A socially significant motivation underlies Pandamonium 2020, an esports tournament this weekend.
“We’re focused on bringing Black and brown kids into the world of technology through esports,” said Malcolm Coley, who co-founded the event’s sponsor, Futures First Gaming, with Stephen Sye and Newdy Felton.
As the Wilmington company’s website explains, they want to present “opportunities for participants to explore educational and career development pathways in science, technology, art and relevant esports disciplines.”
That’s why the tournament will include not just games but also three educational panels: Esports as a Career Path; Esports to Combat Teen Violence; and Esports, Education & Next Gen Workforce Development.
The tournament runs noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with Fortnite solo, Call of Duty Warzone solo, Tekken 7 online and Madden NFL 21 one-on-one on Saturday. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and NBA 2K21 one on one are on Sunday.
Coley said that they selected these games because they know that they’re popular in the urban community.
The tournament features a $2,000 prize pool for all six games. Participation is $15, and he said that they have already registered several dozen participants.
Panelists include Gerard Williams, Hot 97’s hip hop gamer; Dale Harvey, a cosplay professional; Darryl L. Chambers, of the University of Delaware; Tad Sare, of the Delaware College of Art and Design; Logan Herring of The Warehouse; and Keshia Walker, of the Black Collegiate Gaming Association.
Coley said that all three Futures First Gaming founders like technology and enjoy sharing the possibilities it offers with younger people. He said that working for Apple in 2013 opened his eyes to “what technology can do.”
Futures First was founded in January and since then has hosted more than a dozen events. It’s based at the Win Factory, a co-working space downtown. Sye is CEO; Coley is chief technology officer; and Newton is chief marketing officer.
“Everyone has an interest in technology, and we just enhance that,” Coley said of the people who they are trying to reach.