Thousands turn out for eSports convention

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Thousands turn out for eSports convention

A row of gamers focus on the computers infront of them.

A row of gamers focus on the computers infront of them.

Khánh Nguyễn

A row of gamers focus on the computers infront of them.

Khánh Nguyễn

Khánh Nguyễn

A row of gamers focus on the computers infront of them.

Isaiah Bradshaw of Jetmore, Kansas, is a pretty normal guy. He has a wife, a kid, and a full-time job. He also has a recognizable passion for video games.

“My grandma used to play Super Mario with me,” Bradshaw said. “My father, my brother, my siblings — we all played video games.”

He bought himself a PC, and started the steady grind of playing the popularized game, Fortnite. 

Bradshaw is one of 1,000-plus video game lovers who made the trek to Wichita State for the Midwest eSports Convention over the weekend. Bradshaw went on to compete in convention’s Fortnite Challenge.

Throughout the weekend, the convention hosted multiple semi-professional teams that went on to compete in tournaments, most notably CS-Go, League of Legends, and Overwatch. More than $20,000 in prize money was doled out to the winners.

Logan Kramer spent the weekend playing League of Legends.

Kramer, of Missouri Valley College, was one of the many who competed in the tournament held in the Experiential Engineering Building.

Missouri Valley College, a small liberal arts school in Marshall, Missouri, has had eSports teams competing in tournaments across the midwest this semester. Kramer said this weekend’s event at WSU was magnifying compared to past events.

“It’s more intimidating,” he said. “This is more of a larger scale.”

Kramer said the presence of professional teams and experienced players at the tournament inspired success and offered goals for he and his teammates.

“It allows us to set a goal for something to achieve as a program,” he said.

Missouri Valley College added an eSports program in fall 2017. Kramer said the team is hopeful to pull information from this weekend’s tournament and set sights on soon hosting their own tournament.  

The Wichita-based convention allowed new streamers, such as Bradshaw and Kramer, to get a taste of a mainstream convention in a smaller setting. 

“I like the environment — the atmosphere,” Bradshaw said. “Everyone’s playing games, chilling, and connecting with people. 

“That’s what it’s all about.”