A 24-hour gaming marathon began in Evered Hall at UFV’s Abbotsford campus, Friday, December 1, running from 10:00 a.m. to the same time the next morning. The event was called Winter FUNderland, and was a collaboration between the E-Sports Valley team, the Pen and Paper Tabletop club, the Computer Student Association, and SUS. All proceeds from the event went to the SUS Angel Tree program, which exists to help students who are also parents buy presents for their children. The tree set up in the Student Union Building is decorated with the names of the kids involved.
Any and all games could be seen on the sea of screens at the event, including Overwatch, Super Smash Bros., Skyrim, Pokémon, and more. Even a GameCube made an appearance. A mountain of board games were available for gamers to sign out, and attendees even had the chance to take a crack at virtual reality gaming. All the consoles and board games were provided by volunteers and other individuals who have helped out with the event in previous years. Gamers were encouraged to bring and set up their own private PCs. The fee for setting up your own system was $10, which counted as another donation to the Angel Tree cause.
The ambience for the event was made perfect by the epic gaming playlist blaring overhead, which was composed of game scores, movie themes, and other pop culture favourites. The snack counter was also intensely stocked with gaming classics such as Mountain Dew and Doritos, but also featured rare items such as Vanilla Coke. The organizers admitted to raiding grocery stores in the states for “the good stuff,” and bringing it back up through the border. Truly, they are gaming heroes.
Jen Sanders, vice president, Pen and Paper Tabletop Club, was the head of advertising for Winter FUNderland, as well as an organizer and administrative volunteer. In an interview, Sanders gave us some details regarding the tournaments, raffle, and overall workings of the event.
“This year, we have a League of Legends tournament going on, we have multiple Magic: the Gathering tournaments going on, and we have lots of one-off Dungeons and Dragons games for people who don’t know how to play, or are nervous getting into it,” she said. “We have our pros here who are willing to help you get through your first game, and make it a fun experience.”
Prizes for the tournaments included memorabilia such as games, figurines, collectables, and even the Master Sword itself. The same went for the raffles, for which tickets were $2 per, and you were able to select which prize pool you were drawn for. The raffle draws were one of the most popular elements of FUNderland, and therefore one of the bigger pulls for raising funds.
While no businesses were involved in the planning of FUNderland, House of Cards arrived in the evening to help with the Magic: the Gathering card games and tournaments by running them properly and legally. The proceeds of anything they collected during the event also went straight to the Angel Tree program. As Sanders states, “It’s not for profit for them in any way, shape, or form.”
Doors closed at 11 p.m. during the event because of safety procedure, and while attendees could leave any time, they were not allowed back in until the doors reopened at 7:00 a.m. the next morning.
Every cent collected from the event was 100 per cent not for profit. This included everything from the prize raffles, to the food and drinks. What better way for a group of gamers and nerds to enter the Christmas season, than to game all night for a good cause?