That went really well! I lost count of the number of positive comments we had from students, including “This is the best campus event I’ve ever been to!” Of course, there are some things that I’d do differently next time, but for first timers I think we did pretty well.
I think the main thing I’d do differently is spread out the console games around the room. We held the whole event in one large open room that usually have reserved for quiet study. For ease of keeping an eye on things, the console team (myself and one other person) had the three 42″ HDTVs lined up in a row. One was Guitar Hero 2, another was Halo 2, and a third was random open play on an Xbox 360 or Wii. Once the tournaments started, a sizeable crowd grew around each one and it was really hard for lots of people to see the screens at once. Putting one TV in each corner of the room, or maybe back to back, might have worked better.
I also learned that laying out specific rules for every possible eventuality is a necessity. I thought the rules I drew up based on other examples of tournaments were very clear, but the participants found many holes to poke in them and I had to make a lot up on the fly 🙂 Thankfully everybody was very good natured about it and I heard almost no complaints at all. Above all, be consistent with the rules. Don’t start making exceptions, and it’ll all work out.
I also learned a little bit about game selection. While we had it available for free play, we did not have an organized Smash Brothers tournament. But people were asking for one constantly. Two different groups of students even brought their own TVs and gamecubes to play it on. So next time, we will definitely schedule that in.
Here’s the full Flickr picture set. At this point we are thinking of doing it again in the spring, or maybe sooner. But the setup was killer – we had to borrow tables and chairs from a church in town, which they very generously offered to us. But hauling them in and out of the U-Haul and the second floor of our building almost killed us. Next time I’d like to do the physical setup a day or more in advance if at all possible. I had a student ask if we could do it again next week, and my muscles instantly started aching.
I’m really, really happy with how successful this event was. Thank you to all our staff who were so willing to help set up, pick up, and stay until midnight.