not lost their early fascination for computer games. An indication is given by the occupations confessed to by the readers of a national computer games magazine.

And we find in our customers a similar distribution. Far from being a den of vice for young teenagers we are have become a defacto social club for predominantly male 17 – 35 year olds.

One of the problems affecting computer gamings’ current profile is that it has, probably because of those prejudices, been an underground culture. The amazing and mostly unknown fact is that in revenue terms the computer games industry is bigger than Cinema and three times as big as the video industry. Even on a micro level it is bigger. In its first 6 weeks of launch, the game Zelda out grossed the Hollywood film of the time “It’s a Bug’s Life”. It’s a very popular activity. In the UK it is estimated that there are 5 million regular players of computer games. Society has a bit of a problem if such a large proportion of its population is socially inadequate.

At no time has the prejudices affecting computer gaming been so evident as during our campaign to get computer gaming recognised as a sport. It should be noted that we were not proposing that out and out single player games like Tomb Raider could ever be considered a sport. But advances in technology had allowed the computer games community to take a hobby beyond a pastime. A typical computer games tournament has the characteristics of any other sporting event. League based and/or knockout competitions are held between individuals or teams. Here are some pictures of the UK PC Games Championships. Which included games that simulated driving, football, motorcycling and even snooker.

There is more to computer gaming than you would think in the same way as there is more to football or tennis than hitting a ball. Competitive computer gaming is similarly about skill (developed by long hours and years of practice). It’s also about an adaptable strategic approach, confidence and self belief and the ability to make quick tactical decisions under intense pressure. Lets look at a team match of the most popular professional computer game Quake. On screen is in game footage of the final of the European Quake Championships, Sweden vs Russia Game.

The game is being played between two teams of 4 human beings Russian in Blue and Sweden in Red. The pitch is a well defined and well known arena. It comprises of 3 main areas but most of the action you will see occurs in this amphitheatre here. Players must work together to win and individually must position themselves correctly and use the available weapons at the most appropriate time. This match was an extremely close match and swung likely any cup tie on a crucial period of play where with call it luck, call it skill Russia held their nerve and teamwork against a barrage of Swedish attacks.

We felt that the ability to play games between humans, the necessary skills of the players, the numbers of players, and the emergence of tournaments within defined arenas and defined rules meant that the time was right to take our place next to Snooker, Darts and Angling as an officially recognised sport. Sport England’s response was in hindsight to be expected.

You heard it Sport England refused even to send us an application form. A radio one presenter suggested that this was akin to “Sports Fascism” and I have to say I agree. As a traditional sportsman of many years myself (I still play football for a Saturday League Club) I can understand. Ask most people what is required to define an activity as a sport most people will visualise the need for getting changed and going out into a field getting sweaty and preferably getting in some serious contact with the opposition then laughing about it all in the showers afterwards.

No one would claim that snooker and shooting conform to the definition either. Quite who knows what Angling is doing on this list is anybodies guess.

This year saw the emergence of the first three professional gamers in Europe. The UK’s gamer is called Sujoy who you will see in the next video clip. He is a Cambridge graduate who gave up his job with a merchant bank to take up the more lucrative job of being a full time professional computer gamer. Depending on what you read he earns between 100,000 and 200,000 from sponsorship and endorsements. Here is a video of them playing in one of the Cyberatheletes Professional League in the US for a share of the $100,000 cash prize purse.

I think the nub of the problem is to ask your self what is the purpose of sport and why society should seek to encourage it. My hypothesis is that sport is important to society because it is a mechanism not only to burn off the energy and aggression of young people within the society but it is also a valuable mechanism to bind societies together and too each other. Competitive computer gaming does this as well as any traditional sport and is in fact more socially inclusive than most sports. It is not dependant on physical abilities and so within reason it does not need to discriminate on the grounds of physical handicap or sex.

For the final word lets turn to the TV again-

[VIDEO of Channel 4 program on Cyberathlete Professional League qualifier at The Playing Fields]

Thanks for being such an attentive audience. Does anyone have any questions.

https://web.archive.org/web/20010707153311/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/page.php3?ref=sp-ica

Quake 2 League

The Quake II league contains three rankings- ranked by skill, efficiency and high scores. We show monthly league results and the overall results – if your name doesn’t appear in our overall rankings, check out the monthly rankings. The score tables show the top 100 players and are updated monthly. Please note, the tables are quite large and may take a while to download. The full league listing of several thousand players is on display at The Playing Fields.

