Interview: Curtis Smith – VGU Gamer Gauntlet

If you’re like me, then your idea of well-earned rest and relaxation mostly revolves around playing video games. Be it sitting alongside an extra large soda, grinding for legendary or exotic engrams in Destiny‘s newest expansion (like several of us here at Gamer Pros have been doing), or challenging your friends to a match in the newest Madden game, video games have become essential to many humans relaxation rituals. So what do you do when sitting back, controller in hand, isn’t taking the edge off? The answer is The VGU Gamer Gauntlet, and I think you’ll like it.
I had the opportunity to talk to Curtis Smith about his ambitious project to bring the culture of gaming and fuse it with on of the best ways to unwind – a cruise through the Bahamas. Curtis has helmed the inception of the VGU Gamer Gauntlet and is bring the thrill of gaming to the open waters. Hosting gaming essentials, such as eSports tournaments and fully-immersive gaming rooms, and cruise essentials, the VGU Gamer Gauntlet aims to the be the experience of a lifetime.

Jordan: “Introduce yourself to the readers. Tell me about your role in the VGU Gamer Gauntlet.”
Curtis Smith: “I am the Founder and CEO of Gamer Tech Events Inc. Gamer Tech Events is the company, VGU Gamer Gauntlet is the event.”

Jordan: “Where did the idea of a video game themed cruise come from? What are some of the inspirations for the cruise and it’s events.”

Curtis: “To be completely honest the inspiration came when I was approached by Norwegian Cruise lines about doing some gaming programing aboard there ship. They had been to a convention I did in Washington DC and were super impressed with how it looked and was executed. Once I started thinking about it I started to see how we could make this something amazing.”

VGU Gamer Gauntlet
Gamer Tech Events is partnering with Royal Caribbean to bring the VGU Gamer Gauntlet to life.

Jordan: “How are you merging video game culture with the environment of a luxury ship?”

Curtis: “So with your normal game convention you go you walk around and you see the same things. We wanted to take gamers out of this circle. The cruise ship not only provides a cool back drop it also has cool things to do that you can’t get any other convention. We have a casino, rock wall, spa, pools and more.
We will have full immersion game rooms.”
Jordan: “How many passengers are you planning on? How many staff members will you employ?”
Curtis: “2300 attendees total. We have the whole normal cruise staff plus over staff of around 50 people.”

Jordan: “Your promotional video (seen below) mentions that there will be video game celebrities and EDM artists. Who have you been able to bring on?”

Curtis:Rachel Lara is our cruise Ambassador -she was a character in Resident Evil-,
Carlos Ferro who is Dom in Gears and Leonardo da Vinci in Assassin’s Creed so far.

We will have top 40 artist performing is all I can say for now, but you will recognize the artist name.”

Jordan: “Tell me about the itinerary of the ship.”
Curtis: “We will have exhibits like our full immersion game rooms such as the Autobahn Raceway, the Call Of Duty WarZone and the Snowboarding while sailing rooms. In these environments players will compete on a floor to ceiling screen in a room that resembles the game. For example the COD WarZone will look like an actual war zone. There will be flashes, explosions, smoke, even the smells of gunpowder and burning flesh. The Autobahn Raceway where you will step into what will feel like is Indy race track. From the asphalt looking floors, the pit stop area, the fencing and barriers along the wall to the smells of gasoline and burning rubber, to the fans blowing high speed winds in your face. The Snowboarding room will feature actual snow, and you will transported into the game itself. There will be VR exhibits, 3D tablets, holograms, live motion capture being performed and so much more!
But that’s not all what’s a gaming convention without tournaments? We will have some of the top teams for around the country competing in invite only tournaments streaming live from the ship being brought to you by one of our sponsors: Redbull. They will include League of Legends, Call of Duty, Counterstrike, Super Smash Bros, DOTA 2, Street Fighter and Killer Instinct. We will have top professionals in the eSports arena hosting and taking part in what is sure to be talked about throughout the industry.
Finally, a cruise without parties and concerts is unheard of, and this won’t be any different. We will have two major concerts, the first will take place opening night aboard the ship. It will feature top artist in Pop, Hip Hop, Country, EDM, Reggae and alternative genres, basically our own mini Coachella. Then we will repeat this same format on Sunday on our own private island for the day with different artist. There will also be top DJ’s spinning the entire cruise for what will be a party goers dream from foam parties, cosplay parties, day parties, night parties and even after party parties.
Wiped out from the parties hangout by the pool with the movie screen or in our Hookah lounge which will have a 360 degree view from the top of the boat and rub elbows with our celebrity guest and other gamers. Not to mention you get to sail to the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. You get to spend the day in Nassau. So traveling and gaming and concerts all starting at $500 and it includes your food. What more could you ask for?”
Jordan: “What events are you, personally, the most excited for?”

Curtis: “Honestly it has to be the full immersion rooms. If you are a gamer and wanted to know what it would be like to be in a game then you have to experience this.”

Jordan: “What would make you consider your maiden voyage a success?”

Curtis: “It will be a success when every person who attends is saying they can’t wait for the next year’s cruise. My vision for this cruise is for people who like gaming whether you’re hardcore or casual to feel like this was nothing like I have ever experienced before.”

Departing April 7th 2017, from Orlando Florida and returning April 10th, the VGU Gamer Gaultlet will tour the Bahamas. Making a stop in Nassau for the day, the cruise concludes with a party on the private island of CoCo Cay. You can expect a ton of video gaming, relaxation, and partying to be thrown into the mix as well.
For those of you who would like to book your tickets for the VGU Gamer Gauntlet, you can do so here.

Published by Jordan Aslett - Managing Editor

Jordan Aslett is the Managing Editor at Gamer Professionals. He loves all things video game and is especially interested in some of the deeper aspects of games such as developer strategies and why players play games they way they do. His favorite games are the Uncharted and Assassin's Creed Series, and has a special love for anything with a strong/evocative story narrative.