Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Pandamonium 2021: Esports, cosplay and economics are fair game in Wilmington this weekend

Futures First Gaming's gaming convention comes to Theater N this Dec. 11 and 12. Register to hear from these pros and check out hands-on workshops on VR, drones and more.

Meet these esports pros at Futures First Gaming's Pandamonium 2021.

(Courtesy image)

This weekend, pandemonium comes to Delaware.

From Saturday, Dec. 11 to Sunday, Dec. 12, Futures First Gaming (FFG) will be hosting the Pandamonium 2021 gaming convention in Wilmington’s own Theater N. This will be the second iteration of FFG’s flagship event, and the first time it will take place almost entirely in person.

This year’s event will feature five tournaments — NBA2K22, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and both onsite and virtual Fortnite — down from last year’s six. FFG believes that this will allow the event to focus on only the most popular games from each tournament that the org has hosted this year. As with September’s Fall Brawl, fighting games community leader Training Grounds will be taking point on both the Smash and Tekken brackets.

In addition to the tournaments, Pandamonium 2021 will play host to three hands-on workshops hosted by industry professionals:

  • Cosplay, 3D Design, and AutoCAD — Love video games, books, and great stories? Want to learn how to become these characters and create your own? See how to use 3D printing and AutoCAD create armor and characters for Cosplay, and use these skills to make money and start a career. There may just be a piece of armor given away at the end of the workshop. (Dec. 11 @ 12:30 p.m. EST)
  • Exploring the Benefits of VR Gaming — Step into new worlds with this VR workshop. Come by to learn how virtual reality is changing the landscape of the internet, and what that means for the future of gaming. Step out of Penn Cinema and into new frontiers. (Dec. 11 @ 4:30 p.m. EST)
  • Gamers or Drone Pilots? — Ever wondered how to fly a drone? Transfixed by videos of drone racing? Join us for a lesson in drone aviation and maintenance. Fly high above the Pandamonium crowds for a bird’s eye view of the future of remote controlled flight. (Dec. 12 @ 1 p.m. EST)
Register for Pandamonium 2021

For online viewers, Pandamonium 2021 will continue the tradition of offering two of FFG’s signature educational panels. Both panels will be streamed to FFG’s Twitch channel, and will be available to watch for free live. Each panel will cover a topic that matters to our community, with questions fielded by industry pros at the top of their game:

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Esports, Ecosystems and Economics (Dec. 11 @ 3 p.m. EST)

It’s not called “esports” for nothing. Like its physical counterpart, many competitive games center around in-person tournaments, events and championships. In 2018, the Barclays Center saw a two-day attendance of over 22,000 for the first Overwatch League Grand Finals. After each day of matches, those fans descended on Brooklyn and hit the local bars, shops, and restaurants. Hotels and Airbnbs were booked for miles around, and, for that weekend, local businesses across the city benefitted from the esports event traffic. That’s not the only way communities are benefitting from and engaging with esports, as esports arcades, LAN centers, and themed clubs are cropping up in cities across the country.

Participants:

  • Heather Blair (moderator) has 30 years of experience as a sales and marketing exec in the cinema and esports industries. She’s taken the global exhibition market by storm, making moves to bring 4D technology to theaters across the world. Heather is the founder and president of Women in Exhibition, a nonprofit working to empower women in the exhibition industry, and the Cinema Esports Alliance Corp., which encourages conversation between the cinema and esports industries.
  • Danny Martin, cofounder and CEO at Esposure, got his start in esports repairing gaming equipment for his classmates at the University of Texas at San Antonio. After graduation, he’d turned his Dallas loft into a self-funded esports arena. Danny’s next move? To educate 20,000 young adults with STEM and esports goals by 2025 with his STEM.org accredited program.
  • Amanda Solomon currently serves as CEO of sales for Tyrus TV, a talent management and consultation group. She’s also a board member for Women in Games International, and is dedicated to advocating for women, LGBTQIA+, and BIPOC individuals in the gaming and esports space.
  • Neil Johnson serves as the director for esports at Events DC, where he comes in with over 20 years of experience in analog sports, esports, and event management. Most recently, he represented MGM Resorts International as a thought leader at various conventions and conferences. Neil serves or has served as a board member for the Xlive Esports Summit Customer Advisory Board and the Esports Business Summit Advisory Board.
  • Dr. Dan Young is the founding director of the Doctor of Business Administration program at Goldey-Beacom College, as well as the curator for TEDxWilmington. He’s taught at GBC, Temple University, West Chester University, the University of Delaware, and Wilmington University, and has managed executive leadership programs with the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oxford. Dan currently serves as the president of Theater N, is a member of the board of governors for the University and Whist Club, and as an advisory board member for the Fresh Start program.
Register for Pandamonium 2021

Why only 2%? Constructed Barriers on the Path to Pro (Dec. 12 @ 3 p.m. EST)

Eighty-three percent of Black and brown youth identify as gamers, but only 2% ever make it to the professional circuit. This disparity is not due to a lack of talent or a preference for casual over competitive play, but rather because of artificial barriers to entry. Inherent racial bias, prohibitive costs, and a lack of opportunities are preventing Black and brown youth from excelling in esports positions. Now is the time to push back against discrimination in the industry.

Participants:

  • Andrea “BoredyMcbored” Richmond (moderator) has been a gamer since the tender age of 3, and has been a bright light in the worlds of esports, comedy, and entertainment ever since. Ms. Richmond graduated from HBCU Spelman College with a BS in computer science and a minor in theater and performance. She’s currently shoutcasting for Youth eSports League, HBCU Heroes, and The Yard HBCU eSports Alliance.
  • HipHopGamer got his love of music and games from his grandmother, who put a controller in his hand to keep him in the house and off the streets as a young man in Brooklyn. Now, he finds himself as a gaming contributor for his hometown’s radio station, Hot 97.
  • Dale Harvey is a self-identified creative, cosplayer, designer, maker, and meat popsicle. He takes pleasure in engineering exquisite costumes and cosplays, and looks forward from continuing to learn and teach his craft.
  • Bradford Harris is the public sector educator strategist for the SHI Company, where he fuses academics and esports to create the perfect learning experience for all ages, and the director of learning for the nonprofit Texas Scholastic Esports Federation. Mr. Harris strives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion to students of color in the esports industry.
  • Christopher Turner is the GM and head esports coach for Southern University and Southern University Laboratory School. Turner has made it his life’s mission to enrich the lives of gamers, teachers, and students alike.

FFG’s momentum in the esports event space shows no signs of stopping. Coming hot on the heels of September’s Fall Brawl, Pandamonium 2021 is looking to bring gamers from across the region into Wilmington for two days of esports bliss.

Register for Pandamonium 2021

Questions regarding Pandamonium 2021? Email admin@futuresfirstgame.com.

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