Start your engines Adelaide! Saturday 6 of August saw the Titanium Security Arena – home of the Adelaide 36s – play host to the thrills, spills and epic friendly rivalry of the Mario Kart 8 Ultimate Challenge, the Esport Gamers Leagues first major event. With a handy $1500 first prize and a total of $8000 up for grabs throughout the day there were some happy folks by the time the final race was run.
The tournament itself kicked off with our very own Fi from D1DLC absolutely owning Terrance Ferguson from the 36ers! While it would be nice to talk about a close fought win under pressure, it was over the moment the start bell chimed when Terrance starting reversing off the starting line. That’s not to take away from Fi’s sensational driving skills or shrewd Yoshi character choice. Her win was masterful and set the mood for the event.
The tournament itself consisted of a number of elimination rounds, each made up up four races to give the competitors a chance at redemption. I thought this was fair since the item spawn is random and as we all know (for those of us hit by the dreaded ‘blue shell’) sometimes it’s the items that make or break a race. The best part about Mario Kart 8 is the new Super Horn, the rarest item a racer can get but an absolute game changer, knocking over nearby competitors and destroying items, including shells flying at you at pace!
The night was action-packed, with the competition moving through the heats and heading up to the main stage. Seeing a Mario Kart tournament happening on the big screens in the middle of the arena was something to sight to behold and certainly a long way from my teenage years huddled around a N64, a flicking tube TV and empty pizza boxes.
The event was set up for more than just a brilliant competition. There was a great showcase of indie games with Formula C, The Icebox and Cuttle Scuttle all available to play, as well as a display from iDarts Australia and a HTC Vive thanks to Saint Ignatius’ College. It’s always fantastic to see events like this supporting local developers and communities and we never miss a chance to try and rank on The Icebox leaderboard.
The Tournament also catered for the Pokemon GO craze! The arena itself is a Pokemon GO Gym and prizes were handed out at sporadic times for whoever was the master of the gym at the time – that Vaporeon sure was strong!
There was also an appearance by the NBL2kMOD team. Putting local players into NBA2k13 is a labour of love but one that looks fantastic. Seeing 36s players in the game is very cool. We got to see some 36s playing themselves in the game and they had a great time doing so. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the presence of the 36s too. They were out in force, playing in the tournament and mixing with the crowd. It’s great to see them supporting the event and being so approachable.
There was a cosplay competition, a game truck out the front, Shin Tokyo and even Senator Nick Xenophon came in and had a go at local indie game Cuttle Scuttle. All of this in probably the biggest space a Mario Kart tournament has ever been played in Adelaide. There was so much to be impressed by.
If there was a disappointment on the day, it was the turnout. I understand that Mario Kart 8 may not be everyone’s game but the thing the gaming community needs to realise is that we have to support these events, especially at the grass roots level. I personally would have loved to have seen Street Fighter V, Mortal Kombat XL or Overwatch, but I know that I won’t get a chance unless I support the events that may not necessarily be my first preference. So please, when these events come up go and support them. Show Adelaide, Australia and the world that there is interest (and if I’m being honest, money) in Esports in Adelaide.