HOURS spent playing video games has paid off for Woodvale teenager Marianne Hade.
What started as a hobby for the 18-year-old, known online as Latias, has led to international travel and the potential for a professional gaming career.
Marianne recently returned from Los Angeles, where she was part of an Australian and New Zealand team competing at one of the world’s biggest gaming events, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
She started playing the Nintendo Wii U game Splatoon in 2015 and joined online tournaments early last year, with her team making the grand final of the Australia and NZ Splatoon Cup.
Marianne was flown to Melbourne for the April event, where she met her fellow teammates, who hailed from Darwin, Sydney and New Zealand.
“It was pretty nerve-racking because a lot of people were watching,” she said.
Marianne was surprised and elated at the win, which saw the team go on to represent the region at the world tournament at E3.
Then aged 17, she was just old enough to attend and was proud of their third placing against representatives from the US, Europe and Japan, as well as the fact they had three females in their team while the others were all males.
The competition was broadcast online to nearly 100,000 people around the world.
Marianne described the expo as “really hectic” but she met many friendly people.
She has postponed starting her nursing degree until next semester because of the competition, but wants to continue in competitions and is eyeing the possibility of a gaming career.
“It was just a game that I enjoyed playing. I didn’t expect free trips to LA and Melbourne from it,” she said.
“I never really thought I’d become an eSports star.”