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Genesis 8 gaming convention brings consoles and crowds back to downtown San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — The San Jose McEnery Convention Center opened its doors to thousands of visitors on Friday for the Genesis 8 gaming convention.

Competitors, video game consoles and crowds marked the long-awaited return of major events.

Genesis 8 is billed as the biggest Super Smash Bros. community tournament. in the world, with roots in the Bay Area.

“We started in 2009, in a barn at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds in Antioch,” said Genesis Gaming co-founder Sheridan Zalewski. “Because it was the only place we could find to put 600 people who came to our first event.”

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From 600 then, to about 5,000 people descending on downtown San Jose on Friday. He said 4,600 registered on the website.

Zalewski said he and a group of friends who created the competition originally played together in 2004-05. Today, he and co-founder Boback Vakili are the main organizers.

The tournament, which lasts through Sunday, brings convention center staff back after two tough years of canceled events. It’s also about reconnecting people with common interests, again, in person.

Typical of many conventions, ABC7 News found someone in costume.

“I’m definitely going out this weekend,” said Jim Norris. “Yeah, going out to restaurants and bars and stuff.”

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Word of welcome for starred chef David Costa. During Friday’s lunch rush at Petiscos on South First Street, he explained that he was not just busy cooking, but hauling tables between orders.

“People coming for the event at the convention center – it’s a lot of people at the same time,” Chef Costa explained. “Which, maybe it’s the same times for lunch. That’s fine.”

On Friday night, ABC7 News spotted crowds in downtown.

Frances Wong of Visit San Jose said large conventions also keep surrounding businesses busy, attracting more hotel bookings and creating jobs.

“We have so many employees at the convention center,” Wong told ABC7 News. “In the kitchen, doing refreshments, doing food and drink service, etc. People upstairs. We have our IT department, we have our security.”

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“The more conventions we have, the more business, the more support as an organization and as a city to bring these conferences and meetings to San Jose, the better it is for the whole community,” he said. she stated.

Wong pointed out that tourism is the economic engine of the entire city of San Jose.

Back at the convention center, site selector and contract negotiator Rhanee Palma anticipates more events will return online. Still, remember what challenges were met to get to Friday.

“From November 2021 to February 2022, we had six changes to municipal ordinances,” Palma explained. “And with those six prescription changes, we also had different protocols for each one.”

Having participated in Genesis 8, Palma said the pandemic forced organizers to find a way to incorporate nostalgia and the new normal.

She added: “It’s one of those times where you can kind of take a step back and reassess and pause and say, ‘What do we really want from this? “”

For more information on Genesis 8, click here.

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