Gamers test their skills

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On Saturday, the sounds of battle could be heard coming from the Devall Student Center Ballroom on the Kilgore College campus.

Inside, area high school and college students dueled with weapons made of pixels and spells printed on cardboard. The KC Game Club hosted a gaming tournament on Sept. 29 and the event drew many more attendees than the previous club tournament.

“There’s a much bigger turnout,” said Heather Fitch, KC English instructor and Game Club co-sponsor. “We only had 25 in April. This is so cool!”

The tournament allowed competitors to go head-to-head in fan favorite video game titles including “Super Smash Bros. Melee”, “Mario Kart: Double Dash” and “Halo 3” on the Nintendo GameCube and Xbox 360.

Winners were awarded prizes well-suited for video game fans: Pixel Pals figurines featuring classic video games heroes Mario, Link and Sonic the Hedgehog as well as TV Arcade console versions of classic arcade games Frogger, Mega Man 2 and Ms. Pac-Man.

Attendees were also given free raffle tickets and prizes were awarded to lucky winners throughout the day.

C ristopher Macedo, a Longview High School student who plans to study computer programming, picked up the first prize but gave it to someone special.

His little sister Cynthia joined him at the tournament and the two played handheld video games together.

“I just let her pick it out,” Macedo said after Cynthia chose a prize with his winning ticket. “She wanted a plushie.”

Those who preferred tabletop games grabbed their cards, dice and rulebooks to face off in non-competitive showdowns of Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, Munchkin and Netrunner.

Game Club President Micah McSwain said he came to the previous tournament but was looking forward to trying his luck at the competition once more.

“I was bummed I got third place in Mario Kart last time but I’m participating again,” McSwain said. McSwain, a freshman pursuing a computer help desk technician certificate at KC, said he was pleased the club had grown since he first joined.

“I’ve been in the Game Club since it first started in 2016,” he said. “I was just looking for a group of friends to hang out with.”

It seems video game fans are finding an ever-growing circle of friends as the Game Club and its tournaments grow and attract new members. Some of those at Saturday’s tournament have been drawn to KC through their love of video games.

Dalton Richards, a senior at Kilgore High School, said he began to consider studying at KC when he learned they offer classes in video game design.

“I’m thinking of going to the college,” Richards said. “Because they’re offering classes in game design, which is what I want to do. I was originally going to to go out of state but since they’re offering that so close to home, I’m thinking of going here.”

Anyone interested in joining the KC Game Club can visit www.Facebook.com/KCGC2016 or email KCGameClub@kilgore.edu.

High school or college students who are considering a career in video game development can enroll at KC to take ITSE1333 (Mobile Applications Development) and GAME1303 (Introduction to Game Design and Development).

Students can take these courses as part of the curriculum for a one-year certificate in Software Support or a two-year associate’s degree in Software Development and Support.

To learn more, contact Mark Stephens, CIT instructor, at mstephens1@kilgore.edu or visit www.Kilgore.edu/CIT.

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