Written By: Steve Vegvari
Canada’s largest video game expo was held over the weekend of March 9th-11th. EGLX was held at the International Center in Mississauga, Ontario. Jason Lepine and his team behind parent company, Enthusiast Gaming Inc. have once again set out to unite gaming enthusiasts and surrounding communities under one roof.
Year, after year EGLX has slowly been growing and gaining more attention and renown. This event saw the floor open up even more, gaining top sponsors such as Bell Media, Nintendo Canada, Blizzard and Microsoft.
A games expo would not be complete without a sizable selection of video game booths. Aside from the whopping collection of arcade cabinets, indie devs from the GTA area congregated during the expo. Smaller studios such as Zemind Games Studio, Reptoid Games, Patchwork Games all came out to show off their latest creations. Cococucumber’s Riverbond created a gravitational pull of attendees to test out the game. A four-player co-op action adventure game full of life. The beautiful, bright geometric art-style and destructible environments made it hard to look away. Oddbird Studios brough their award-winning archery battle game, Arrow Heads. The isometric game pits up to four players in a deathmatch using only a bow and arrow. Chaos quickly ensues as players frantically attempt to grab power up and traps while taking their opponents out.
EGLX also brought a handful of studios out to show off their Virtual Reality software. Episodic horror game, The Exorcist from Legion VR. While Bradan Dotson, producer of VRWERX’s game Paranormal Activity: The Lost Souls hosted a panel on creating VR stories.
The three day expo featured a heavy emphasis on eSports and livestreamed gameplay. Throughout the event, a charity event akin to GDQ; ‘Games Finished Adequately raised money for Sick Kids brought players to the one of the many big screens for speedruns. Titles included Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which was ran in an hour and a half. Ontario’s own Cuphead was completed in one hour.
Nintendo Canada and EGLX partnered to bring SetToDestroyX’s Allister to the event. On stage, the recognized Pokken Tournament player looked on as a YouTuber tournament was held. Afterwards, Allister made his way to the Nintendo booth, where a two hour open invitational was held. Amateur and pro players had the opportunity to challenge the sovereign Pokken player.
The biggest draw this year was the eSports stage. A large, four-sided stage held multiple tournaments throughout the event. From Hearthstone, to Halo and Super Smash Bros. tournaments.
EGLX held two major Super Smash Bros. tournaments. The first was a singles tournament for Smash 4. We saw top-tier talent such as Immortals’ Anti, Cloud9’s Ally get into Top 8. It was an upset seeing the destructive power of player, Tweek’s Bayonetta. However, WaDi was able to make it to the Grand Finals and face off against the OP character. After winning the spot over ESAM, WaDi was feeling pretty confident going toe to toe with Tweek.
WaDi’s typical main is Mewtwo which is a considerably larger character in comparison to Tweek’s go to; Bayonetta. Tweek was able to get in fast and close to land combos that WaDi just was not able to counter. Even after switching off to secondary; R.O.B., WaDi was not able to compose himself. After winning King of The Springs, Tweek walks away with another tournament and the grand prize.
On the other side of the stage, the Hearthstone tournament was at its tail end. Odemian made it to the finals alongside HunterAce, both competing for their share of a $10’000 prize pool. HunterAce is a longtime Hearthstone player and is known for always playing with a well rounded deck came out playing a very defensive deck. Odemian took the stage with a similar strategy, focus on defense and not utilize a Paladin deck.
Early on, Odemian’s Dirty Rat turned the tides and applied enough pressure that HunterAce would be forced to concede in the first match. During the second match, Odemian kept applying pressure while HunterAce patiently awaited Frost Lich Jaina to be drawn. It seemed to be in HunterAce’s favour. Ultimately, due to a lack of AoE cards, and a domino effect of small mistakes, HunterAce conceded once again. Odemian swept the third match, going undefeated. Capitalizing the Warrior meta, the Parisian player continues his path towards playoffs in the HCT.
The competition continued into the Halo 5 finals. After escaping the Losers Bracket, Chicken Tendies ended up faltering to H6 Hurry. The team is comprised of Snip3down, Spartan, Suspector and eL ToWn. These four members came together from better known eSports organizations, Reciprocity and Elevate.
H6 Hurry ran a solid 4-0 run in the finals, beating Chicken Tendies 3-1 in both the CTF matches. Chicken Tendies held their own during Slayer on Regret. This is obviously where Chicken Tendies felt the strongest, but the defensive plays did not pan out. H6 had a very powerful play during the Stronghold match, ending in a 100-25 split. H6 Hurry swept up and walked away with a hefty 10K winner’s prize.
Afterwards, the singles Smash Melee Grand Finals were held. The Melee finals were met with a bit of controversy. By the time the finals were underway, the expo was shutting down. As such, eager attendees and exhibitors were on their way out. A sizeable hanger door was opened to allow exhibitors to pack their belonging which lead to cold temperatures on the main stage.
As finalists Plup got out of the losers bracket to meet Liquid’s Hungrybox for one last match-set, both players were visibly affected by the cold. Plup was at a clear disadvantage playing Fox, a technical character when put next to Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff. During the first match, it seemed like it was going to be a no contest for Hungrybox. As both players were struggling in the cold, Hungrybox was able to get by landing the tech-combos he was able to. Plup came back though, however he was not able to plant himself. After winning Match 2, the rest of the game was one sided for Hungrybox. Hungrybox controlled the corners and dominated the rest of the game. Though the weather was not on the players’ side, Hungrybox took his victory with a 3-1 score.
Overall, the event was solid all around. The atmosphere was met with positivity. Insightful panels, a great mix of vendors and exhibitors. The competition was fierce throughout the expo and elevated the room’s energy. EGLX is still a young expo, gaining more and more support each year. Having some large companies come out and support in 2018 only means next year will be bigger and brighter.
Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His enthusiasm and adoration of the video game industry go back to the days of SNES. Find him on Twitter and join in on the escapades.