Big Buck Hunters Shoot for Glory in Video Game League

By Ben Fractenberg on October 24, 2013 8:25am 

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 A new Big Buck Hunter league meets Tuesday nights at ACE Bar in the East Village for some video game competition and free shots.
Big Buck Hunter League
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MANHATTAN — An East Village video game league is finding the big shots of buck hunting.

Virtual hunters honing their shooting skills with the video game Big Buck Hunter have been meeting every week at the ACE Bar on East 5th Street to compete.

The league, NYC Big Bucks, which features teams with names like "BamBamBam" and "Good Will Hunters," is now signing up potential sharpshooters for its winter season, which starts Nov. 12.

"I had an absolute blast doing it," said John Harris, 28, who was part of Good Will Hunters with his roommate and two women he met through the league.

"It involves an odd amount of concentration."

Participants take aim at the game, which features a high-definition, 42-inch screen, according to ACE Bar manager Erick Eyerman, 39.

The winning team gets a free round of bourbon or whiskey shots and participants pay happy hour prices while playing.

Harris, who is a lawyer when he's not blasting digital deer, added that competition can be fierce.

"You get some good hazing if you shoot a doe," Harris said. 

The group, which touts itself as the first club of its kind in New York, was started after its founder noticed an uptick in interest in games like dodgeball and kickball.

"This is an excuse to meet new people and do something silly on a Tuesday night," said league founder Matt Payne, 31.

Payne, who has been on kickball and dodgeball teams during his four years living in the East Village, came up with the idea over the summer while thinking about his next social activity.

"I had quite a few beers and did some brainstorming," he said about creating a league with the motto "Make Shots. Take Shots.

"One of reasons I moved to New York City was to meet new people and have a good time."

The league had six teams with three to five players per team during its inaugural season, which went on for seven weeks this past fall.

There will be at least eight teams for the winter season, Payne said.

The season culminated in a showdown between the teams "I Like it When you Call Me Big Pappy" and "Buck You."

"Buck You" prevailed, walking away with a $50 bar credit and a 50 percent registration discount for the new season.

Sign-ups for the winter season end Nov. 1 and cost $50 per person. There will be seven weeks of play, with a playoff tournament.

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