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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The Gamer: Step into the octagon with Mike Swick and Rampage Jackson


Mike Swick's virtual self pulls no punches.

Mike "Quick" Swick just knocked me out in under a minute (how's that for somebody living up to their nickname). And by knocked out, I mean put to sleep in the ugliest way, as his spinning backfist dropped me to a mat that has already soaked up far too much of my blood.

Thankfully, the "me" I'm talking about is my latest created character in THQ's awesome new fighter UFC 2009 Undisputed. (Lucky for me, no real blood was spilled in the making of this article). And when I met the real man behind the ferocious fists this weekend in Vegas, I found out he's a huge gamer.

"I created a guy and I'm going through career mode so I can see how I progress. I want to fight my teammates and eventually myself," says Swick. "They made me so good in the game, though, I think I'm going to get knocked out by myself, but I'll see what I can do. If anyone knows my weakness, it's me, right? I know when I've played as myself I've been knocked out twice with the Superman punch, so it looks like that's my Achilles heel in the game.

"Funny thing is THQ made my character look just like me. It's actually kind of creepy, because when I get knocked down in the game or when I lose, my heart kind of skips a beat because it looks like I'm watching a video of myself getting beat, like it's a past fight. It's a little too real. But to someone who grew up playing games, it's a dream come true to see myself on the screen. When you're a kid, you're playing these games and you envision yourself in whatever game you're playing. You play games to get into that false reality, so you can be something that is admirable to you at that time. I've always thought it would be amazing to be in a video game. I always wanted to be good enough at something so someone would want me in a video game, so when I saw myself in the game for the first time, it was just so surreal."

For gamers who don't follow the UFC, Swick describes his style as aggressive with a striking base (with aggressive being an understatement as he's knocked out a couple of his opponents within the first 25 seconds of the fight).

"My last fight was aggressive, and my next fight is June 13 against Ben Saunders, and it's going to be even more so," says Swick. "I want to put the pressure on my opponent and let him know that he's in a fight.

"I actually just fought Saunders on the game and I was so nervous because I figured if he ended up beating me, it was some sort of sign that I was going to lose in real life. I was so nervous, but then I won by knockout. I just hope it comes true."

As for the strategy gamers should employ when commanding cyber Swick in UFC 2009, the real fighter says go for the flurry. "Get the knockdown then stand on top and keep swinging. Seems to work for me in real life," Swick laughs. "Really, though, I'm just honored that someone would want to play as me in the game. Hopefully I can get you some knockouts."

And if that means more time knocking fools out as Swick and less time on my back in a pool of my own cyber blood, I'm all for it.

Rampage takes his Halo addiction on the road

Rampage Jackson refuses to miss out on gaming time.

I had always heard stories of Rampage Jackson and how he was so obsessed with video games that he had a system hooked up in his car, but in talking to Jackson over the weekend, I found out he's taken his game obsession to a whole new level.

"I have a personal limo, and I hooked up two of the old Xbox's to two TV's so I could play Halo in my car," Rampage tells me. "I was addicted to Halo back in the day, so whenever I would go anywhere, I could have somebody drive me so I wouldn't lose any video game time. That's the type of thinker I am. I try to strategize my time because time is something you can never get back. Time is the most valuable thing in this world, I don't care what nobody says.

"You can't make more time, but I need more time to play video games. So I thought of this idea, let me put this in my car so I can play my Halo while somebody drives me around. I was addicted to that Halo. I entered some tournaments, got my ass kicked. Played online, got my ass kicked. But in my car with my friends, I whooped their ass or threw them out of my car."