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Halloween Event to Bring Together IPFW Gamers

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Photo credit: Communicator archive

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Written by: Communicator StaffOctober 28, 2015

Written by Colby Shoup

This Halloween, the Walb Student Union International Ballroom will transform into what the organizers hope will be the epicenter of IPFW’s gaming culture with the campus’ first ever Jak-O-LAN. This event will be the “largest and most ambitious” LAN party in the school’s history, according to its official website.

A LAN party, or Local Area Network party, is an event where participants gather in one location to play tournaments of multiplayer video games such as “League of Legends” or “World of Warcraft.”

Organized by the student organization League of Legends IPFW with The Association of Computing Machinery and the Computer Science Department, the event runs 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Oct. 31.

Jak-O-LAN will feature “League of Legends,” “Starcraft II,” “Super Smash Bros” and “Hearthstone” tournaments, all of which reward winners with prizes. The LAN will also offer noncompetitive gaming, a cosplay competition and demonstrations of new technology, including the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

Although an event like this is new to IPFW, Jak-O-LAN is long overdue in the eyes of many computer science students, according to professor Dr. Peter Ng. He said students have frequently been asking for his department to hold LAN parties and similar events for a few years now.

“We have a lot of creative, artistic students who enjoy gaming but do not have the time for much fun; we thought they would enjoy this creative outlet,” Ng said.

After deciding to throw a LAN party, the computer science department contacted multiple student organization leaders. One of these leaders was sophomore mechanical engineering major James Malcolm, president of LOL IPFW. Malcolm quickly became the driving force behind Jak-O-LAN. He recruited more than 100 people to sign up for the tournament via LOL IPFW’s website and is confident even more people will show up to watch.

Malcolm cited the camaraderie and sense of adventure associated with mass multiplayer online gaming as the reason for the event’s mass appeal.

“These games are just like sports,” Malcolm said. “They bring people together in a competitive and fun manner, and they do it in such a way that it’s even fun to watch your fellow gamers. Whether you’re playing with friends or just some random guy … you all share a common goal, and achieving that is just so satisfying.”

Jak-O-LAN is not just a celebration for already active members of the IPFW video game community, it’s also a chance for new gamers to meet new friends and prove that they can hold their own in the digital arenas and battlefields of their favorite games, according to Malcolm.

The “League of Legends” tournament offers a $1,500 cash prize for its winner and the computer science department intends to use Jak-O-LAN to recruit potential new students into their program.