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MGC - Would you ever go to Tehran?

By Danny 'HuskY' Engels
Sep 21, 2012 20:30

When you think Iranians are terrorists, religious suicide bombers or dangerous people, then you pretty much have to think every German is still a Nazi, hating Jews and loving Hitler. Prejudices are one of the worst attributes a human being can have and before travelling to Tehran almost every person I have told about it, was really sceptical and even I, for myself, had no idea what to expect and went on to an unforeseen adventure in the Middle East.

Two years ago, I have competed in the Electronic Sports World Cup in Disneyland Paris and faced Iranian Need for Speed player Naeim ‘NaEEm’ Hedayati during the Group stage. He talked broken English, had really long hair and long fingernails, but he was a fairly friendly and competitive person in the end. Last week, I had a pretty big smile on my face when I met Naeim once again. I had finally arrived in the ‘forbidden country’ called Iran…

My flight was really good, nothing to complain about. I started in Luxembourg, stopped in Frankfurt and found my way to Tehran with a young Iranian teenage girl sitting right next to me. When we arrived in the middle of the night she, like every other woman, had to put on a scarf to cover her head. It was a religious thing for her, but also the beginning of my adventure.

I got through the passport control without any problems. It just took some time until I finally got my visa. Even though I was supposed to get to a CIP lounge (commercial important people) I couldn’t find it and just went to the baggage claim area instead. A few security guys wanted to see my baggage right away. They couldn’t speak any English. They just took me straight to the customs. I still had a smile on my face though, because I knew what was going on. I guess you rarely see someone flying with a big computer steering wheel and pedals in his bag, especially not in Tehran. When a security man opened my bag and found the steering wheel he started smiling too and just asked “Game?”. I said yeah and was allowed to leave. :)

Someone was already waiting for me in the airport lobby. I have heard a little bit about the Iranian traffic beforehand, but what I have seen during my stay was ridiculously crazy. I can’t even describe it, but with this traffic I think Iranians are really good drivers and even though it looks like there are no rules at all, everybody respects each other in heavy traffic and it’s just working... I mean, using the rear gear on the highway, going side-by-side on one lane and honking for some kind of communication just seems to be a normal thing for them.

The hotel was pretty sick and really good as well. I didn’t know that I had to share one room with another gamer and I felt really sorry for disturbing him with my late-arrival, but Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen is a really good guy and it actually was nice to meet someone who could speak German. So yeah, Fnatic’s Counter-Strike team and Warcraft Pro Gamer Nicker were invited to the Matrix Gaming Competitions as well. Afterwards I would compare the event with a smaller Dreamhack, but it was done really professional.

The first day was really really exciting. I felt like a little kid during Christmas. I had no idea what to expect and actually no real clue what to do. But that seems to be a typical thing for Iranians too. They don’t plan much and seem to be quite spontaneous. That was pretty much a pain in the ass at the airport during my departure, but during the gaming event it wasn’t really a bad thing as they were prepared for everything at any time…

When we arrived at the location Fnatic had all the attention right away (every day). They are really famous everywhere, no doubt. And seriously I have never thought that my name is popular within the Iranian gaming scene too. I mean, SK Gaming, yeah… of course, that’s a big name! But when you speak about SK, you think about SpawN, HeatoN, walle and all the famous players. You simply don’t think about racing when you talk about SK Gaming. But Need for Speed seems to be a fairly big thing in Iran and due to my performance in Need for Speed: SHIFT quite a lot of people treated me like a Hollywood star... haha, well, almost..! ;)

Maybe I’m joking a bit, but I was asked for photos dozens and dozens of times and people really enjoyed our attendance. It was such a great experience to talk to as many people as possible. I even met another oh-so-friendly guy who lived in Germany quite a while and talked really good German. He told me a bit about the country, the culture and the people… and seriously, everybody I have met during my stay was so friendly right away, so nice and so unbelievably helpful even though not all of them were able to speak English!

There is a really big thing about Iranian gaming I have learned though. As they don’t have such luxury internet, they have a really tough time to get proper practice and improve their gaming skills. Furthermore, even worse, they have a really big problem with missing LAN modes in nowadays games. Due to their internet situation and missing LAN modes Iranian gamers are really struggling to catch up with modern eSports. Just think about Starcraft 2?... or League of Legends?...

