On May 7, 14 and 21 Studio Movie Grill in Simi Valley will be hosting gamers of all ages to play the creation-based video game Minecraft. However, they’re not playing on their laptops, but on the theater-sized screens.
This event was coordinated by a group called Super League Gaming, a league of gamers that caters to the gaming audience. The theater makes it possible for gamers to play their favorite video games on the large format screen in movie theaters. In this case, it is Minecraft.
“This theater seemed like one of those theaters that just gives you fancy food and a really comfy seat. I didn’t even realize you could hook up a laptop to a huge movie screen like this,” local high school senior Matthew Rosas said.
Rosas was a fan of the game before delving into the competitive gaming league with his friends who also enjoy Minecraft.
Minecraft is a sandbox (meaning large, open world) game that allows players to build and create objects, buildings, even entire civilizations, out of textured cubes.
Most, if not all, the game is comprised of cubes that are made of different materials, have different colors and uses, and ultimately shape whatever the player is trying to accomplish.
The game has a multitude of themes at play here, however, creativity and composure allow players to excel at the game.
Players interested are encouraged to make teams of 4-7 to compete with other teams of all ages. To enter, one must purchase a league pass via the Super League Gaming website for $60 and upon entering, players will receive a free League T-shirt. Those who do not want to compete are encouraged to accompany their player in the theater while they play.
This league is for a 4-week league in which players will have to congregate weekly at SMG to keep their scores competitive.
The ultimate goal here is win and by winning the players get to bask in a valuable prize: a $5,000 scholarship to be shared among the players once they win the 4-week league.
The scores are tallied at the end of each session and currently the top scorers are a team named “SupaPotato” with a total score of 3,905 points out of about 15 players in this league.
The teams are told to show up to SMG at around 9:45 a.m. to get the headcount and everything they brought with them accounted for. After that, the players are funneled into the theater in which they’ll be spending the next 90 or so minutes competing with their peers for focused objectives and goals with their own laptops.
The game is played via a first person perspective that each player controls with their own laptop.
“The Super League projection piece is what they would describe as a ‘Goodyear Blimp’ type view of the game arena. Basically their tech has widened the visible scope of the gameplay,” Private Events and group Sales Manager Ryan Wood said.
Both the team and the league in which they are playing make these goals that account for building and the varying combat situations Minecraft players find themselves in.
“I already had a competitive vibe when playing with my friends. So I guess when it came to competing against other people we’ve never met, I was hesitant since I only usually play games with my close friends,” Rosas said.
This event captures all that Local Area Gaming has to offer. What is being offered is a much more expansive experience by allowing players to view their exploits on a large screen.
Accompanied by the players is their equipment, which could include simple laptops to serious rigs that could be upwards of thousands of dollars. What should be stressed is the “all are welcome” vibe that SLG wants to put forth.
“I assumed players here would be younger than me and worse at the game. But once we started playing, it didn’t matter where you’re from or what kind of gear you [have]. Good players are good players,” Rosas said.
Rosas is a gamer who is experienced in competitive gaming as a whole, given his knowledge of both gaming leagues and the tech associated with those leagues.
On the other end of the spectrum comes high school sophomores like Andrew Estrada.
New to gaming but no less fervent, Estrada has entered the league with supervision accompanied by his mother.
“I like the game but I don’t think I’m good compared to most of these players. I do feel like these people could become friends though,” Estrada said.
Players like Estrada are what SLG strives to cater to, as their average age of entries are around 6-15 years of age.
“Gaming, for better or worse, tends to draw a much different crowd than a typical youth sports crowd and often times, the gamers themselves become isolated because they play the games in their own homes and their communication with the other players occurs through a keyboard,” Ryan Wood said. “In theater, gaming changes the game a bit because it establishes a central location where players can come and play in the same room as one another.”
The social aspect of this event should not be overlooked, as this in itself is much like a sporting event. Like-minded people can come together and hone their skill among their competitive peers.
Published May 4th, 2016