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He's king of the Nerds; BUT DROP-OUT DENNIS HAS A FERRARI.

By MAGGIE HALL in Washington

PARENTS, don't despair if your kid is a computer game addict.

There's a good living to be made in the arcade.

Before you wrench the joystick out of your teenager's over-active, hand, think of Thresh.

Thresh - real name Dennis Fong - is a professional hi-tech game player.

He has an agent, he earns more than pounds 60,000- a-year, he's got a lucrative Microsoft endorsement, he's written a best-seller...

And he recently won a FERRARI. Not bad for someone who's only 21!

Thresh - derived from "to strike repeatedly" - is an idol to millions of youngsters who, thanks to the Internet, can watch the cyber-battles he wins in champion style.

Off-screen, Thresh, from California, is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken kid.

But he's strong-willed when it comes to diet and training for a contest. He snacks on sushi and drinks hot lemon water the week before.

And he takes no chances with training. He does up to four hours every day and about six hours in the run-up to an event.

Dennis becomes a menace once he's logged-on. His speciality is multi- player action games.

And his expertise comes into its own at Quake - a complex electronic game that drives players, with the highest skilled and honed strategies, to the wall in droves.

But he finds it all so easy. In an idle moment he can sign on, find many global Internet players slugging it out - and wipe them out with just a few pings and blasts.

THERE was a time when his parents hoped Dennis would get a good business degree.

They were stricken when he dropped out to spend days and nights playing games on a computer.

But they had to change their minds when he started winning money.

And people like Micro-soft came a-calling. They signed Dennis to endorse their range of mice.

His father, an executive with computer giants Hewlett-Packard, had to admit he was impressed.

It's not that long ago that his mum was on to him to quit and do his homework.

Dennis laughs at the memory. "Now she's the first to make sure I practice enough, especially when I have a tournament coming up."

It was at a tournament last year, where he zapped 30,000 competitors to walk off with the Ferrari, that converted his family.

Not that he's really taken with the flashy, wheels.

He's got it up for sale. His insurance costs him about pounds 4,000-a-year. Dennis would rather pocket the money.

Meanwhile, those who promote the fast-moving digital entertainment industry can't pocket enough of Dennis.

He's become the Tiger Woods of terminals.

He's now founded Gamers' Extreme, a firm which operates gaming web sites and publishes an on-line magazine.

Whatever that future brings, Dennis "Thresh" Fong, is destined to be well ahead of the game...
COPYRIGHT 1998 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Hall, Maggie
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 8, 1998
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