Monday, March 12, 2012

Lan War 2012 Experience

I worked earlier in the week quite a bit to make for, one of my favourite experiences I had last year, UOIT’s Lan war, a 48 hour gaming event. Although I didn’t spend all my time there (since I don’t like pulling all nighters and there was still some work to be done), but all the time I spent was great, it was a ton of fun just to play with others and have good time with them. The part that was the most fun was the social interaction. I talked with a lot of people I hadn’t seen before, played with them and generally had a really fun time just because everyone was so friendly. This whole aspect ties into one of the lessons we learned in Game Design but I will talk about that later in the blog, I would rather focus on what actually happened.

Lanwar III promotional trailer

Day 1

So the event started at 10:00pm on Friday, March 9th. It started off with a few tournaments, namely Starcraft 2 which was actually sponsored by E-Sports Canada. I didn’t participate however and mostly ended up playing a bit of League of Legends casually with people around and online. I didn’t stay long that night, and ended up going around 1 or 2 am to get some rest. Tomorrow would be the time where I spent more time since that was when the tournaments I was interested in partaking would be.

Day 2
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 was one of the tournaments held during LanWar

I returned Saturday morning and participated in the League of Legends 5 vs 5 tournament. I formed a team with various other people around including my fellow group member Mike. Our team was solid but we ended up losing our match we knocked us out early unfortunately. Shortly after I participated in the Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 tournament, unfortunately there weren’t too many people in the tournament but I took first place anyways. I don’t think I lost a single round in the tournament and ended up winning a fight stick for use with my fighting games. A very good prize in my opinion, already giving me the benefits of my $10 required to get into Lanwar. The price on these things can vary to fairly high prices and my stick seems fairly good so definitely well worth it.

My prize for winning UMvC3

Afterwards I played various other games, mostly fighting games. I brought my xbox, so I hooked it up and we played games such as Mortal Kombat, Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 and the newly released Street Fighter X Tekken. I also ended up playing Super Smash Brothers Melee and Brawl, as well as Mario Kart Wii. Most of the fun came from just the interactions with the other players, just generally having a good time even if we were winning or losing. Not taking the game seriously was the best way to make sure everyone had a good time. Other people ended up using my Xbox, playing Halo Reach and Call of Duty Black Ops, though I didn’t play with them. The great thing about Lanwar is how everyone will let each other use their gaming systems, and generally everyone is friendly and inviting so everyone really gets a chance to play. No one tried hogging a system, they always let someone else come in to play. That’s really most of what made the event so much fun.

Brawl was one of the tournaments held at midnight

Saturday night continued with the Super Smash Brothers Brawl tournament. In this tournament there were quite a few people, around 12 to 16 players. I easily got through the competition until I ran into another player who I believe is a high level tournament player. He knew a lot of techniques and skills that I had not fought before though seen in high level play before and he was able to knock me into the loser's bracket where I would have another chance to make it to the finals. I fought another player around my skill level in the loser's finals and I was able to defeat him and I made it to the finals to fight the high level player once again. I put up quite a good fight, though unfortunately not able to beat him. It was very intense but very fun to play and I am proud to fight a good, high level player as I generally don’t get to fight any. In the end I was 2nd place for the Smash Brothers Brawl Tournament and I don’t believe there was a prize for 2nd (not that I knew of at least). The night ended at 4 or 5 am in the morning, definitely past my bed time. I went right home after that and slept in for as long as I could.

Day 3

Next morning I spent most of my day working on various requirements for our game development game as well as any remaining homework I needed to complete. Once dinner time hit, I went back to Lan War for the concluding hours and participated in the final and most important tournament of Lan War, the King of Games tournament. This being Lan War 3, this is the third King of Game’s tournament as it is in every Lan War. I attended the first Lan war, taking the King of Games tournament but I did not attend the 2nd Lan war so obviously I could not participate then.

