There is No Joystick in Mudville

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."

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