For one Kissimmee teen, a love for gaming has turned into much more than just a hobby or passing interest. It became a way to earn some extra cash, and since then has even inspired a potential future career in technology.
Connor Rose’s father introduced him to video games when he was growing up. Rose usually played Super Smash Bros. with his dad and brother, and his competitive nature was evident even in the early years. Rose’s grandparents took him to Otronicon for the first time almost a decade ago, but it wasn’t until 2014 that he competed in the Super Smash Bros. tournament — his introduction to competitive gaming.
“I didn’t think I was going to do super great, and I didn’t,” Rose said about his first tournament. “I just knew it was a game that I loved to play.”
But Rose was fueled by the love of the game and a strong motivation to come out on top, and he returned to the Otronicon competitions the next year. He’s been on a winning streak ever since.
“The rest of the years after that were kind of natural,” he said.
Rose has taken his gaming skills on the road beyond Otronicon. He has been competing in tournaments around Florida weekly for about two years, and he hopes to eventually travel out of state to participate in others. Cumulatively, Rose estimates that he has earned a few thousand dollars in these tournament — quite a sum for someone who has only recently reached the milestone of adulthood.
The payoff (both financially and emotionally) is a nice perk, but all this gaming has Rose keeping another, longer-term goal in mind. Inspired by his interactions with indie game developers at Otronicon, he wants to study technology in college and pursue a career in IT or something similar. He might even create his own indie games someday.
“It was something I would like to do, but it wasn’t super realistic for me until I went and saw it in person [at Otronicon], getting to meet people who actually do that,” Rose said. “I realized it’s just as attainable as anything else.”