A new campus club aims to bring real social interaction to the virtual world of Internet gaming.

Glenn Wyatt and Michael Warren, co-founders of the UCSB Computer Gaming Club and both second-year business economics majors, said they want to bring the large UCSB online gaming community together for social events and local area network (LAN) parties on campus.

The LAN parties, as they are known throughout the Internet gaming world, draw participants face to face at a single location to play multiplayer computer games. Warren said he hopes his new club, established last week, can gather enough members to rent large spaces such as Corwin Pavilion to hold their events.

“There’s a lot of people who play computer games at UCSB,” Wyatt said. “There’s not a place for them to all come together. We went to bring them together to share a common interest.”

Warren said the club would like to host organized tournaments in place of the impromptu matches that currently take place on residence hall Ethernet networks.

“We’d also like to host tournaments at UCSB for other computer gaming clubs on other UC campuses,” Warren said. “UCLA and UC Berkeley have clubs, too. I look forward to starting something that would bring everyone together.”

Tony Bussen, a third-year computer engineering major and co-founder of the “Matrix Clan” – a group of UCSB computer gamers that specialize in the exclusively online game Half-Life: Counter-Strike – said he thinks a computer gaming club on campus is a good idea.

“The club would probably be more of a discussion forum for people who like games, but it would be an interesting way to connect names to faces,” Bussen said.

Bussen, who uses the online persona “[MTX] Morpheus” for in game competition, said his “MTX” clan has existed for about three years and hosted a LAN party tournament in the Santa Rosa Hall formal lounge toward the end of last January.

Bussen said the two-day tournament drew 60 people on 40 to 50 computers and paid a $500 cash prize to the player with the overall highest score. The Residence Halls Association sponsored the event and provided tables and chairs, while UCSB Media Equipment provided Ethernet hubs, extension cords and extra computer power cables.

“I would probably attend club-sponsored events,” Bussen said. “Tournaments change games from not only being about fun, but to also being about getting to a more competitive level.”