Four friends started an attempt Wednesday to break a world record for continuously playing a first-person shooter video game .
The players – David “Trey” Underwood, 22, of Augusta; Jacob Soler, 21, of Bowling Green, Ky.; Evan Beever, 22, of Athens, Ga.; and Tony Bell, 20, of Fairfield, Ohio – also are starring in a documentary chronicling their attempt, which is taking place at Martinez gaming store Level Up Game Center, for inclusion into Guinness World Records.
To break the record, the men are playing the video game Halo: Reach, in which futuristic super soldiers battle an alien race.
The idea for the documentary originated with Underwood, a senior communications major at Augusta State University. He decided to make a documentary for his senior project about friendship and gaming, which included the attempt to break the record.
Underwood recruited fellow senior communications major Kristina Harper, 23, to act as producer and co-director of the video. Harper intends to use it as her senior thesis.
The main focus of the documentary is not the attempt to break the world record, but how gaming can keep friendships alive, Underwood said.
“Obviously, the thing that brings us together is the record breaking,” Underwood said. “But the story is about people who don’t necessarily see each other on a regular basis, or at all anymore.
“So the real story is about gaming bringing us together and keeping some of us together.”
The attempt brought all the players together for the first time.
“That’s kind of where it started for all of us,” Underwood said of playing Halo. “We all started out, and that’s how I met Tony, so we’re just kind of bringing it full circle.”
The record for playing a first-person shooter video game is 51 hours, 21 minutes, Underwood said. If everything goes according to plan, they hope to set a record of 60 hours about 5 p.m. Friday.
For the record to count, they must comply with certain rules. For example, an official must be present. Robert Steele, the manager of Level Up, and his co-workers are serving as the officials.
“Guinness requires us to have a witness, and one of the things they require is an expert in the field,” Harper said. “Mr. Robert and his team happen to be experts because they know pretty much all the new games that come out and they fix consoles … which technically qualifies them as experts in the field.”
They are allowed a 10-minute break for every hour of continuous play, Underwood said. Their plan is to stay awake for the first 24 hours to rack up about four hours of break time, nap during that time, and repeat the cycle. All the players must start back at the correct time, however, or else be disqualified.