Mice clicked, keyboards clacked, controllers rattled and Bob Ross emitted from a projector, filling the air with a constant hum.
Northwest student video game players came together to casually and competitively play video games while simultaneously creating new ones — all with energy provided from drinks and snacks.
The Association of Computer Machinery held a Game-a-thon March 9 in Colden Hall. Students who paid $10, $5 if they pre-registered, were allowed to join in, bringing their own personal computers or gaming consoles.
Alongside video games brought by attendees, pizza, snacks and drinks were provided by ACM.
ACM President Jack Hill, a junior majoring in cybersecurity and minoring in computer science, said the idea for the event came from Extra Life, a similar event hosted by ACM.
“A few years ago, the very first time we ever hosted this event, it was called Extra Life, and we still host Extra Life,” Hill said “Extra Life, if you’re not aware, is a group initiative of gamers that sought out and said how can we benefit the world with our gaming. The last two years, we’ve raised over $400 for the Children’s Miracle Network, which is funding and research for children that are afflicted with cancer.”
Due to the success of its Extra Life event, ACM created the Game-a-thon to provide a similar event in the spring, without the charity aspect, and each year it’s grown larger.
“Every single Game-a-thon that we’ve ever done has only gotten larger,” Hill said. “I think our first one only had 25 members to the fall being around 30-40. This one we’re almost up to 50-60.”
To help organize the event, ACM partnered with the Fighting Games Club and the Maryville Board Game Cafe.
Fighting Games Club hosted two “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” tournaments.
The first of the two tournaments followed a doubles format. Players competed in teams of two, facing off against one another.
The winners of the doubles tournament were freshman digital media major Michael Mullins and sophomore broadcasting major, with an emphasis in audio, Richard Roveto winning $5 each.
Mullins commented on their win.
“I think we kinda thought we had it. We had a 6-0 (six opponents beat with no losses) so far with the same character. We never had to counter play (changing your play style or picking a different map to counter another player) or anything,” Mullins said.
The other tournament was a singles tournament where players competed by themselves against one other player in each match.
The winner was freshman Michael Mullins, winning $70.
The Board Game Cafe also contributed to the event, allowing ACM to borrow a variety of board games for attendees to play.
Hill said the Board Game Cafe has helped ACM with events throughout the past.
“Scott who owns the Board Game Cafe; his wife is a very large advocate for the department. She graduated from Northwest in the computer science department,” Hill said. “So, we were able to get in contact with her through some of the faculty here, and she was able to sponsor us board games through the Board Game Cafe.”
The Board Game Cafe also donated card games as prizes for a game jam, an event where competitors had nine days to create a video game, hosted at the Game-a-thon. The competitors then presented their video games to a panel of judges and attendees of the event.
The theme of the game jam was time.
The winner of the game jam was a puzzle game called “Time and Time Again,” created by senior Daniel Favor, sophomore Dave Chen and senior Clinton Davelaar.
Another game, created by junior computer science major and math minor Alex Gittemeier and junior computer science major Keenan Piveral-Brooks, “ChronOS” was coined the audience favorite through an attendee vote.
Piveral-Brooks and Gittemeier commented on some of the struggles they faced when creating their video game.
“We started with the wrong framework. I mean we spent, what was it, like four or five days of the seven or eight we were given probably (on the wrong framework),” Piveral-Brooks said.
“And then when we picked the right framework, we were able to reimplement the work that we did in, like, three hours,” Gittemeier said.
“ChronOS” can be played online at https://alexg.xyz/ChronOS/.