The Interview: Johnathan Wendel: Fatal1ty
I’m sure everyone who has played an FPS, RTS or even PVP game in a MMO sees themselves as a pro gamer. Johnathan Wendel, better known as Fatal1ty, is not only a true professional gamer, but also a business man and philanthropist. Last year you saw his gamer profile and Obsolete Gamer had a chance to ask him some questions.
Tell us about your early days of gaming. What was your first video game experience?
First video game experience was playing games like Microsoft Flight Simulator on PC and some Ikari Warriors on the Nintendo. I did mess around with Atari, but I never owned one. Mostly played it when I went to friends’ houses, etc.
At what point did you realize you had the talent and want to become a professional gamer?
I guess when I was 18. One of my good friends, Eric Paik, who was a pro gamer and traveled a lot, told me I was very talented and should definitely go to a tournament. You will win money for sure! So I saved up about $500 and went off to Dallas, TX and won a qualifier and took 3rd at my very first pro tournament winning $4,550.
So your first professional match was playing Quake 3, what was it like your first time playing competitively?
Exhilarating! I was amp’ed every second and wanted to play to my full potential. It was a do or die experience for my gaming career as I was putting all my money on the line.
Tell us about how you train and prepare for tournaments?
Play about 8 hours a day in the virtual world working on my movement, timing, strategies, fighting skills and hearing the sounds of the game. I want to be so knowledgeable about the game that if I hear a pin drop or an item picked up from anywhere on the map, I know exactly where my opponent is at all times and where he could be in the next 5 seconds. Predicting your opponent’s moves is very important.
Personally, what differences do you notice between playing in a tournament solo versus with your team?
I’ve done both extremely heavily but I feel, in a solo environment, you can only blame yourself if you lose. When you win, you know you won and when you lose, you know you lost. I enjoy it the best, when the game is in my hands to win or lose.
Tell us about a day in the life when you were actively entering tournaments?
My routine was to play 4 hours, go run 2-3 miles, have lunch, play another 2 hours, relax and play another 2 hours before 4 AM so I could wake up and repeat it the next day.
Many people still don’t understand professional gamers, are there any myths or stereotypes you would want to address?
Most professional gamers are actually in shape and have a pretty good social life in their virtual and real life. We mostly come from some other competitive sports that we played forever as kids and we’re able to use our skills of hand eye coordination and out thinking our opponents just like we do in our traditional sports.
Which game did you like competing in the most?
PainkilleR was a great game to play because we had a full season where we traveled for almost 18 months, continuously playing all over the world and winning loads of money. It was also the biggest payday of my career in competitive gaming, taking home $150,000 for the World Tour Finals in NYC.
Do you still have people trying to challenge you to this day?
Yes, I actually go on tour promoting my products to distributors and buyers in different regions of the world, and I do exhibition/show matches for the crowd/press at these events.
What made you want to start Fatal1ty Inc?
I wanted to create a brand that a gamer who lived in the battlefield understood what competitive gamers wanted and needed in order to experience their game at the highest level. When people shop at the store or online, I want them to know that when they buy a Fatal1ty product, they’re buying a Gaming product.
Thanks for the interview and game on,
-Johnathan ‘Fatal1ty’ Wendel