The remaining players gathered for the King of Games tournament, playing the first game, Super Smash Bros (N64)

Basically what the King of Games tournament is players being put into a series of games from various genres. Fighting games, puzzle, platforming, you name it, it could be any game. There were around 24 players in the tournament because most had left already due to the 48 hours in the Lan War, its hard to keep everyone around. It started as 24, going into Super Smash Brothers on the N64. Players were separated into groups of 3, with the player with the lowest score in a timed match being kicked out. 

Bomberman 64, the next game in the tournament

This made it 16 players remaining, which then went to Bomberman on the N64, where players had to be the last one standing to win a round. Win 3 rounds and you would advance. At this point, groups were split into 4, so only 1 out of those 4 would advance. I managed to snag victory in Bomberman, moving to the next round and becoming part of the final four in the tournament.

Kirby's Avalanche was the third game

The next game was a puzzle game I had never heard of, Kirby’s Avalanche. I never even knew Kirby had a puzzle game, it was quite interesting. It was rather simple though and didn’t take too long to get the hang of, but I was never much of a puzzle game player anyways so I thought for sure I would lose. Thankfully I managed to win best 2 out of 3, going 2 to 1 and solidifying my place in the finals of the tournament.

The final game was Pokemon Stadium 2

Finally we went to the finals of the tournament and it was a 1 vs 1 match in Pokemon Stadium 2 on the N64. We had to choose our teams from a list of rental pokemon then face each other, picking 3 out of the 6 pokemon on our teams (For strategy purposes of course). It was very tense and the battle went back and forth a lot. I managed to get the first win, and then narrowly losing the 2nd round. The third and final match that would declare the winner was very very close, it was literally one turn away on each side from knocking the other one out. My attack barely managed to do just enough damage to knock out his last pokemon. His pokemon was a water type and mine was a fire, so he could have killed me. The whole battle was very intense because there were a lot of misses and critical hits going on that kept changing the tide of the battle. It was definitely a battle worthy of the finals of a tournament and I managed to snag the title of King of Games at Lan War once again. That makes it my 2nd time at Lan War and my 2nd title, I seem to have won it every time. I wonder if I might have been able to get it at the 2nd Lan War? This was probably the most exciting moment in Lan war for me just because it was so close, a complete blow out would not have been nearly as interesting.
My prize as King of Games for LanWar III

The remaining few that stayed for the end of LanWar III


Now that was my fantastic experience in Lan war and I am going to reinforce why. The Social aspect of it all. Playing with everyone else in person, seeing their reactions, laughing with them, it’s so much better than anything online can really do. I know this for sure, online can never really replace playing next to someone. So many classic games were played that either don’t work as well online, or don’t have online at all. Games like playing Bomberman again after who knows how many years was just so much fun because though most people didn’t really know what they were doing or were relying on their experiences in the past, even though we weren’t truly skilled, it was just so much fun because everyone was laughing and watching as the matches played out. It’s one thing to just play online with others and another to be around other people all sharing the experience in the same room. It makes me really appreciate all the gatherings around one console or gaming area that online cannot replicate (at least not currently). It’s something I have always and will probably always enjoy more than online play. Online I choose for convenience while playing in the same area is more for fun.

One final thing I want to say is talking about is that, in our game design lessons, it was pointed out that to have the most fun you need to find the right balance between difficulty and skill. The various fighting games I played on Saturday were fun because I played against some skilled opponents. Same for the Super Smash Bros tournament, that was a fun final match because even though I was defeated, it was a lot of fun to try and fight against someone at my/higher skill level. The games in the King of Games tournament were chosen in a way that most people don’t typically play them or haven’t played them, or games where there are luck factors that allow even some lower level people to match up, but still requiring skill to be able to win. Its what made all my matches fun, the Smash Bros match, the Bomberman match was close, the Kirby’s Avalanche match was close, and the Pokemon match was very very close. The most exciting moment in Lan War for me was that pokemon match just because it was very equal.

I just wanted to point out how these aspects I learned in Game Design are really apparent now and how they really translated to making my experience at Lan war amazing.

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