Player Ranking by Overall Skill, October 1999

Names Skill Kill Deaths Suicide Frags Efficiency Rel. Frags Rank Maps Played
1. [TPF]Legionaire 5066.343 9735 6820 828 8907 56.635 1.26 2087 427
2. [tpf]-rabido 4819.431 9136 4320 675 8461 66.2 1.819 4141 348
3. [TPF]mutt 3136.648 6825 6138 838 5987 49.377 0.85 -151 411
4. Killer_Deus 2100.744 5277 3695 475 4802 56.514 1.363 1107 269
5. [TPF]Major Ted 1797.139 4469 3192 448 4021 55.747 0.936 829 278
6. [cc]GodEateR 1730.3 3787 1966 256 3531 64.235 1.838 1565 134
7. kyf[TPF] 1253.542 3874 2879 378 3496 54.839 0.947 617 281
8. Damage 1210.912 3021 1485 163 2858 65.807 1.519 1373 165
9. caw 1118.912 2024 1012 115 1909 65.354 1.809 897 63
10. [CC] Flyp 1057.279 3404 3301 457 2947 47.167 1.106 -354 159
11. [TPF] The Devil 1027.359 2962 1749 288 2674 60.457 1.249 925 152
12. Puppet Master 1017.203 1846 1008 79 1767 63.676 1.618 759 64
13. Fazman 933.813 2083 1315 109 1974 60.018 1.553 659 86
14. chaos 882.406 3034 3024 381 2653 46.732 0.91 -371 209
15. [TH]QED 866.981 1830 1536 136 1694 52.446 0.962 158 88
16. RoboRob 723.865 2127 1369 131 1996 59.316 1.382 627 103
17. Merlin 589.133 2077 1374 133 1944 58.59 1.328 570 93
18. Ghoul 535.958 1969 1627 195 1774 52.161 1.286 147 122
19. dogsnuts 479.831 1102 1135 159 943 45.38 1.025 -192 72
20. Doom 449.572 1223 1323 107 1116 45.756 0.761 -207 95
21. [TPF]Grimreaper 423.586 1719 1463 147 1572 51.796 1.029 109 126
22. nodonn 401.847 1500 767 59 1441 65.263 1.724 674 59
23. kj 400.04 1406 679 77 1329 66.185 1.549 650 56
24. STEX 396.156 1345 754 81 1264 62.636 1.621 510 69
25. Dr Death 384.726 1795 1511 155 1640 52.047 1.083 129 114
26. Den 341.944 1635 1574 149 1486 48.562 1.167 -88 131
27. Duellist 337.104 777 756 81 696 47.934 0.861 -60 23
28. [CC]Boncey 299.007 1333 1178 145 1188 50.211 1.059 10 87
29. paul 279.723 1000 666 62 938 58.479 1.311 272 31
30. Fallen Angel 250.517 696 373 22 674 64.374 1.813 301 19
31. The ASP 231.435 1245 971 101 1144 54.09 1.288 173 62
32. [TkD]THING 205.979 428 142 21 407 74.135 1.461 265 17
33. [ST]EVIL 181.002 871 778 70 801 50.728 0.969 23 29
34. [CC] Rodge 178.051 1285 1962 238 1047 34.796 0.782 -915 94
35. ReV 176.974 701 430 69 632 59.51 1.159 202 45
36. Camping Bob 175.22 561 639 42 519 44.819 1.214 -120 26
37. Oh no master luke 167.364 551 298 37 514 63.3 1.909 216 26
38. [PRU] Blade RnR 167.03 591 569 38 553 49.287 1.093 -16 30
39. The Pope 166.836 1122 986 127 995 50.227 0.914 9 99
40. Richy 163.004 809 511 47 762 59.859 1.115 251 40
41. Soulforge 159.981 994 671 96 898 57.234 1.493 227 81
42. HAPPY_CAMPA 157.829 573 794 66 507 38.97 0.673 -287 44
43. LaWn[]MoWeR 152.443 654 439 38 616 58.389 1.214 177 42
44. [CC] Knob 151.474 776 803 100 676 45.707 1.349 -127 33
45. *** RIK *** 133.206 973 959 72 901 48.441 1.349 -58 66
46. [TPF]Leathal Weapon 132.133 1741 2199 187 1554 41.407 0.953 -645 114
47. Camping Turtle 130.387 587 305 34 553 64.452 2.242 248 23
48. (UNR)Tasan 123.711 494 242 23 471 66.059 1.918 229 5
49. Huxley 123.026 896 838 62 834 49.88 1.047 -4 47
50. [CC] RON 113.447 475 546 60 415 43.184 0.861 -131 40
51. Mullet 111.584 564 434 31 533 55.119 1.278 99 25
52. [CC]Bingo 110.892 726 454 46 680 59.965 1.649 226 26
53. [ST]Blessed 110.552 708 687 32 676 49.596 1.187 -11 25
54. DaHaLa 109.29 642 295 50 592 66.742 1.267 297 32
55. oli 107.898 541 357 37 504 58.537 1.848 147 12
56. kyf 107.762 227 149 17 210 58.496 1.125 61 21
57. Thresh 106.547 233 82 18 215 72.391 1.785 133 10
58. FUNK 105.965 529 394 43 486 55.227 1.197 92 40
59. Russian (c) 102.412 458 359 33 425 54.209 1.111 66 19
60. Humility 98.654 422 181 28 394 68.522 2.118 213 22
61. Peace_Disrupter 97.067 557 798 51 506 38.804 1.347 -292 41
62. Jezaniah 96.468 380 575 32 348 37.703 0.692 -227 32
63. Danny Davis 94.576 347 139 34 313 69.248 3.491 174 10
64. Mr Strong 92.576 814 711 85 729 50.625 0.971 18 44
65. [THC] Nimrod 91.978 410 206 18 392 65.552 1.805 186 15
66. Djwohn 89.859 695 387 36 659 63.002 1.632 272 41
67. Mad Rick 86.432 331 168 27 304 64.407 1.52 136 15
68. rabido-TPF-RIP 84.292 186 82 6 180 68.702 1.948 98 8
69. SumFuka 84.203 335 72 11 324 81.818 2.441 252 12
70. Doomzday[CYB] 83.654 392 232 11 381 62.153 1.222 149 14
71. Cockrot 79.941 354 159 20 334 67.748 1.59 175 12
72. [cc]RON 78.351 760 934 137 623 40.013 0.887 -311 60
73. zen 76.007 1219 1565 86 1133 41.994 1.089 -432 79
74. Pablo 73.778 677 538 30 647 54.599 1.601 109 37
75. FED^Bl0keY 73.469 384 145 11 373 72.008 2.281 228 21
76. [DO.t]Tak 73.181 123 25 4 119 82.639 2.784 94 1
77. GreyArea 71.125 481 382 28 453 54.251 1.38 71 24
78. [tpf] damage 70.43 227 50 10 217 81.273 1.38 167 12
79. [ST] Russian 69.89 281 272 24 257 48.582 1.231 -15 10
80. [PRU] Mr Strong 67.578 346 300 38 308 50.658 1.045 8 26
81. Boncey 67.48 320 272 40 280 50.725 0.934 8 22
82. Tim 67.363 514 407 79 435 51.663 1.863 28 16
83. Billox 66.214 252 74 7 245 76.803 1.821 171 13
84. MonkeyBoy 66.054 364 480 40 324 40.299 0.89 -156 22
85. Smokor 64.065 956 998 69 887 47.056 1.127 -111 54
86. [NL] Hilts 63.126 159 56 4 155 73.46 2.319 99 5
87. RON 62.924 264 350 35 229 39.551 0.689 -121 13
88. [TkD]Rage 62.232 163 56 10 153 73.206 -0.297 97 10
89. DUKE NUKEM 61.309 193 53 13 180 77.253 1.593 127 4
90. rauper[MoD] 58.847 280 201 18 262 56.587 1.29 61 18
91. Luke 58.716 379 224 18 361 61.709 1.615 137 7
92. melko 58.571 61 44 4 57 56.436 2.452 13 1
93. Tosser 58.268 340 188 20 320 62.992 2.042 132 4
94. Death Deala 56.145 253 130 36 217 62.536 1.427 87 11
95. Server Chick 55.242 481 319 58 423 57.008 0.814 104 27
96. pie man 55.155 1020 1105 101 919 45.405 0.743 -186 59
97. [DF]DaeMoN 54.58 128 35 10 118 77.124 2.037 83 8
98. LudoTheHUN 53.93 256 126 17 239 65.479 1.554 113 2
99. reaper 52.424 88 33 2 86 72.269 2.472 53 4
100. Hozedown 51.957 205 70 2 203 74.359 1.687 133 4

