Influncers who graced the event included BeckBro Jack; Karrigan Taylor, a cosplayer and modeler; WindyGirk a cosplayer & avid gamer; Overflow, a COD master with over 2million on Tik Tok.
Gamers, YouTubers, cosplayers and fans descended on the John Gray High School gymnasium for Gamers Bay 7 over the weekend of Sept 30 & Oct 01 2023.
Competitors went head-to-head on games like NBA2k24, 2v2 Rocket League, 2v2 Fortnite and eFootball on giant screens, for money and prizes that totaled more than $10,000.
A word from the organizers and co-owners
Organizers Daniel Scott & Lance Jefferson described those tournaments as “nothing but nail biting”.
They said the event is growing each year, and would continue to be enhanced with new elements added, like The Matrix joining this latest tournament and offering a chance to play virtual reality games.
“[We want] to give the spectators and competitors a really good experience. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said.
One of the aims of Gamers Bay, he said, was to create a platform for local gamers, “so when it comes to these competitions, moving on, if they want to compete internationally, they won’t be at a disadvantage. That’s one of the reasons for the Gamers Bay event.”
He added, “The other reason is, there’s really nothing to do in Cayman for our kids so this is an escape for them, and as you can see, there’s a great turnout.”
The two-day event was opened by Jefferson Saturday morning, along with Jevy and Lauren Moore.
Attending for the first time was US-based Caymanian Lauren Moore, who is a social and video producer and host for Crunchyroll, with more than 15,000 followers on Twitter and 10,000 on Instagram. She has spent over a decade working in the anime and gaming space.
In a brief speech last year, Ebanks, whose Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development had helped fund this year’s convention, said he used to be a gamer, and that staying up late into the night playing the original Super Mario Brothers and other Nintendo and Atari games had prepared him for working long hours as a minister.
Art of cosplay turning STEM into ‘STEAM’
Cosplayers may not have been out in force at Gamers Bay on Saturday, but there was no missing Windy Girk – real-world name Katherine Cal Afú. She was dressed as a pirate – Nami from the ‘One Piece’ anime series – but this pirate is far removed from those you’d expect to see during Cayman’s annual Pirates Festival – no parrot, no eyepatch, no pistol.
Windy Girk’s Youtube gaming channel has 3.42 million subscribers.
Karrigan Taylor, a rising star in the world of cosplay and modeling and has over 4 million followers across Tik Tok and Instagram.
This is their second time visiting Cayman, which, after three days of exploring the island with the gamrsbay team, they described as “magical”.
“I loved it, everywhere we went,” she said.
As a cosplayer with millions of followers, WindyGirk gets invited to gaming conventions around the world.
“I’ve been to a lot in Latin America, Mexico, Colombia, the US. I’ve been also in Paris, Brazil, Argentina. A lot of conventions,” she said, adding that she’d missed them while COVID prevented large gatherings from occurring, so was delighted that Cayman’s event went ahead this year.
Cosplay, short for ‘costume play’, involves dressing up a character, from, for example, a video game, anime or other cartoons, movie or TV show.
Special Youtuber Guest
Another special guest, Youtuber and gamer Jack Beck, known online as BeckBroJack where his channel has more than 4.4 million followers, says cosplayers like Windy Girk and the many, many others online and at gaming conventions, add an artistic element to the whole gaming genre.
“It’s really cool, it’s integrating art into everything here – turning STEM into STEAM, adding that extra artistic piece,” he said.
While Beck, who plays mostly Minecraft on his channel, hasn’t gotten into cosplay himself, he says he may try it out soon.
Overflow, a Call of Duty master and well-known figure in the gaming community and was a special gust host for the fortnite tournament as well was on hand to sign autographs and take photos.
Some of his YouTube followers were at Gamers Bay this weekend, lining up to have their photos taken with him.
Beck said he hadn’t heard of Gamers Bay when he was first invited as a guest, but “I looked it up and I saw a couple of other YouTubers that have gone here before and it looked like a really awesome event.”
Like everyone else across the globe during the pandemic, Windy Girk and BeckBroJack were pretty much confined to communicating with people over their computers, so when the in-person gaming tournaments restarted, both were more than happy to start travelling overseas again.
“I used to travel quite a bit to different conventions,” Beck said, “so now that everything’s starting to open back up and I was invited here, I was all for it.”