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A virtual Halo of bullets

Leitersburg movie screen used for video game contest

Leitersburg movie screen used for video game contest

January 28, 2007|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Control of a Hagerstown 10 Cineplex movie screen was placed in the hands of virtual killers Saturday.

Nearly 50 video game enthusiasts - ages 12 to 30 - hid in the shadows of a 500-seat Leitersburg Pike theater and took turns shooting each other out of a "Halo 2" competition, which played out on a digital split, 40-foot screen.

"It's a first-person shooter, and it's just fun and it's competitive," said 15-year-old Nick Kershner, who won the competition and took home $100.

"I figured I was gonna win," said Nick, who has played and won other video game competitions in the Washington D.C., area.

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Nick has been playing video games since he was 8 years old, he said.

Registration cost $10 to play and $5 to watch, theater owner Alan Ackerman said. Participants either could register at Game Crazy on Wesel Boulevard or at the theater, which opened its doors to competitors at 10 a.m.

Players used wireless controllers, which could be used from anywhere in the theater as long as they could see their 15-foot portion of the four-way split screen.

David Bugosh, 17, who took second place in the competition, said he grew up playing Nintendo 64, but got an XBox 360 for Christmas.

David won a $50 gift card to Game Crazy, which he said he will use to "buy another game similar to" Halo 2.

David said he spends about three hours a day playing video games. Nick said he spends about the same amount of time in front of a video game.

Ackerman said he wanted to bring the video game competition to the theater because it gives people in the community something else to do.

"The kids here, they didn't realize at first that (the competition) was going to be on a 40-foot screen," Ackerman said. He said people assumed they would be competing on individual monitors.

Ackerman's son, Alex Ackerman, 12, said he got through the first round of the double elimination competition before getting killed off.

"The other kids could just come up to you and kill you instantly," Alex said.

Alan Ackerman said that in the summer, he hopes to hold outdoor video game competitions on the drive-in theater's digital 80-foot screen.

Until then, Ackerman said a Madden NFL 07 video game competition will be Feb. 24 from noon to 10 p.m. at the cineplex.

Ultimately, Ackerman said he wants to get all 10 of the cinema's theaters linked together for a team video game competition.

"The more people you get, the better the prizes will be," he said.

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