Katrinna Simbaku, left, and Jeriah Richardson of Berrien Springs plays Friday night in the Bendix Arena LAN center during the PwR Up South Bend gaming conference in Century Center.
SOUTH BEND — All things gaming are being offered this weekend as the first-ever convention featuring the Bendix Esports Arena and LAN center.
The gathering — called Pwr Up South Bend — involves appearances by gaming personalities and developers, merchants with “gadgets” for video game playing, virtual reality (VR) areas and retro and current cutting-edge gaming for both amateurs and pros.
This evolution of having an esports arena inside Century Center for such a convention is what both Century Center leaders and the local founder of a gaming organization had expected — having the ability to draw in gaming enthusiasts from Michiana and beyond.
Brian Exner, founder of Power Up GG, says his vision of the convention bringing game developers, players, enthusiasts and merchants together was augmented by the creation of the Century Center gaming facilities.
Brian Exner, founder of PwR Up GG and organizer of the weekend PwR Up South Bend gaming conference, speaks Friday night at the developers showcase event at the Bendix Arena in Century Center.
Exner, who took up video gaming after college and participated in online competition in such games as Rocket League, said it was the tournaments where the people gathered where he said he enjoyed the camaraderie. He said he had vowed to try and bring that feeling to gaming in South Bend with this convention.
“This is a gathering to celebrate the Bendix Arena, but video gaming is so much more than just esports,” Exner said. “You build relationships, you learn ways to solve problems, and it also has shown to improve cognitive ability,” Exner said prior to the start of the gathering. “My hope for this (convention) is that it shines a light on this community.”
Related: South Bend rewired: Bendix Esports Arena draws tournaments and picks up Xfinity as sponsor
For Katrinna Simbaku and Jeriah Richardson, taking part in a South Bend-based gaming convention was enticing.
Both came to the Century Center Friday night from Berrien Springs. They have attended gaming conventions in Atlanta, Grand Rapids and other places, but both said they were happy to hear about one in South Bend and were taking part Friday night in the LAN center.
Attendees play Friday night in the Bendix Arena LAN center during the PwR Up South Bend gaming conference in Century Center.
Just a couple of years after it was first conceived, the new esports arena and LAN center inside Century Center is showing its ability to draw in gaming enthusiasts from Michiana and beyond.
Already serving as the home of esports teams from Bethel University and South Bend Lions FC, the former Bendix Theater already has hosted several esports tournaments, including one that …….