Someone once said “ambition used wisely can bloom into something beautiful, however it can just as well become the thorn that brings down a great cause”. The mantra for Games Con 2015 was ambition, ambition that ultimately turned out to give us something pretty amazing.
“Ambition, is the strong desire and determination to achieve success.”
Just like everything else in this world we inhabit, ambition can be considered either a good or bad thing depending on the perspective of the subject. In this article about Games Con 2015 the subject will be changed throughout it to you give a greater scale of everything.
What is Games Con?
Games Con, not to be mistaken for Gamescom, is a Video Game tournament centred convention that was hosted for the first time in Trinidad and Tobago on August 29th 2015. I got the opportunity to attend and experience the inaugural convention from more perspectives than I have ever been able to at any single Con before. It was an experience I was grateful for, but I sure wouldn’t like to make it a regular thing.
My experience was a result of me somehow taking on a bit more than I could conceivably chew, and this I think, was a trend at this particular Con. You see the event coordinators, E-sports Caribbean League Limited, had made it their goal to make this the biggest gaming event here in this country. The idea was to have multiple video game tournaments running simultaneously throughout a 12 our long Con. These would include a full League of Legends, Dota 2, FIFA 15, Heart Stone, Pokémon, Yu-gi-oh, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, Ultra Street Fighter IV, Mortal Kombat X, and Super Smasher Bros tournaments. There was also a scheduled Cosplay competition, included for good measure, because Cosplay!
See what I mean by “Ambition“?
With all these aspects happening simultaneously over the course of 12 hrs there was a major need for proper coordination of a well-chosen team to make sure all went according to plan. This was something that was not fully present on the day. The team present on the day were well chosen, and they ultimately completed their tasks successfully but the coordination between them, or should I say us, seemed to be absent. Each tournament functioned independently of the others surrounding it with a sense of inconsistency between them. There were some that seemed to run smoothly from beginning to end, while others had hiccups throughout the course of the day. This was not helped by the fact that there were some competitors that entered multiple tournaments. There were some situations where by members of the staff had to go around the venue looking for competitors that were competing in multiple tournaments which coincided with each other, and that was pretty much a basic hiccup when compared to some of the others that arose during the day. The bigger ones were technical issues with some of the machines on the day that prevented some of the League of Legends and Dota 2 matches from running as smoothly as required, and then there were a few issues that some competitors had with the rules and organization of some of the tournaments.
In one of these particular situations I was actually the one that had to try and iron out the kinks. Remember that part above where I mentioned that I was able to experience the convention from many different perspectives? Well you see due to a few circumstances I was put in charge of one of the tournaments.
Sounds like fun, right? 😉
Well the tournament I was placed in charge of was actually FIFA 15, and strangely enough I was also competing in that very same tournament, but don’t worry I didn’t cheat. I actually only won one of my matches. 🙁
The tournament consisted of 32 competitors that were placed in a double elimination bracket system. This system was managed by a few individuals from Chrono Fantasy who were managing multiple tourney brackets on the day. So pretty much all I had to do was make sure that the players involved were following the rules. Which were not robust enough before the start of the tournament, so somewhere in the middle we had to re-construct them as per the request of numerous competitors that complained that they were not up to standard, and this was just one experience that we felt in our section. I think with a well-constructed system, more rules and a more robust team these would have been minimized or avoided completely.
Hiccups aside there was a lot that went right for Games Con 2015. E-Sports Caribbean League’s director Kevin Lee A Ping mentioned to me that he wanted Games Con to be the largest gaming event here In Trinidad and Tobago, and it easily achieved that goal. The turnout of patrons including both spectators and competitors was amazing, and from what I was told there were more than 1k present on the day. There was a lot expected from GC by these patrons, and I think most of those expectations were met, especially for those that were not competing. The location was the best location for a convention like this with 3 floors, theater rooms with great seating, and spacious halls with signs for easy navigation.
The bigger tourneys like LOL and DOTA2 had really spacious rooms with great seating, acoustics, and huge projectors for spectators to sit and enjoy the matches. These rooms were the highlight of this convention, and without them I don’t think Dota and LOL would have been as well received as they were. Games like Yu-gi-oh seemed to be in a world of their own, as the competitors seemed to be the only ones that were interested in the matches, they started and ended their tourney like a well-played super meat boy level, quick and precise. The Pokémon crowd was what I’d like to think of as the kind of happy go lucky gypsy tribe of the Con. They were moved around quite a lot on the day, but that didn’t seem to dampen their overall spirits. Every time I saw them they were busy training, chatting, sharing secrets and eager to help. Though they were a smaller group they seemed to be having quite a time, and the same can be said about Heart Stone which was seemingly more popular among the kids present. When I stumbled upon them I found a small group of them just sitting quietly watching the matches. The FIFA crowd was energetic, and very vocal about their thoughts on the tourney. They played, cheered for their friends, and all in all had pretty good sportsmanship. Street fighter was pretty much the same, while smash was almost in a world of its own in a room away from everyone else.
During the course of the day I found myself doing the usual convention dance of chatting with beautiful people to get their opinions about their experiences. Some spoke to me about their Pokémon, others helped me to drive stick, there were even those that just popped up just to say hi and inquire how I was doing. All in all the overall feedback I recieved was mostly positive.
“Thanks to all that said “Hi Q” you guys are too sweet, the best”
When not competing or spectating there was pretty much lots of ways to occupy one’s time. Booths with a wide variety of products littered the halls between tournament rooms with lots of merch including figurines, football memorabilia, games, comic books, DVD’s, Blue Rays, jewelry, plushies, hand drawn art, decorative weapons, the Cosplay competition and so much more. It was so much that I don’t think any one person was able to check all the booths during the course of the day, and there were in fact more booths popping up as the day proceeded. The *Cresta of which was the food tent. If you follow my writing then you know I love me some grub, and boy was there some good stuff at GC. The food tent was situated at the entrance of the building to allow easy access to stuff like burgers, chicken & fries, monster energy drinks (because we’re gamers), etc.
*Go watch Great Teacher Onizuka
At the end of it all I was pretty tired, and a bit stressed, but as I reflected on the day. I found that though there were numerous things that went wrong, there were a lot more that went right. Games Con 2015 was an amazing experience thanks to the amazing turnout, the dedicated team and a wonderful location. If all the kinks I mentioned before are ironed out by the next GC then I’m sure it will not just be the biggest Video Game Con here, but possibly the biggest in region.
if you’d like to hear more of my thoughts on this topic, then I suggest you listen to the Buttonsmashers podcast.