IEGA Special Series - Dwight's Story
THIS IS A SPECIAL SERIES INTERVIEW WITH OUR PARTNERS AT THE INTERNATIONAL ELECTRONIC GAMING AUTHORITY. VISIT, SIGN UP AND PLAY!
Interviewed and Written by Mandeq Jama, Do a Barrel Roll
Dwight was born and raised in the US, but since his parents only spoke to him in Spanish (they both hail from Colombia), he didn’t learn to speak English until he entered school.
Those first few years in school were a bit hard on Dwight, as he was regularly casted out by classmates as “the Mexican,” but in time, he made friends as he got better with English. He also grew up as a soccer fanatic, as a supporter of the Colombian team Atlético Nacional, as an avid follower of all the major European leagues, and as a player who regularly plays the sport with friends.
So it’s not surprising then that one of his all-time favourite video games that got him into gaming in the first place happens to be FIFA.
Compared to most players, Dwight got into gaming pretty late in life. He was about 17 when he first started, and his very first gaming memory was playing FIFA and Call of Duty with his cousin. He enjoyed both games for the challenge, which drove him to continue playing until he mastered them.
Dwight played with his cousin on his cousin’s Xbox, but he soon got his own PS4. For the last few years, he’s played enough games to develop a particular interest for those arcade games that have a competitive element embedded in them. (His all-time favourite games’ list is FIFA, Fortnite, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.) This love of competition may have originated in his love for the world’s most popular sport, but now it seems to permeate his recent interest in games.
Dwight got into gaming later in his life because not many of his own friends liked to play games. So unlike some gamers, there wasn’t a small, personal gaming community that he could interact with.
He only officially joined a gaming community through the PSPL, or what is now the IEGA. He loved playing FIFA and strove to get better at it, so he decided to join the FIFA league. This was where he built relationships with other gamers.
For all his time in this community, Dwight talks a lot about the level of talent he’s encountered and how that has driven him to get better. When I asked if there have been any negative experiences he’s had, either in the league or with gamers in other venues, he said no. Over there, “it’s all love.”
Future of Gaming
We then turned our conversation to the future of gaming. I mention to Dwight that gaming has obviously become more mainstream, particularly e-sports, and bring up the example that the idea of making e-sports a category in the Olympics has been entertained in the media in recent years. “I wonder,” I say to him, “what do you think about the gradual integration of e-sports into the ‘sports’ category? Personally, I have my own reservations.”
Dwight didn’t have any. “Totally for it,” he tells me. E-sports is a competitive field, much like any other kind of sport, and if “they’re passionate for what they do,” they should be allowed to go for it.
In regard to the general trend of gaming becoming mainstream, Dwight credits this to technology, not just in terms of the level of sophistication games are able to achieve nowadays, but how social media has made it easier to share people’s particular passions, including gaming.
There’s also the fact that, in today’s world, people can make entire careers on social media as “social media influencers,” including gamers like “Ninja” whose Twitch streams regularly get millions of hits. This new kind of celebrity cannot be denied the credit for increasing the popularity of games (hence why the most famous of streamers can make a decent amount of money off of sponsorships from those same gaming companies whose games they play).
The way to contribute to this increase in popularity of games in Dwight’s view is to join those streamers. Create those profiles online, and publish content consistently.
Ultimately, however, the future of gaming is looking bright in Dwight’s eyes. “It’s always going to be relevant,” he says.
IEGA FIFA League
We turn back to the IEGA and its FIFA league that Dwight proudly participates in. I ask for the reasons why he joined. As a member of the previous PSPL who was encouraged to join the FIFA league at its early installment, he tells me that he saw a future in the IEGA; he saw what they were trying to do and was convinced that it was headed to somewhere great.
Besides the intriguing vision, there is also the fact that the IEGA’s FIFA league is a great community. Though competition can be tough, players often crack jokes with each other, and there’s absolutely no judgement on a player’s skill level. “We just want to have fun.”
That doesn’t mean that the talent in the FIFA league hasn’t been great. Dwight mentions how tough people are to beat and how he never takes any of his opponents lightly, “even in a friendly.” Everyone brings their A-game, so you could never let your guard down if you want to win.
Given that, I ask Dwight where he sees himself finishing at this year. As a competitive guy, he likes to say he’ll win, and that’s where his ultimate goal lies. But, in more realistic terms, he’s confident that he’ll make it to the playoffs. He wouldn’t open up about any strategy he plans to deploy, except for that he aims to adapt quicker to new players with different ways of playing.