https://web.archive.org/web/19991012190650/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/players/quake2/overall_skill.htm

The RAZER / CPL $100,000 Tournament – UK Qualifying Event

With the UK Razer/CPL event over, and the pieces being picked up after the day’s events, at least one thing is clear: Everyone enjoyed it.

Previously, European players have had to fund themselves if they have wanted to take part in one of gaming’s most illustrious events, held in the US. Until now, that is. The Gameplay sponsored event took place on Sunday 20th Februay 2000 at The Playing Fields, where many of the UK’s best players of Quake 3: Arena turned up to qualify. Among those who turned up to play were Billox, Blokey, and Crystaltips, the only female player to turn up on the day. Also there were Sujoy Roy, the UK’s first professional gamesplayer, and Gladiators Saracen and Rebel.

First up were a series of 8 eight man free for alls, setting up the duel pairings . At this point the players were playing more against themselves than the others, trying to rack up a high score to be placed high in the rankings, the idea being that the highest scorer would play the lowest scorer, second highest would play the second lowest, and so on down the rankings. By this seeding system, if it was a good show of a player’s abilitiy, it would mean that the two who would meet in the final would be the first and second highest scorers, but as seen later, this isn’t always the way things work out.

Once the results came in, it could be seen that the expected favourites were on form, [UNR]Luke taking first seed, with Liquid, [UNR]Blokey, [NEO]Veno, [EED]Billox and Kalliath taking the next 4 places in order. The seedings done, the duels started and the competition began in earnest.

This is where the tournament was a little different from what most might normally see, with one loss and you’re out. The tournament for the UK qualifiers was double elimination, meaning that you have to lose twice before you get knocked out, giving a person a second chance if they have a very tough match. Also, anyone can have an off moment and just be cannon fodder for a game, but have a blinding day otherwise.

During the first round, nobody could go out, and only pride could get hurt, so everyone got stuck right into their opponents. There were few upsets in the first rounds, with the seeding working well. There were a few close matches, such as Ride against Aerotek, which Ride won 9 to 7, and a few landslide victories with [UNR]Blokey winning 45 to -1 against Death2Mullets.

As the day went on, things proceeded without a hitch, spectators watching the games on a big screen while the scores were shown live on the TVs in the bar, while Rik Henderson commentated on the matches in progress (Much as he did for GamesMaster). Spectators and contestants alike got involved with the matches in progress, cheering the players, getting behind their favourites.

Things got tense as the players were slowly whittled down, with highlights being Requiem’s 1 to nothing victory over Aerotek, which was 0-0 the entire match, when it went into sudden death. Also, the highest scoring match during the day was [SS]Mozilla winning 46 to nothing over Evilpete, another highlight of the day.

