Oh, and like them, gamers love blowing off reporters.
"Uh, Fatal1ty doesn't like to talk on game days," his publicist told me. "Maybe you could submit your questions?"
O.K. Question 1: Could he byte me?
Anyway, the main reason to get your kids off the geometry and onto the joystick might be this one: The better they get at video games, the more you get to hang out with them.
Take LoSt-CaUzE (Rafik Bryant). "It's definitely brought us even closer," says his dad, Harold, who's working less as the president of his own mortgage brokerage company and more as LoSt-CaUzE's business manager. And this is a guy who once hid his son's computer in the closet to get him to do his homework.
"My mom wasn't really that cool with [video games] at first," says Tsquared (Tom Taylor), a high school dropout whose Str8 Rippin team won Halo 2. "But then I came home one day from a tournament when I was 15 and slapped a $500 check down on the kitchen counter and said, 'Well, Mom? Whaddya think now?'"
Now he's got an online business with 13 employees, including 10 who teach people how to play Halo 2. (For $115 an hour, Tsquared will teach you himself.) Now he pays his mom rent to stay in her house in Jupiter, Fla., while he decides where to buy his own crib.
"Our living room usually has 10 TVs going at all times and kids lying all over," says Chris Howard, team manager of XiT Woundz and dad of two of the team's stars. Sounds like hell? O.K., when's the last time your 17-year-old brought home a limited edition Scion xB?
At least these guys aren't out in the streets. And they aren't boozebags or recreational drug users. Video games are their drugs. And, besides, what's the point of fighting them? Like you're going to stop them anyway?
"My dad and I had a huge falling out over it," says gaming star moto (Dave Geffon), 24. "He'd yell, 'You're ruining your life!' ... And it wasn't until he was dying [of cancer] that I finally started talking to him again.... But me, I just decided life's too short to spend it doing something that doesn't make you happy."