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First gaming tournament and expo attracts 500

First gaming tournament and expo attracts 500

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Two elite fighters battled with flip kicks and fists in front of an exploding volcano. “Super Street Fighter IV” was just one way gamers were testing their talent Saturday at a gaming tournament at the La Crosse Center.

For experienced players, gaming is a lot like chess, some longtime gamers said. You have to “get into your opponent’s head,” know the moves, and pick the perfect one to outwit them, said Zac Paletta, of Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Paletta travels all over the country, including New York and Chicago, to “Madden NFL 10” gaming tournaments. He was excited to see a tournament so close to home in La Crosse. It was the first gaming expo and

tournament organized by any of the sponsors — the La Crosse Public Library, Gaming Generations and 95.7 The Rock. More than 500 people attended, many from outside the area. Organizers plan to continue the event once or twice a year, said David Goldfein, technology manager for the La Crosse Public Library.

Gaming popularity is growing, sponsors said. A recent gaming event at the La Crosse Public Library drew about 170 people, nearly three times what they expected, said Kelly Krieg-Sigman, library director.

“That was the biggest draw for gaming at the public library,” she said.

With more adults interested in gaming, the library wants to schedule a regular night for gaming for adults to add to their teen programming, said Krieg-Sigman. Nintendo was born in the 1980s, and many of those initial fans are still playing as the technology continues to evolve, said Evan Mau, owner of Gaming Generations.

“They are always coming up with something new to push the limit and keep you hooked,” said Jordan Moton, 19, of Stevens Point, Wis.

Moton and some of his friends from Stevens Point said this was their first time competing in a gaming tournament.

“You get a little nervous, but after you get into it you’re good to go,” said Alex Schurbert, 18, of Stevens Point.

Gaming can be a great way to socialize, they said. Through games they’ve met people from as far away as Australia and Great Britain. Now they’re meeting some friendly people in La Crosse, they said.

“It brings people together, ” said Moton.

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