Perhaps one of the surprises was Billox being knocked out of the top bracket in [UNR]Luke’s 18 to 8 victory over him to go through to the final of the top bracket against [UNR]Blokey. At this point things got interesting, with [UNR]Blokey beating his clanmate 13 to 8, knocking him down to the lower bracket.

[EED]Billox had come through the lower bracket, beating Acquiesce and Silent to get to a rematch with [UNR]Luke, creating a grudge match to see who would meet [UNR]Blokey in the Grand Final. Again showing his skill and ability to come good, [UNR]Luke managed to win with a comfortable 9 frags to 4, giving him a second opportunity to beat his clanmate in the Grand Final.

[UNR]Blokey hadn’t lost at this stage, and needed one victory over his clanmate to win the competition, who would need to win twice. At the end of a tense 10 minute match, the winner walked from the smoke and dust. That winner was [UNR]Blokey, who won with a seemingly easy 18 to 7 lead. As the winner of the tournament, he gets to fly to Texas to take part in the Razer/CPL finals, along with a total of £500 spending money in his pocket.

Not going away empty handed, [UNR]Luke took the second prize of £250, the third prize of £125 went to Billox, in 4th place was Silent, netting himself £75, and the last of the prizes went to Acquiesce, who walked away with a very nice £50. For the record, 6th 7th and 8th places were Harlequin, DC.WAR18 and [NEO]Veno.

Thanks go out to Gameplay for making the event possible to Barrysworld, Eurogamer for their extensive and high quality coverage which you can read here and here and to, UK Gamer for their earily accurate pre tournament predictions which you can read here. But most of all our thanks go out to the competitors who created the superb atmoshpere and made the event a joy to spectate and manage.

The all important demos will be appearing on Barrysworld and Gameplay in the near future so hold your hats.

https://web.archive.org/web/20000818195437/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/content/cpl_about.shtml

About the CPL

The Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) is a US based computer gaming tournament circuit. They regularly organise tournaments around the US, involving large numbers of competitors for big cash prizes. In short they have got themselves a bit of a reputation for promoting professional gaming in the US.

With our work on professional computer gaming in the UK it was only natural that we got involved with one of the godfathers of the scene in the US. In their own words:

“The future of professional computer sporting has left science fiction to take up residence in our homes, our conversations and our culture. No longer simple fantasy, computer games allow us to explore competitive possibilities we would not dare attempt in reality. Now that the competition among players has been elevated to a professional level, and that the fans expect coverage of their favorite players, it is time to unleash this potential onto the world of professional sports. Welcome to the Cyberathlete Professional League.

From Vancouver, Canada to Dallas, Texas, thousands of computer game players have waged a seemingly endless war against each other, constantly striving to be considered the best player in the country, and even in the world. The Cyberathlete Organization, founded on June 26, 1997, is the first professional gamer’s organization in the world. On October 30, 1997, the Cyberathlete Organization introduced the Cyberathlete Professional League or CPL, as the vehicle that will elevate professional gaming competitions to a sports status level.

The CPL consists of several major LAN events per yearly season, which any game player may freely attend. Any player that qualifies for the one-on-one phases of each event, will be ranked by the CPL. At the end of each yearly season, player performances will be measured and the highest ranked competitor will be named the CPL Champion for the year. The key is that, as an open league, anyone is eligible to win these events.

Throughout all of its mechanisms, the CPL is advancing professional computer gaming. Within this new sport lies a virtue of equality not approached by modern sports, and yet, a fierce competition among those who compete. The history of this new sport is just beginning…”

The Playing Fields is the UK and Ireland coordinator for CPL. As part of this we are also the qualifying centre for the CPL. In this role we will be organising feeder tournaments for their big events in the US and Europe. Winners of these qualifiers will be flown out to the US to compete in CPL tournaments in an autoberth slot (no additional qualification required at the tournament – straight through to the final 128 player knock out stage). In addition they will get free accommodation and some spending money.

Keep an eye on The Playing Fields website for dates, rules and registration.

For more information on the CPL click here.

https://web.archive.org/web/20010601154027/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/page.php3?ref=sp-cpl

Our Favorite Quotes

“The best aspect of the place is the attention the staff pay to gaming customers. They will bring you up to speed on games and provide sensible opposition. Plus, they encourage you to whoop, holler and taunt whoever you’re playing against.”
Focus 11/98

“A pleasant bar area, equipped with satellite television and table football, ensures that non-gamers won’t feel alienated…”
Daily Telegraph 22/10/98

“You’ll find it relaxed, lively, raucous and perhaps the best environment in the UK in which to play multi-player games.”
CTW 9/98

“Thank goodness … for The Playing Fields”
Time Out 4/98

“The atmosphere at the venue, with its bright airy interior and trendy couches, was closer to that of Central Perks, the hangout of the US sitcom, Friends, than that of a Star Trek convention…”
The Guardian 7/98

“The whole place radiates style … it has wall paintings, subtle lighting, a big red fussball table and groovy music playing.”
PC Zone 5/98

Press Reviews

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Newsletter No. 44, June 12th, 2000

MAIN STORIES

London’s Hottest Gossip – The UK’s first Lady Gamers Night is tomorrow (Thursday!). Sorry guys but it is female only ;-). It’s sponsored by Won.net and Guillemot, so lots of free booze and prizes to be drunk/won. So come on girls, get down to The Playing Fields for some serious gaming fun and all in the name of The Breast Cancer Campaign. The night will be appearing on TV as well. It is sure to be a busy night so the earlier you are here the better. It kicks off at 7 o’clock and is going to rock til late! If you need any further info please email Sam at events@theplayingfields.co.uk P.S. We are serious about the ladies only rule. Female gamers, female journalists and female camera crews only, please.

