Adventure Games Inc. is teaming up with Volcanic Gaming to bring Williams Lake its first real electronic sporting event — Esports Summer Tour: The Puddle.
Since their inception with the likes of Pong, video games had an inherently competitive edge in which small groups of friends in the arcade would compete for the coveted high score slot. This spirit of competition and pursuit of excellence has carried over from the arcade days to consoles and now today worldwide via the use of the Internet.
Alongside video games the emerging industry that is esports took shape, first with small local tournaments like the one Adventure Games is hosting, to events hosted in stadiums with viewership and prize money in the millions.
Worldwide, esports is currently an industry worth $1.1-billion with prize pools worldwide already exceeding $2-million, as of the writing of this article, though this number is projected to rise.
Bryton Kaufman, however, is looking to provide an event more akin to esports humble roots where it was just a group of local kids and teens battling it out to see who was the best at a given game. The young proprietor of Adventure Games Inc. and The Memory Den Virtual Reality Lounge has been hosting small scale Super Smash Bros Tournaments for some time now but this marks his first time doing an event on this scale.
He also works to give back to the community through volunteerism and sponsoring community events and organizations, like his work as a Big Brother through Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Williams Lake, which he finds particularly rewarding.
Kaufman is teaming up with Volcanic Games, an outfit out of Prince George trying to promote esports throughout central and northern B.C., to bring their esports Summer Tour to its first stop this summer, Williams Lake. It will be hosted in the basement of the Elks Hall on Saturday, July 20 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The games being played for the tournament will be Apex Legends and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate two successful recent games that dropped within the last year. For Apex Legends contestants are asked to bring their own computer for a LAN Party style event while for Smash a bunch of Nintendo Switches will be ready to go. The prize pool for both games will range between $500 to a $1,000 Kaufman said.
Food and drink will be available at the event, with Kaufman looking into a liquor permit currently.
Individuals can register for the tournament via Volcanic Gaming at volcanicgaming.com or in person at Adventure Games Inc for $25 for this all ages event, though Kaufman said parental permission is required for those under the age of 14. Registration will be capped at 150.
“It will be a ton of fun and an opportunity to crush your opponents and claim victory,” Kaufman said.
The new executive of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Williams Lake, Angela Kadar, was raised in Williams Lake and recently took the position in May of this year. Kadar, however, is undaunted by this challenge and has already begun planning several new ways to expand the services they offer the youth of the community through collaboration with mentors like Kaufman.
Kadar said that 40 tickets to the tournament are available for mentors and mentees involved with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Williams Lake for free, courtesy of Kaufman. She thinks it’s great to have people like him in the business community “willing to put his money where his mouth is” when it comes to supporting community organizations. These tickets can be acquired at the Boys and Girls Club office in Williams Lake.
“I think it’s a really great opportunity for parents, kids and mentors to all join in and try something new, even if you’re not familiar with esports. I think it’s pretty accessible to anyone and a really good opportunity to get involved with the community and have some fun,” Kadar said.