"I came home and slapped that check on the table and said, 'I won $4,000 playing a video game! What is this world coming to?'?" he says. "Winning $4,000 playing a video game in 1999 was insane. I'd played pool tournaments all my life, and it was $200 here, $200 there. It blew us both away."

Two weeks later, he was invited to Sweden to compete as the U.S. representative in the Quake III world championships in 2000. "I beat everyone," he says. "I won 18 games straight. Lost none. I dominated the whole thing." It was then that Fatal1ty made the decision - encouraged by a guidance counselor, no less - to drop out of school and pursue gaming full-time.

NOW CORRECT ME if I'm wrong, but I've never heard of any guidance counselor encouraging any student to drop out of school to play video games. I'm convinced it is this slight inconsistency between my career path and Fatal1ty's that finds me on the receiving end of a royal Quake 4 thrashing at the CES - and later writing about it - and not the one doing the thrashing and being written about. Of course, my video-game credentials end with Donkey Kong, while Fatal1ty's look more like this: He has now become the world champion in five first-person shooter­ games (Quake III, Alien vs. Predator 2, Unreal Tournament 2003, Doom 3, and Painkiller) - a feat never before accomplished (the likelihood of which is kind of akin to Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France five times in a row). His booth at CES is easily as big as those of his neighbors, like Belkin (famous for iPod accessories), Shure (famous for world-class audio equipment), and Palm (famous for those Pilots). Not only has he nurtured a gaming handle he stole from Mortal Kombat, but he has milked it into a worldwide brand that is redefining the digital lifestyle.

Gamers today can buy anything from a mouse (billed as a premier gaming weapon) to CPU coolers to graphics cards and motherboards, all bearing Fatal1ty's name. Though he earned an unbelievable $231,000 gaming in 2005, he already has the foresight to realize he can't play video games forever. He sees his future with the Fatal1ty brand, which is now contemplating clothing and lifestyle accessories at its monthly corporate meetings. "What we're doing, no one has really done before," he says of the Fatal1ty brand, which is in partnership with Creative, a worldwide leader in digital entertainment. "We will be careful about what we do, of course, but I'm swinging for the fences on everything."