That was also the reason why they were still playing Need for Speed: Most Wanted from 2006. It’s the latest Need for Speed made for competitive gaming with LAN mode and it’s a kind of special game for me too. In Need for Speed: Most Wanted I attended my first ever offline gaming event during the World Cyber Gamers German National Finals in Heide-Park Soltau. I wasn’t really good back then, even though I qualified for the National Finals, I lost all my games onsite. And since then I haven’t really touched the game anymore. So on one hand it was really weird to play such an old game without any big practice, but on the other hand it was quite a good competition and really good fun against the Iranians.

During my stay I played five show matches on a really nice stage with a cool crowd. I won three of them and lost two of them. One of the matches was so close that I finished only +0.01s infront of the MGC runner-up. I lost one match against NaEEm, but I guess that was his revenge from ESWC 2010. And MWxSPEED just dominated me with +6s within 5 laps in another match. Even though I had the excuse of less practice, I realized that MWxSPEED is really fucking good. He was even faster than then World Cyber Games players back in time when Need for Speed: Most Wanted was up-to-date. So it was no surprise at all that SPEED also won the Matrix Gaming Competitions in Need for Speed.

Between the show matches we did TV-interviews, press conferences and I got to know a few of the Need for Speed players, but to summarize the event from my side, I would say that it was just like a big, known gaming event in Europe. The stage, the crowd, the gamers, only some commentary was missing I guess. But I had no problems at all, they provided save games, car setups and they had my steering wheel drivers already installed. It was just plug and play for me and that’s something I have never really experienced so far. Very well done by Matrix!


Besides from the Gaming Competitions we had a bit free time to enjoy Tehran in the evening. Food is awesome in this country! They definitely know how to enjoy food, but you certainly got love meat. Furthermore we had some crazy secret adventures, some relaxing evenings and a lot of fun with all the people involved.

But to keep this long story short I’m so thankful that I got this chance to experience a country a 22-year-old from Germany would normally never go to. And I could tell you way more, but in the end gaming changed my life in such a huge way and I do not know any other activity where we, you and I, are connected worldwide, without borders, without war, without religious problems, and just having fun together doing the same thing – called Gaming. This trip, like every other situation I have experienced during the last seven years in gaming was such an important experience for my personality. That’s the reason why I’m really thankful for Matrix for inviting me, Vishta, Sanam, Hossein, Naeim and everybody else involved!

I will be SK.HuskY forevermore!

By Danny 'HuskY' Engels
May 28, 2011 23:38

After a few weeks of thinking and a long time of waiting: I finally got my first tattoo...
and I really like it! You have probably seen the husky a few times on the internet already. I use it on my racing cars, as avatar, for pictures and even did put it on my SK shirt of 2010. Originally it was the logo for my local hockey club's youth team where I started to play ice hockey.

That's also where my nickname comes from and that's why I use this logo on the internet as well. With the SK logo included the tattoo contains pretty much 10 years of really good memories. And to get all of this a notable message: No more nick changes and no more team changes! ;)

ESWC 2010 – Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

By Danny 'HuskY' Engels
Jul 12, 2010 03:03

A well-earned Silver Medal or simply a lost World Championship?
Let me start chronologically: My bootcamp in the SK Office right before ESWC went perfectly. I felt so good, highly motivated, really really well prepared and ready for my first prestigious international eSport event. I went there as German Champion in Need for Speed: SHIFT and probably as Top-Favourite for the ESWC Title with a Topseed under my belt.

But already at Disneyland, few minutes after we (Alex, Tim, Min-Sik & Shane) have arrived, rumours were afloat which supposedly said that my steering wheel will be banned from the tournament. I went to the hotel kinda pissed and pretty confused which made the night even harder. Besides having 30°C in the room with definitely crazy but cool room mates (Cheers! Cyhper, k1llsen and Ayhan!), I just thought way too much about the rumours and couldn’t really get any sleep.

