By Emily Rushton
Gaming, computer science, films, and fine art: these are just a few of Sangjae Park’s favorite things – with video games topping out the list.
Park, who works on the Common Infrastructure Services student network edge support team, has been a gamer since he was a kid.
“I’ve always been interested in video gaming, since the Mario days,” he said. “I played my first video game at a children’s museum in South Korea, and after that I was pretty much hooked.”
Eventually, Park decided he was good enough to start playing competitively. His game of choice? Starcraft II.
“I played it and tried it out, and it was a very fun game, and I got pretty good at it – so I competed naturally,” said Park. “There were local tournaments being hosted, and national level tournaments too, so I wanted to participate in those.”
Starcraft II, like many video games, has a ranking system for players based on their ability and skill within the game. The higher rank you are, the more likely you are to be able to enter and win competitions.
“The best way [to compete] is to just keep practicing,” said Park. “If you think you’re good enough, you can enter some tournaments online, then local tournaments, and then if you win there, that means you get into even bigger tournaments.”
Park has been a professional Starcraft II gamer for about 4 years. He’s won numerous gaming competitions, and he and his friends are the leaders for Crimson Gaming, a gaming club at the U which hosts its own local competitions. In his prime, Park practiced playing Starcraft II for about 8 hours a day – while simultaneously holding down a job and taking classes to double major at the U.
“It was pretty rough,” he said, laughing. “It was my passion during the time, so I just wanted to go for it. I made a lot of good friends and connections doing pro gaming for a while, so I thought it was a good time.”
These days, gaming has taken a backseat while Park focuses on finishing his degrees (a double major in computer science and film) and figuring out the million-dollar question: what he wants to do for the rest of his life. Right now, the answer bounces between film director, AI design and virtual reality, and freelance art.
“I want so many things, but there isn’t enough time for all the stuff you want to do,” he said.
Whatever career Park ends up choosing, one thing is for sure: he’s got plenty of options to get him there.