SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – As the digital age continues to find new ways to connect us, there’s one event in KELOLAND that’s doing it in a unique way.
At first glance, gamers Johnathan Bravo and Kyle Haight might look more connected to the game than each other but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“I think people would be surprised at how social it is. Most people think sitting in a room in the dark playing video games but it’s very social,” Haight said.
They connect through E-Sports: A competitive style of gaming.
“E-Sports has been around for a long time, but recently, through the last couple years there’s been more of a push from the general community so esports stadiums have been opening up around the country,” Gamer Johnathan Bravo said.
Teams have even formed at universities across South Dakota: From USD, SDSU, and DSU.
“They were thinking about giving our scholarships for that kind of stuff up at DSU. And, now, I’m done there and they have – like our number two guy, he’s got a full – they give him money to travel and play,” Haight said.
Haght ranks as the number one competitive gamer in South Dakota. He travels around the state and surrounding ones to compete for money. Bravo ranks third, runs a live stream and his own esports league.
“We host weekly tournaments in the area and monthly tournaments. I run them on stream so we can that way we can look back at our videos and post them,” Bravo said.
He is looking to grow those ranks here in KELOLAND by hosting a Super Smash Brothers tournament at ICON this Saturday at 1 PM. It is free and open to experienced gamers and the not-so experienced.
“There’s maybe people that don’t know they’d like the game. You know, you don’t know if you like something until you try it, so… it’s something like that where I hope that maybe it can have some more recognition just like watching football,” Bravo said.
But, ultimately, it’s not about how you play but who you’re playing with that earns them the real points.
“I’d say Smash players are some of the most fun people to be around. I can go anywhere and make friends because I just find their local tournament and go and you instantly have something in common with them,” Haght said.
“And this is a way for everybody to kind of meet, group up, and talk,” Bravo said.
Bravo has his own Esports League named ‘Bravo Esports’ that you can check out on Facebook.