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Players participate in 36-hour-long gaming marathon at Big Shot Gaming LAN Party

Andrew Kuhn/Staff Photographer Brighton junior Jay Gary plays Americas Army in the Terence F. Moore Cadet LeaderLab Saturday in Finch Fieldhouse. Gary was taking part in the Big Shot Gaming 2010 LAN Party. The 36 hours of gaming began Friday night at 6 p.m. and ended Sunday at 6 a.m. " My friends went to the Sparty LAN Party, and since they were coming to this I felt obligated to come," said Gary.

The Finch Fieldhouse gymnasium was filled with several rows of glowing computers and tired gamers this weekend.

Islands of desks supported the 139 gamers that attended the Big Shot Gaming Local Area Network Party, which began Friday at 6 p.m. and ended Sunday at 6 a.m.

It was Holland sophomore Andrew Fergus’ first LAN event, something he said he will never forget.

“It’s a lot of fun, it was worth the $15 even if I didn’t win anything,” he said. “I think it’s awesome.”

Fergus attended the event, hosted by the Student Electronic Gaming Association (also known as Big Shot Gaming) with a few of his friends.

“I’m really surprised,” he said. “I came for ‘StarCraft II’ and ‘Team Fortress 2’ and I ended up playing everything.”

Fergus said he lost both of his matches in the real-time strategy game, “StarCraft II.” His team won their first two matches in “Team Fortress 2,” and was preparing for their next match as of 11 p.m. Saturday evening.

The LAN event is something he plans on attending the next time it is hosted, he said.

He plans to attend the next LAN event BSG hosts.

Fergus’ friend Cody Weindenbein, a Sanford resident, said the LAN event was much improved from the last time it was hosted.

In addition to much better prizes for tournament winners, which included gaming mice, keyboards and two-terabyte external hard drives, Weindenbein said the turnout was much better.

“You feel interested because people here share the same passion,” he said. “You’re not an outcast, you can communicate with them and they know what you’re talking about.”

Mount Pleasant graduate student Kate Engel, president of SEGA, said the turnout was great.

“Everybody is having a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s been really positive.”

Engel said the ROTC helped sponsor a tournament of “America’s Army” while Modern Rock 91.5 provided music.

Food was donated by Menna’s Joint, 1418 South Mission St., and Buffalo Wild Wings, 1904 S. Mission St., for lunch and dinner, while several gaming companies donated tournament prizes.

Official tournaments for “StarCraft II,” “Team Fortress 2” and “Counter-Strike: Source” were held, while gamers participated in other tournaments for games like “Minecraft.”

Engel said the participants really enjoyed the event.

“It’s fun to, once you’re done, to search out the people you played and tell them in person,” she said.

Ray Bartos, a Michigan State University student, traveled to the event with a group of 20. He is a part of Sparty LAN Party, a group that hosts MSU’s LAN events.

He said he was impressed with how well the Big Shot Gaming event was run.

“I like going to other LANs,” he said. “It’s all about the camaraderie of hanging out with a bunch of other people with a common interest. The event’s going well so far. When they get this big in size, anything can happen. They’re doing a good job trying to keep people happy.”