St James is transformed for esports and gaming fans

A FULL 40 years after the classic video game Donkey Kong was launched, video gamers of all ages came together for a day of online tournaments and old-school gaming classics at an event inspired by the name on Saturday.

St James was transformed into an arcade for the 300 people who attended the Esports Donkey Con event, which was named in part in tribute to the famous game, first released in 1981.

The day also featured table-top games provided by Just Games, virtual reality demos and a cosplay contest.

No stage, but giant screens instead as St James was turned into an arcade for Donkey Con.(30022869)

It was the fifth time the event has taken place in the past two years.

There were 14 stations based around the hall, with six different consoles, old and new, to play on, including a PlayStation 5 for those wanting to play modern, high-spec games.

Guernsey Esports association co-founder Ben Wratten started putting on the event as he saw an interest in esports growing in the island.

The team behind Donkey Con, left to right, Darren Ringland, Gareth Pennington, Jamie Vidamour, Ben Wratten, Matt Champion and Rob Vaudin. (30022871)

‘It’s important to bring people together as it’s often people playing online, which is still great because people have friends online and see different cultures. It is a misconception that it’s unsociable,’ he said.

‘It’s friendship-building and we see the same people coming every year as well as new ones. There’s a massive buzz.’

The main attraction were the two tournaments which ran throughout the day.

Players were invited to play vehicular football game Rocket League and Super Smash Bros, which had large screens projected onto the walls so that all festival-goers could watch.

Oliver Sparks, 11, tried his hand at the tournament games at Donkey Con. (30022867)

Winners of each tournament were awarded with a £100 cash prize, which had been sponsored by local tech company Prosperity 24.7.

On Friday night, Donkey Con Dark took place for players aged 16 and over.

The age minimum meant that non-PG games could be used for free try outs and challenges, and retro consoles were also available to use.

St James manager Greg Harrison said the event was Guernsey’s version of the acclaimed international gaming event, Comic Con. The donkey in the name gives it a specific Guernsey twist.

Super Smash Bros was one of two tournaments with a cash prize for the winner. (30022865)

‘It’s a massive industry, we’ve got some serious high-level gamers in there. It’s a really good day and it’s for all ages,’ he said.

Organisers said they planned to next stage the event again in March next year.

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