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College coordinates computer competition

February 05, 2006|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

The gamers, primarily teenage boys and young men, entered with some serious poker faces, hauling in computers souped up like hot rods, machines meant for heavy-duty gaming.

Saturday's 12-hour gaming marathon was not to be taken lightly, event organizer, Jack Drooger said.

Around 20 video-game enthusiasts vied to be the last person standing (or in this case, sitting) during Hagerstown Community College's LAN Gaming Marathon, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at HCC's Valley Mall location.

HCC's Computer Club helped organize the event.

Gamers competed on Saturday in single head-to-head competitions through the local area network (LAN), Drooger said. They also had the option to play multiplayer games online, taking on whoever happened to be in cyberspace.

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The "winner" would walk away with bragging rights, as there was no prize for the person who outlasts the others, Drooger said.

"It's really come out and play as long as you want," Drooger said.

Twelve hours is nothing for computer enthusiast John Robertson, 18, of Martinsburg, W.Va.

The St. Maria Goretti High School senior has hosted nine LAN parties at his house. One of them lasted 15 hours, Robertson said.

"I actually don't play that much outside of LAN parties," Robertson said. "This is the only time I really play."

Robertson said that his main hobby was building computers.

"It's a nerdy kind of thing, but I built this one from scratch," he said, pointing to his computer.

Drooger, explained that it was a "BYOS" competition, as in bring your own system. Gamers were responsible for bringing in their own computers, which might have provided an advantage for some.

"These are definitely the hot rods of computers," Drooger said. "People have made so many internal and external customizations, such as multiple fans and cooling systems and things on the outside to make it look more appealing to the eye."

The Computer Club, known formally as the Information Technology Association, has sponsored four LAN marathons. The most recent one was last year.

Computer Club President Doreen Shoemaker of Hagerstown, a second-year computer networking student, helped organize the event, but said she had no plans on playing.

"I'm not a big gamer," Shoemaker said. "My hand-eye coordination isn't the greatest."

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