Gamers to host video game tournament

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With $1,500 on the line, 128 competitive gamers from across Texas will gather on UT campus Saturday for the largest collegiate “StarCraft II” tournament yet.

Last fall, UT organization Texas e-Sports Association hosted its first tournament of popular PC strategy game “StarCraft II.” The event brought together 64 players who won $700 in prizes. This year’s tournament, TeSPA Texas Open, offers more than double the amount of prize money, a new venue for spectators and an improved multiple camera video feed of the event that will be broadcast to the spectator room in Robert Lee Moore Hall and online via justin.tv.

The biggest difference, though, is that the UT organization, which only started last fall, will be receiving sponsorship from Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA and Texas Parents.

“This little organization of ours is starting to get some statewide attention,” said Tyler Rosen, aerospace senior and the event’s coordinator.
The tournament’s preliminaries were played exclusively online April 16, but this coming weekend, the players in the top of the tournament’s bracket will go head to head. The tournament, which will last from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., will be played in front of a live audience and broadcast online through the live streaming website.

Rosen, along with his identical twin brother Adam, formed the group after discovering a new love for “Starcraft II” last summer.

“Everybody plays games or knows somebody who plays games on campus,” said Adam Rosen, an aerospace senior. “Until TeSPA, there really wasn’t place on campus to play games together, improve and even compete.”

Twenty-five people showed up to the organization’s first meeting, but the group quickly grew in size over the months. Currently, the group is a collective of more than 200 UT students who share a passion for competitive gaming, with a focus on acclaimed strategy title “Starcraft II.”

The twin brothers seek to capture the excitement and prestige that live “Starcraft” matches hold in South Korea by improving the spectator experience. Last year, spectators and players were both hosted in the same room in the Academic Annex, next to Robert Lee Moore Hall. This year, spectators will watch the matches from a large projection screen in RLM’s auditorium. In addition to more space, the event will also offer food, raffles for computer hardware, trivia games and stations where console games can be played.

The spectator experience will also see new changes with multiple cameras, live commentary about the matches and interviews with players between games.