School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 20 March 2014
Category: Features Comments View Comments


Some younger FIFA 14 players in Cape Town were given the chance to compete for prizes and bragging rights at an e-sports event at Fairbairn College, which was organised by Zombiegamer. The result was a fun day characterised by occasional wild play on the virtual pitch and the possible birth of some enthusiastic future e-sports competitors.

Fairbairn College, a co-educational high school in Goodwood, Cape Town, held an Xbox 360-based FIFA 14 challenge on Saturday afternoon that was organised and hosted by Zombiegamer, with prizes provided by MWEB GameZone.

School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

The tournament was split into two competitions: a single-player event [ results ], which comprised 10 competitors, and a 2v2 double-elimination event [ results ] that comprised about 20 teams, or 40 players.

I was disappointed that no girls entered the tournament, though there were a few in the room watching the proceedings and some had even been part of the group that organised the event in the first place. I asked a couple of the girls why they didn't participate and it seems that they didn't think they would be any good so they didn't see any point in taking part. However they later discovered while playing the game casually during the day that they actually could play and were enthused about taking part in a future event. I hope they do.

School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

Throughout the day the room was incredibly animated, due partly to the participants' younger age and enthusiasm and also partly because the team event resulted in a more competitive spirit and drew in fascinated spectators as well.

In the winners' bracket Team 18 powered through to the end and then had to wait to see the outcome of the losers' bracket.

School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

The 2v2 Losers' Bracket Final
The final of the 2v2 team event losers' bracket was between Team 2 and Team 9. It had been a long day for Team 9, which was heading into its eighth game in a row, and the fatigue was starting to show so the gamers had a huge challenge ahead of them. Team 2, meanwhile, had just recently dropped into the losers' bracket after having been beaten by Team 18 during the winners' bracket semifinal.

School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

Team 2 played as Brazil in a 4-3-3 formation and Team 9 chose PSG. Team 2 made an almost immediate impact by getting the ball all the way across the field in the seventh minute and then Hulk kicked the ball straight into the goal from the side, over Team 9's defence, to take the lead 1-0. Team 2 then began to dominate with footwork, outmanoeuvring Team 9. In the 16th minute Team 2's failed attack at the goalie caused the ball to bounce off him to the side, where Neymar was waiting to lob the ball into the corner of the goal with a fancy kick, once again past Team 9's defenses, bringing the score to 2-0 to Team 2.

In the 30th minute Team 2 tried to score again but this time it was easily stopped by Team 9's goalie. Team 2, however, continued to dominate with its footwork, demonstrating why it had done so well in the winners' bracket, until the 39th minute, when Team 9 managed to get the ball all the way to the goal area but then bad work with the kicking handed the ball straight to Team 2's goalie. In the 44th minute, back on the other side of the field, Team 2 had another chance to score but it just missed on the outside of the goal.

Four minutes of stoppage time were added at half time and during this period Team 2 tried once again to score but the angle was misplaced and the ball bounced off the goalie. Team 9 then grabbed the ball and got it all the way to the other side of the field but, once again, Team 2's goalie was ready and waiting and Team 9 failed to score for a second time.

With that it was half time, with Team 2 leading at 2-0. During half time neither team made any changes to the player lineup and so both jumped back in to the second half exactly where they had left off.

In the 49th minute a contact scuffle caused by Team 2 resulted in Team 9 being awarded a kick. Ibrahimoviç took it and found the net, bringing the score to 2-1.

The elation was shortlived, however, as Team 2, via Hulk, scored again in the 53rd minute with a beautiful kick straight into the corner of the goal. The score was now 3-1 to Team 2.

School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

In the 57th minute Team 2 tried to score via a header but it was badly angled and ended up hitting Team 9's goalie in the head as he defended the goal. Team 9, now two goals down and with time running out, began to play a bit more aggressively but was still constantly being outmatched by Team 2's footwork, possibly due to the fatigue setting in. In desperation Team 9 tried a wild shot at the goal in the 66th minute that missed completely and that was really its last chance to make an impact.

Meanwhile, Team 2, now with a comfortable lead, tried its own wild stab at another goal in the 72nd minute but it, too, missed completely. The rest of the match comprised increasingly wild and messy play with the ball careening all over the field, as well as out of bounds, and no one was able to score. At the 90th minute mark three minutes of stoppage time were added but the messy play continued and no one come close to scoring.

The match therefore ended with a score of 3-1 to Team 2, which then went on to meet Team 18 in the 2v2 event final.

The Individual Final
School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

Unfortunately both competitions' finals matches were held at the same time so I was unable to watch the individual final, which was between Deogracias, who won with a score of 3-2, and Yasheen. I couldn't even jump over quickly to catch a few minutes of it because of the drama that was unfolding in the lengthy team final.

