Gamers tournament attracts 24 teams

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Competitive gamers battled it out last weekend in a "Halo 4" tournament, the Arena Gaming League's first venture into Pittsburgh. After a California tournament was canceled just a month ago, AGL teamed up with video-game center GameOn Party Planners LLC to organize the event.

"AGL brought the teams and they have a great following," said Dustin Cumer, CEO of GameOn, a LAN (local area network) center on Rochester Road in Ross. "I wanted to see how I could make this event amazing since this is the first time an eSports event of this magnitude has been in Pittsburgh. The goal was to give it an E3 booth look, and I'm very happy with the way it turned out."

The tournament, billed as AGL 6, has a $3,000 first prize and was held at Legion Hobbies & Games, in the Pines Plaza Shopping Center on Perry Highway, Ross. Matches were held in what resembled a large warehouse transformed into a gaming auditorium. Chairs and a big-screen projector were set up for the audience, along with a production booth that housed commentators, while 24 competing teams of four players each were on the main stage across from one another. Each player was glued to his controller and monitor, shouting real-time instructions to teammates.

Although 24 teams participated, the 32 available team tickets -- at $200 per team -- sold out in three hours after going on sale in April. Admission was $5, and 30 to 40 spectators attended, according to the AGL.

The atmosphere was lively as the two-day event approached the finals. The undefeated Team Misfits went up against Team Believe The Hype, who were trying to pull off an upset victory. Team Misfits, made up of Tyler Blevins, 21 (of Illinois), Eric Wrona, 22 (Indiana), Dylen Roberts, 21 (Tennessee), and Brad Laws, 18 (Florida), were competing as a group for the first time and took home the prize with a sweep in the final series.

"We've known each other for a very long time, but we've only been teaming together for about a week," Mr. Blevins said. "We were confident going into this tournament, which showed since we didn't lose a game."

"The most rewarding part of these events is the feedback from the community," said Brad Weir, founder and owner of AGL. "It's good to hear that we're keeping 'Halo' alive and giving the people a place to compete."

When asked about returning to Pittsburgh, Mr. Weir said they would want to attract more teams, but finding a suitable venue is always a challenge.


Max Parker writes about video games as The Game Guy at On Twitter: @GameGuyPGH.


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