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Esports grows on the mainstream scene and with students

New genre of games appeals to high schoolers

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Esports grows on the mainstream scene and with students

Henry Jowaisas, Staff Reporter

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Esports, or professional gaming, has been completely transformed in recent years. Games like Overwatch, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have shaped the Esports setting by introducing new, captivating mechanics in their respective genres. Twitch and the Electronic Sports League have provided platforms for the professionals playing these games to receive worldwide recognition as the best players.

Here, the rise of Esports games has not gone unnoticed. The student created and led Video Games Club has been a conduit for gamers to compete and work together as they play games. Outside of school, many students participate in games with huge leaderboards and massive matches of players pitted against each other. While many students continue to engage in popular Esports titles, other games have taken the interest of students.

One of the aspects that draws gamers to these Esports games is the competition factor. Just like in any other sport, teams battle against each other using the skills they have practiced to best one another. Aidan Arroyo (12), an avid Counter-Strike and Overwatch player, says that the competition is what keeps him coming back. “With an Esport game you are getting better at the game and there’s a clear goal,” Arroyo said. “You are playing against better players and gaining skill.”

Senior Joe Comiskey is another gamer that enjoys playing these competitive games. His game of choice is Fortnite, a large-scale battle that leaves players to scavenge resources and tools in order to be the last one standing. “I’m really competitive and I don’t like losing,” Comiskey says. Winning a game of Fortnite is unlikely, but the thrill is what keeps him and many other students playing the game.

In the same way, players gravitate towards these games because of the teamwork it takes to be successful. Senior Steven Testone, the current president of Video Games Club, says that the teamplay in Esports games is something you can’t always get in other genres of games. “When you and your team work really hard together and you accomplish something, it feels very good and you can celebrate together,” Testone said.This feeling is continuous throughout many of the teamwork dependent games that are played in Video Games Club.

Senior Quinn Weider-Rawson is another established member of Video Games Club who has experienced the growth of Esports. The team-based nature of these games, he says, is what pulls him and many of those in the club towards cooperative gaming. Games like Artemis, a game which simulates a spaceship’s bridge, test the teamwork abilities of the club. “If someone’s not doing their job or someone’s not communicating properly it can mess you up,” Weider-Rawson said. “if everyone’s cooperating and working together, you do really well.”

James Verhaeghe, a computer science teacher here and supervisor of Video Games Club, has seen the effects games like this can have. “It brings people together more, like a team building exercise,” Verhaeghe said. “It works really well in that respect.”

Similar to any other sport, Esports games help bring people together and provide them an outlet to pass time and have fun. “I think that video games teach people certain skills while also helping them have fun,” Testone said. These games have piqued the interests of many students for their “Esports games, they’re more simple,” Comiskey said. “In more simple games you have more freedom to do whatever you want.”

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Esports grows on the mainstream scene and with students