By Dana Flickinger
Gigazone Gaming held their second annual gaming convention at the Sanford Center last Friday and Saturday, with many chances to win prizes and try out old and new gaming systems.
The main event was a League of Legends tournament, which was won this year Go Next, a team from Duluth.
During their first year they had 1400 people attend to play all kinds of games including card games, arcade and console gaming, all of which were free to play.
Players were welcome to cosplay at the event, like Jesse Mix who appeared as Jayne Cobb from the show Firefly.
“I love the costumes, I love the people,” said Mix. “This is the first year we’re really pushing the cosplay, we’re hoping that will advance as years go up.”
This is one of the first stadium style eSports events in the region, with various chances to win cash prizes or just experience different gaming styles and systems.
“We looked at this as an opportunity to create something unique for our region,” said Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor. “I think we’ve really maximized what we can offer here today from a free gaming perspective as well as tournaments.”
Bissonette is not a very competitive gamer himself, but he does enjoy playing the various forms of games. Paul Bunyan Communications provided all of the televisions, consoles and other necessary equipment for this event with help from Northern Amusement, who provided over a dozen arcade games.
“If you think about it gamers mainly are in their basements or in their houses and they’re gaming,” said Bissonette. “They get to talk to other gamers and make connections and network with other players that they otherwise probably would have never even met.”
The event has gained national accolades and awards because you don’t normally see events like this one in communities such as Bemidji’s.
“My boyfriend’s friend helps to organize this event and we’re here to check it out. I am not a huge gamer but I do like to play console games,” said Angela Evje.
Evje hung out more around the arcade games and enjoy the opportunity to try out virtual reality consoles and encouraged her daughter to try out the safari hunt arcade game.
“At the end of the day it’s all about community and trying to give people a unique opportunity to just have some good clean fun with your friends and neighbors and make it a great day,” ended Bissonette.