The Galveston Island Convention Center, 5600 Seawall Blvd., was packed with computer screens, game consoles and robots on Saturday as part of Galveston Island’s second sports summit.
The event is intended to attract people interested in competitive games, video games and board games, robotics and science and technology, said Mary Jo Naschke, beginning of the event.
Hopefully, the event will help children and adults see how sports, games and technology can be transferred to long-term jobs and careers, he said.
“This is to let the kids know the interface so they have the final path,” Naschke said.
Sports is a professional level of video game competition in which participants can compete in large-scale tournaments.
Participants in the event could compete in sports tournaments, test virtual reality headsets and talk to representatives of NASA, which had brought a Mars rover to the summit.
The companies exhibited their Star Wars-like robots and game capsules that looked like space capsules.
Sophomore Rebecca Lopez attended the summit as a member of the Ball High School robotics team.
High school students had installed two large play arenas and controlled robots built to perform tasks such as stacking balls in a tube.
Lopez has been building robots since he was in fifth grade, and he loved meeting Mars rovers from NASA representatives, he said.
“What they do is interesting,” Lopez said. “They recently sent the rover to Mars, perhaps learning more about a new environment.”
Gaming fan Joseph Riddle headed to Galveston from San Antonio to try his hand at a sports competition on Saturday, he said. Although he was a lifelong player, Riddle had never tried a competition because sports can be very competitive, he said.
Riddle had been playing since he was a child, when his father introduced him to games.
“I used to play at helping me and my brother read,” Riddle said. “Legend of Zelda: It’s all a written dialogue. From there, it took off.”
Riddle was excited to join his first tournament on Saturday, he said.
Others came only for the joy of the games.
High school students Joseph Stanton and Jasen Drake came down from Dickinson to play the unique games at the top.
With sports-themed hats from Mario, Drake and Stanton had been on top all day.
“We’ve been trying everything,” Drake said.
The game was very important to Drake, who met his friends through the fans, he said.
“I just connected with people,” Drake said.
The U.S. Army sports team also brought a large game console trailer for attendees to participate in tournaments.
The army sports team is made up of active and reserve personnel and is meant to show another side of the army personnel, the chief said. Hugo Flores, a U.S. Army sports liaison.
“Soldiers have passions outside of just being a soldier,” Flores said.
The game may also have some applications with electronic warfare or drones, though that’s not the main reason the military developed the sports team, he said.
“There are definitely some parallels, but it’s not directly transferable,” Flores said.
Throughout the day, presenters working in the fields of science and technology also talked about their work and sports professionals talked about their professional careers.