Bleeding Thumbs – The Playing Fields spent the end of last week supporting the technical pilot of the BBC’s new computer games program “Bleeding Thumbs”. We’ve been harking on about computer gaming as a sport and the television opportunities thereof for a while. This program is a good first step. There are some very interesting angles on video gaming, and it will be very entertaining, but above all it takes computer gaming seriously. There is a lot of work being done with Unreal Tournament for the PC side of the show which is going to throw up some good stuff. More details are appearing on www.theplayingfields.co.uk

Carmageddon TDR 2000, Coming to a Pavement near you – The press launch for the sequel to one of the more controversial games of the last decade is being held at The Playing Fields. Press should strap on their driving goggles and get down here for Wednesday 19th July from 5pm. Those journalists who are interested please email >a href=”mailto:events@theplayingfields.co.uk”>events@theplayingfields.co.uk

It’s Official, our Athlon Machines are too Fast – Another tense UK qualifier at The Playing Fields resulted in our previous champion being dethroned. [9]Timber beat [UNR]Bl0key in the final matches with a fine display of Quaking skills to win �500 and a free trip out to take part in the Cyberathletes Professional League Stockholm Open. Honorary mentions go to [UNR]Luke (3rd), [Hood]Requiem (4th), 4k^Silent (5th), [nEo]Ranger (6th) and DC.Mozilla (7th). Further details and results are athttp://www.playingfields.com/content/cple_about.shtml . The best excuse for brave but fatally flawed tactics came from a young gamer who remarked loudly that our machines were far too fast, and he just could not get used them. You can’t win!

UK Console Championships – Places are filling up for the biggest console event this century. There is £15,000 of easy money to be earned by good gamers. Places are filling up fast, but the easiest pickings seem to be in the Playstation tournaments. For more details and to register go to http://www.ukconsolechamps.com

Midnight Incursion Changes to Operation Sunspear – Qtec’s Counterstrike LAN Party is now no longer an all nighter, but has become a 12 hour day long marathon starting on the morning of Sunday 20th August. More details are athttp://www.theplayingfields.co.uk/qtec/

There is a rash of new Hardware for you to try out – including 3D specs with monitors, electronic pistols and Everglide Mouse Pads all of which make our game of the year, Counterstrike, that much more interesting. Come down and have a go.

DIARY

Wednesday 12th July – Spiderman Press Showing
Thursday 13th May – Ladies’ Night sponsored by WON.net and Guillemot
Wednesday 19th May – from 5pm closed for Carmageddon TDR 2000 Launch Party
Saturday 5th August – Cardiff Regional Qualifier for UK Console Championships 3rd – 6th August – CPL Europe Scandinavian Open, Stockholm Saturday 12th August – Glasgow Regional Qualifier for UK Console Championships Saturday 19th August – Leeds Regional Qualifier for UK Console Championships Sunday 20th August – Operation: Sunspear, Counterstrike LAN Party 3rd – 5th September – ECTS Saturday 9th September – London Regional Qualifier for UK Console Championships 21st – 24th September -LIVE 2000 28th September – 1st October – CPL/Heat.net FRAG 4, Dallas 26th – 29th October – CPL French Open, Paris 14th – 17th December – CPL/Babbage’s $100,000 Tournament, Dallas

Regards from,
Everyone at The Playing Fields

https://web.archive.org/web/20000816025357/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/content/nl_archive.php3

Newsletter No. 52, January 22nd, 2001

MAIN STORIES

The Playing Fields acquire White Box Design – The Playing Fields has merged with New Media experts White Box Design to form a new division dedicated to the interactive entertainment industry. Retaining its name and identity – though shifting to The Playing Fields’ central London offices – White Box Design will concentrate on creating award-winning electronic marketing and Internet tools designed specifically to appeal to video games players. These include dedicated Internet sites, creating and hosting web communities, Interactive Cards and generating intelligent e-mail attachments designed to increase consumer awareness and drive ‘net traffic through specific home pages. Visit their website at http://www.WhiteBoxDesign.com

Land Warrior Launch Party – The new-year started with a chance to play Land Warrior in advance of its shelf date at The Playing Fields. The Playing Fields will also be hosting the Land Warrior Launch Party on Thursday 1stFebruary. If you are press and you wish to attend the event then mail us at press@theplayingfields.co.uk

New machines at TPF –  We have built some more machines for gamers to use on the back bench area. This will bring us up to 25 machines, still at the gamers ultimate spec of AMD 1.1GHz Athlon processors and Nvidia Geforce 2 graphic cards. The back bench area has machines in a row, perfect for a clan match where you need to be close to your team-mates!

