Competing for cash and glory, top pro gamers from around the world are flooding downtown Oakland this weekend for one of the biggest Bay Area sporting events of the year.
Genesis 7, a pro-am video game tournament, draws gamers and fans to the Oakland Marriott City Center for three days of intense competition. Born out of the legendary Bay Area fighting game scene, it's the first major tournament on the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate circuit.
Among those bringing their controllers to the fray is Kelsy "SuperGirlKels" Medeiros, a pro Smash player from Montreal, Canada. Like many of the entrants, she traveled thousands of miles to be part of the Genesis excitement.
"Everybody loves Genesis," Medeiros said. "This is where everybody meets. It's in the 'center,' so everybody just comes from everywhere. It's the easiest way."
Genesis is a must-play for any gamer hoping to climb the Super Smash Bros. rankings, as virtually all of the world's best players are here. Mexico's Leonardo "MKLeo" Lopez Perez, the three-time Genesis defending champion, aims to build on his reputation as the best Smash player on the planet.
For Medeiros, Genesis exemplifies how much esports has moved into the mainstream, after years of getting little outside attention.
"This is like the apex," she said. "Every time we do the finals, it's in the Paramount Theater, and everybody goes to watch that as an esports event, as if you're at a hockey game. It gives that authentic experience, and really makes you feel like, wow, we made it. We're huge!"
Besides the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate main event, fans and participants can take in older titles in the Smash series, such as the 2001 Nintendo GameCube hit Super Smash Bros. Melee. Also on the event floor are Splatoon 2, Mario
Genesis 7 continues Saturday at the Oakland Marriott City Center, and concludes Sunday at the Paramount Theater just down the street.