From the 21st to the 23rd of February, PuyoGB was at the Margate Winter Gardens for PlayExpo Margate. We returned to the town where we ran our maiden tournament and, over the course of three days, smashed national records for the most number of entrants at our tournaments, with all three days being well-attended by new players. Kei and RoryTheFiend were in action over the three days, with other PuyoGB members helping out volunteer on each of the three days.
On Friday 21st of February we ran free-play sessions for Puyo Puyo Tetris, introducing the game to new players of all ages. We ran our Puyo Puyo Tetris Swap Tournament on that day, and managed to fill a 32-player bracket. The playerbase was diverse and everyone enjoyed themselves.
On Saturday 22nd of February we ran free-play sessions for Puyo Puyo Champions, introducing people to pure Puyo play. Like with Friday’s session, people of all ages came to our free-play sessions to play the game. We had people remember Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine when playing Champions, and while some players who did originally sign-up for the tournament did so thinking they could play Tetris, the majority of them stayed on to take part. The few who withdrew were very quickly replaced with players who wanted to take part! The tournament was a success after a 25 player bracket was played.
On Sunday 23rd of February, we had both Puyo Puyo Tetris and Puyo Puyo Champions on free-play, and after debating what tournament to run, we decided that it would be best to run a quick Puyo Puyo Tetris Mixed VS tournament. The tournament, much like the day, was well-supported with 30 players taking part, leaving Rory and I to fill the last two spaces once sign-ups were closed to have a full 32-player bracket. Much like the previous two days, we had a diverse playerbase sign-up, including players who had returned after playing in one or both of our previous tournaments. We also attracted some of the other exhibitors taking part, including Quang of Asobi.tech!
After all was said and done, 32 became four, and from there our top three was decided!
All-in-all, the experience and the fun we all had at PlayExpo Margate really shone through. On all three days our area was well-attended, with some 85 new players taking part in our tournament across all three days. We were able to showcase both Puyo Puyo Tetris and Puyo Puyo Champions to over 120 people, which at a venue where both Smash Bros Ultimate and FIFA 20 tournaments were happening at the same time, was an amazing feat in itself. The playerbase as aforementioned was extremely diverse, with many people becoming so involved with the game that they have by now, no doubt, have either bought PPT or Champions; perhaps both.
The comments we received from the public were extremely positive, some wanting us to return next year with the event. As the frontman of the UK and Ireland community and a massive fan of the series, hearing those comments makes it all worthwhile. Yes, the aim is to make the game a viable eSport title much like it is in Japan, but without going out there and spreading the message, introducing the game to the public and trying to grow the grassroots level, you can’t possibly have success for the game going forward. Those who play at the top level will remain until they call time on their career, but without sustaining exposure and getting people to play the game, once the current generation of players take their final bow, there will be very few to step into their shoes.
Without doubt, I have a mountain of video footage to put together and upload to our YouTube channel, however, this event has been a fantastic success! No doubt we’ll want to return, and we’ll want to continue running tournaments with Replay Events, who have been very kind and accommodating to us, and as always, a massive thank you to Sega Europe for providing prizes for the event. Long may our partnership continue!
We’ll see you at our next event!