Gaming league hosts first tournament

Computer engineering freshman Karl Roesler cringes during a game of Counterstrike in Coffman Memorial Union.  Roesler, along with other members of the University College Gaming League, conducted an 11-hour gaming event in which they competed for prizes in various computer games.

Ashley Goetz

Computer engineering freshman Karl Roesler cringes during a game of Counterstrike in Coffman Memorial Union. Roesler, along with other members of the University College Gaming League, conducted an 11-hour gaming event in which they competed for prizes in various computer games.

By 6:30 p.m. of a daylong tournament, 13 competitors were left to continue playing the University of Wisconsin, but unlike an athletics tournament, the competition was virtual. The College Gaming League, in its first year at the University of Minnesota, held its first tournament on Saturday, playing multiple computer-based games like âÄúCall of Duty 4âÄù and âÄúCounter-Strike: Source,âÄù against the Badgers. Communications sophomore and gaming club President Sam Ruedinger said he started the gaming league because there was no other student group dedicated to gaming. The club is a chapter of a larger gaming league sponsored by Dell that provides three computers and funding in return for advertising, Ruedinger said. Because this tournament consisted of computer-based games, Ruedinger said it took a lot of coordinating between the Wisconsin club, the University and the group members to make the event possible; technology, however, comes with some unexpected problems. âÄúWeâÄôve had a lot of technical difficulties today,âÄù he said. When using the Internet for gaming, Ruedinger said a wire connection works better than using wireless Internet. The group wasnâÄôt authorized to use the jacks in the Coffman Union conference room it reserved, which caused some connection problems throughout the day. But, despite the few setbacks, the University club beat Wisconsin in both games played by 6 p.m. The tournament began at noon and was set to finish around 11 p.m. Political science first-year Daniel Starkey said he heard about the gaming league through the Welcome Week activities fair and thought it would be a good activity to get involved with. HeâÄôd been at the tournament since 12:30 p.m. âÄúThereâÄôs a lot of interesting people here and itâÄôs a lot of fun to sit down and play,âÄù Starkey said. Emma Wan, an international business first-year student, said she joined the gaming league as a way to meet people. Wan said she didnâÄôt really start playing video games until this year, but said she thinks having a gaming club at the University reaches a different audience than other clubs. âÄúThere is always clubs for people who play sports and typical activities, but thatâÄôs not a representation of a large group of people out there,âÄù she said. âÄúA lot of people play games in todayâÄôs culture.âÄù Ninety-seven percent of teenagers ages 12 to 17 play some sort of video game, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center in September. With those teenagers eventually heading to college, Starkey said he was surprised the University didnâÄôt have a gaming club until this year. Despite the large number of people interested in gaming, Starkey said the medium isnâÄôt as respected as other mediums like movies, music or books. âÄúItâÄôs a very unique medium,âÄù he said. âÄúIt allows you to interact with a story and characters in a way you canâÄôt with a movie.âÄù Although Starkey said SaturdayâÄôs tournament may have enhanced stereotypes of gamers because they got together to âÄúvirtually kill each other,âÄù gamers are really no different than any other person. To help the club continue to grow and appeal to all types of gamers, Ruedinger said he plans to organize a âÄúGears of War 2,âÄù an Xbox 360 game , release party and a Nintendo Wii event. âÄúWe get a couple of new sign ups a week,âÄù he said.