By Sophia Ricco
Hold on to your controllers, the first ever “Game Of Fest” hits The Paramount in Huntington on Saturday, June 15.
This one-of-a-kind esports tournament and festival mash-up brings top gamers together to battle for video game victory. Challengers will go head to head playing three intense rounds of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch.
Game of Fest was created by Kris Renkewitz, a “video game veteran” with over 20 years in the industry. He hopes to make the entire day an “interactive experience” for competitors and spectators alike.
“It brings the gaming community together,” Renkewitz said. “You can play tournament games, engage with vendors, and there will be side tournaments. It’s not the standard one big tournament, as they usually are.”
Game of Fest will feature a DJ, game demos, side tournament for the game “Overwatch,” as well as bar refreshments and food. If Game of Fest reaches its cap of 512 players, it will be the largest gaming tournament in New York state.
“Many people believe video games are anti-social, but nowadays it’s quite the opposite,” Renkewitz said. “Everyone wants to get together and play.”
The Paramount will be a hub of activity, with 60 setups on the floor and four on stage. Start time is 11 a.m. and Renkewitz hopes the finals will be reached by 6 p.m. when all eyes will be on the final eight players.
“It’s a double elimination, which means if you lose once, then you go into the loser’s bracket and play again,” Renkewitz said. “You get a second chance, in case a fluke happens during your game, you get to redeem yourself.”
Stakes are high for Game of Fest with a total purse of $5,000. First place payout is $3,600, second is $1,000, and third is $400.
“You’re gonna have gamers who have never played in a tournament, going against the best players in the world,” Renkewitz said. “We actually do have the top five Smash players in the world showing up for this.”
Typically video game tournaments span several weeks and locations, making them inaccessible for the common player who doesn’t have the time or money to commit. Hosting it all in one day, Game of Fest attracts broader competition.
“You don’t have to rank to get in, just play one of the people on the tournament list and boom, you keep on playing until you die,” Renkewitz said.
“Any given day, anybody could beat anyone,” Renkewitz said. “If you play and win matches at home with your friends, there’s a chance you could win. You might not even play a pro, they could be knocked out by someone else. As long as you keep on winning against who you sit next to, you have the same shot of getting to the finals.”
Players can sign up to compete at smash.gg/tournament/smash-at-the-paramount. Use the promo code: LONGISLANDER to receive $10 off the tournament ticket. To go as a spectator visit paramountny.com/shows/game-on-festival.