Good Games UAB held their first in-person event in over a year, Blazercon, a gaming convention at the Student Hill Center.
Good Games UAB is a student gaming organization that hosts esports and tabletop gaming events, as well as promotion of gaming culture and career awarness through gaming and technology, according to their student page.
Blazercon, their annual gaming convention, was held in Ballroom D of the UAB Hill Center, with a small group of the community coming out to game with their friends for the first time in over a year. “It was good to lug those TV’s up from the second floor and plug them in,” said Seth Maynor, Good Games UAB executive director. “It’s very different. We’ve always been used to having 70… 80 person events in ballrooms with all of our PC setups. I hope we can get some semblance of that in the fall.”
In previous years, the organisation would rent out the Hill Center entirely for the convention, hosting multitudes of students. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they had to downscale the convention.
Bailey, an organization member for just over a year, was at the door handing out free merch bags and checking students’ event passes to ensure the gathering would be safe. She only ever knew the event as virtual, since the scheduled Blazercon of last year was cancelled due to the state-wide shutdown that in place just a week before the event. “All of the gear in here is from last year,” said Bailey referencing the goodie bags being handed out to attendees.
Most of the games were streamed on Discord so that students who could not make it in-person could still be involved. Similarly, they opened up a Minecraft server for the weekend, where students could join and play online from their homes or residences.
The organizers set up a Mario Kart Home Circuit on the second floor, where you could connect a Nintendo Switch controller to a car on the ground and race a real car on a physical map you get to build. They streamed this on their Twitch account, hosting a couple different people racing, even at one point having players wear “drunk goggles” which inhibit your ability to see and play. It was set up and put together by Daniel Swinney, one of the organization’s event administrators.
There were 9 people competing in the “Green and Gold Gauntlet”, a gaming competition for prize money. Anyone that could access the Student Hill Center on campus were allowed to compete. The first-place prize was a brand-new gaming chair and a $500 scholarship, while the second-place prize was a $750 scholarship. The only requirements were 12 minimum credit hours, a 2.75 cumulative GPA and participation in at least four of the qualifying tournaments.
The event had many different games and tournaments you could compete in, from Portal 2 to NBA 2K, Pac-Man, Brawlhalla and Nitronic Rush. It was a point-based system where the higher you placed per game, the more points you would get. The event started with a Super Smash Brothers tournament on Nintendo Switch.
They kept the final games a secret until the last day of the competition. The final game to determine the winners was a jigsaw puzzle that took hours to finish on Sunday.
Aubrey Smalley won first place and Craig Hanks won second.
Good Games UAB streams on Twitch once a week at twitch.tv/ggUAB. They also host gg.Fridays on Discord where they host party game lobbies like Among Us and Jackbox. You can catch up with all future events through their Instagram, @gg.uab, or their Engage organization page.
This story was also published in UAB Kaleidoscope.