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New UNLV Game Club Hitting High Score

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One of UNLV’s newest gaming clubs allows students to win hundreds of dollars by winning matches in Mario Party video games.

This club, Mario Party Wars, was introduced during the fall 2013 semester by marketing major Salvador Villa, 26, who wished to bring diversity among the gaming organizations at UNLV.

“Most, in fact just about all, of the clubs at UNLV feature games that are solely skill-based,” Villa said. “The games featured at Mario Party Wars require a combination of luck and strategy, with some skill required.”

He also said Mario Party Wars attempts to balance a competitive and casual experience for gamers.

Participants in Mario Party Wars play every installment in the best-selling franchise, with the exception of the handheld games: Mario Party Advance and Island Tour.

“The console games have generally garnered more positive of a reputation than the handheld equivalents.” Villa said. “Nobody here is really upset that we don’t acknowledge them.”

Members sign up during the first week of the semester, and are assigned to play different games throughout a four-hour period during each session. Mario Party Wars meets once per month.

Participants earn points by performing various actions when playing (i.e., winning mini-games, attaining collectibles) that carry over with each meeting until the conclusion of the semester.

The player with the highest score by the semester’s end will receive $250. Secondary prizes include hats, T-shirts, action figures and works of art.

Mario Party Wars currently has more than 40 active players.

Most of the meetings are conducted inside ballrooms within the Student Union. The club has sporadically hosted its tournaments at several independent video game stores throughout Las Vegas, including Wii Play Games and Retro City Games.

Villa has advertised the club by posting on various social media websites, plastering posters throughout campus and reserving digital advertisements in the Student Union.

The executive members of Mario Party Wars provide the equipment, including the controllers and games.

While Mario Party Wars is open to the public, participants must pay a $20 entrance fee prior to joining the club. The entrance fee will be reduced in half for players who bring their own controllers.

Villa was also the president of UNLV’s Game Club for more than three years, but resigned in early 2014 to focus entirely on conducting tournaments for Mario Party Wars.

Aside from their tournaments, Mario Party Wars recently hosted the first day of Geek Week on Nov. 9. The club is scheduled to be featured at several events and conventions throughout the remainder of the year.

Gamers throughout UNLV love Mario Party Wars.

“It’s such a breath of fresh air, especially compared to other gaming clubs,” said UNLV finance student Anthony Howard, 20. “The atmosphere of Mario Party Wars is more about having fun with your friends. Other gaming clubs just get way too intense with the competitive aspect.”

Villa intends to continue hosting Mario Party Wars in the future.

“I’m a very passionate nerd, and I’m not afraid to show it,” Villa said. “I love promoting gaming culture, and I love Mario Party, so combining the two was a dream come true for me.”

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