SOUTHINGTON – The CT Storm E-Sports Gaming Center is taking sign-ups for competitive video game tournaments, social clubs and birthday parties – offering youth a chance to game together, make friends and increase their skills.
The gaming center, located at 51 N. Main Street, was founded by Tyler Nichols and Brendan McGourn last September. It has nine desktops and four laptops, offering youths ages 8 to 18 a chance to play games such as Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, Rocket League, Overwatch, Halo Infinite, Valorant and Apex Legends.
“I’m a preschool teacher and Brendan works at the FAST Summer Camp in Mount Southington,” Nichols said. “We both have an interest in video games and have a background in working with children. We found out about the NAEL (National American E-Sports League) and got involved with them.”
Today, Nichols said, there are approximately 50 local kids involved in programs at the gaming center.
“It’s nice to be able to see kids interacting again after covid,” he said. “Everybody these days plays video games. It’s a great opportunity for them to meet new friends. And, for kids that aren’t necessarily as athletic, it gives them a chance to learn sportsmanship and working together as part of a team.”
The center offers social clubs, which meet on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings. They also have competitive clubs which meet once during the weekday and have tournaments on Saturdays.
“The captain of the University of Hartford’s Overwatch team is one of our coaches. He trains the kids twice a week,” Nichols said.
The CT Storm E-Sports Gaming Center also allows people to rent its facility for birthday parties. They will be offering a four-week summer camp this year, which will also include outdoor activities.
On Saturday, May 7, the CT Storm E-Sports Gaming Center will be offering a Rocket League tournament at 10 a.m. Those who wish to participate are asked to sign up by May 5.
Going forward, Nichols said he hopes to establish additional community partnerships through the town or other local organizations. They are also speaking with groups of parents of home-schooled children to provide them with social opportunities.
In the future, the Center also plans to offer youths the opportunity to live stream their games.
“It will give them good practice if they decide to become streamers when they get older,” he said. “They will have an easier time setting up and talking on camera.”
Programs at the CT Storm E-Sports Gaming Center start at $75 per month.
For more information on the CT Storm E-Sports Gaming Center, call 860-578-4480 or visit ctstormesports.com.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.