Each Thursday night over the past five weeks, Eastern gamers were given the chance to compete at various video games in the Breezeway. Each week featured a different game and a new chance to win a $50 Best Buy gift certificate and a custom-made trophy.
Breezeway employees Steve Jacke and John Sours were the competition’s administrators.
“We like to have special events for students,” said Jacke, Sodexho’s retail supervisor and the competition’s organizer.
“The video game competition is an event that makes sense for college students. Everyone plays video games…especially competitive multiplayer games,” he said.
A study of over 1,000 college students across the US conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 65 percent of college students play video and computer games on a regular or occasional basis. Over two-thirds of the study’s respondents claimed to have been playing games since elementary school.
Half of college video gamers reportedly play multiplayer games. Racing, sports and action games were reported to be the most common “party games,” where players engage in split-screen mode on one or more consoles.
Interactive entertainment has become an irreplaceable part of youth lifestyle.
“I was brought up on video games,” said first-year Scott Dolham, who competed in two of the competition’s events. “They have always been something to do when I’m bored.”
Despite his passion for gaming, Dolham still manages a job with Sodexho, a spot on the ultimate frisbee team, time with friends and schoolwork.
“I lead a pretty normal college life,” Dolham admitted. Even though video games can occasionally divert his attention from studying, Dolham knows when he “has to restrain.”
For most students in the Pew study, gaming seemed to produce little to no diversion from their scholarly labors. About two-thirds of the college students from the study felt that gaming had no influence on their academic performance. However, a small fraction of students agreed that games do occasionally prevent them from studying.
Halo 2, a popular multiplayer action game for the Microsoft Xbox, was played the first week of the Breezeway’s competition. Teams of two played on separate televisions.
After hours of exciting action along with a tense one-point-deciding semifinal match, seniors Brian McClincey and Benjamin Davis battled for first place, and Davis emerged victorious. In a final one-on-one match, Davis edged out his partner to become Eastern’s single greatest Halo 2 player.
The contest continued the second week with NFL Street 2 for the Sony Playstation 2. NFL Street 2 is a fast-paced, hard-hitting “backyard” football game featuring the National Football League’s star players. Players played head-to-head until senior Adam Deering came out on top.
Davis became a two-game winner in the third week, defeating the competition in The New Tetris for Nintendo Gamecube.
The fourth night of the competition brought the most heated struggles. Players combatted in Super Smash Brothers Melee for Gamecube. In a close final battle, first-year Eric Walter defeated his brother, senior Kevin Walter, to claim the prizes and glory.
Last Thursday marked the competition’s championship night. The winners of each game were invited to compete in a mystery game to find the best video game player on campus. The mystery game turned out to be Duckhunt for the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
After the downing of many waves of virtual waterfowl, Deering emerged from the fray as “Eastern’s Greatest Video Game Player.”
Remarking on his victory, Deering simply said, “I feel proud and nerdy at the same time.”