Fragapalooza is an annual video game festival whose birth started in Leduc in 1996 when Gil Amores organized a Quakefest. The success of the event led to others joining Gil to organize the first Fragapalooza which was held in a hanger at Edmonton’s Muni Airport in 1997. Since then it has become a regular August event. For the first twelve years the event was held in Edmonton, but since 2010 the event has returned home to Leduc. Besides Edmonton and Leduc, events have been held in Mississauga, Ontario, Grande Prairie, and Fort Saskatchewan. What was once a local event has grown and has attracted participants from all across Canada and occasionally the United States.
Up to 800 participants have attended the four-day event for the opportunity to win prizes and to enter impromptu competitions, which have little to do with computer games. In the past these competitions have included things like a paper airplane toss, a dance-off, a chair race, and a scavenger hunt. This year it was a paper, rock, scissors challenge.
The event is as much a family activity as it is not unusual to see teams composed of sons and dads or daughters competing to take the top prize. Many gamers took the opportunity to help raise funds for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. In all 270 gamers from Saskatchewan, BC, and all over Alberta gather for the four days which started on Thursday August 8th and concluded at 3pm on Sunday August 11th. The featured tournament games were League of Legends and Counterstrike: Global Offensive but gamers could play anything if they were able to find someone else interested in their particular game. Participants bring their own computers and play PC or console games on the high speed Local Area Network (LAN) that has been provided for by Shaw.
One of the highlights of the four day event was on Saturday, August 10th a local videogame developer X-Gen Studios displayed a version of their new game for PlayStation 4 called Super Motherload.
Mike Hollands, one of the organizers, indicated the event was a major success with many of the gamers enjoying the paper, rock challenge. Plans are already underfoot for 2014.