What Did The Battle Of BC 62, The Largest Gaming Convention In Vancouver, Leave Us?

In case you have not heard, Vancouver just hosted a global gaming convention over the Easter weekend. The Battle of BC 62 attracted thousands of people from across the globe to gather at Vancouver’s Convention Centre. Hosted by Galint Gaming in partnership with Destination Vancouver, gamers came to take part in an epic tournament from Friday, March 29th, to Sunday, March 31st. There were also pre and post-events for all the gamers who wanted even more.

In its sixth year, the convention offered a wide range of game tournaments, including competitive Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter 6 and TEKKEN 8. However, it was not just a playing experience as it was also a great spectator spectacle with features like Artist Alley, karaoke, meet-and-greet sessions, a cosplay contest, and even a boat cruise after-party.

While gaming conventions have become the norm and eSports events ran in parallel with the last Commonwealth Games, gaming has not always attracted the attention and audiences it does today. Back in the dim and distant past, at the dawn of the play-at-home-console video games era, early pioneering events’ organizers in the UK did not always get a warm reception when trying to put on Sonic the Hedgehog gaming tournaments.

Sonic The Hedgehog might be a household name now, but in the early 1990s, the blue prickly fella and gaming, per se, were not mainstream entertainment. The marketing team at Sega games in the UK contemplated staging championship events at locations around the country, but no one was very interested and did not believe that people would come. Undeterred, they decided to take the show on the road and commissioned a series of iconic double-decker buses to tour seafronts, holiday destinations and theme parks. The parents might not have understood the draw of the buses, kitted out with MegaDrives and cool merchandise, but the kids queued around the block.

At the end of the summer, the players with the highest scores were invited to a prestigious London location and competed to become the Sega Champion. This was in the days before streaming or playing on Twitch. There was no such thing as celebrity gamers, and the kids who were crowned went back to school with their Sega goody bags and faded into obscurity.  Despite the best endeavours of the PR team, there was no press interest – even the emerging specialty gaming press did not get excited about these events.

That is all a far cry from BC 62, where over 1,400 people registered to compete in the event and was billed to feature the world’s “best Super Smash Bros players,’. Nintendo and Sega were always arch-rivals when it came to grabbing the attention; it could be argued that Sega, their events and their buses were just ahead of the time!

Coming back to 2024, the top Super Smash Bros players competing included:

  • Leonardo ‘MKLeo’ Lopez Perez from Mexico
  • America’s Paris ‘Light’ Ramirez Garcia
  • Edger ‘Sparg0’ Valdez and Carols ‘Sonix’ Perez from the Dominican Republic
  • William’ Gluttony’ Belaid, who is Europe’s highest-ranked player
  • Other ultimate players, including
    • Cody Schwab
    • Zain Naghmi
    • Jake “Jmook” DiRadio,
    • Kurtis “moky” Pratt,
    • Top Japanese player Masaya “aMSa” Chikamot
    • Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma
    • Joseph “Mang0” Marquez
    • William “Leffen” Hjelte

Competitive gaming has become big business and attracts large crowds who spend time (and money) where these events take place. With events and gaming streamed on Twitch and YouTube, the top players attract sponsorship deals and have gaming companies vying for their attention. However, it is not just gaming for gaming’s sake. Online gambling, iGaming, also attracts huge audiences on streaming platforms. As the expert Hannah Cutajar explains, there are many exciting slots  and games to play at online casinos in Canada. However, many people love the thrill of the possibility of the big win but prefer to see someone else paying the stakes and playing the reels. iGaming streamers can earn big money, not necessarily from the jackpots, but from the deals they cut with the platforms. Social media influencing in whatever guise is big business these days.

While Vancouver has yet to host any virtual gambling events, there is often a game of poker to be played either as part of a tournament or at a licensed venue. For those who like it more informal, a poker game amongst friends can be fun. Vancouver also boasts a Kinky poker event, and the organizers talk of a wild night of naughty poker and a ‘thrilling’ in-person event. Maybe they will be putting on Burlesque poker events at Vancouver’s next Burlesque event.

Each to their own – but there is no denying that gambling is hugely popular amongst Canadians, with 60% of the population saying they spend money on gambling.  Given its popularity, maybe Vancouver’s next big event could combine gaming and gambling.  BC62 was heralded as a success by its organizers and attracted players and spectators from all around the world.

However, in terms of size it still has some way to go to hit the highs. The world’s first gaming convention was the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics, which was organized by MIT students in 1972. A dizzying twenty people attended it. These days, North America’s largest event is the Electronic Entertainment Expo (also known as E3). Held annually in California, it attracts crowds of up to 70,000 people.

However, even that is small beer when compared to Germany’s Gamescom. This Convention takes place in Cologne and is easily the largest gaming event in the world. Players and spectators arrive in their droves from across Europe, and more than 300,000 people are regularly in attendance. Like BC62, it attracts the top global talent too.