If you’re from Belgium you might have been to Walibi, one of our country’s many theme parks. I’ve gone a number of times as a child with my parents or school to enjoy the many rides. Yet today I’m not here for the Kondaa, Vampire, Pulsar, or Werewolf. Because from the 18th until the 21st of August the park with the Marsupial mascot is hosting its own e-sports event with Walibi Gaming. So let’s dive right into the nitty gritty of what Walibi Gaming has to offer and how I enjoyed my time there.
Walibi Gaming is a four-day e-sports event with other free gaming side activities in Walibi’s event space. So what exactly does that entail? On the e-sports side, the Tiki-Theater has been transformed into a stage fit for the many different numbers of players it needs to accommodate across the four games it will host. Those are Fifa, Fortnite, Rocket League, and Trackmania; my favourite of this lineup. All of these games have a couple of live sessions you can sign up for in advance that let you play on the big stage with Belgian pro gamers or streamers. I was there to watch the 2 PM to 4 PM Rocket League live session where the players seemed to be having a blast. There were even 2 casters, commenting on the games and hyping up the moment.
Moving away from the Tiki-Theater, both mentally and physically, we go to the other side of the park to the Gaming Center. And the name says it all really, it was a big space filled with a number of games to play of various categories and genres. Immediately left from where you enter are 4 racing sim seats where you can play Gran Turismo 7 on the PS5. I didn’t have to buckle my seatbelt, yet did find myself behind a steering wheel and pedals to put to the metal as I managed to actually finish my laps without too many crashes and going offroad. Moving further were a number of VR headsets I always saw nice and crowded. Seeing as I have an Oculus Rift at home, I opted to forgo queuing for them to let others experience how cool VR can be. There were a couple of game stations lined up where you could duke it out against a friend or stranger in Multiversus. Now, I actually spent most of my time here in the next area filled with retro games and arcade cabinets. Mariokart Double dash on the Gamecube, Super Mario World for the SNES, and Bomberman on the N64. I also gave a Street Fighter cabinet that had other Capcom and Marvel characters in it a whirl, as well as one where you use a flight stick to play through various Star Wars scenarios. I rarely take the time to play retro games, but when I do they so often remind me both how far we’ve come as a medium and how well they still hold up.
At this point, Walibi Gaming only really had meet-and-greets with some of the pro gamers and streamers. I checked the lineup, quickly realized I knew none of them, and thus decided I’d go catch some rides. I’m still in a theme park after all. I was there on Friday, which had a weather forecast of maybe some rain when checked earlier in the week. The result: shorter lines for me! So short even that not once, but twice I could just walk through the queuing area straight onto the next arriving ride. Even the new, and very fast, Kondaa coaster barely saw me wait for 10 minutes. Obviously, this is great news for any visitor, but I do feel it bears special mention since the activities Walibi Gaming provides are fun, unless you plan to compete in the tournaments and qualifiers held at the Tiki-Theather, it will not last you all that long. So if you plan on going, I suggest you look at these extra activities as another ride to take. One that won’t see you stand in line for nearly as long as the fixed ones.
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.