Approximately 100 gamers gathered at the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt Saturday to put their video game skills on full display during the May Mayhem Smash Tourney and Expo.
The event is the first organized under a partnership between Vancouver Island Smash and Heavy Hitters Esports, and one of the first organized in-person video game competitions on the Island since the pandemic.
“It’s a celebration of esports on the Island,” said co-organizer Brady Chan of Vancouver Island Smash. “Usually we have been doing these as a grassroots thing, so it’s nice that we are finally getting events more at the esports level … it feels good. It’s something I have been trying to move toward for a few years now. Everyone here loves it and is having a great time.”
The move up to a larger, more organized, and even sponsored event is thanks to the partnership with Heavy Hitters Esports.
“Our company mandate is to do it with the community and for the community, so it’s fantastic,” said Troy Taylor, ‘final boss’ (CEO) with Heavy Hitter Esports. “We are learning as we go, building the plane as we fly as it were. The next one will be smoother, and the one after that even more so.”
Taylor said despite some people thinking video games are simply a hobby, now more than ever there are opportunities to make a career out of it through competition, and through an increasing amount professional teams and leagues. Heavy Hitters hopes to establish an amateur league which will allow gamers to feed into those career-level events.
Saturday saw gamers competing in Super Smash Bros Melee and Ultimate games, while Sunday featured competition in Guilty Gear: Strive and Mario Cart 8 Deluxe. Prizes top out at $400.