June 11, 2008 > Game-Xtravaganza
Video Game Tournament Comes to DeVry University
By Ethan Chou
With mice clicking furiously and shouts of dismay occasionally erupting from defeated combatants, over 30 contestants engaged in a video game tournament held at DeVry University in Fremont.
Battling head to head in a contest to remain the last player left alive, pre-college kids and college students alike sat riveted to computers screens, jockeying for dominance via Epic Games' Unreal Tournament 2004. Competing for over $1,000 in prizes, gamers from throughout the area came to participate in friendly competition, as well as meet fellow game enthusiasts. Though originally 80 people registered for the event, only about half of the projected attendees showed up. This, however, did not stop the students present from thoroughly enjoying a day full of running, shooting, and smashing.
Eventually, Daniel Gannon, Shawn Watson, and Jordan Stewart triumphed, garnering 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place respectively. All students at DeVry University, they joked with one another after the tournament ended - remarks about Daniel being "too good" were obvious in their comments.
When asked why they decided to compete, many players expressed a genuine love of video games. Even during the break between the Unreal Tournament segment and the Super Smash Bros. Brawl event, people sat in front of various televisions and projectors arranged around the largest room of DeVry's main building and amused themselves with games for the Nintendo Wii.
Clearly, though, the substantial prizes had an impact on their motivation. One participant, Bradley Rose, said that he chose to play "to win money, you know. Hey, it was like $500 for 1st place."
Gannon, the winner of the 1st part of the day's activities, said, "Well, I don't have a job," implying that competing was, at least in part, for the bonus to his wallet.
The event sponsored by DeVry was also giving away a large television as a prize.
After a brief intermission, the entrants moved to a larger room for the Super Smash Bros. Brawl single-elimination style tournament. The number of competitors had dropped to 18, but all players and visitors crowded around the projector screen to watch the intense competition often associated with the widely popular Nintendo game.
Organizing themselves fairly smoothly, the players quickly ran through several rounds of 1-on-1 matches, the person who stayed alive advancing to the next round. After every battle, the combatants would shake hands as the audience applauded them both, camaraderie tangible even amidst fierce competition.
Wayne Anthony, Director of Outreach and Scholarships at DeVry, organized this event as "part of our outreach to the community... it's an important way to let people know who we are." This was only one of many special events he has organized for the students at DeVry. They have also taken trips to video game companies such as EA Sports and plan on visiting LucasArts in several weeks.
Mr. Anthony, obviously well liked by the students, traded jokes and funny stories with players as he organized the brackets for competition and set up the rules. When asked how he enjoyed working with the community, he answered, "Yeah, it's fun... we try to do as much outreach-wise as we can." He also expressed his own interest in video games and the fact that DeVry is one of only a few colleges with a video game design program as reasons why he decided on this particular venue as a way to benefit the community.
In the end, Alan Kung took home 1st prize with Shawn Watson coming in a close 2nd in the Brawl tournament. However, in spite of the competition, the participants all remained upbeat and cheerful, excited just to have had such an exciting event. As one female student aptly put it, "We should do this every month!"