BY JOSH PEDERSON
With the existing popularity of retro and modern video games along with the relatively new trend of esports gaining widespread mainstream media attention, international, national and local dedicated gaming organizations have sprung up and pounced on the opportunities of this new and prosperous market.
One Guelph company in particular is putting its face on the map and gaining some serious attention from old-school gamers and the newer generation alike.
“We see some people in here in their 40s, but most gamers are teenagers or in their early 20s,” said Chelsea Martin, supervisor at Afterlife Video Game Lounge. Martin also said she sees an equal number of male and female gamers.
Located in the heart of downtown Guelph at 101 Wyndam St. N., Afterlife Video Game Lounge offers a fun and unique experience for all lovers of video games to enjoy.
“We have a more modern section in the front with Xboxes and Play Stations and in the back, is our retro section with classic Nintendo (consoles) and an Atari,” said Martin.
Whether you fancy playing some classic Zelda on the Nintendo 64, Call of Duty on the newer Xbox One or simply enjoy watching a live League of Legends game while having a drink at the bar, the Afterlife Video Game Lounge has you covered.
Every Tuesday the business hosts its weekly Super Smash Bros. 4 tournament where dozens of avid fans of the game gather to hone their skills and put their abilities to the test as they battle others on their own or with a partner. Entering the tournament is $10 of which $5 is added to the prize pool.
Martin said the money is divided three ways. “Sixty per cent goes to first place, 30 per cent to second and 10 per cent to third.”
Competition is fierce and while rookies and newcomers are encouraged to come join in on the fun and learn, the gauntlet may prove overwhelming to first-timers if they are hoping to win some money.
Observing the tournament as a whole is no easy task as there are multiple simultaneous screens running at the same time in order to conserve time and make sure competitors get to play as much as possible.
Rory Sutherland was one of those competitors. Looking at his pre-tournament gameplay, Sutherland was a force to be reckoned with. Having contended in three previous tournaments, he was eager to take home his first win.
“I have been playing Smash for three years. My favourite character is Captain Falcon. He can deliver some pretty punishing combos and does really well at knocking people off the stage while denying them the ability to get back on it,” he said.
His statement could not have been truer. While watching him play against Brandon Sharer who considered himself a casual player, Sutherland took advantage and right out of the gate pummelled Sharer’s Zelda with a barrage of attacks, inflicting some severe damage.
There is no health bar in Super Smash Bros. 4, so instead damage is inflicted as a percentage bar in the bottom left corner that does not cap at 100. The higher your percentage, the farther you can be knocked back and the longer you can be grabbed on to by your opponent.
A life is lost when your character gets knocked out of bounds or, if you’re just unlucky, by falling off the stage. A match is won and a victor is decided once a player has run out of lives, also called stocks. In this tournament’s case two stocks are provided to each player.
Unfortunately for Sutherland, although he was able to defeat Sharer and make it past the first few rounds, the tournament’s winner was Garrett Lyons, a seasoned veteran who looked to be an amazingly skilled player, performing feats of miraculous proportions with his main character, R.O.B.
The friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the staff along with the friendly but fierce competitiveness of the tournament at Afterlife Video Game Lounge bodes well for its future.
Mario Kart tournaments are hosted on Thursdays with more tournaments of different games being expected to be introduced in the near future.