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Game on -- Icemen compete in video game tournament

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--Airmen 1st Class Brandon Williamson, 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Brandon Johnson, 354th Mission Support Squadron compete in a Madden NFL 07 Feb. 11 at the North Star Cafe in the basement of dorm building 2333. The winners for Feb. 11's PlayStation tournament were Airmen 1st Class Williamson and Mitch Mitchell, 354th AMXS. An XBox tournement was held Feb. 10; the winners were Airmen 1st Class Franklin Hayden, 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron and Brandon Johnson, 354th MSS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nora Anton)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--(From left)Airmen 1st Class Brandon Williamson, 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Brandon Johnson, 354th Mission Support Squadron compete in a Madden NFL 07 Feb. 11 at the North Star Cafe in the basement of building 2333. The winner of Feb. 11 PlayStation tournament was Airman Williamson who defeated Airman 1st Class Mitch Mitchell, 354th AMXS. An XBox tournement was held Feb. 10; the winner was Airmen 1st Class Franklin Hayden, 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron who defeated Brandon Johnson, 354th MSS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nora Anton)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The North Star Café was packed with fans of the popular Madden NFL video game series as more than 30 Icemen vied for the title of Eielson's Madden NFL '07 champion during a two day, two platform tournament Saturday and Sunday.

Airmen played the popular video game, featuring National Football League teams, in a single elimination tournament played on both the X Box and Playstation 2 platforms.

Each platform's Super Bowls were fierce rivalry battles; both championships were played between roommates who have matched up against each other many times.

"He's the only guy that has really beat me before, I knew it was going to be a good game," explained Airman 1st Class Franklin Hayden, who took on suitemate Airman 1st Class Brandon Johnson for the X-Box crown.

Each competitor knew the others weakness and strength, but random team draws made the games more exciting since the competitors weren't allowed to rely on their knowledge of a teams' strengths and weaknesses.

In the Super Bowl of the X Box 360 tourney Saturday, Airman Hayden and his Pittsburgh Steelers defeated Airman Johnson's Atlanta Falcons 35-28. Both Airmen play each other regularly in their dormitory.

Airman Hayden said he's been playing video games since 1994.

Airman Hayden said he had previously won tournaments set up with his friends as participants, but nothing organized with people he didn't know.

"He (Airman Johnson) is the only guy that has really beat me before," he said. "Everyone thinks they are great at Madden and I know there are people that can beat me. But I'm an alright player."

In the Playstation 2 tournament, Airman 1st Class Brandon Williamson's defeated his roommate Airman 1st Class Mitch Mitchell.

This is the first year Eielson has seen an official Madden tournament, although B.A.S.E. 24/7 has previously sponsored Halo tournaments, which have seen hundreds of participants take part in the futuristic combat game.

Organizer and B.A.S.E. 24/7 representative, Tech. Sgt. Jack Hartman, said weekend activities are important for all Icemen, and especially for single Airmen.

"It get's them involved in their community and activities," he said. "Even if it's just a video game tournament, we provided an opportunity for Icemen to have a good time doing something they enjoy," he said.

Sergeant Hartman said B.A.S.E. 24/7 understands how popular the gaming culture is in today's society. "The tournaments simply ensure they aren't tucked away in their rooms playing video games online or with only a few friends, but they are in a social environment and they are meeting others with like interests and feeling like a part of the Eielson community."

Sergeant Hartman said the next tournament will most likely be Gears of War-a tactical third-person shooter video game-slated for late February or early March.

For more information on upcoming events, e-mail base247@eielson.af.mil.