CS2d maps here! –  Counter-Strike mapping site cs2d has kindly allowed us to print posters of their detailed CS Maps! This means that old and new players alike will be able to study the maps, learn the routes and pitfalls, and devise strategies! The maps are posted up around the bar, so peruse them at your leisure.

P2 Magazine Gets together with TPF –  The Playing Fields has teamed up with P2 Magazine to bring you a fine offer, within the magazine you’ll find a short article about The Playing Fields as part of their Unreal Tournament feature, as well as a voucher entitling you to 50% off your first visit to TPF. So if you’ve always thought about coming down, here’s your chance. Smart cookies will get half-price on a day-pass!

Gamers Wanted! –  TV companies that need contestants for their videogame shows are always approaching us. So if you fancy being paid to play games on TV, then mail us your details (Name, age, gaming machines played/owned, game specialities, preferred genres etc) and we call you soon! Send your info to gamesmaster@theplayingfields.co.uk

CSports needs beta-testers! –  The Computer Sports Network is in it’s Public Beta testing stage, and as such it needs online gamers to help test it! CSports is a player tracking system, which generates rankings based on a player’s performance in online games. If you’re interested in being part of this groundbreaking new system, then mail matt@theplayingfields.co.uk

Tons of new games and reviews! –  We have so much new software: Project IGI, Giants, Deus Ex (Multiplayer), Gunman Chronicles, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Sacrifice, No One Lives Forever, and on the mod front we have the excellent Day of Defeat for Half-Life.

You can read reviews here:
Gunman Chronicles – http://www.playingfields.com/cgi-bin/article.php3?ref=art-gunman
Giants – http://www.theplayingfields.com/article.php3?ref=art-giants
No One Lives Forever – http://www.playingfields.com/cgi-bin/article.php3?ref=art-nolf

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Compo! –  If you want to win a day-pass for The Playing Fields, worth �30, the come down and play Who Wants To Be A Millionaire! The first three players to make it to the million will win!

Top 10 games during the month of December:

1st Half Life
2nd Quake 3
3rd Codename: Eagle
4th Unreal Tournament
5th Soldier of Fortune
6th Star Trek Voyager, Elite Force
7th Quake 2
8th Rogue Spear
9th Diablo II
10th Midtown Madness

Press Reviews: Articles or mentions about TPF have appeared on or in: Industry trade weeklies MCV and CTW, as well as Official Dreamcast Magazine, P2 Magazine and PC Zone Magazine.

DIARY
Thursday 1st February – Land Warrior Launch Party – (TPF Closed from 18.00)
Sunday 4th February – Closed for Gameplay officials meeting
Monday 5th March – PC Zone Challenge 1
Monday 19th March – PC Zone Challenge 2

Regards from,

Everyone at The Playing Fields

https://web.archive.org/web/20010203192900/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/newsletter.php3

The Concept

The Playing Fields is a bar/café where you can relax and play computer games the way they are meant to be played – with someone else. We are located at 139-143 Whitfield Street, London, UK.

The Best Games: We only have the best multiplayer games that are available. We are not interested in clogging up our hard drives with boring rubbish. If it’s brilliant we have it on our network. If you like it you can buy it from us so you can practice at home, and if you are a member you can buy it from us at a discount. If there is a game you think we should have let us know and we’ll get it. Check out our current play list here. 

The Hottest Equipment: Ninja fast computers with loads of RAM, a lightning fast network and liquid smooth 3D accelerated graphics. This is the way computer games are designed to be played. What’s more, all of our machines areidentical so now there is no complaining about getting beaten because someone has a faster setup. It’s all down to raw skill. Our equipment spec. is constantly reviewed to ensure we have the hottest systems. The current setup is shown here. 

A Great Atmosphere: We have a fully licensed bar and serve hot and cold food all day. All of the food is prepared on the premises. There are always people here who want to play – if you can’t find anyone then ask one of our staff and they will fix you up with an opponent or play with you themselves. Look here for pictures of The Playing Fields and here for our favourite press quotes. 

Central Location: We are located in the centre of London. The Playing Fields is at the heart of “Silicon London” on Whitfield Street and next to Tottenham Court Road. We are within a short walk of the major transport arteries of Euston Road, Tottenham Court Road and the Northern, Victoria, Central and Circle underground lines (30 seconds from Warren Street tube station). To see a map look here. 

Membership Available: Membership at The Playing Fields gives you huge benefits including discounts on food, drink and software, free playing time, booking in advance for yourself and friends, an email account, discounted hourly rate for your friends, priority entry into our competitions and a membership pack full of good gear. Of course, you can come and play without being a member. See here for more details.

Where We Are

The Playing Fields is located at 139-143 Whitfield Street, London, W1P 5RY. We are 50 yards away from Warren Street tube station – turn right out of Warren Street tube down Warren Street, take the first left down Whitfield Street, we are the blue door on the right hand side.

We are open 6 days a week and our opening hours are:
     Weekdays: 12pm  – 11pm
     Saturdays: 12pm  – 11pm

We will gladly open up outside these hours if you would like to use the venue – please contact us.

Pricing

theplayingfieldspricing

https://web.archive.org/web/20000816025345/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/content/pricing.shtml

Promotional Events

theplayingfieldslondonuk

https://web.archive.org/web/20000816025241/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/content/promotions.shtml

Bookable Servers

The Playing Fields, London’s premier gaming cafe has had a 2 Mbps leased line installed… and it ROCKS!

