Ottawa group takes competitive gaming to a whole new level
613smash has grown their small group into a large competitive gaming community.
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Playing video games isn’t often considered a competitive athletic endeavour, but if you head down to the Blurry Pixel on Monday nights, you might confuse it for a traditional sports bar.
In 2007, while in university, Mike Bosak joined a competitive gaming. Once he graduated, he decided to start his own competitive gaming community, which has since grown into the largest group of competitive gamers in Ontario.
“When we started out, we started very small,” said Bosak, the founder of 613smash. “We were hosting out of a member of the team’s apartment. They were small events, but then we started getting 20 or 30 people. We realized that it was becoming kind of major, so we knew we needed to find a venue.”
At the latest event, Bosak said they had a turnout of about 75 people.
“It’s a very diverse group of people. The age range is wide. We have people as young as 11, and we have people as old as 34 coming out.”
But what Bosak is especially proud of is the strong female presence in the community.
“This is fairly unique to the competitive community,” said Bosak. “A fairly sizable portion of our player base is female. Usually in competitive gaming, it’s fairly dominated by men. But not only do we have lots of females, we have twin sisters that are some of the strongest players in the scene.”
The group gets together every Monday night at the Blurry Pixel, a bar in Ottawa dedicated to E-sports.
The group plays Super Smash Bros. and eventually, a winner is given a cash prize that is collected as an entry fee into the tournament.
Bosak said that the atmosphere can be similar to that of any competitive sport.
“There can be really raucous cheering and a lot of energy in the crowd,” he said. “Especially as the tournament goes later and later.”
Overall, Bosak said what drew him to the idea to start the community was the camaraderie.
“I fell in love with the atmosphere, the competition, the joys and the tragedies.”