From left, Harason Bryon, Alia Muntz, Bella Topp and Lily O’Neill game it up at the Your Corps Mataura event.
Forget going outside for some fresh air, the future is now, and it’s E Sports.
Across Southland, one man has been bringing high speed internet to young people in a bid to create social connections and enhance their futures, all in the name of gaming.
James Wards, founding of Your Corp, has a truck loaded with about 30 computers and a vision to make sure the children of rural communities are not left out when it comes to computer literacy and the spirit of gaming.
Whether its Minecraft, Halo, Call of Duty or Fortnite, Wards has hosted multiple events across the region, with his most recent event in Mataura drawing in dozens of rangatahi to the Mataura Community Office for a team ESporting event, hell-bent on winning cash prize provided by Wards himself.
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All genders are welcome to attend, with the Mataura event seeing the girls’ squad take home the prize money with a clean sweep win across the day, Wards said.
In the cities, where internet, computers and social sports run rife, having the chance to bring local kids together for a spot of fun, excitement, and challenge is what Wards’s organisation is all about.
“A lot of kids just can’t afford that technology, there’s that barrier of entry … so we provide all the equipment,” Wards said.
“We set up 20 to 30 computers in a room so they can all play together.”
Growing up, Wards had LAN parties with his friends, where they would gather at one home with their computers to play together, but with Ward’s truck of travelling computers, the fiscal barriers faced by many young people have been stripped away by his free events.
“All were doing is providing the younger generation with the LAN party experience.
“Society seems to be blaming gaming for a lot of the social issues kids are experiencing now, like they’re hold up in their bedrooms with the curtains draw.
“We’re trying to get them all back in the same room to do what they obviously enjoy doing.”
It may seem anti-social being on a computer with a headset on staring directly into the screen, but Wards said it’s so hectic there that they’ve been getting noise complaints.
“At ILT stadium we had 20 kids with varying degrees of social anxiety and disorders, and we get noise complaints – regularly – at the stadium.
“There will be a basketball game happening next door with 300 people, and 20 kids with social disorders are making more noise than they are.
With more events set to happen across the region, Wards encouraged families to keep an eye out for their gamer kids.