WarCraft III star Manuel “Grubby” Schenkhuizen was recently here in Copenhagen for a day-long workshop on e-sports. He spoke on a great panel about pro gaming, along with Ryan Hart and Jonas “bsl” Vikan (Street Fighter and Counter-Strike pros, respectively).
You can watch it here:
It was exciting to see Grubby in person. I was even able to briefly chat with him afterward. He’s not only very articulate, but also very amicable!
I’ve been a big Grubby fan for years now. At the height of my WC3 days, I used to watch his replays while learning how to play Orc (still my best race). As Grubby himself admits, he may not be quite as technically skilled as his opponents, but he wins because he’s able to consistently innovate creative and effective strategies. And like Thresh and Daigo, he seems to have a knack for “knowing” what his opponent is going to do.
My old adviser, Henry Lowood, recently gave an excellent talk at the Art History of Games conference in which he compared Grubby to basketball great Julian “Dr. J” Erving. Henry often talks about the moment that launched Grubby to fame – his wildly clever lightning shield trick that won him the 2004 World Cyber Games. Channeling Dave Hickey, Henry makes the convincing argument that these kinds of high-level players – even the players of digital games – are nothing short of artists, working creatively within systems of rules.
For more reading on Grubby and high-level WC3 performance, check out Henry’s article in the anthology Videogame, Player, Text.