Brunei gaming elites converge at BEST 2017

by Haadi Bakar
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Brunei’s community of competitive gamers finally have a premier e-sport venue to call their own.

Hundreds from across the nation signed up for the Brunei E-Sport Tournament (BEST) 2017 this weekend, going head-to-head with opposing teams in various competitive games from acclaimed first-person shooter Counterstrike: Global Offensive (CSGO) to arcade fighting game Tekken 7 to signature football game Fifa 18.

Held at the Royal Brunei Recreational Club (RBRC) in Berakas, the two-day tournament was the largest-scale e-sport venue ever organised in the sultanate in recent years, with some 500 local players competing for the prize money, and with up to eight popular games for them to compete in.

The event also drew in over a thousand spectators over the course of the weekend, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign which coincided with the Brunei December Festival (DecemberFest) 2017.

Other tournaments available include PC smash hit League of Legends, racing game Gran Turismo and cross-platform fighting title Super Smash Brothers, as well as mobile hits Vainglory and Mobile Legends.

Spectators watch the final showdown of the Tekken 7 tournament on the projector screen at BEST 2017.

“We want to eventually rival that of the leagues in Borneo.”

BEST 2017 was organised by GameOn. Prior to this, the local gaming event manager had been actively hosting several small-scale gaming tournaments.

“This is the biggest we’ve ever done so far, and we aim to do this annually,” said GameOn’s Founder Amar Agus Din, adding that the event wouldn’t be possible without the support from the government, sponsors and the local gaming community.

For BEST 2017, Amar said that he and his crew have installed more than 23 gaming PCs, 14 PlayStation 4 game consoles as well as a Nintendo Wii U unit.

“It’s a start, but we want this event to eventually rival that of the leagues held in Borneo,” he added.

Amar hoped that this event would help create public awareness on not just the active local gaming scene, but also the massive gaming industry. “Gaming is huge business globally and it can be a career path for our youth, whether its becoming a professional e-athlete or a game developer. That’s the message we hope to get across through organising BEST.”

Massive cowds gather at the CSGO tournament section of BEST 2017.

One of the main highlights at BEST 2017 was the CSGO finals on Sunday, which saw Brunei’s CSGO elites compete for the event’s biggest prize money.

Taking home the B$1,000 grand prize was Goodfellas Gaming, who eliminated XDM in the final round of the team-based PC shooter. This was Goodfellas’ latest winning streak this year following their recent victory at the Borneo E-Arena Tournament 2017 in Kota Kinabalu, and several cybercafe-hosted tourneys in Brunei.

“By having more tournaments like this, it would motivate our e-athletes to push themselves further,” said Hawaii Yee, the manager of Goodfellas Gaming. “It can be a stepping stone for them towards competing in the big leagues in the region.”

Another highlight was a CSGO exhibition match featuring¬†Brunei’s all-female team UNIKATS going up against select teams.

Team UNIKATS annihilated Team GameOn during a CSGO exhibition match at BEST 2017.

Other notable winners at the tourney include Tekken 7 champion Ivan who bagged B$300 after crushing all his opponents all the way to the final round, and Super Smash Brothers’ last man standing Wafi, who took home a Nintendo 2DS XL.

One of the participants, Isyraq Bakar, said that the event was an excellent venue for gamers in Brunei, both e-athletes and casual players, to gather, compete and also network.

“We need more events like this in Brunei. The gaming community is quite strong here, we just need a platform to not only put our skills to the test, but also connect with other gamers in the country,” said the UTB undergraduate.

BEST 2017 was supported by the Brunei Tourism Board, Royal Brunei Airlines, Telbru and Netcom.

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