More than 700 computer game enthusiasts are gathering in Singapore to take part in the world’s biggest competition for computer and video games.

Players from 67 countries will compete in about 1,000 matches at the World Cyber Games on Sunday, hoping for a share of $435,000 in prize money.

For 19-year old Michael “Chocoyote” Opree from Germany, winning is a matter of form and preparation rather than luck.

“There is no real secret. You have to be on form on the day you play,” he said.

“Go have a lot of sleep so you can concentrate on the day and really look for (your) challengers. Get to know something about them, how they play, their game-style, their crosses, their tactics.”

Austrian Verena Vlajo, the only female participant, told a local newspaper she was not worried about the gender imbalance.

“It’s cool to be the first and only woman here, but I’m just a gamer like everybody else,” Vlajo, 24, told The Straits Times.

Michael “Method” So, a 21-year-old representing Team 3D from the United States in the Counter Strike finals, said the games were a natural step in his gaming career.

“I picked up gaming just by playing for fun. As I kept playing, I found out about these tournaments. And I just kept going to them and I was winning.”

Started in South Korea in 2000, the games were held in San Francisco last year. Event organizers International Cyber Marketing said Singapore was chosen this year because of its good Internet connectivity, efficient transport system and supportive government.

Singapore — which has one of the world’s highest Internet penetration rates — wants to boost its computer games industry and has organized a host of gaming activities and courted game developers to set up shop on the island.

More here.