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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
<p>Sonia Dela Cruz, right, a 21-year-old microbiology junior, plays a dance video game during GatorLAN in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in November of 2012.</p>

Sonia Dela Cruz, right, a 21-year-old microbiology junior, plays a dance video game during GatorLAN in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in November of 2012.

Eleven different competitions, hundreds of gaming consoles and more than 10,000 feet of cord filled the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom on Monday evening for the second GatorLAN 2012 video game tournament.

The eight-hour event was hosted by the Gator Gaming club.

Registration was open to the public.

Gator Gaming President Ed Fonseca said that between competitors and spectators, about 1,000 people usually attend GatorLAN.

“When you watch NBA, you want to see your favorite team win,” the digital arts and sciences junior said. “There are a bunch of girls who don’t play but come to see their boyfriends play.”

Crystal Durham, a 21-year-old computer engineering UF senior, came to the event to watch her boyfriend and his two roommates compete in the Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament.

“I wouldn’t enjoy watching a video game match if I didn’t know the people playing,” she said.

For Tommy Janky, recognizing competitors wasn’t a problem.

The 22-year-old Santa Fe nursing sophomore said he knew about 70 percent of the more than 100 people registered for the Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament.

Janky said his main competition for GatorLAN 2012 was a gamer who goes by the tag True Blue.

“He’s my partner in tournaments,” Janky said.

“He knows everything I do.”

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Janky said he has traveled as far as New Jersey to compete in Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournaments.

He once won $350 at a tournament in Orlando, which he used to fund trips.

He said similar behavior between competitors in the gaming community has caused more people to consider gaming as an actual sport.

“People travel all over the world like sports teams do,” he said. “There’s money on the line. Some people are actually sponsored.”

Janky said the Super Smash Bros. Brawl community was strong enough that international rankings for characters in the game have emerged online.

“I’m the best Ike in the U.S.,” he said. “That’s a fact.”

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at mdavidson@alligator.org.

Sonia Dela Cruz, right, a 21-year-old microbiology junior, plays a dance video game during GatorLAN in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in November of 2012.

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