The (Epic) 2v2 Team Final
The 2v2 team final was a very exciting event between Team 2, the winners of the losers' bracket, and Team 18, the winners of the winners' bracket. I have never watched a match that was as interesting or went on as long as this one did. Team 18, which comprised players Cassidy Olsen and Abdul Malik, called itself Bomb Squad, while Team 2, comprising players Niklas Gräbe and Nathan Lind, called itself She Was Only X1. (Nobody really wanted to know what that was all about.)

As part of the rules of double elimination, in order to win the tournament Team 2 would have to win two matches against Team 18, whereas Team 18, as the winners of the winners' bracket, only needed to win one match. This put the pressure on Team 2 to prove its worth, and gaming stamina and skill, especially since its previous encounter with Team 18, during the winners' bracket semifinal, had resulted in a loss.

School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

Team 2 picked FC Bayern and the 4-1-4-1 formation and Team 18 picked FC Barcelona and the 4-3-3 formation.

Team 2, which immediately demonstrated that it definitely had something to prove, made a first attempt at a goal in the seventh minute but missed. Two minutes later another attempt saw the ball bounce off a player's foot awkwardly and just miss the goal.

After that there was a significant amount of time when no one had any advantage. The ball was all over the field, in and out of bounds, and no one could get the upper hand. It was interesting to watch as the play in all these games at the Fairbairn event seemed more similar to what you see on TV than the play between the experienced e-sports competitors whose matches I usually report on at Trenchtown, where the gameplay is often very tight and controlled and the gamers make very few mistakes.

In the 25th minute Team 2 once again tried for a goal but it was easily defended by Team 18's goalie. Three minutes later Team 18 had managed to get the ball all the way across the field and attempted its first goal but it bounced off Team 2's goalie.

After this there was again a long period in which the ball was all over the place, with neither team managing to gain any advantage until the 45th minute, when Team 2 once again missed an attempt at a goal that was easily knocked away by Team 18's defence.

It was then half time, with a score of 0-0, but neither team made any lineup changes before jumping into the second half.

In the 56th minute Team 18 attempted a long kick towards the goal that was easily defended by Team 2's goalie. Then, in the 68th minute, Team 2, having managed, finally, to get the ball all the way to the other side of the field, missed another of its attempts at a goal. In the 82nd minute Team 2 tried again but Team 18's goalie successfully shielded the attempt.

In the 88th minute, with little time left and the score still stuck at 0-0, the teams made some quick substitutions and player rearrangements. The match ended two minutes later, still at 0-0, so again they did some swapping to bring in some fresh players from the bench, and the match resumed with two 15 minute periods of extra time.

In the 103rd minute one of Team 2's players, overworked from all the footwork and unsuccessful scrambling to score, pulled a hamstring and had to be removed from the field so a substitute was sent on in his place. At 105 minutes (extra time half time) one minute of stoppage time was added but it didn't help - the score was still tied at 0-0.

During half time neither side made any substitutions and then it was back on the field for the final 15 minutes. In the 107th minute Team 18 made a lazy attempt at a goal that was easily thwarted by Team 2's goalie and that was the only attempt that anyone was able to make - the rest of the stoppage time comprised both teams being unable to get the upper hand on the field and lots of wild play with the ball.

The match then ended with a 0-0 draw so became time for a penalty shootout.

Team 2 went first but missed its shot with a great save by Team 18, immediately putting on the pressure and giving Team 18 the upper hand but it, too, missed its first shot. Team 2 outfoxed Team 18 with its second shot and scored, and so did Team 18. The same scenario played out with each team's third shot, bringing the penalty-shootout score to 2-2. Team 2 was successful with its fourth shot, as well, but then finally outsmarted Team 18 with its fourth shot and gaining the upper hand, bringing the score to 3-2, with one kick left for each team.

Team 2 was once again successful with its fifth kick, resulting in a score of 4-2 on penalty kicks and a win.

That meant, however, that we were only halfway there. Team 2's success in the first match meant that under double elimination rules it would get a second chance to prove its worth against Team 18, and so the second match began. This time both teams opted for Real Madrid and the 4-1-4-1 formation.

School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

In the seventh minute Team 2 got close to the goal but the attempt was easily defended by Team 18, whose defence skills were now tighter. For the next half an hour the ball was moved back and forth all over the field, but no one was able to gain an advantage or get anywhere near a goal-scoring position until the 32nd minute, when Team 2 finally had an opportunity but didn't succeed. A minute later Team 2 made a second attempt, bringing the ball right up to the goal but a miscalculation caused the ball to bounce off the post and out instead of in.

At half time five minutes were added to the clock but no one managed to score, with the result that at the start of the second half the teams were once again on a 0-0 draw and it was looking to be another long haul.

