Gamers square off in
By David Lee
NAMED MY COMPUTER “BABY BLUE” IN HONOUR OF SOFT-CORE
PORN. Attendees at Western’s Gibfest — not to be
confused with Summer Ribfest — huddle around a “modded” computer
this past weekend.
While you were at home last weekend, throngs of people that hadn’t
seen the light of day in weeks emerged and took over the University
Community Centre. It wasn’t a real-life version of Night
of the Living Dead, though — it was Western’s Gibfest.
This past Saturday and Sunday, the UCC atrium played host to the
campus’ first ever large-scale LAN party. Created by the
Computer Science Students’ Association and the Western Electronic
Gaming Association (WEGA), Gibfest was designed as a chance for
over 100 Western students to play games against each other and
have some fun.
Aaron Woodyear, president of WEGA, stressed the logistical aspects
of the tournament. “Without transportation, [the event] wouldn’t
have happened,” Woodyear said, referring to the club’s
offer of a free ride to and from the event for any participant. “Over
half the entrants required a ride to the event.”
Paul Tomlinson, manager of the University Students’ Council’s
building services, pointed out that the newly-renovated Concrete
Beach had its own part in getting Gibfest off the ground. “We’re
getting power from Concrete Beach, because the atrium wasn’t
designed to handle this kind of power.” WEGA also received
a price break as a USC-ratified club. “We’ve only charged
them for special equipment and labour, and even then only at cost,” Tomlinson
The tournament also had many sponsor-donated prizes which were
distributed throughout the event. Both a PS2 and Xbox console were
among the booty, along with a 19” monitor, “modding” equipment
and T-shirts. The most highly coveted prize was an I-Pod donated
by the Campus Computer Store.
Most gamers came well-prepared for the long haul, as the event
was billed as being 24 hours long. Conor McGowan, a third-year
history student, brought a typical load. “I’ve got
water and blank CDs — [the tournament organizers] are giving
away pizza later.” Representatives from CompuSmart were also
selling an energy drink that — given the nearly all-male
crowd — was appropriately called “Bawls.”
On the whole, females were absent from the tournament. Instead,
the greatest female presence was on the desktop wallpapers of the
gamers, which ran from scantily-clad models to animated characters
in various stages of undress.
Besides letting gamers hone their skills, Gibfest was also a chance
for many to showcase their modified computer cases. Many gamers
brought rigs that featured temperature gauges, see-through sides
and internal lights.
However, the “modding” aspect of gamers’ computers
was subject to the same competitive nature as the games themselves.
Upon sizing up another gamer’s system, McGowan was quick
to insult. “My computer’s more industrial, not so much
strip-clubbish,” he said. “His components are mediocre
As for other gamers, modding seemed to be a distant concern. “I
put mine in the box,” commented Edwin Li, a second-year economics
student. “It’s what’s inside that counts.”
Contestants trickled in throughout Saturday afternoon and the
event’s focus soon became the popular Counterstrike, a team-based,
first-person shooter that pits a team of terrorists against a squad
of counter-terrorists across varied maps. However, some participants
had hoped for a broader range of games. “People just kept
on playing Counterstrike. After a while, it got repetitive,” noted
King’s College history student Andrew Clark.
Despite the smooth start, some problems arose as the event moved
into the wee hours of the morning. After another event wrapped
up at The Wave, some of the exiting patrons threw random items
at the gamers from the second floor. Soon afterwards, the fire
alarm was pulled, though most gamers were reluctant to leave. “They
were telling us to go, but there were people standing on the second
floor catwalk,” Clark said. “I wasn’t about to
leave my stuff just sitting there.”
Later, a second fire alarm interrupted the event’s tempo,
and many gamers left before noon Sunday when the event was scheduled
to end. Nevertheless, Gibfest ultimately succeeded in bringing
Western’s gaming community together for some electronic fun.
While the competitive aspect of gaming was not stressed, the event
proved that a significant gaming crowd exists at Western and laid
the foundation for future zombie... er, gamer tournaments.