By Andrew Beers
In 1972, the megahit Pong was released to arcades in America. The game was such a success that it proceeded to be a popular hit in households as the featured game on the first commercial video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey. Over 40 years later, Pong can be seen as a staple in competitive game. Although popular present day video games such as League of Legends and Overwatch cannot have the great title as the “Very First Video Game,” they do hold some hefty achievements in this era of growing technology.
Competitive gameplay has began to grow rapidly in the past decade and it shows no signs of stopping. From MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas) such as League of Legends and Dota 2 to shooters such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty these games have drawn in mass numbers of competitive online players each day.
Games can become highly competitive in which they become featured as an eSports event. ESports are events between professional gamers who compete in video game tournaments for trophies and prize money. The following of eSports has hit an all-time high in viewing over the years and has been opened to the professional and collegiate levels where players can fulfill their childhood dream of playing video games competitively for a living.
DeSales Athletics have recently started up a Varsity eSports program in which student athletes will compete against other schools in our league. The program will consist of two teams; one for League of Legends and another for Overwatch. This is a great addition to the athletic program for it will open a new door for student athletes in the development of our ever growing athletic department.
Talented students with a strategic mindset and knack for gaming will be able to display their talents not only to their friends, but all of DeSales. With eSports growing in popularity it is only fitting that DeSales establishes a program at the collegiate level. DeSales is opening the program to anyone on campus for their first season. Tryouts will be held for students which will allow gamers on campus to compete for a spot on the team while immersing themselves in enjoyable gameplay.
The DeSales’ eSports program is the first co-ed varsity sport meaning both men and women will compete together. This is a major step forward for the athletic department and allows equal opportunities in a man’s world, especially in gaming. Every season the team will choose a cause for which they play for. The team will establish a meaning behind their gameplay besides the drive to win. This can definitely help teach moral values all over campus if the team, the coach and the management promote their cause very well.
With this new and exciting program set in place it should not be a surprise on the new audience it could potentially draw in for sports here on campus. It will be exciting to see where this program goes and how the team develops. ESports will continue to grow, and so will our athletic department.