The United Kingdom will have strong contingent at first Commonwealth Esports Championships in Birmingham this summer
Glasgow is a city that lives and breathes football – so perhaps it’s no wonder that one of the UK’s finest eFootballers is a resident.
Gary McInnes – aka Big Stuff – works as a night porter at a hotel in the city center for a living, and at the weekend watches his beloved Celtic play, the Scottish league champions. In between all that he is online, defeating all-comers from around the globe on his PlayStation 5.
Becoming a great player is all about having the right attitude, he believes.
“Game knowledge is a must, of course, but it all comes down to mentality in my opinion,” said McInnes, 24, of the fine margins between winning and losing at eFootball.
“If you have a bad mentality, no matter how talented you are, you can still get beaten. Someone can be better than you, but you can maybe manage to annoy them and that can help you. Have a good mentality, and play on their mentality, and you can still win games, no problem.”
McInnes developed a passion for gaming as a kid, watching his uncle play, but it was only around five years ago – after beating all his friends – that he realized he had a proper talent.
“I was playing weekend league football games, but I also had a job that took me to some gaming tournaments, and I’d end up sneaking away from the stand I was working at and entering,” he said.
“I’d come back an hour later and I’d have won it, and I’d have got £100 or something like that, enough for a night out for us all! But I realized I was getting better, and eventually, I got into the official Scotland team.”
McInnes plays both FIFA and eFootball to a high standard and is optimistic about his chances at the Commonwealth Esports Championships.
“It was when I beat a pro player from the Manchester United official team a while back that I started to get quite confident,” he said. “Before the match I thought ‘I’m in trouble here’, but I got to the final of that tournament and beat him.”
“If I can deploy good tactics and keep a strong mentality in Birmingham, I’ll be fine. This will be the biggest event I’ve ever been to. The Commonwealth Games is massive, and it could be the start of something really big, having an esports competition alongside it.”
“I think this tournament can show how skillful you need to be to play these games, how competitive it is. The world is changing and sports events are changing alongside all that, so it’s brilliant that the CEC is happening.”
McInnes has proved a point to his own family already, showing that esports is far more than just a hobby.
“In recent years, I’ve been going to events, and they’ve learned this is a way to make money and it can be a job,” he said. “Esports is a world with a lot of opportunities.”
“These days, my family and friends are so happy for me, and they are very supportive. I live with my grandparents and they are so happy, they never stop talking about what I’m up to.”
“I’m so proud to be picked for Scotland, to represent my country. It’s a great feeling and I’m buzzing to get down there and see how I get on. It will be great meeting other players from all over the world. I want to try to make a name for myself, but most of all, I need to not let Scotland down.”
Get your tickets to the first ever Commonwealth Esports Championships today.