The headline in this morning's New York Times
reads like something out of The Onion
: "Virtual Leagues Fold, Forcing Gamers to Find Actual Jobs
." Alas, 'tis true -- and the man at the center of the story is Dallas's own Emmanuel Rodriguez, a 23-year-old professional video-game player and world champ who's back working customer service at Sam's Club following the demise of corporate-sponsored gaming tournaments and the subsequent shriveling of a circuit that allowed The Man Called Master to earn a base salary of $30,000 playing Dead or Alive
, among other titles. Says Rodriguez in a piece adorned with Allison V. Smith
photos, "Going into this, I busted my heart out. It felt like I put in all this energy to build something big. I felt like everything I built up was gone."