May 18th, 2010
Having finished watching The Tester, I noticed some discussion on the Playstation forums about another videogame show with a very similar concept only the stakes much higher, the drama more intense, and the grand prize $100,000 cash! The best part about it was that they were holding an open casting call for Season 2 in my city of Atlanta!
I had imagined this casting call as being a huge gathering of gamers across all of Atlanta. Since the casting call was only in 3 places (Chicago, California, and Georgia) I prepared for a huge showup. Evan and I had filled out the extremely long signup form the night before and took headshots and full body shots. The questionnaire ranged everything from what got you into videogames to what tournaments have you competed in. The final part of the questionnaire asked how skilled you are at a list of newer videogames. They were put into categories such as Rhythm, Sports, First Person Shooters, and Miscellaneous.
When we arrived at the Marriott hotel we were surprised to see it was really just a small conference room the event was being held in. Maybe about 15 people, most very young and two ladies taking the applications. We were all joking around in this room and everyone was very vocal about their love for videogames. One guy in particular calling himself “The Chosen One” who goes by his online tag of oChosen1o. His personality was not unlike the WWF’s The Rock in that he referred to himself in third person and was very talkative and very loud, but also very funny. The guy even has his own gaming insult show on youtube which he calls Show Up Or Shut Up. Kyle (alias Joslim)was another really cool guy and he seemed to know the show pretty well. According to him the filming of the next season would begin on May 22 so the process of choosing the final contestants would all be done within a few weeks. The only girls here were xchickamungUsx, some 16 year old there with her mom, and the girlfriend of super nerd LinkReincarnate.
We all imagined the gaming session would be like a tournament bracket as we would eliminate each other in a 1 on 1 battle in the games. Instead they really wanted to gauge “how” we play games (ChosenOne’s reply “We can’t do that! My personality is magnetic, I crush AI!”). Three games were presented to us: Street Fighter IV, Fortezza Motorsport, and Modern Warfare 2. They took us in threes and rotated games. There wasn’t really a clear goal in the games, For SFIV we just fought a match or two which I crushed with Ken. Forza 3 we drove the default car around the track. I did okay on this one and didn’t really finish the race in time but kept a good racing position. Call of Duty Spec Ops I didn’t do so good, but I had fun tossing grenades, getting my kill count up then respawning and doing it all over again.
We were then sent to the next room where we got interviewed by a really cool guy J.R. This was when we really had to shine. I introduced myself, gave a little background, and was very animated when I talked with big smiles and laughs all the way. I had told him at first that I was big in the online gaming on Playstation 3, to which he gave a sharp stare. This event is very XBox 360 sided so I quickly changed my tone to that of 360 gaming and that I love Bill Gates. He laughed and asked if I had ever seen the show. Another honest but unexpected reply from me was that No, I had never seen a single episode of this show. He asked me to take my application [here] and throw it in the trash [there]. At first I was shocked but then realized that in my hands was an invitation to come back to the second interview the next day! I was really excited!
The next day was a smaller crowd but still worth showing up for. The showup time was 11:15 but I didn’t actually get my interview until around 1:00. The second interview was recorded and again J.R. and I shot jokes back and fourth. I was much more confident and animated this time and went on about how I was in the military and other aspects of my life. He asked what kind of character I would be on the show, to that I replied that I would be the “Classy Guy”. They interviewed about 20 people total that day and I thought things went very well. Everyone was really cool and I traded gamertags with everybody before leaving.
In the end I didn’t get picked to go to LA. Currently Tunesha / xchickamungUsx is in the final online voting for the show and so is another girl Dana who I didn’t see at the audition, but two Georgia contestants to make the finals is pretty impressive! http://us.wcg.com/wcgultimategamer voting is here, good luck to everyone!