Bookable Servers

You can now book private servers for the evening here at TPF. All you have to do is contact our techie Mike and send him these details:

  • Game name +modification
  • Time server required
  • Duration of match

The cost is currently fixed at £20 per session (8 hours). Booking can be done via phone with credit or debit cards, and must be made 48 hours prior to the date you wish to play.

We’re currently working on a web-booking system for servers, but if you have any more queries in the meantime, then direct them towards Mike

Temporary Clan Servers

Aside from the obvious low-latency advantages for net play, we’re also offering dedicated servers for clan’s. Clan members can come down to The Playing Fields and have their own password protected, dedicated server for exclusive use for no extra cost.

Friends and opponent clans can then connect to us from across the net so that you can enjoy high-speed clan matches on your own private server.

Here are the rules regarding this thus far:

  • At least half the players must play from The Playing Fields
  • The server is only live for as long as you are at TPF

And that’s it! Come down and not only take advantage of our 100 Mbps high speed LAN, but now our fat bandwidth and dedicated clan servers too!

https://web.archive.org/web/20010702111354/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/page.php3?ref=sp-clanserver

Day Passes

Some games demand your whole attention for the whole day. You don’t want to be worried about how much its going to cost or whether you will be able to keep your terminal for that all important 5th and deciding game.

For a serious session we recommend an All Day Pass. These cost £30 (£25 to members) and guarantee you a computer all day from 12pm to 11pm. If you talk to us nicely we may let you in at 11am and we rarely throw people out at 11pm (midnight we draw the line) so that’s potentially 13 hours of unfettered fragging. Can you ask for a better way to play? We think not!

If you’re up for it and think you have the stamina then ask at the bar when you sign in and the gamers’ dream ticket can be yours.

https://web.archive.org/web/20010702101551/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/page.php3?ref=sp-daypass

Shoot Your Boss

Every Wednesday at 12:30 teams from local businesses get together at The Playing Fields for our Lunchtime Rumble. During the morning they are regular office workers, but for an hour only they are transformed into gladiators of the ether, fighting it out with rocket launcher and rail gun in a kill or be killed fragfest.

The format is a lunchtime’s worth of Quake 2 Capture the Flag.  Past survivors include The Prudential, John Lewis, Abbey National, Sony Playstation and Eidos. If you fancy your chances or just want a blast, turn up and we will fix you up with a team or some opposition.

All Nighters

The next all-nighter is this Sat, 9th June!Every weekend we run all-nighter’s due to demand. This includes 12 hours of multiplayer computer gaming fun from 10pm on Fri/Sat/Sun night until 10am the following day. The cost is £30 for the night which includes a cooked breakfast and free soft drinks.

Of course if you want to organise your own private all nighter we can do that as well.

If your interested in organising your own all-nigher, or want to make a booking then email gamesmaster@theplayingfields.co.uk.

https://web.archive.org/web/20010629201300/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/page.php3?ref=sp-allnighter

 

Corporate Training

Successful organisations are characterised by the existence and effective co-ordination of teams. However good teamwork and communication skills are often regarded as abilities that people are born with, or as practical skills that are best learnt “on the job”. Even if this were true, natural abilities and practical skills still benefit from, being developed. The Playing Fields has designed an innovative package using computer games to help with this development.

This course highlights the need for communication and teamwork and allows participants to practice the necessary skills in an informal, unpressurised setting. The emphasis is on learning through observation and practice. The skills that are learnt are directly applicable in all walks of life.

Session Objectives

  • To develop and improve teamwork and communication skills through observation and practice.

  • To have fun.

Session Outline

The course is designed for eight people but can be increased to twelve or sixteen people. Each team of four will be guided by a dedicated trainer and technical assistant. The course takes place at 139 – 143 Whitfield St between 10am and 1.30pm and includes lunch, the use of our licensed bar and café and free play after the course.

Timings

10.00am – 10.30am

Introduction

10.30am – 12.30am

Practical work

12.30am – 1.30pm

Lunch, discussion and freeplay

Please give Edward a call on 0171 383 5850 or by email atBookings@ThePlayingFields.co.uk for more information.

https://web.archive.org/web/19991118161434/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/corporate/training.htm

Staff

playingfieldsstaff

A finer body of men and women… you will undoubtedly meet elsewhere, but for now you’ll have to make do with our staff mugshots.  The Playing Fields is always interested in hearing from people who are interested in the gaming ‘scene’ – and various positions appear within our company from time to time. We are especially pleased to welcome college work experience placements. If you are interested in finding out more, why not mail us at gamesmaster@theplayingfields.co.uk

https://web.archive.org/web/20001101083031/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/content/staff.shtml

Other Promotional Services

playingfieldspromoservices

We offer a range of our services which our customers have found useful

  • Off Site Solutions – we can set up a reliable multiplayer solution for you at any venue equipped with our powerful systems and manned by our helpful staff.
  • Professional Tournament Management – we have a reputation for quality and meticulous planning coupled with strong operational execution of a wide range of games tournaments. We can help take the pain out of your games tournament by managing it for you, thereby releasing you to concentrate on getting the maximum publicity from it. Our annual showcase event is the UK PC Games Tournament.
  • Market Research – with access to a broad cross section of the computer gaming community we are able to recruit anything from a focus group, through pre launch testing, to a full on beta test. We have the facilities to provide a complete market research package for you. 
  • Network and Game Testing – Test your multiplayer game on a working computer gaming network using a cross section of your potential customers (our players).