First day, Disneyland 10:00AM, Groupstage: I tried to focus, but the mentioned rumours immediately turned out to be true. I don‘t want to bother you with the details – All I can say: I bought a steering wheel that was allowed accoring to the rules and in my opinion choosing the right hardware is also an important part of your preparation. What happened then? Basically other players complained that my wheel is reputed to be way better than everything else and came up with bullshit arguments. As there were no evidences in favour nor against it, the admin decided to change the rules and disallow that one specific steering wheel. For you non-racing guys: Would be the same if a CS-Team joins the tournament with ball mouses and complain about the Steelseries stuff for example…

Anyways, especially with Alex, who even discussed hours with ESWC head admins, Tim and Min-Sik on my side I tried to do the best out of my situation. Good music was definitely a key to success… Which music it was will be my secret though! But it felt so damn good and right to win the groupstage with a different piece of hardware I was totally not used to. I enjoyed my day off before I had to face Taiwan in the quarter final at Saturday.

Saturday, 10:00AM, Playoffs: That mentioned match went quite okay and I finished it with another 2-0 victory, but due to some weird and unexplainable reason the tournament bracket were kinda messed and both group winners met each other in the semi-final already. That meant I would have an epic match against Germany‘s Need for Speed Legend Niklas ‚Sliver‘ Timmermann. I felt pretty nervous as I had to change the steering wheel once again. Funnily enough I decided to take an one hour nap on a couch in the event location to calm down. It worked pretty good and I managed to win against Sliver in a three map exciting battle.

GRAND FINAL: I had one match left and one goal in my head, but the dream got destroyed on the third and deciding map in the Grand Final. I lost 1-2 to Steffan (Netherlands) after he crashed into my rear and used that accident to become World Champion. Even though the rules clearly said that if there is a car contact the guy behind is not allowed to get any advantage out of situation, the admins decided, after an one hour discussion, that this, let me call it, deciding contact was legal and not unfair!

I had tears in my eyes. No doubt! I felt like… just being treated wrong... I couldn’t change it though. I had to accept it in a sportsmanship way although it was pretty hard after being sooo close before becoming World Champion. Fair enough: I went to Paris with the imagination of waving the German Flag during the prize ceremony on the Grand Stage preferably as World Champion. Besides the last part I tried to enjoy that special moment and there is probably going to be a moment where I can start being proud of my performance.

Well, let me find a good blog-ending to keep it "short". I just wanna say that the event itself, besides the tournament, especially the players party was amazing. Thats why I love eSports and I took home good memories besides a World Vice-Championship Title. I think the girls are gonna tell you more about the rest anyway, so I remain with following. I was glad to meet the girls, boys, rapha and everybody else from SK as well as several other guys! And THANKS for all the support. I’ll definitely keep fighting!!!

Let’s sum-up 2009! – A restart in every way?

By Danny 'HuskY' Engels
Dec 28, 2009 05:55

As it seems kinda trendy to have his very own review of the year I want to jump on the train and just end my eSports year 2009 with a little flashback.
2009 already started with a small highlight in my so-called “career”. Virtual Racing organized a Charity Event which was quite successful and brought us the chance to race against a real Formula One pilot. After I have already done this promotionally versus Timo Glock in 2007 at CeBIT it was a pretty cool thing and great fun to face Adrian Sutil in a more or less competitive way.

SK added well-known Need for Speed players on 31st January. To be honest, this fact will play a big role later on, but I will continue chronological. The first half-year was quite calm and not action-packed though. I only competed in my first Virtual Racing Touring Car Championship and ended up as "Rookie of the Season", which actually was not a big deal for me. At this time I was also struggling heavily at school, but that's another topic and more private anyway. Worth mentioning though is my CeBIT-Trip in March this year. Not really successful but at least some action for me in “early 2009”!

In summer things changed again. The Electronic Sports League announced a huge Motorsport Portal and kicked off their season with Opening Cups in three Sim-Racing games and I became ESL Sports RACE07 Pre-Season Champion 2009. Only one week later we, Hendrik 'b0nd' von Eye and I, went to Munich for three successful and awesome days where we dominated the last Intel Racing Tour Stop in Germany. We came home with two VIP-Journey tickets to the Formula One Grand Prix in Valencia. (I guess, I will never ever forget that trip!!!) In meantime, waiting for my “Spain-holidays”, I also managed to become BERLET Racing Tour Champion 2009 and connected my Valencia-Trip with one day at "Gamescom" where I met a lot of great guys!!! (For example Pascal 'gaLLo' Jäger for the very first time and we even shared a bed in our first night together… ewww.)

Okay, better let's change topic. Back from Spain, school started again. Definitely a restart for me! I do not want to talk a lot about my real life on SK, but in this case it was absolutely the best thing what could have happen to me. Anyway, cheers to all my classmates! (I doubt anyone is going to read this.)

