Pwning n00bs for a cause

Spinnaker

If you ask for Sam Smith, Patrick Duffy or Casey Ayers in the UNF Student Union Game Room, you’ll receive a shrug and an “I don’t know who that is.”

Although the trio isn’t a familiar name in the Game Room, it doesn’t mean they’re not up for some quality gaming time at UNF – especially in the name of charity.

Smith, Duffy and Ayers are the masterminds behind PWNJax, a gaming charity event happening Feb. 4.

Smith, a UNF computer science senior, said he got together with Duffy and Ayers and asked themselves what they can do to unite the gaming community. The perfect fit seemed to host a charity event.

The charity in question, Child’s Play, donates video games to ill children in hospitals. The Child’s Play hospitals in Florida are Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville and Chris Evert Children’s Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, according to a map on its website.

And while Child’s Play started in 2003 as a means to deter against the negative press and says it likes to talk to student newspapers, the Spinnaker made multiple attempts to get in touch with the nonprofit.

However, Ayers, a UNF economics alumnus, said community days like the PWNJax event will help provide a more accurate portrayal of the gaming world.

“Gamers come from all walks of life,” Smith said.

And attracting all of those different gamers is a part of the group’s mission, it said. It has more than $850 of prizes to give out to participants during the six-hour event.

A large portion of the prizes comes from business not-too far away from UNF. Restaurants such as the Cheesecake Factory, Rena’s Pizza and Whiskey River supplied PWNJax with gift cards, Ayers said.

“The businesses united around charity,” Smith said.

He said some of the benefactors are gamers themselves.

In order to grab a chance of winning some the prizes, the group will host a raffle, at $2 per ticket, Ayers said. He said he expects about $300-$400 worth of raffle prizes.

The raffle prizes come from restaurants such as Chick-fil-A, Moe’s and Libretto’s Pizzeria, Ayers said.

And while it costs to join the raffle or a competition, anyone can attend the event for free, the group said. They will be providing free board games.

Even though the event cannot happen in the Game Room because rules do not allow ticketed events there, Smith said the Student Union ballrooms are a larger venue.

But the lack of the Game Room serving as a venue hasn’t stopped it from leaving a mark on the event. Smith said the Game Room donated its board games to the event.

Not only did the trio form to make this event happen, but it recruited some other individuals help out with other parts. The group said Scott Kerr, a UNF alumnus, helped out with marketing for the event, and Chelsea Rose, a UNF art education senior, constructed the logo.

Smith also said Teresa Campbell, the program specialist at the Student Union, did a lot for the group and told them PWNJax could be a definite event.

“She was the first supporter,” Duffy said.

Just because the trio doesn’t spend its gaming time in the Game Room, doesn’t mean gaming is absent in its lives.

The group said most of its gaming happens at its individual homes.

But, Smith, Duffy and Ayers weighed in on their favorite games.

Duffy said he likes “Uncharted.”

There’s nothing better than Playstation 2 platforming, he said.

The group dubbed this one a “squash-buckling adventure game.”

Ayers and Smith stuck with Nintendo. Ayers said “Mario Bros. 3” for NES was his favorite or “Ocarina of Time,” a staple in the “Legend of Zelda” series. Smith named “Ocarina of Time” as his favorite, too.

“It’s such a landmark game,” he said.

Whether you’re a n00b or uber 1337, PWNJax’s organizers want you to stop by and show support for the love of gaming in support of charity.

PWNJax is scheduled to take place in the Student Union Ballrooms Feb. 4 from 6 p.m. until midnight. There’s a $10 entry fee for events and $5 for subsequent events. “Rock Band” cost $1 per song, and “Magic the Gathering” cost $25 for those 17 and older. All proceeds will go to the nonprofit organization Child’s Play. Get the full list of events and rules PWNJax’s Facebook page: facebook.com/pwnjax.