This week in the Pro Gaming Spotlight, where we profile pro-gamers of the past and present, we look at the illustrious career of Dennis Fong, AKA ‘Thresher”.
Where to start? Dennis Fong (方鏞欽) was born in Hong Kong in 1977 and came to the United States when he was 11 years old. Nobody knew that this young man would become one of the most successful people in professional gaming.
It’s no surprise that Fong has been called “the Michael Jordan of video games“, and looking back at his accomplishments, it’s easy to see why. Voted as one of the “Top 20 Entrepreneurs Under 35” by Red Herring magazine and as one of the “Top North American E-Sports Figures of All Time” by the E-Sports Entertainment Association, the accolades can only briefly describe his accomplishments.
When Fong started out on the pro-gaming path, he initially chose the pseudonym “Threshold of Pain”; which meant being able to withstand the amount of pain given to someone. However, many games back then had an eight-character limit and the truncated “Threshol” did not sound cool enough. So he went with “Thresh” because he liked meaning of the word: which means ” to strike repeatedly”.
In games, Fong was known for his reflexes, intuition, and tactics. People coined the term “Thresh ESP” to describe his unnatural knack for knowing exactly where his opponents were at and what they were doing. One highlight of his gaming career was at the 1997 Red Annihilation Tournament; He and Tom “Entropy” Kizmey emerged from a crowded field to face off in the classic Quake level E1M2 “Castle of the Damned”. Fong, playing as “Thresh”, defeated “Entropy”, winning by 14-1. Another exciting moment was at the 1997 Quake Intergraph E3 Computer Gaming Conference in Atlanta, where he won 1987 328 GTS Ferrari convertible owned by John Carmack (the famed developer for id software, the man who revolutionized E-Sports by developing the game Doom).
In his gaming career, Fong rarely lost, winning tournaments over a five-year span in many games including Doom I/II, Quake II/III, and StarCraft. After a while, he retired from the scene, and using his prize winnings/endorsement money that he had earned from his gaming career, Dennis (and his brother Lyle) started many successful business ventures: GX Media, Gamers.com, FiringSquad, Lithium Technologies, the Xfire Instant Messaging Service, and the Raptr Social Network. During that time, Fong and his brother had earned an estimated total of $63 million from all of their successful business ventures.
So what does he do now? Aside from playing games for fun, Dennis “Thrash” Fong currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, enjoying life to the fullest, and is now guest writing articles for the magazine PC Gamer.
Not bad for someone who played video games for a living.