Professional gamer and Guinness World Record video game champion Rob Paz, known as Prod1gyX, grew up in the Bronx just a block away from Yankee Stadium. The noise of the fans thundered through his family’s apartment for some 81 home games per year and he was within earshot of numerous World Series titles. Rob says, “When you were in the shower, you could feel the roar of the crowd shaking the tiles.”
He developed an early obsession with the Yankees that led to a fixation on playing sports: baseball, soccer and hockey. Then came Super Mario Brothers and his entrance into the world of gaming. Rob found that, unlike sports, he could “play video games all the time, anywhere I went.” Even when visiting relatives in Honduras, he took his gaming console with him in his backpack and plugged it into whatever TV he could find.
He played games around the clock with his friends. Unlike those friends, it was not just about recreation for Rob. “I was really driven to accomplish something – something different,” he states.
By the time Rob turned 17, there was an increasing number of mainstream gaming tournaments in New York City. Most of the tournaments were based around team competition in Halo. He joined a team of other talented gamers and became their expert at “first person shooter” games. Rob says, “We were very successful, but I felt that I could achieve even more in solo games.”
From observing the Yankees, Rob knew that part of being a successful competitor was showmanship and playing to the crowd. He decided to don sky-blue contact lenses as his trademark. He says, “I wanted to look different, because deep down I knew that I could do something unique and really wanted to show people.”
The gamer kid from the Bronx with the fluorescent blue eyes quickly became a world champion in Dance Dance Revolution, Halo: Gears of War and Guitar Hero. Rob took second place in the World Cyber Games: Ultimate Gamer reality show on the SyFy channel. Soon after, he made his way into the Guinness Book of World Records for his 7-hour score-busting game of Rock Band 2.
Rob was established as one of the world’s greatest gamers, but he points out, “Winning championships is one thing, making a steady career out of gaming is something else.” He admits, “I had to learn a lot of new things, like how to really market myself and how to build and maintain a lot of professional relationships.”
Rob is now an online broadcaster with some 2 million followers on Twitch.tv where he shares his love for Xbox gaming. In terms of getting his story out to the world and keeping in touch with other gamers around the world, he says, “Skype is my best friend.”
He explains, “I do group calls on Skype where others can watch my game play and I can simultaneously see their faces. We can really interact over a game and share technique. I am starting to do training too.”
Rob continues, “I try not to be egotistical like a lot of other top gamers but to use the limelight to inspire others. With Skype I can connect to people in a much more personal way. It’s important that the few of us who are professional gamers spread the word and inspire people as gaming continues to become mainstream entertainment.”