First, let me get this out in the open: I'm not that artistic of a person, but I've always loved creative things. When I was a young child, I wanted to work for Disney as an Imagineer creating rides for their theme parks. But this dream came to an end when I discovered that I couldn't draw. It wasn't just my artistic skills, I have trouble coming up with concepts for levels in LittleBigPlanet. I've had success emulating real life objects in the creator. But when it comes to creating a fluid level, my skills fall short.
So when I first saw this month's theme, I sighed. "I'm not creative. What can I do?", I kept thinking. I've always been enamored by creativity, but I have never possessed the skills to produce something truly artistic. But then I remembered that I have created something: gaming tournaments.
I've been running gaming tournaments for years. Organizations from local guitar shops to my university have asked me to organize all kinds of events. Usually, it turns out to be a fighting game tournament.
It started with a friend of mine who worked at my University. He ran campus events back in the day, so I asked him if I could try something out. If I could run a tournament. To my surprise, he said yes. He also gave me one of the biggest conference rooms in the student union to have it in and was going to provide TVs for me.
My first tournament was very small, but I took it seriously. I got to campus four hours early on a Friday night preparing brackets, organizing the room, setting up chairs, etc. I had created a Facebook event three weeks in advance and invited everyone I knew. I even bought giftcards from my local game store to give out as a prize. I didn't care if this was costing me money, I wanted it done right.
The tournament was a hectic mess. I was running around, making sure everything was going smoothly. All while sweating my ass off. It was hard work, but it was made worth the while when I watched the finals for Smash Melee. It was a photo finish. Sudden Death: Marth and Dr. Mario hit each other at the same time. No one knows who won until Dr. Mario was shown on the score screen. Everyone cheers and the combatants give each other a hug. This is what I wanted to create.
Over time, these tournaments grew larger, the university gave me projectors along with the TVs. It was quite a sight to see. At one event the crowd grew so large there was worry that the fire code would have been violated. That's when you know your event's popular. I ended up being contacted to run tournaments elsewhere: a guitar store, local game shops, laser tag centers.
I currently run them in conjunction with a good friend of mine. He runs the Smash side; I run Soul Calibur and Street Fighter. We do this every month at our local game store. Right now we're in hiatus because of the holiday shopping season, but we're planning on resuming in January.
Why do I do all this work? I don't get paid to do so. I have to drag all my systems and TVs with me. I have to deal with a lot of stress during the event. Why? Cause of the joy I get. I love seeing a group of gamers in friendly competition. I love it when an event I create goes well and everyone has a great time. After my tournaments, the people who entered come up to me and thank me. For an organizer, there's no greater joy.
The next time you participate in a gaming tournament, make sure to thank the person running it. They'll appreciate it.
Also, if you care to attend my tournaments, they're run at Gameware of Baton Rouge. SFIV, SCIV, and Brawl will be there this January. read