VS Realm’s Esports with a Purpose
VS Realm: Esports with a Purpose
In an unassuming corner of the North DeKalb Mall near Decatur is VS Realm, a modern arcade with big dreams of making an impact in the community and gaming.
The owner, Christen Munroe, works as a gang investigator in the DeKalb County police department. His work with the DeKalb County gang unit gave Munroe the idea to open a place where kids would want to be after school. Munroe said about his time as a kid, “Definitely spending a lot of time in the comic book shop steered me away from the nonsense.”
Munroe’s initial idea was to create a place for kids to spend time and make friends like his childhood. In 2017, he created that place when he opened VS Realm with his operations manager Valeria “Ms. Val” Vincent.
Munroe and Ms. Val share the desire to create a school club-like environment, where members not only have a place to hang out, but a place to form teams and compete. This desire for competition is propelledby their partnership with Walimu, a local Atlanta business that provides training programs for competitive gamers.
VS Realm and Walimu’s agreement is simple: Walimu will sign up trainers or customers for programs to use the VS Realm facilities. This has created a mutually beneficial relationship and allowed patrons of both companies to improve their gaming skills.
Ms. Val elaborated that this is very much in line with the goals of VS Realm. According to her, the goal is “creating a place for people wanting to get better in a specific game to train.”
VS Realm even has a couple members competing in Tekken 7 tournaments around the metro Atlanta area.
VS Realm offers more than just competitive gaming. People who simply want to play video games with their friends are more than welcome to become members. The store offers a variety of single player games along with their fighting setups. Games like Kingdom Hearts or Super Mario Bros. are perfect for the average gamer who just wants to play their favorite games with their friends.
Ultimately, the VS Realm team hopes to attract large names in Esports to act as influencers for the arcade. Munroe hopes this could help the team market the business and create a mutually beneficial relationship with more gamers and businesses like Walimu.
“When we go out and engage with them, … we start with a conversation,” Hughes said. “One of the things that we’ve identified as the highest need for people experiencing homelessness is just somebody to listen to them.”
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