By Ally McAfee | Staff Writer
Whitworth University’s Hixson Union Building (HUB) was filled with applause, cheers and virtual racing as students participated in the ASWU hosted Mario Kart Tournament on Saturday, September 23.
The event had been a popular hit a few years ago, and Activities Coordinator Kenzie Quinn brought it back this year to great success. Responsible for the organization, she described the structure of tournament as a first come, first serve, four-person bracket system held in the HUB.
It was set up to be “one race per bracket, and then the top two from that bracket will move on to the next … once we get to the final four, those are our four winners, but then they have to do a Grand Prix, which is, I believe, four races, and then that will determine who gets first, second, third and fourth,” said Quinn.
The prizes for the winners included a Meta Quest VR System for first place, a record player that can connect to Bluetooth for those without an extensive vinyl collection, a hot pot from Amazon for third place, and a $50.00 Target gift card for all of the fourth winner’s dorm-life needs.
Players sat at a table in front of the drop-down screen in the Multi-Purpose Room, backed by tables packed with spectators. The crowd filled the room. There was applause every time a player crossed the finish line, no matter what their ranking was, along with cheers for skilled maneuvers.
The waves of encouragement bolstered the players, but the extra eyes increased the pressure. Playing in front of a room of people was “pretty nerve-wracking,” said participant Aubrey Parkinson, laughing, but she still enjoyed herself immensely when her competitiveness took over.
When a new course made an appearance, an “ooh” rose from the audience. As can be expected, some of the tracks resulted in closer games than the others. “[Mario Kart has] randomized courses, which I was pretty nervous about,” Parkinson said. “But then I remembered how [they] went and I was like, ‘Okay. Okay, I can do this.’… It’s fun.”
Parkinson said without hesitation that she would attend another event similar to the Mario Kart Tournament. As Quinn said “my whole job purpose is to provide entertainment and fun. And that’s what I want to do.”