Two-time Madden Football World Champion Drini Gjoka was the headliner of the Esports Expo at the Clear Creek Exchange and was given a tour of Fort Hood Friday.
During his visit, Gjoka, a gamer sponsored by Complexity Gaming, was given the opportunity to operate the AH-64 Apache and the UH-60 Black Hawk simulators at Hood Army Airfield.
“The flight simulators were nothing like a video game,” Gjoka said. “They were so real. I thought I was actually flying a helicopter. I had a great time and I would 100% do this again.”
After Gjoka was finished flying in the simulator, he arrived at the Esports Expo held at the exchange, to sign autographs and take pictures with his fans. He also met with Fort Hood youth at Comanche Youth Center.
The expo was hosted by several organizations, including Army Entertainment, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, Complexity Gaming, USAA bank and the U.S. Army National Guard. The expo also featured booths from several gaming developers and gaming merchants.
The expo was only one part of the events planned for the weekend. Refugio Orozco, the corporate sponsorship program manager for DFMWR, explained. There was an online nationwide Madden Football video game tournament for all active duty and National Guard Soldiers. The winners of the tournament won the chance to travel to Dallas to visit the Complexity Gaming headquarters. At the headquarters, they will experience a day in the life of a professional gamer, while also indulging in the facilities and equipment that are available to the Dallas Cowboys.
“We have found a direct correlation between professional gaming and being an athlete or Soldier,” Orozco said. “There is a natural element of readiness tied in to Esports and training. And we are bringing professionalism to the advancement of Esports in the industry.”
Hand-eye coordination and problem solving are universal in gaming as well as any other professional organization, Orozco explained. The facilities in Dallas have state-of-the-art training equipment that can measure reaction times and physical measurements to improve Soldiers, athletes and gamers.
“Our end state is to provide these Soldiers with knowledge to deal with everyday challenges,” Orozco said, “but also to give them a release through recreation.”