Parents decide there are worse things than computer gaming

Summary:SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite their violence, multiplayer computer games may be gaining an unexpected adherent: Parents.That's one of the things apparent here at the Diamond Multimedia Championships of the Professional Gamers League (PGL).

SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite their violence, multiplayer computer games may be gaining an unexpected adherent: Parents.

That's one of the things apparent here at the Diamond Multimedia Championships of the Professional Gamers League (PGL).

For instance, Mike Buxton, father of finalist Mark Buxton, aka Lord_187, looked at his son's obsession with PC games in a positive way.

Better than drinking
"They learn a lot about the computer through playing," he said. "And, I know where he is all the time -- that he's not out drinking or something."

The top eight players in two categories, one for the killing game Quake II and the other for the strategy game Star Craft, are battling it out in the first round of the three-day PGL championships. Some 200 spectators, mostly teenage computer gamers, were here at Club I on Thursday, watching the first round of the competition.

Lord_187 lost his first-round match, against K9_Masta, and was preparing to get back in the tournament through the loser's bracket.

Bad strategy
"I shouldn't have ran at K9_Masta so much," said the 15-year-old. "I lost control of the game."

The game is Quake II, where two players try to kill each other as many times as possible during a 20 minute period. Lord_187 was atomized 21 times, compared to nine for his opponent (Lord_187 also lost his second-round match, 6-3).

Yet his father said that his son really didn't lose.

"How often can a 15-year-old kid win a round-trip, all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco?" the father asked. The Buxtons live in Palm Harbor, Fla. When Lord_187 is not killing competitors, he's crunching them on his high school football team, while earning honors grades in school.

World's best dad?
His father has provided more than moral support. Originally, Lord_187 and his friends played on a single 133Mhz computer. But then his father decided to purchase three more top-of-the-line computer systems and a LAN to go with it, spending a total of $12,000.

"We try to look at this not as a negative thing, but something that is expanding our son's horizons," said the elder Buxton. It's made the Buxton house the center of the neighborhood, as normally seven to eight of his son's friends are over at the house.

"Gaming is not anti-social," his father said.

Vegging out
Another father, Scott Spencer, initially had reservations about the amount of time his son spent playing games.

"Of course I was worried; my son was vegging out in the basement," he said. Over time, he decided that "if kids get outside once in a while, then this is okay."

The 15-year-old Justin, aka Noname-99, also plays baseball, football and is learning tae kwon do. Noname-99 lost in the first round, but was able to advance in the loser's bracket, and will play again Friday.

Favorite Dennis "Thresh" Fong lost his first game to Kurt "Immortal" Shimada. Thresh will have to try to get back into the tournament through the losers' bracket.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard

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