Linwood Steve Campbell is ready to shoot at bevies of wild animals — in downtown Chicago.
Campbell, 38, owner of Fro’s Hideout in Linwood, is competing in the Big Buck HD World Championship video game tournament Saturday at Chop Shop and 1st Ward in Chicago.
Campbell ranks 27th out of 64 players entering the double-elimination tournament. To win a spot in the tournament, the gamers swiped player cards on their Big Buck HD arcade games to register their scores between Sept. 8 to Oct. 13.
Campbell, who works full-time at his bar, said he plays the game for two to four hours each week there to hone his skills.
“I play after hours or when no one is here,” he said.
But the world championships will be plenty noisy, with cheering spectators and music. Like a football team blaring crowd noise in practice to simulate a road game conditions, Campbell has tried to create the world championship atmosphere at his bar. He’s played some games with a large crowd in the bar and cranked the jukebox up to 11.
“That’s how you’ve got to get used to it,” Campbell said.
Each game takes about 15 minutes as players take aim at video versions of deer, elk, wildebeest, moose and kudu, a species of antelope found in Africa.
Campbell has played variations of the game for the past decade and is playing in his third consecutive world championship. The 2011 tournament took place at the Cubby Bear in Chicago, across the street from Wrigley Field. Last year’s tournament took place in New York City.
Campbell won a tournament last year at a Big Game HD launch party in St. Louis. For winning the tourney, he also qualified to play in a money grab game in which he snagged a dollar bill marked for a free night’s stay at a New York hotel, which he used during his time competing at the world championships.
Campbell keeps that dollar in his billfold as a good-luck charm.
Though Campbell hopes to bring home a world title, he’s also looking forward to the after party at the Emporium Arcade Bar, which features more than 50 arcade games and 15 pinball machines.
“I can’t wait for that,” Campbell said.
Campbell, a former mayor of the small southern Leavenworth County town, also regularly plays the game online for the chance to win money. He has basically broken even so far, but he hopes to start making money with the game.
Campbell said he just wants to promote the game, have fun at the world championship and get together with other game enthusiasts he’s met.
As for actual hunting, Campbell said he’s tried it but he prefers the video version.
“Real life hunting is too boring and too easy and you can’t drink,” he said.