The following is a guest submitted article by Paul "OOO" Hornitzky for use by Twin Galaxies Editorial.
Arcade video games have been on the planet since the creation of Computer Space in 1971. Over 50 years later Donald Hayes from New Hampshire wins the 6th World Championship of eSports to become the first gamer to win all four MGL tournaments in one season. On his amazing accomplishment Hayes explained, "It's definitely a highlight for me to win the WCE6. It's also an honor and a pleasure to compete against so many other great players too. I was fortunate this year to be able to invest the time I needed in each of the four MGL tournaments and was able to obtain some really good scores".
How you finish in every single game of the 44 different titles that were played over 236 days is critical. That goes for all competitors and Hayes found a way to turn it on when needed most. His game win box scores by MGL quarters went 2, 1, 6, and 4, with a second half domination that clinched the title. Hayes talked about what it takes to make those drives, "With such a long contest, one hard part is trying to keep up the concentration and motivation to play, especially when there were games that I didn't particularly enjoy. For me, it comes down to having the desire to excel and improve my skills, and also lots of practice. For contests like the MGL where games are only open for about two weeks, it takes a lot of focus on each game".
For gamers and watchers of the arcade scene Hayes stands out as a veteran champion of arcade gaming. He has won several tournaments over the decades including Funspot 2003, Philly Classic 2003, Classic Gaming Expo/UK 2005, CAGDC 2007-2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, ReplayFX 2015-2017, Jeff Harrist Memorial 2022, and now the toughest of them all in WCE6. So how did this stellar journey begin? "I started playing arcade games back in the early '80s. I think the first game I ever played was Space Invaders at a local convenience store. A couple of arcades opened up in my hometown soon after that and I would ride my bike to go play as often as I could. Being from a small town, the arcade was never really crowded so it was mostly an opportunity to get away from school. In college, there was an arcade near campus so I spent a lot of time there too, again mostly as a diversion from my studies. The environment in the arcades back then was pretty cool and I do miss it sometimes".
When it comes to shooting aliens, going for world records, or winning tournaments, Hayes rarely misses. So is there any secret to his successful game play? "Table tennis has been a long time hobby for me. I used to play with my brothers and cousins when I was young, and in high school I played against classmates during breaktimes. I continued to play through college, and then started competing in local tournaments in 1987. In 1989 I entered some of the lower-level rating events at the US Open and I haven't missed the Open since then. I've won events at both the US Open and National Championships as well as local and state championships. Both table tennis and video games require quick thinking, fast reflexes, and good hand-eye coordination so I think there's a complementary skill set shared between the two."
The future of video gaming rests with the enthusiasm across all ages and skill types of gamers. So I asked what advice would he give to any young gamers or new starters in playing arcade games? "At the end of the day, the goal is to have fun. I have to remind myself of that sometimes, and my wife likes to point that out to me as well. I personally find it easier to play and learn games that I really enjoy. For tournaments like the MGL, there will be games that you might not enjoy as much so it might require more focus to force yourself to play those games. But the main goal should be to have fun and enjoy the experience".
I asked the new world champion what he thought about the future of arcade gaming competition, considering the increasing extinction of original arcade machines and the proliferation of excellent emulation software? "I think contests like the MGL are the best chance for competitions going forward. There are just not enough arcades that have the resources to host a tournament, not to mention keeping the physical cabs up and running properly. With emulation, there's also access to rare games that people haven't played before and can make for some interesting results".
Donald Hayes now joins previous World Champions of eSports in Daniel Larsen from Denmark (WCE1), Chris Clemente from New Jersey (WCE2), Jason Vasiloff from Michigan (WCE3), and Patrick Stanley from Georgia (WCE4 and WCE5). For more information on this story and the full breakdown of scores, competitors, and games, you can follow this link ...
The next chapter in WCE7 will start on 3/31, where the immortal arcade games will come to life for season 2023, from the quarters of the greatest gamers on the planet. All gamers are welcome to compete and enjoy the championship.
Author: Paul OOO Hornitzky