Around 2,600 Turn Out for Eighth Annual Gamefest

The Winter Gamefest is the Technology Committee’s annual electronic sports event, mainly comprised of competitions and tournaments of the latest video games as well as decades-old classics. Games this year included League of Legends, StarCraft II, Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Super Smash Bros.

First held in 2006 with fewer than 50 people in attendance, the Winter Gamefest had a record-breaking 3,000 attendees last year. It has since become the largest student-run event on campus and one of the premier competitive video-game events on the West Coast. This year, a rough estimate of 2000 general attendees and 600 tournament participants were at the event.

“It’s an event that’s centered around competitive gaming,” Sixth College Technology Committee Head Tasen Zhu said.

The main tournaments took place on Saturday, beginning with StarCraft II and League of Legends at 10 a.m., followed by Super Smash Bros. Melee and Halo 4 tournaments at noon. Side tournaments for NBA 2K13, Mortal Kombat and Gears of War took place on Friday afternoon while the FIFA 13 tournament started at noon on Sunday.

Participants of tournaments, single or in teams of four or five (depending on the game), had the opportunity to win cash and other prizes sponsored by advertisers, including,, Kingston Technology, Mad Catz and Play N Trade Video Games. Top prizes included a $720 prize to the winning team of the League of Legends tournament and $600 for the StarCraft II tournament.

UCSD senior computer science student Ian Courtright was found at the Super Smash Bros. tournament tables.

“My friend used to run [Gamefest] and he just kinda signed us up,” Courtright said. “We lost both of our [Halo] matches, but we still had a good time.”

However, Gamefest is more than just a competitive event. According to its website, “the event is a way to bring members of the video-game community together in a celebration of gaming culture and tradition.”

“We also have a lot of things that celebrate gaming culture in general. So we let people walk in and play games on their own,” Zhu said.

These games included classic games on legacy consoles such as Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 and Super Smash Bros. Melee on Nintendo GameCube. Newer games for Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 were also available for free play before the main tournaments.

Brian Dotimas, a freshman at Mount Carmel High School, found the event through his sister, a UCSD student. He spent much of his time playing and watching Super Smash Bros. in the free play area and said that he enjoyed having the ability to play a classic video game.

“I haven’t held a controller in a long time because I’ve been playing League of Legends lately,” he said. “My favorite console video game is probably Super Smash, though.”

Chelsey Cruise and her husband found out about the event through her brother, who works in the gaming industry.

“I’ve been here all day,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun just watching.”