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Beyond The Machine Expo

Updated: Apr 21

On May 11th, 2022 I was a part of the Beyond The Machine event at Staffordshire University esports Expo. The Expo is organized by Year 2 and Year 3 students of the esports course and is a mandatory part of the studies.

At the Expo, I helped organize the Colosseum tournament, an arcade-themed esports gauntlet of Beyond The Machine.

About the Expo

The expo at Staffordshire University is a three-day event made of multiple gaming experiences created by esports and game school students. Experiences vary by size, theme, and competitiveness.

The 2022 Staffordshire University Expo themes:

  • Day 1 - Sports theme

  • Day 2- Military theme

  • Day 3- Arcade theme (that was us as a part of Beyond The Machine)

During each day the students hosted events on campus that fit the day's theme. Our day was Day 3 which was an arcade-themed day focused on reliving and exploring the classics of gaming.

Beyond The Machine

The arcade theme was set to be the most popular as it opened the floor to more creative ideas. Students of Beyond The Machine created many different activities to check out during the Expo:

  • Gaming areas with arcade fighting games like Street Fighter, Bomberman, and Super Smash Bros.

  • Esports and gaming industry talks

  • Colosseum esports gauntlet (I was here)

Image by Beyond The Machine

If you want to see a bit more of what happened at Beyond The Machine here are its socials:

Colosseum: arcade esports gauntlet

The Colosseum was an esports tournament gauntlet that existed at Staffordshire University for a few years. The main concept was a team-based multi-discipline tournament with teams competing at different games to see who's the best overall.

This tournament was returning in 2022 as a part of the Expo and was tailored to fit the arcade theme. The games played weren't usual esports titles like CS:GO or League of Legends. This time around, it had arcade games including a few classics and new releases: Bomberman, Gang Beasts, and Worms Armageddon.

Super Bomberman R Online

Throughout the day, the Colosseum also featured industry talks and a podcast. Here you can find the recording of the Colosseum's broadcast:

Tournament organization

I was one of the Tournament Organizers at the Colosseum and our responsibility was to make sure that the tournament ran without any issues in regards to players and played games.

The tournament format we were presented with by the Event Managers had severe flaws. I have identified the key ones:

  • Some of the games presented had no team game modes making it hard for both players to play and casters to commentate over the gameplay.

  • Different games had different scoring formats (especially if the game didn't have a team mode) compromising the overall point tracking as the teams had to play multiple games within the gauntlet.

Since the format was introduced at the latest stage of the event, neither myself nor my colleagues could change it. However, we have improvised a couple of solutions to smoothen the overall experience:

  • For games with no team game modes, we made players on the same team customize their in-game character identically. This way it's easy for TOs and casters to recognize different teams.

  • Scorings were adjusted individually to each game to clearly identify the winner of the game. In FFA games (like Bomberman) the last player standing earned a point for their team and the team had to collectively earn a set amount of points. A similar approach was applied to other games too.

In the end, the event went relatively smoothly. Considering that the teams were made of two players it was easy to coordinate. On the other hand, if it had been a five-man team like they are for most esports games, such a tactic probably wouldn't have worked.


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