We are continually innovating in order to produce the best and most useful promotional services for our customers.

https://web.archive.org/web/20000816025443/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/content/promotions-2.shtml

Systems

Our equipment spec. is constantly reviewed to ensure we have the hottest setup. Our current essential components for gamers are listed below.

At the core of our gaming machines is the awesome AMD Athlon K7- 600 Mhz  processor with Enhanced 3DNow! These processors are built for gaming with the Enhanced 3DNow! instruction set that games developers love to use. It seriously improves the performance of all games, particularly the flight sims. and first person shooters we all know and love.

Behind every great games machine lies a fast 3D accelerator. They don’t come much faster than the Maxi Gamer Xentor 32 graphics cards, featuring the TNT2 Ultra chipset. These cards are designed to deal with all of the advanced games effects – fogging, lighting and all that stuff – to make the games look great.

There’s two types of sound for your computer: audio and Positional 3D Audio. If you want to hear which direction the opposition is coming from then you need positional audio. All of our machines are equipped with the awesome Vortex 2 cards from Aureal (and supplied by 3DSL). Not only do these cards feature positional 3D audio, they also reduce the demands on the processor making for faster gameplay. You heard it here first.

Our Machines use D-Link DFE 100MB Network Adaptors (cards).  These cards allow high data transfer rates thanks to the adapter’s single RJ-45 connector which senses the network speed and automatically adjusts itself.   What this basically means is that you’ll get an awesome network connection at The Playing Fields with no lag.  So why not come along today and check it out for yourself!

We offer the last word in gaming comfort – the Labtec LVA-8550 headsets. Not only are these headsets very comfortable but they also feature microphones designed for speech recognition. If you are a serious game player then you need a set of these.

We offer the last word in gaming comfort – the Labtec LVA-8550 headsets. Not only are these headsets very comfortable but they also feature microphones designed for speech recognition. If you are a serious game player then you need a set of these.

Having trouble with your weapon selection? Well your troubles are over. We have Microsoft’s USB Intellimouse fitted to our machines. These have a handy wheel on top of the mouse – great for scrolling through long text, zooming in and out of your spreadsheets, oh, and for quickly selecting the railgun or hyperblaster to paste your opponents.

You’ve heard of WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get. When it comes to gameplay you want WYPIWYG – Where You Point Is Where You Go and for that you need 3M‘s new Precision Mousing Surface. All of our machines are equipped with these high-tech microstructured surfaces. Now your mouse will corner like it’s on rails. For an independent mousepad comparison look here.

Other essential parts that make our machines hum along:

  • RAM – We have 128 Mb of fast SDRAM in all of our machines. First person shooters need plenty of RAM for the best performance. Trust us, 128Mb is plenty.
  • Monitors – 17″ monitors are used at every gaming station.

https://web.archive.org/web/19991022070306/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/whatweoffer/systems.htm

Counter-Sauce

Forget CounterStrike. [TPF]Dynamite of The Playing Fields is the proud inventor of the Barbeque Sauce Box mine game. Simply horde a dozen Barbeque Sauce packets (from a well known fast food store round the corner) on your desk, perilously close to the edge. Then wait for one to hit the floor and be trodden upon by a member of staff. Notably [TPF]Rat – the first to be fragged – destroyed a new pair of Next mole skin trousers on Saturday. Not to be outdone, [TPF] Cyberchic performed a veritable AWP sniper shot when a second packet was trodden under foot. This time no -one was injured, but the office had to be closed down for 10 minutes while the stench left, and the walls were cleared. Please feel free to join the rest of the TPF team in ganging up on [TPF]Dynamite next time he plays counterstrike.

[TPF]RAT

Developer Interview
Q) Is it true that Counter Sauce contains no source code whatsoever? Don’t you find that something of a disadvantage within the computer games industry?

Nick. That’s an absolute lie. Counter Sauce is an open sauce code game – it’s written on each packet see – contains exactly 31.8grammes. Ingredients : Glucose Syruyp, Water, Tomato Paste, Two types of Vinegar – Red Wine and Spirit , Salt (real salt mind, not that low sodium rubbish), Modified Starch, Mustard Flour, Rapesead Oil, Caramel, Hickory, Xanthium Gum and Sodium Benzoate.

Q) I see. I haven’t heard of that particular API before. Xanthium Gum?

Nick. Makes it sticky.

Q) By which I presume you mean it prevents leakage leading to a system crash?

Nick. I suppose it does help if there are small perforations in the surounding package This is very important as game play can get very sludgish otherwise.

Q) You mean lag?

Nick. Definatly lag, who want’s lag? Fed up with Lag? Come to the Playing Fields that’s what I say.

Next Week, Nick waxes lyrical about Hot Apple Pie bombs and his speciality Rocket Lobster Launch*

(*No really, all you need is a cooked lobster and around 20 helium filled ballons!!)

csauce

https://web.archive.org/web/20000815235053/http://www.theplayingfields.co.uk:80/content/c-sauce.shtml

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