• Mason Collins

Chaos Games: a place for gamers to call home

Video and trading card games have been a beloved hobby to many for over 30 years. But one of the biggest problems for players since the 90s is finding a place where everyone can hang out and play. With the help of a few members of the Minot Fighting Game Community (FGC), Joe Hurt, the owner of Chaos Games, solved this issue.

Chaos Games is a store dedicated to cards, comics, and collectibles in downtown Minot. For years, the store has been dedicated to trading card communities like Magic the Gathering and The Pokémon Trading Card Game. Hurt provides a place for people of all ages to come and join in on the fun, anytime during the week. 

Two years ago, Jeremiah Johnson approached Hurt in hopes of setting aside space for video fighting game players to come and meet up each week. Now, the group meets every Saturday in the basement of Chaos Games to hang out and play games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Super Smash Brothers. No game is off the table; if someone shows up wanting to play a game nobody has heard of, chances are someone will be willing to try it out.

This has given multiple people a place to call home and has led to friendships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. To some, fighting games are just another genre of video games, but for others, they are a way of life.

Jaylen Fjeldahl, a player from Minot, explains why he loves the FGC so much.

“By far, my favorite aspect is the personal interactions between everyone here that you could never experience online,” Fjeldahl said. “There’s nothing like having someone right next to you that is happy to help you improve in any way. And there’s never a more profound feeling than after hours of practice, finally achieving a personal milestone to the cheers of a crowd of friends.”

Before COVID-19, the group would also host tournaments sponsored by Chaos Games. A monthly tournament called Chaotic Clash was held for whatever games were popular at the time. People would show up from around North Dakota to come test their skills against like-minded people. It became not only a fight to prove you were the best, but to show that your group could take on any challenge.

 It may seem silly to think that video games could be taken so seriously, but to the people there, these games were their life. Competitors would play their hardest to try and take down those above them.

Each scene had their top players, like Fjeldahl or Moses “Llomomo” Weefur. Rivalries started and with that, it became far more than a game. There were sad moments, such as Weefur showing up from Fargo to take the crown from Fjeldahl and the Minot gang in the Tekken Tournament.

There were also moments that were indescribably hype, like Elijiah “Roger” Crowe, a new player to the game of Tekken, coming in to beat a longtime player from Fargo, causing an uproar of cheering from the whole Minot crowd. But in the end, the players would get back up, shake hands, and laugh about the games.

Video games sometimes have a stigma that only nerds play them. This goes for card games, too. But each player takes these games as seriously as any sport. To them, this is not only a hobby, but their life.

Players spend hours practicing on their own and with friends so that they might show up next Saturday ready to beat the person who has been holding them down. The best thing about the scene is not the competition though, it’s the teamwork and friendships that form.

Every Saturday after everyone is eventually kicked out for staying way too late, the people from the FGC go out to grab food and just hang out. It doesn’t matter where, they just love hanging out with each other, and this never would have happened had there not been a place where they could meet up and play the games they love.

These games are open to anyone of any skill level to play. Information about future tournaments is available on the Minot FGC page on Facebook. Those who are interested can show up to Chaos Games on Saturdays around 5 p.m., and anyone there would be more than happy to show them to ropes.

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