Gamers gather for tournament

Invercargill pupil Taylor Parry (11) was among the competitors at the first day of the Youth Corps event at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill on Saturday.

GAMERS from throughout the region gathered in Invercargill for the first eSports tournament in Southland at the weekend.

The two-day Your Corps event at ILT Stadium Southland attracted about 150 youngsters competing and playing the Fortnite game for prizemoney.

Each day of the event had 20 players competing in each round players aged between 8 and 12 and Sunday with players from 13 to 17 years.

Taylor Parry (11), of Invercargill, was among the competitors on the first day of the event.

He started to play Fortnite about four years ago, but said he was “not addicted” to the game any more.

“I used to play three hours a day, and now I’m playing an hour a day. But I think I still play very well.”

Being among other competitors, playing against each other and the cash prize of $1000 were the reasons he joined the event.

“It is more competitive when we are here in a stadium and with people cheering. It is fun.”

Your Corps founder James Wards said he had been promoting eSports events for children in the past with the focus on using gaming as a tool to help with youth mental health and social well-being.

“Our idea is bringing like-minded kids together and out of the isolation of their homes.”

He believed there was huge potential in Southland for this kind of event and hoped it would lead to many others, including a tournament for adults.

“We’ve had a lot of interest and would like to organise this as soon as possible.

“We would like to turn competitive video gaming into a path for kids, just like any other competitive sport.”

The change of alert levels in New Zealand did not impact the event on Sunday as the organisation said it would strictly follow the Covid-19 protocols and rules.