Gam­ing league will plug in for its 2nd sea­son

San Francisco Chronicle - - BUSINESS REPORT - By Benny Evan­ge­lista

An or­ga­nized youth “Minecraft” video game league is re­turn­ing for a se­cond sea­son this week in 68 cities across the coun­try, in­clud­ing four in the Bay Area.

Su­per League Gam­ing, which be­gan a trial run last sum­mer, proved suc­cess­ful enough for the Santa Mon­ica com­pany be­hind it to con­tinue this year with a four-week sea­son.

The com­pany wants to cre­ate a “lit­tle league of video games,” with chil­dren age 6 to 18 bring­ing lap­tops to movie the­aters to play against each other on the big screen. And with the ex­panded league, they now com­pete against other gamers play­ing in the­aters across the coun­try.

“We want th­ese kids com­ing back week af­ter week much like their

peers do in other sports,” said Brett Mor­ris, Su­per League pres­i­dent and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer.

Su­per League Gam­ing demon­strated the sport last sum­mer and then con­ducted a six-week league in Oc­to­ber, with com­peti­tors in 40 cities earn­ing points play­ing “Minecraft.”

About 1,000 play­ers com­peted, with Julien Wilt­shire, a 10-year-old from Pa­cific Pal­isades (Los An­ge­les County) win­ning the league’s na­tional cham­pi­onship and a $5,000 schol­ar­ship.

For its se­cond sea­son, the com­pe­ti­tion is short­ened to four weeks, partly to ac­count for spring breaks. Gamers play ev­ery week at the same time in their the­aters, and they can see how their points stack up on a leader­board list­ing top play­ers from other venues.

The com­pany plans to con­tinue through the year with new leagues, with about a month break in be­tween ses­sions. even­tu­ally in­clude other video games, Mor­ris said.

Play­ers must reg­is­ter on­line ahead of the events at https://su­per­league. com. Leagues meet at 4:30 p.m. and be­gin Tues­day at the AMC Van Ness 14 in San Fran­cisco, and Wed­nes­day at the Cen­tury 20 Oakridge in San Jose, the Red­wood Down­town 20 in Red­wood City and the Cen­tury 20 in Daly City.

Pho­tos by Con­nor Rad­novich / The Chron­i­cle 2015

More than 50 chil­dren and par­ents take part in a game of “Minecraft” in a Red­wood City movie the­ater in June, a demon­stra­tion for the first sea­son of the league.

The mo­ment gets a lit­tle stress­ful for Char­lie Fore, 6, dur­ing a game of “Minecraft” in Red­wood City.

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