In the 47th minute Team 2 once again managed to get the ball far across the field to the goal area but its attempt just missed and the ball shot passed on the outside. For the next few minutes there was more back and forth, with no real advantage, until the 54th minute, when Team 2 was awarded a penalty kick (unfortunately I missed what happened that awarded it). Ronaldo took the kick and placed it beautifully in the back of the net, finally giving Team 2 the goal it had been seeking for a match and a half.

With the score now 1-0 to Team 2 time was running out for Team 18, which had yet to find the net, but in the 65th minute it was Team 2, again, making an attempt at another goal but this, too, just missed on the outside of the goal. Eight minutes later Team 2 had another opportunity but it was a lazy attempt that was shot straight at the goalie and was easily defended by Team 18.

Finally, 77 minutes in, the upset came that we had been waiting for, via a messy scramble at the goal area that finally awarded Team 18 a much needed point, once again levelling the score at 1-1.

Two minutes later Team 2 was awarded a free kick at 39 yards but it sent the ball straight to Team 18's goalie. In the 83rd minute Team 2 was awarded another free kick, this time at 38 yards. The ball shot over the defending players but ended up in a bit of a scramble in front of the goal and when Team 2 was finally able to kick it it shot upwards, hit the top of the goal posts, bounced down at what seemed to be the line and then hit a side post as it bounced up, causing it to shoot away from the goal. Unfortunately the game didn't award a goal even though it seemed that the ball crossed the line as it fell from the top post so the score remained at 1-1 and play continued amid excited moans from the crowd watching as everyone was in a state of stunned disbelief at what had just happened.

In the 88th minute Team 2 once again tried to score with a long shot at the goal that, unfortunately, just missed on the outside, and then it was full time, with the score again at a draw, this time of 1-1.

The game then went into extra time again and we were wondering if we were heading towards another penalty shootout.

Ninety-three minutes in Team 2 tried to score and, again, the ball just passed on the outside of the goal. It was becoming a pattern that the team was struggling to avoid repeating every time it had a chance to score. Meanwhile Team 18's defence at the goal began to improve as it thwarted a further attempt by Team 2 a few minutes later but, unfortunately, the moment was shortlived as Team 2 attempted another run at the goal in the 100th minute. Team 18's defence wasn't at the goal this time and Team 2 easily found the back of the net, taking the lead, at 2-1, at a crucial moment in the game.

Four minutes later it repeated its success, this time with Ronaldo scoring after another run at the goal from mid field, bringing the score to 3-1.

Neither team made any changes at half time and it seemed that after such a monster battle Team 18 was finally losing focus. We began to wonder if it would be able to manage a comeback with 15 minutes left in the game.

It seems the players were still able to dig deep and, at 109 minutes, Team 18 managed to score, via Benzema, after bringing the ball straight to Team 2's goalie with great footwork and then outmanoeuvring him to place the ball beautifully in the net.

The score was now 3-2, with only a few minutes left. In the 113th minute Team 18, seemingly with renewed vigour, managed a very close shot at the goal after more great manoeuvring through a crowded field. Unfortunately the attempt just missed, and that ended up being its last chance to score. Though Team 18 valiantly attempted to equalise in the closing minutes it just wasn't able to get the ball back to the goal and the match finally ended with Team 2 victorious at 3-2.

School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College: the finalists before their last matches

With that, it was time for the prize giving. The winners and runners up were congratulated by Clint O'Shea from Zombiegamer, who ran the tournaments, and then they were all awarded gift vouchers from, which were courtesy of MWEB GameZone.

I had a lot of fun watching the tournament unfold. Because the players are younger there is more enthusiasm and less gravitas. The initial intention of this event at Fairbairn College had been to raise funds but there was so much interest that it looks as though this may, instead, be the start of a high school gaming league that Zombiegamer will run. Initially schools will hold internal events but then the top players will be invited to participate in inter-schools matches.

It would be great if a schools' league could get going and I hope that more girls will be encouraged to take part as this really isn't a gender-specific activity, as much as certain sectors in gaming try to make it so.

Unfortunately people are reluctant to compete if they have no experience in a game, which is why the 2upGamers community events (when they were happening) were a good chance to give gamers and non gamers a chance to try out new games and consoles without the pressure of winning or, more accurately, failing. A lack of experience is one barrier to entry for e-sports in South Africa, notably for women but not exclusively so, and it's something that needs to be addressed - though by whom, I don't know. It seems that it certainly won't be by Mind Sports South Africa, which is, unfortunately, the official governing body of e-sports in South Africa.

School Gaming Day Roundup: Fairbairn College

Perhaps a robust, exciting schools' league will be enough of a motivation to get kids involved in e-sports. If Saturday's events at Fairbairn College were any indication Clint, and Zombiegamer, is on the right track.

Visit Zombiegamer for Clint's roundup of the day and Zombiegamer's Facebook album for lots of photos.

Tags: #cape_town, #games

On The Internet
Zombiegamer: Official Site | Facebook | Twitter
Fairbairn College: Official Site

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