Playing video games online against strangers is fun, and controlling your favorite athletes through video games is fun too. But what if the stranger you played against was also your favorite athlete? Retired Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer is the co-founder of OverDog, a mobile app that allows athletes to challenge their fans to video games.
The app is still in its early development stage and is currently free for both fans and players.
Hillenmeyer gives RedEye his rundown on Chicago athlete gamers, from the regular winners to the guys who need some more time with the sticks.
CALL OF DUTY
Forte's pretty legit. He's been on there a little bit. Most of the guys on the Bears are just sort of recreational Call of Duty guys. Peanut is actually kind of good at Call of Duty. He's one of those that's a little more bark than bite, but he's pretty intense about it. Briggs plays Halo. That's pretty much his favorite game.
The best Chicago Call of Duty guy is Austin Berry. He plays for the Fire. He was the MLS rookie of the year last year, and he kills people on OverDog in Call of Duty. Every time he plays with a bunch of fans, he's got the best score in the room. I don't think that's ever not happened. He's on OverDog four times a week. And you can see the guys that really have a knack for it like that.
GENERAL SPORTS SKILLS
Kahlil Bell's been a good gamer for us. Alex Brown – he's great but kind of sucks. Tommie Harris, he's pretty good with the sports games. Pisa [Tinoisamoa], he's pretty good at a lot of the sports games. Henry Melton – he stinks, but he's enthusiastic.
I chatted last week with Rex Grossman – familiar name to Bears fans, a polarizing guy – and he is totally hooked on FIFA right now. Rex is working on the whole Redskins locker room to get a bunch of those guys signed up on OverDog. I didn't even know he was a gamer when he was here, except he would play college football against Olin [Kreutz] every now and then in the locker room.
Olin and Chris Williams and [Roberto] Garza – those three guys used to rotate and have a little tournament every lunchtime in NCAA Football. That was their game. Every single day they would go in there and play 20 minutes of video games right after lunch while their food digested, and then go hit the weight room. Like Pavlov's dog, and they took it seriously. Lots of trash talk. Lots of language that would not be suitable for [print].
I've got Cutler on there. Cutler hasn't played any games yet. He lives about four blocks from here now, so I'm mad at him about that. He's busy though. (Smiles.) It probably means he's being a good dad.
Especially for quarterbacks, since they're the ones who are supposed to be buried in the gameplanning every week, I'm not sure people would want to see Cutler on OverDog during the season.
Overwhelmingly, athletes play as themselves when they play their game. If Matt Forte plays Madden, he wants to run the rock and throw it to himself. (Laughs.) And I think that the kind of fans that are attracted to OverDog tend to be the same way. They’d rather win with their team than sell out and win with the traitorous Green Bay Packers.
Most popular games among the Bears:
Call of Duty
Play these guys
Bears on OverDog include Matt Forte, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Henry Melton, Chris Conte, and Adam Podlesh. The Bulls' Jimmy Butler & Taj Gibson are also members.
So what’s your favorite locker room video game story?
I’m not sure I can tell them, because some of them involve lots of money changing hands. (Laughs.) But NCAA was the game that got people the most heated my last year there.
And it went from bets of pride to bets that involved, like, running outside in your shorts. The loser would have to go outside and go through walk-through on a 5-degree day in 30 mph winds in shorts and a T-shirt. It escalated from dares that the loser would have to do, like that, to just outright cash changing hands. [Laughs.] There were some tense moments. Lots of broken controllers in the game lounge from NCAA Football. I don’t want to give too many details because I don’t want to incriminate anybody, but there were some hilarious bets and prop bets made around who was going to win and who was going to lose.
Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor.
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