Lucas Heiberger has put together an “Age of Empires” tournament that consists of 25 Northwestern students from all three of the male dorms, and some off campus students.
“It started with some people last year expressing interest to me of having an Age of Empire tournament on campus,” Heiberger said. “A lot of people have been playing in small tournaments on weekends.”
Age of Empires is a real-time strategy game where each player chooses a civilization and grows their empire and army in hopes to eventually defeat their opponents through warfare.
“The biggest challenge in video game tournaments is getting people together to play,” Heiberger said. “That is what I am experiencing with the Age of Empire tournament so far. It requires a lot of getting on peoples’ case trying to keep the tournament moving.”
Due to the potential length of each “Age of Empires” game, Heiberger cannot attend every game. He leaves it up to them to contact each other and find a place to play. Games usually take place in the Hospers computer lab, or in the Learning Commons.
Heiberger started planning video game tournaments his freshman year for the residents of Hospers Hall.
“[Freshmen year], we played “Sega Soccer Slam”. The tournament itself lasted two months,” Heiberger said.
Thirty-two total played “Sega Soccer Slam,” a game that almost no one had even played before the tournament. Each game was a one-on-one faceoff that took about four minutes to complete.
The top eight people faced off in a final that was open to the public.
Last year Heiberger again gathered 32 residents to play in the “Fusion Frenzy” tournament, which also took over two months to complete.
“It was met with a lot more interest in the dorm as a whole,” Heiberger said. “For the finals we had a big projector screen and speakers in the lobby.”
The double-elimination Age of Empires tournament started on Sept. 15 and the pool play portion of the tournament will be done this week.
Heiberger starts piecing each tournament together about three months in advance.
“Last year’s [Fusion Frenzy] tournament was a nightmare to figure out how to make it work,” Heiberger said. “I knew I wanted to play that game but it had four people in a group at a time with only two being eliminated. It took a long time to figure out what the bracket would look like.”
Once the tournament begins, Heiberger’s main role is to contact the players and schedule times that work for everyone to play matches.
Most of the work Heiberger does each week in preparation is all behind the scenes. A lot of it consists of making the bracket, getting people to sign up, posting schedules, contacting players and setting up the equipment.
“Each week takes about five hours of work, for three months,” Heiberger said.
Heiberger is currently planning a tournament for Hospers hall shortly after fall break and ending before the end of the semester.
“It’s a fun way to get guys together and have some competition. It brings people together that you wouldn’t usually get to know,” Heiberger said.