MU competitive gaming draws casual gamers

The MU Competitive Gaming Club hosted a Call Of Duty tournament Friday night.

One round, another round, a tie-breaker, another round, another tie-breaker; finally the closing round as two Call of Duty teams race against each other in a death-match to 50 points. The score is 49-49. In an abrupt jerk of nervousness, the game is over, and everyone’s looking around wondering who won. Welcome to Friday night at MU Competitive Gaming – and that’s only the semi-finals.

Founded by senior Ryan Pliske, a semi-pro Halo player, MU Competitive Gaming set out to bring MU gamers out from their dorms into an active, living gaming community.

“The reason why you play any sport or any game is for the league,” Pliske said. “People wouldn’t play football if there wasn’t the national football league. It’s 'cause of the league that brings the players, so I figured if I brought a league to Mizzou that I could find the best players. ”

Similar to Mario finding stars, the league has searched out and found numerous casual gamers that now come out for the league.

“I mostly just play it for the social aspect of it,” member Josh Nemec said. “I won’t play if I’m just playing by myself. I have to either be playing with him or with other friends.”

Casual gamers are used to getting online and playing with people they don’t know or see, which explains the allure of creating a gaming community, Pliske said.

“Having them come here is the whole purpose,” Pliske said. “Your adrenaline is pumping, and that’s why I play the game. It’s really intense and it’s really fun. And that’s what I enjoy seeing most, people experiencing that. That’s what I was aiming for.”

Member Matthew Taylor said that playing with people he can see is his favorite part of the league.

“When you can see the people you’re playing against you develop a better rapport with them,” Taylor said. “The competition is so much fiercer, because you feel you’re proving yourself to a physical person, not to the Internet.”

There’s a distinct male touch to the league, though.

“It’s the competitiveness,” Pliske explained. “Girls don’t care as much. It’s more of just the guys getting to play and all of the sudden their buddy starts playing, and it’s who’s better and you need to see and you have a tournament.”

Sara Parks is the exception to this. Parks — the sole girl of Friday’s tournament — not only has the competiveness Pliske mentioned, but she has the skills to prove it. Even though her team didn’t win the tournament, they were in the finals.

“(Girls are) starting to get more competitive,” senior Michael Sutton said. “Sara’s real competitive. I think she’s madder than I am right now (about losing).”

Parks said she grew up playing video games with her two brothers and father. She said both her brothers were definitely as competitive as she was.

“I enjoy being good and beating other people,” Parks said. “I kind of wish we would have won though. That would have made it worth it.”

Although the tournament ended, MU Competitive Gaming continues to bring MU gamers together and create life-long friendships.

“We just all come and it’s like we’re brothers,” junior Kellen Wheaton said. “The game brings us together.”

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