Esports Lounge a Super Smash
Dodgeball, soccer, basketball, flag football, esports.
Millions of people throughout the United States, and all over the world, enjoy multiplayer video gaming, also known as Esports. There are professional gamers and online tournaments that draw large audiences.
The video game competitions, hugely popular among children and teens, now are among after-school and evening offerings at Northdale Park & Recreation Center in Tampa and Emanuel P. Johnson Recreation Center in Progress Village. Participation is free.
Each lounge features murals from local artists, Next-Gen gaming consoles, and thrilling experiences for gamers.
Everyone can play
While recreation centers traditionally focus largely on physical activities, the video game contests are a mental challenge. And they're fun.
Part of the reason Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation implemented the Esports Lounges into a predominately physical and sports related program is to provide common ground and an equal playing field for participants who may have physical barriers that prohibit them from connecting with their peers in a competitive sports setting. Northdale also has an Inclusion Program for children with disabilities.
Justin Tabor and his friends are regulars at the Esports Lounge. A participant in Northdale's after-school program, the 9-year-old is excited about the center's new addition. Super Smash Bros., a game he plays at home with his dad, is his favorite.
Esports Lounges offer up fun experiences
Each Esports Lounge has six 65-inch televisions, Nextgen consoles (Xbox Series S, PS5, Nintendo Switch), and gaming chairs and furniture. Games include Super Smash Bros., Fortnite, Rocket League, Paladins, Pokémon Unite, Mario Kart, and others.
The games' audio and chat functions are disabled to ensure a positive environment for players.