BRISTOL â€“ Gamers of all ages came from across the state to compete in the first-ever â€śGrab Bagâ€ť Video Game Tournament at the New England Carousel Museum Sunday.
Xbox One and Nintendo Switch consoles were set up on the second floor banquet hall by volunteers with the Bristol-based eSpot Gaming, a new business venture and the tournamentâ€™s sponsor.
A total of 32 players competed in tournament-style brackets across four different gaming genres: fighter, racing, shooter and puzzle. They played Halo, Speed Runners, Brawlhalla and Watermelon Party.
The individual winners of each game were Colin Holdridge (ArchCurve33) for Halo; Jackson Anderson (DrEpic) for Watermelon Party, and Alexander Langlois (Admas0) for Speed Runners and Brawlhalla.
Langlois had the highest aggregate scores across all four games and was crowned Tournament Champion.
eSpot Gaming founder John Deveau planned the tournament in hopes of gauging the local communityâ€™s interest in his concept.
â€śJohn is looking to create an e-sports, gaming and e-development center,â€ť his wife Caroline explained while Deveau facilitated the games. â€śWeâ€™re here to find out what the appetite is like in town. Hopefully this will give us a lot of great information to continue moving forward and open this business in Bristol.â€ť
The family received lots of positive feedback from gamers who participated, representing a wide swath of ages, interests and towns of origin.
â€śI loved it,â€ť Audrey Myers said, jumping up and down wearing a Mario shirt.
The Bristol youth and her family didnâ€™t know what to expect in terms of what games would be played, but Audrey had a blast.
â€śSheâ€™s been playing video games for a couple years now,â€ť her mom April Dews said before they left. â€śWe are going to buy those games so she can practice for next time. I think this is a wonderful use of this space,â€ť Dews added. â€śItâ€™s really cool to see people of all different ages playing together.â€ť
Bracket match-ups were determined by a random number generator, according to volunteer Stephanie Christino.
â€śThis is a competition where age is not at all an indicator of skill,â€ť Christino pointed out.
Noah Berghinzo, 23, did not advance in Speed Runners or Brawlhalla but he did make it to the semi-finals of Halo and the finals for Watermelon Party.
â€śHonestly itâ€™s been a lot of fun,â€ť the Norwich resident said. â€śIt kept me on my toes. It was cool to have different people to play with in person (rather than online). Itâ€™s pretty interesting to see all the skill levels here. Some of the younger kids will come in and just wipe you out.â€ť
43-year-old Trevor Holdridge of Ledyard came with his kids. The whole family competed.
â€śI would absolutely do this again,â€ť he said.
Deveau is a board member at the Carousel Museum. Gamers were encouraged to ride the carousel and explore the museum during their visit Sunday.
â€śThis allowed us to bring people of different demographics in here,â€ť weekend manager Athalie Cayo said. â€śI think itâ€™s wonderful.â€ť
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.