One of the heroes at World Cyber Games (WCG) for Starcraft 2 was Won “PartinG” Lee-sak. PartinG took home two medals in the two WCGs he attended. A gold medal in 2012, and a bronze medal in 2013. To him, WCG meant a whole lot — PartinG was representing his country, and he wanted to continue the legacy of Korean players having success in Starcraft.
How was participating in WCG?
WCG was great. I remember it being in China. I had been there twice and won gold and bronze. In 2012, I was the only Korean that won a medal, so I remember a higher-up coming to me to thank me. It was an extremely happy moment.
It seems that things were going well for you at that time.
Yeah, I was so happy. Everything was going so well. I didn’t even think about the prize money. There were so many fans that came to me, asking for my autograph. Since it was such a good memory for me, I went again the next year as well and won bronze.
What did WCG mean to you as a player?
When I went to WCG that year, there was also another tournament called IPL that was held in Las Vegas. I chose WCG since I remembered watching Starcraft 1 players win WCG when I was younger, and they looked so cool. Because of that, WCG meant so much more to me. In all WCGs, Korea won in Starcraft, every year. I wanted to be a part of that, a part of history, another runner in the relay that passes on the baton. Winning in WCG meant much more than winning in other international competitions.
The second time, you got bronze.
The next year, I won bronze, and I still had a great time. At the time, there were Korean players from other games as well. One day, we all gathered in the lobby, just hanging out together and communicating with each other. As gamers, we seldom have the chance to talk to players from other games, and this was one of them. This was so interesting for me. I talked to Warcraft players, Dota players, all of them. We really didn’t know each other, and it wasn’t that we would meet up often afterward, but we purely cheered for one another. It was a great experience.
There must have been that international competition vibe, representing Korea.
To me, WCG was the Olympics of esports. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t more competitions like this — in the future, I hope more esports tournaments are held with multiple different games put together like WCG. Next year, esports will be an official event at Asian Games. I believe the experience will be similar to what I had back in ‘12 and ‘13.
For a while, Starcraft hasn’t been a part of WCG. In 2019, the game was an invitational event, and Maru won that. Did you watch it?
I didn’t watch it, but I heard that he won. I hope Starcraft and Starcraft 2 are included in future WCGs. If they say it isn’t popular enough, well, they’d be right. [Laughs] WCG is like the only competition that feels like the Olympics. We carry the weight of the national flag as we represent our country.
It’ll be much more competitive now than before. Maybe Korean players excelled before, but there are so many players in the world that are really good right now, like Serral from Finland or Reynor from Italy. If Korea dominated up to now, I think it’ll be much closer now. Warcraft is still there as a pillar of WCG. I hope they add Starcraft 2 again.
Any final remarks?
I’m thankful to WCG and Inven Global for remembering me and calling me for an interview. I was deeply moved. You made me feel that I did well over my career. Participating in WCG was a great memory for me, and if I have the chance, I would love to participate again.