At Gamescom I already came in contact with EA’s latest Need for Speed title – Need for Speed: Shift. Only because of the SK's Need for Speed players I kind of fell into the Arcade scene again. I qualified myself for the ZOCKEN DELUXE tournament without any practice and finished third, only losing to Niklas 'Sliver' Timmermann, in the EA SPORTS Bar. The fact that I had only one bootcamp evening in the SK Office, before the tournament, made the bronze medal even more unexpected for me. But in the end it was the point where I decided to concentrate a little bit more on Need for Speed.

I finally stepped back from the ESL Touring Car Championship 2009 after I have missed one race, due to some private reason, even though I was leading the Championship at that point. And I finished my Sim-Racing “career” with the Virtual Racing Touring Car Team Championship title just a few weeks ago. But I am leading the ESL Need for Speed: Shift Premiership and waiting for my opponent in the EA MASTERS Season 8 Online Qualifier #1 Overall Final. And thus it is official:

I am going to continue playing in 2010 and will fully concentrate on Need for Speed: Shift!

I would like to thank SK Gaming as well as everybody I have seen, met, talked to, worked with or played in 2009 for a great year and wish you all a Happy New Year 2010! d:

Intel Racing Tour 2009 - 'BMW Welt', Munich

By Danny 'HuskY' Engels
Jul 28, 2009 23:38

Liveblog: Intel Racing Tour 2009 - 'BMW Welt' in Munich! - First Prize: VIP Weekend @ Formula One Grand Prix in Valencia (20th-23rd August)
Hey folks,
I'm in Munich together with SK.b0nd, for the Intel Racing Tour 2009 in Munich's 'BMW World'. It's the next of many great events coming up very soon, as I told ya in my last Blog: 'Racing: A small thing?!' .
First of all, thanks for all congratulations for the ESL RACE07 Pre-Season title!!!. I'm still happy!!!

Finally arrived in Bad Eilsen! (1st August 01:00): It's unbelievable that we are going to Valencia... wow!!! Nothing more to add actually.. It was a great final and a great event overall!!
I uploaded some photos and videos, but still have more stuff I'm gonna upload next week!

News: 'SK Racing dominates Intel Racing Tour 2009 in Munich (BMW Welt)'
Check out the 'BMW Welt' (Grand Final) Gallery and following videos:

VALENCIA!!! SK.b0nd did it in an exciting final race! (31st July 15:00): Hendrik was only a split second faster than me in the qualifying session, but did a superior job in the Grand Final!!!
Summarized: A perfect race!!! b0nd won his first major tournament and I'm satisfied with my 2nd place!

Another day draws to a close (30th July 21:00): Actually a quite relaxing one! We did a couple of laps and feel very confident. b0nd set the fastest racetime already yesterday, while I found my pace with the fastest laptime today. I guess it is going to be an exciting final tomorrow!!! We hang out with good guys and girls ;D and are watching 'Bayern vs. ManU' to end the relaxing day.
Somehow.., the calm before the storm!! We will see what tomorrow brings...!

Check out the 'BMW Welt' (Thursday) Gallery and following quickie videos:

Back in our hotel!! (29th July 20:30): All in all an awesome day so far. We joined some public races in the 'BMW World' and met a lot of new and old faces (cheers h3lly! :P) Anyway, a lot of fun and good practise for the upcoming final on friday.. it's a very relaxing and nice location! Very sad, though, that BMW announced their withdrawal from Formula One, but at the same time it's unbelievable that racing legend Michael Schumacher will celebrate a short comeback in Valencia!!!

Check out the 'BMW Welt' (Wednesday) Gallery and following videos as first impressions:

Good Morning (29th July - 09:00), we are getting ready to join the public racing action in the 'BMW World' today! Check out the News: Intel Racing Tour 2009 in Munich's BMW World!!!

And for now (28th July - 23:30): I'll show you our first look on Munich! ;)

Daily public races are already running since saturday in the 'BMW World', but we just arrived a few hours ago (late Tuesday evening). We'll join the action tomorrow and I'm going to post impressions, videos, pictures and everything you want in this blog from time to time!! Thanks a lot to the people at DOCKERS for sending us another tray of their delicious cranberry energy drink for this event. Yummy! Stay tuned!!!
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