Gamers on the Edge Tournament 2019

When you hear the term "gamer," what image pops into your mind? As a child, adults often told me that video games would rot my mind. Modern news outlets continue to perpetuate this stereotype and tend to paint gamers as socially inept, overweight, selfish, and out of touch with reality. Gamers on the Edge (GotE) challenges this misconception. A non-profit organization, GotE fosters a community whose foundation is rooted in inclusion and empathy. It acts as a safe haven for gamers who enjoy the competitive nature of fighting and puzzle games. What's more, GotE donates its fundraised money to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in addition to managing a slew of TVs and video game systems for their patients.

GotE's annual tournament, affectionately called "4TheKids," helps the non-profit organization raise money for these children's hospitals. 100% of the event's proceeds go toward this cause.

Gamers on the Edge Tournament 2019

In addition to its charitable nature, 4TheKids attracts some of the nation's best talent. Though the event is serious, the environment feels very different. I've had the opportunity to lose to a number of great players. In turn, these experiences have taught me a lot, and have helped me develop into a better player.

Kyle speaks with his opponent

What makes the event memorable is the positivity that emanates from these players. At this year's tournament, my first match was against a player named Lade. I've watched Lade compete in a number of local tournaments, so I felt discouraged that my tournament career began with him. My feeling of intimidation faded quickly. As we approached our station, Lade introduced himself and offered, "If you need help with anything at all, please let me know." Because I need to be situated to the right of the TV, I did ask if he'd mind swapping places with me. He graciously switched spots. Despite the brief nature of our interaction, I felt accepted during that short period of time. Though Lade's skill was significantly better than mine, he made me feel more confident. Despite my loss against him, I learned a lot. That's all that I could've hoped for.

Kyle with Angel, President of Gamers on the Edge

Since the first time I met Angel, the President of GotE, he has been extremely accommodating. Because my needs are different than the average able-bodied gamer, he always took measures to ensure my inclusion. Being a Tournament Organizer (TO), Angel always made sure that my needs were taken care of, and that my matches were at an accessible game station. Alicia White is one of many people who help Angel organize this large event. In the two years that I've entered the tournament, I happened to be in the pool of players that Alicia was managing. As Angel has in the past, Alicia took measures to ensure that I was at an accessible station. Unlike my able-bodied competitors, it isn't easy for me to navigate between all of the setups. Alicia made sure that I stayed at the same station, which was extremely helpful.

Kyle with Gamers on the Edge

A large portion of my childhood was spent in and out of the hospital. By the time that I was three years old, I had already undergone more than 20 surgeries. Between operations and doctors' visits, video games became a distraction from the pain. This disruption can prevent kids from being kids. Gamers on the Edge exists to make sure that this injustice doesn't happen. It's a cause that's close to my heart, which I'm proud to champion.

About the Author

Kyle

Around the age of one, I contracted bacterial meningitis. When I was three, I began using a power wheelchair. I've always embraced my disability and taken pride in knowing that I was different than my peers. My desire to learn more about disability led me to study critical disability theory both as an undergrad and a graduate student. I've always been passionate about gaming, which influenced me to write my Master's thesis on accessibility and video games as it relates to gamers with disabilities. In my spare time I love competing in local tournaments for Super Smash Bros., reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, and writing.

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Date: 6/4/2019 12:00:00 AM


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