Fake Geek Girl and her Fella have been playing some games. * Contains no slamming!
Mario Kart can be more intense than you’d think. The practise began early enough. With over a week to go to the tournament, my fella began his training for the Super Mario Kart 64 Tournament in the Lighthouse Cinema. It was the most intense I’ve ever seen him. “This is bullshit” and the sound of controllers being put down “firmly” (never slamming, he was very clear that he definitely wasn’t slamming…) became the soundtrack of my home. I began to dream of those halcyon days when the sound of DOTA dominated the house rather than the terrifyingly upbeat music of Mario Kart. This was worse than when he played FIFA with his mates. After all of this, he’d better win He didn’t. The practise had been worth it though, and as it turned out, he wasn’t the only one taking it seriously. Downstairs, in the waiting area before the whole thing kicked off, there were people in Super Mario tee-shirts, hats, and one fan in a head to toe Mario costume (sans moustache and bad Italian accent unfortunately). The first thing that struck me was the air of relaxed competitiveness. Some were here for serious competition, and were practicing away in the consoles set up in the waiting area. Some were just here for a laugh with their mates. I spotted a dad who was competing with both of his children, and teenagers who almost certainly weren’t even born when this game first came out. It just goes to show what Nintendo have always done right; they provide a product that really is just fun for everyone. The tournament kicked off on time, and we all gathered in the Red Room. Winners would get to go and play on the coveted cinema screen. I was curious about how the game would look on the big screen. ‘Pixels the size of your face ‘ had been the consensus from gaming friends when I told them about the event. Once the first groups of players were sat in front of blocky CRT TV’s, the busy hum of noise that permeated the waiting area turned into loud cheering from spectators when their favourite pulled ahead, and groans of irritation from players when they fell into water after being hit by a banana skin. I watched one group play, admiring how one player cut all the corners perfectly to give himself the edge. I remembered then that I had watched this guy practice this over and over again out in the waiting area. He was in it to win it. Then, it was my fella’s turn. He sat down and won the first, but lost the second, so he had to keep winning to get into the cinema screen that other competitors were starting to move into. I had been worried that I might have been bored, because I wasn’t competing, but I wasn’t. Instead, it felt like I was at any traditional sporting event as I cheered on my favourites, and was disappointed for them when they got knocked out. More than once a group of spectators were on their feet cheering, and I could see that some of the younger kids had family members and friends turn up to support them. My fella lost before he could get into the cinema screen, but we went in afterwards to take a look and see how big the pixels were after all the speculation.Turned out, it looked pretty cool. Not nearly as poor resolution-wise as I thought it would be. The whole event was just so well organised. Everything moved smoothly and on time. Along with that, I cannot stress enough just how much fun it was. I defy anyone who says that E-Sports is not a legitimate sport to come down to a chilled-out and fun event like this, pick someone to root for, and not come away feeling the same as you would watching any traditional sport. The whole event was all part of Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular and presented by The R.A.G.E, who are a great little shop on Fade Street that specialise in retro games and consoles, along with second hand vinyl LP’s. The R.A.G.E are already looking for suggestions for their next tournament, so like their page on Facebook for updates and get down to the next one! Lots of love, Fake Geek Girl.