Trigger fingers at the ready

This week we've confirmed which PC games will feature in the much-anticipated third and biggest Windows Gaming Championship (AKA WGC3), so click here to find out which titles you'll need to master and why we chose them...

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By  Matthew Wade Published  February 3, 2008

For two years now the Windows Middle East team has been pitching the region's best PC button bashers against each other in a haze of fragging mayhem and, in the case of last year's WGC2 event, furious footie action too. This time around, we're upping our game on two fronts, by adding a fourth country to the mix in the form of Qatar, and updating the games you'll need to nail to bag WGC's prize cash.

In terms of where and when, the WGC3 roadshow will hit KSA, Kuwait, Qatar and Dubai during May and June - with our regional ‘best of the best' final again due to happen immediately after the last, hotly-contested Dubai heat.

So that's the logistics, now onto the games. Format-wise, we figured ‘If it ain't broke, then we won't fix it', which means the first day of each country contest will comprise a team event, with day two dedicated to an individual player contest.

As you might remember, the first ever WGC event saw two-player teams battling it out at Warcraft 3, whilst for WGC2 we updated the game in question again, basing the fragging action last year on five-player Counterstrike Source battles.

This year however we're moving further ahead, and really distancing ourselves from the ‘Counterstrike or nothing' mindset that's so prevalent in many such gaming events, instead inflating the character sizes - and the guns. Yes this year we're going for Team Fortress II, from the fantastically-priced PC gaming package ‘Orange Box'.

Whilst the likes of Unreal Tournament 3 and Quake Wars Enemy Territory all came close to sealing the WGC3 deal, having played all these titles and Team Fortress II in recent weeks we found the latter simply more fun (and also more entertaining to look at for WGC's crowds). The game features nine character classes in all - ranging from soldiers to medics and spies - which you'll need to assemble into very carefully configured teams if you're to succeed in any of the game's newly expanded environments. There's also a degree of real-life humour on offer (characters shout taunts, if that is they're not crying for help), so even if your crew does bite the dust in the first round, you'll at least all die laughing. In short, when it comes to frenzied fun, combined with intelligent team play over wide and interesting geographies, it doesn't get any better right now than Team Fortress II.

Our single player event meanwhile looks set to appeal to even more gamers than last year's Pro Evo Soccer-fest and WGC 2006's Quake 4. This summer, at WGC3, the winners of our individual cash prizes will be those who can harness the power of several hundred horses, burn rubber without wiping out, and steer their way to success on the track... that's right, we're going racing, with TOCA Race Car Driver 3 by Codemasters.

Why this particular title? Well as you can imagine, we carefully scrutinised all the PC race titles out there, from the latest Need for Speed release, to Colin McRae and Sega Rally titles. Our conclusion was that TOCA is simply the most realistic and most fun driving simulator around right now; each car's handling is near-perfect, you can crash your motor into your competitors' (and when you do, the game's damage modeling looks the business), and of course there are the race modes. So, so many race modes... everything from Indy cars to stock cars, GT flyers, off-roaders, rally cars, supertrucks, touring cars and plenty more besides. Whilst we haven't confirmed exactly which modes we'll be using for the WGC3 rounds and finals as yet, my word to the wise is to get busy with the game's touring and stock car races, as those are the choices I'll be pushing when the WGC team meets later this week.

Time to get practicing then. For more game and venue information as and when it's confirmed, check out www.itp.net/wgc. See you at the games!

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