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Jun 10, 2009 9:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays students compete in video game tourney

Jun 10, 2009 9:43 AM

Team DJ was unstoppable on Sunday.

Daniel Marte, the “D,” and John Casabianca, the “J,” both 13 and seventh-graders at Hampton Bays Middle School, bested more than a dozen other middle and high school students to take first place in the “Halo 3” division of the school’s video game tournament.

When asked how many hours he practices his video game skills a week, Daniel admitted that the number was not low. “It’s more than a kid should play,” he said.

About 40 students like Daniel and John, ranging in age from 13 to 18, gave their thumbs a workout in the Hampton Bays Middle School cafeteria on Sunday morning while participating in the four-hour video game tournament. Proceeds from the event, which was organized by high school junior Ryan Walker, raised about $300 for the class of 2010.

Ryan, 16, said he got the idea to host a video game tournament for his class after helping organize a similar event for middle school students. He acknowledged that he has also attended a few professional gaming tournaments himself.

“I’m into the competitive aspect of it,” Ryan said. “I like running the tournaments.”

Teams of two played “Halo 3” on the Xbox 360 gaming console while single players competed against one another in “Super Smash Bros. Melee” and “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” both games for the Nintendo Wii console. Students brought in their own televisions, Xbox 360s and Nintendo Wiis for the special event.

Daniel explained that in the first-person shooter game “Halo 3,” characters assume the role of the Master Chief, a super soldier who has been charged with defending humanity.

“I know, I sound geeky,” Daniel said while explaining the premise of the popular video game.

In both Super Smash Brothers games, Nintendo characters such as Link, Kirby and, of course, Mario, fight while attempting to knock each another off a floating platform.

Senior Noah Hoshyla and junior Brendan Sypher took first place in the “Super Smash Bros. Melee” and “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” tourneys, respectively. All four first-place winners took home a $25 gift card to Best Buy.

Ryan, who also serves as student council president, explained that video game tournaments are a great way to foster friendships between people who might not normally even talk to one another. He added that he has been working hard to institute a video game club at the high school. “We haven’t been successful yet, but we’re getting there,” Ryan said.

Rosaria Rea, a business and technology teacher at Hampton Bays High School and the junior class advisor, said she hopes the class can sponsor more video game tournaments next year.

“It’s great for a Sunday afternoon,” she said, adding that the class of 2010 will also be supplying the concession stand at Hampton Bays football games in the fall. Proceeds from the concessions and the video tournaments will help pay for class trips and the senior prom next June.

Ms. Rea noted that some of those who came out on Sunday were the type of students who do not usually get involved in school activities, especially sports. Austin Lohr, a Hampton Bays senior, said he fit into that category.

“I’m bad at sports, to be honest,” Austin said without missing a beat while playing “Super Smash Bros. Brawl.” “Physical activity is not my strong point.”

Austin, who wore a knitted winter hat and a “Zombie Xing” T-shirt for the tournament, said he plays about three hours of video games a week. When asked what his secret for gaming success was, Austin explained that he just takes every battle as it comes.

“Strategies? I don’t have one,” he said. “I kind of just play.”

In contrast, Noah said that for him, success depends on which character a player chooses.

“I use Link in [Super Smash Bros.] Brawl and I’m leaning toward Yoshi in Melee,” he said.

In addition to winning the “Super Smash Bros. Melee” tournament, Noah also won the first video game tournament held at the middle school last year. Noah said he has been playing video games for the past decade and noted that they can help keep some kids out of trouble.

“It gives you something to do when you’re home alone, or at nighttime when you can’t go outside,” he said.

But for Team DJ, the key to video gaming success is having enough faith to trust one’s partner.

“It’s teamwork and communication,” John said.

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This should look good on their resumes, lol....
By slamminsammy (104), Hampton Bays on Jun 12, 09 3:44 PM
hahahaha "physical activity is not my strong point" says the young man...
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Jun 14, 09 7:24 AM
You know, there are many, many teens- especially boys, who are socially awkward and isolated. This is a great way to get them together to feel a part of something. Don't make fun of them.
By eastendlocal (28), southampton on Sep 16, 09 8:36 AM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser