Back in the day, when gamers wanted to play together they would grab a roll of quarters and head to the nearest arcade. But that was before home video game consoles became so powerful they could best anything in a cabinet, all while offering the convenience of your couch. These days, gamers do most of their playing together over PlayStation Network and Xbox Live - you hardly ever get to cherish the expression on your opponents' faces as you blow the crap out of them in Halo.
Thankfully, local gamer Ross "Pallidain" Furman founded the gamer group SFX-360 in order to bring video game players and the people who love them together again. It's a community of like-minded folks who want more than to just gib each other from their living rooms - they want to do it in person too. SFX-360 has hosted dozens of events similar to old school PC LAN parties, where gamers meet up and compete in tournaments, play retro games, and talk shop for a few hours. "Its better than going to the arcade ever was," says Furman. "You couldnt actually have all your buddies around you in one room, or make it yours. Here, you get to meet people you might have played with for a long time on Xbox Live and finally put a face to the gamer tag."
Friday marks GameNARP (Gamers' No Apparent Reason to Party), the latest party from Destructoid and SFX-360. The blowout event starts at 5 p.m. and will give you the chance to go toe to toe against other competitors in tournaments for Madden 2009, Gears of War 2, Halo 3, and Street Fighter IV. You can also check out the retro gaming lounge sponsored by Infinite Bits, peep the latest in 5.1 gaming headsets and bluetooth accessories from Tritton, get your hands on gaming attire courtesy of Glitch Apparel, and munch on gaming-themed treats from Epic Sugarworks and Game Juice. Oh, and SFX-360 is bringing in the big guns for this one: Carlos Ferro, the voice of Dom Santiago in Gears of War 2, will be on hand to sign autographs and pose with gamers.
Head to Gracie's Grill inside FIU South Campus, at 11200 SW 8th St. in Miami. Admission is free; tournaments have a $5 entry fee. Visit sfx-360.com for more info.
Fri., May 15, 5 p.m., 2009