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4th March 2016

King of the North 2016

Jasmin Kaur Tiyur sampled a bit of everything at this year’s King of the North tournament, hosted by the ESport society here at the University of Manchester—there are so many ways to get involved

The ESport Society of UoM has successfully brought us another King of the North finals tournament held this year on March 2nd in Academy 1. As with previous years, university teams travelled from across the nation in order to compete in their chosen tournament with the hope of walking away as victor and earning the prestigious title, King of the North (and yes, that is a GoT reference!) The tournaments and teams this year were as followed:
– CS:GO: UoM vs Lancaster
– League of Legends: Birmingham vs Exeter
– Dota 2: Warwick vs Bath

As the spectators waited patiently for the teams to arrive, there were plenty of other gaming activities set up on stalls that kept the whole venue entertained. The first stall (or should I say beanie bag set up!) was set up by our neighbours and friends, MMU Gaming Society. They had decided to use a projector screen and Xbox 360 as their choice of console and were playing an indie multiplayer. The reps stated that they had particularly chosen indie games as they were the favourite amongst MMU gamers and the most regularly played at their weekly get together. And just as it is worth mentioning, let it be know that MMU Gaming Society is the biggest society at MMU! Keep up the good work!

Next to MMU were the wonderful team at Bitlord—Manchester’s own gaming, film and music company. They had a stall set up with competitive multiplayers such as Mario Kart, Pacman, and Halo. I spoke to Jim who was in charge of the set up about what Bitlord are and what they do within their gaming sector. He described the company as being one that brings together gamers into casual and informal environments to compete with friends or rivals and to just have fun—simple and sweet. He went on to say that Bitlord hosts regular events in Bolton called “Games Hub” at the Blind Tiger, the next one being on March 20th. Another highlight of their events is that they call together local DJs and producers to perform and heighten the atmosphere and experience of the competitions. Their Facebook page can be found under “bitlordgaming”: Definitely worth checking out and keeping up to date with!

Another Manchester based company, as well as London, that were present and causing quite a buzz were LanZZZ—a company that describes itself as hosting competitive “lan parties.” Unlike Bitlord, who were hosting a casual gaming stall, LanZZZ had set up a  League of Legends 1v1 tournament in which players had to be signed up in advance, and the queues to play were quite something. There were also prizes to be won including T-shirts and bags.

Alongside LanZZZ were two stalls generating just as much interest that were set up by ESport’s sponsors, MSI Gaming, and Computer Planet. MSI Gaming and Computer Planet are both manufacturing companies that provide high end gaming gear and sponsorships to gaming societies and events across the nation. Having spoken to their reps it was clear that their objectives for the day was to provide the opportunity for avid gamers to experience high quality gaming machinery in a competitive setting if they were otherwise unable to. Initially, I had mistaken MSI Gaming’s laptops for Alienwares, however upon closer inspection I noticed the beautiful dragon logo that made me love their set up even more! They may not be Alienwares, but they are definitely a worthy rival.

Now, for my highlight of the day. My favourite stall present was set up by none other than UoM’s Yu-Gi-Oh Society! My first reaction was a mixture of shock and disappointment in myself. Why? Because I had no idea they existed! I was so upset that after 3 years at university, graduating this summer, I never knew about them and never had the chance to go crazy with them! You can bet I’ll be making the most out of my last few months, though! I immediately got into a conversation of all things fangirl with the president, Solomon Ofosu, and apparently we both love Dark Magician (yay!) The stall had hundreds of cards available for players to duel with each other, either with their own decks or with the ones provided. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to have a game but I was told that the society meets up every Wednesday at the Students’ Union from 2pm until 5pm and also have a Facebook page, UoM Yu-Gi-Oh Society.

UoM’s own Gaming Society were, of course, present as well. Although they were set up in the corner of the academy, they were hard to miss—especially when the competition on Guitar Hero started getting heated! They had 4 consoles set up so as to provide something for everyone; Wii U, Xbox 360, and the classics PS1 and Nintendo 64 with a great variety of games that were available for both casual and competitive play.

Finally, I stopped to speak to a very unique stall that was present and not one I expected to find—Manchester University Comic Collective (MUCC). They caught my eye as I noticed a group of people sitting around drawing pictures and I wondered what they were up to. I spoke with the president, Jack Evans, and Secretary, Ivan Fernando, who told me MUCC had set up a sketch competition with the winning prize being a lovely box of chocolates. MUCC stood out to me particularly by the end of the day because of their absolute passion and dedication in what they do. I made a passing comment to Jack saying that I was hopeless at drawing and he was adamant that I shouldn’t think that way. “Art is very subjective,” he told me. He was very assuring that MUCC was open to everyone, whether you love manga or Marvel or anything in between, and what was important was passion, not ability. It honestly was a pleasure to speak to him.

Upon asking what MUCC was all about and what they do, I was told that they meet up once a week on Mondays at 7pm and, of course, they have a Facebook page that can be followed for updates. Jack went on to tell me that during these meetings everyone gets together to create something, anything that they feel like, with individual tasks associated with drawing, panelling, inking, writing, dialogue, you name it. There was something for everyone! The end goal is to support each other in order to publish their works, he said, but never forgetting to have fun during the process. After asking if Jack himself was published he replied simply with “Not yet”, but did mention he had a Redbubble page under the name “Jakkuebansu” (and yes, that is Japanese for Jack Evans) where you can find merchandise relating to his own original characters, so check him out!

Although I didn’t stay for the entire day so missed the LoL and Dota 2 tournaments, I can justifiably say that ESport Society had done the University and the North proud with another fantastic event. Be sure to like ESport Facebook page to find out the winners of the events if you didn’t get chance to go, as well as to stay updated with their regular and future events. As for now, the bar has been set, so let’s see what ESport brings next year.

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