Video games have always been one of the more underrated enemies of society. When I was a kid, sitting around and playing Atari or Intellivision all day was completely frowned upon by parents. The mall arcade was where the "hoodlum" kids went to smoke cigarettes and try to shatter their own record at Space Invaders.
As an adult and a parent now, hearing that my kids are inside playing video games while the sun is up (which, to be fair to them, living in Chicago, means only about 40 minutes a week) makes my skin crawl.
In short, video gaming implies a certain level of sloth that leads directly to everything from heart disease to cancer.
But Brian Kingrey may be changing all of that. Video games got him PAID!
Kingrey is your average 25-year-old, newly married music teacher who enjoys video games. And while it's games like Call of Duty and League of Legends that are his favorites, it's MLB 2K11 that made him a millionaire. Kingrey is the winner of Take-Two Interactive's million-dollar MLB 2K11 contest, a challenge that awards a million bucks to the first gamer who pitches a perfect game in MLB2K11.
"I actually heard about the contest on X-Play. As soon as we saw it, my wife said to me, 'You have to do this,'" Kingrey said, simultaneously confirming how he found out about the contest and the fact that he way outkicked his coverage in marriage. (A wife that encourages video gaming? Awesome woman, maybe the coolest. Does she have some good porn links she can send my way, too?)
Like any world-class "athlete," Kingrey had to train for his day in the sun, practicing for about five hours a day for the two weeks leading up to the start of the contest. Of course, the good people at MLB 2K11 probably thought it would take someone more than three tries at the game before winning the contest.
Yes, when it came time to compete, Kingrey completed a perfect game on only his third try.
So clearly, in order for such an historic performance to have ensued there needs to be something special on both ends of the perfect game. Yes, Kingrey decided that he would roll with MLB 2K11 cover boy, Philly's Roy Halladay. Smart move. The right move. But pitching a perfect game on just your third try takes more than a special pitcher. It takes a rare caliber of suck on the batting end of things.
So it should come as little surprise that Video Roy Halladay spun his perfect gem against -- YOU GUESSED IT! -- the 2011 Houston Astros! Kingrey tried to make it sound like there was a high degree of strategy involved in selecting the best pitcher of the last decade to go against the worst team in baseball:
"Halladay has this really mean slider that's incredible versus right-handed batters," Kingrey explained. "I picked the Astros because they're really aggressive when they attack the ball, so they swing at a lot of pitches they probably shouldn't swing at, and the Astros have only two left-handed batters."
Allow me to translate: Halladay is awesome. The Astros are terrible. Kingrey is spelled with a K. And "a million" has six zeroes. Check, please.
Honestly, it begs the questions -- if a video gamer throws a perfect game against the Video Astros, should they get the full million? Should they even get paid at all? There should be a degree of difficulty attached, right? Does Brian Kingrey feel like a little less of a man? He should, right? Does Video Carlos Lee eat a bucket of video chicken in the video dugout?
So many questions.
When asked what he was going to do with the money, Kingrey was practical in his answer:
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"Our first purchase is going to be a refrigerator. Me and my wife just got married. We just got into our new house, and we can't afford a refrigerator just yet, so we've been using a little dorm fridge."
So there you have it, ladies and gentleman, Brian Kingrey.
The one man on earth who has no qualms with the direction the Astros are headed. The latest Drayton McLane-made millionaire.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.