Annapolis 'Call of Duty' Tourney Co-Sponsored by Army Recruiters

"We're trying to make it a scene out of 'Call of Duty,'" Press Play employee Evie Diaz said.

Press Play owners Cesar Diaz and Evie Diaz are hosting a Call of Duty gaming tournament sponsored by the Maryland National Guard this weekend. (Photo by D. Frank Smith)
Press Play owners Cesar Diaz and Evie Diaz are hosting a Call of Duty gaming tournament sponsored by the Maryland National Guard this weekend. (Photo by D. Frank Smith)
A Call of Duty tournament at the Annapolis mall this weekend will be decked out with sandbags and camouflage netting, courtesy of the Maryland National Guard, which will use the event to drive local Army recruitment efforts.

The National Guard's recruitment office is co-sponsoring the weekend teamplay tournament for Call of Duty: Black Ops II at Press Play, a modern-day arcade at the Westfield Annapolis mall. The winning team will walk away with $800 and some National Guard swag.

Call of Duty, a military first-person shooter that has broken worldwide game sales records for publisher Activision over the years, has gained popularity with each annual release. It's become the most popular online game among shooters, and Press Play hosts several tournaments each year drawing dozens of fans from around the region.

Press Play co-owner Evie Diaz said this weekend's event is the first time the National Guard has sponsored a tournament with them, but it's something they've been working on for a while.

"They'll park a military Humvee outside, with our banner and their banner, and they're going to have some of the soldiers attending the tournament as well," Diaz said.

Soldiers will help decorate the store with sandbags, equipment and camouflage netting. Recruitment tables will also be set up. 

"We're trying to make it a scene out of Call of Duty," she said.

Maryland National Guard Staff Sergeant Stephen Green said it's the first time area recruiters have hosted this kind of event, and the soldiers are excited about the prospect of it.

"As a recruiter, I thought it'd be a good idea to get out there and let the public know who we are and what we do," Green said. "The military is one big family, and we'll have soldiers there from all walks of life."

The grand-prize winner will take home $800, but a special prize will also be awarded to the team with the greatest number of accomplishments—a trophy from the National Guard and a certificate of achievement.

The six-hour tournament starts at noon Saturday at Press Play in the Westfield Annapolis mall. Each team must pay a $160 entry fee, which can be discounted up to $30 if participants bring in copies of the game. For more details on the event, check the store's Facebook page.

Press Play opened in April at the mall, offering gamers a chance to test-drive the latest games on big-screen TVs before committing to a full-priced purchase.

Owner Cesar Diaz said he also wanted to give local gamers a place to congregate and play together, as a way of circumventing the isolation that comes from playing on the Internet.

Read Patch's interview with Press Play when the store first opened.

Press Play is organizing a video game convention in August in Washington, DC, dubbed Video Gamers United, which the military is also sponsoring, Diaz said. More details on the conference will be disclosed as it gets closer to the summer. See the official site for more information. 


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