Can’t find a tourney? 7 tips to finding gaming competitions

12 04 2010

As I have said in an earlier blogpost, gaming competitions can be great fun, but also very difficult to get into. Some gamers, (like myself) find themselves in a position where they want to join a tournament but either 1) can’t find any or 2) can only find tournaments that have that wonderful unspoken requirement that you have to be an elite gamer to compete. Well I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be a ridiculously awesome gamer, or have to travel three states over to find a good tournament. Here’s a list of tips in finding competitions in your own backyard:

Check your local arcade

This seems simple, but a lot of gamers overlook the most basic place to hold a tournament. Many arcades (like GameWorks for example) or theme parks that have arcade areas, often play host to small tournaments every month. Visiting your local arcade, checking the website, or even making a quick phone call to staff is all you have to do to be set on the trail of some competition.

Look at nearby college campuses

Something a bit under the radar, many organizations within college campuses will host recreational days which include gaming competitions. A personal experience of mine with this was when the local Art Institute of Phoenix hosted an all-night recreation event which included Left for Dead 2 and Rock Band 2 tournaments for prizes. To find out when tournaments will be held, try getting in contact with the campus recreational services or student life department. It is something that is hit or miss depending on which college campus is close to you, but it never hurts to ask!

Visit forums

There are several fan-made forums available for tons of games out there and generally within those sites, are areas for competition announcements in each respective state/city/etc. Forums like (Tekken) and (Blazblue, Guilty Gear) have boards for each state where smaller competitions are often organized. Pay a visit to a forum and introduce yourself to your local players, you never know what you might find!

Check your local videogame retailer

It is fairly common knowledge that Gamestop will regularly host promotional tournaments, but it doesn’t stop at the larger chains. Trying smaller stores like Play n’ Trade and the like might lead you to find more tournaments in a larger selection of games. Pay a visit to the store’s website or make a call to the staff to see what’s on the calendar!

Go to conventions

Another under the radar way to find competitions. Lots of comic book and anime conventions will have gaming areas separate from the event programming. One example would be the upcoming Phoenix Comicon, which is hosting several tournaments in games such as Modern Warfare 2, Left for Dead 2, Street Fighter 4, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The only drawback to these types of competitions is you have to purchase a pass to get into the conventions, which varies depending on how big or small it is. However, considering that buying a pass gives you the opportunity to compete in several competitions in one day, it can still be a really great endeavor in gaming competition.

Host your own!

Simple as that! Invite a few friends over, throw down five dollars for an entry fee and game on! The beauty of hosting your own tournament is also that you and yours can compete in any game you want to, be it Super Smash Brothers, or Army of Two. The sky is the limit when you’re at the helm of the tournament!


If all of the above options don’t work out, you can always play games online. Some video game studios such as Konami will host regular tournaments on their games (Metal Gear Online has monthly tournaments), but for more structured tournaments, try visiting Gamers there can set up accounts and participate against other players online, then report the results in brackets held on the site. Some tournaments that can be found on the site currently are Quake Live, Unreal Tournament III, Team Fortress 2.

Hopefully once you have used these tips to get more into the competitive gaming scene, you’ll feel more comfortable and take the leap into bigger competitions like DEVASTATION and EVO in the future.

Happy gaming!



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