By Myriah Smith
Malone has recently introduced E-Sports as a new club sport. The club meets every Friday from 7-9pm in the basement of the library with around 20-25 students attending. Their game nights consist of two games at the moment: League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena video game, and Super Smash Brothers, a series of crossover fighting games by Nintendo. Andrew Boak, a 2018 Malone graduate, serves as the head coach, and he mostly resides over Super Smash Bros. His assistant coach, Zach Dickens, resides over League of Legends, and volunteer, Symeon Crosier, bounces between the two games. Boak said, “We plan on legitimizing what we’re doing. We’ll probably have multiple nights [of gaming] for those who we think have the kind of skill level to compete at a collegiate level.” Crosier added to this saying, “Ideally over time we’d like to pick people who want to compete beyond just a casual experience–they actually want to progress and do something involved with competition.” They still would have access for people who would want to swing by and play on their own spare time. Right now the competition is just central to Malone, but next semester if they can get an organized team together, they’ll look further into playing other schools or joining a league of some sort. Andrew Boak explained a little bit about the equipment they currently use, “Right now we have two Nintendo Switches that we use to play Super Smash Brothers on; as for League of Legends we just utilize the PCs that are over in CL-46, and then that’s about it.” He went on to say, “As our club sport progresses and we get a proper budget to invest into equipment, we plan on diversifying [the games] that we have.” Crosier further explained that, “If we could also get some sort of budget or access to more powerful computers, we’d like to introduce a few PC games.” According to both Boak and Crosier one can join the E-Sports team by simply showing up. “What we need are just people to have interest and to tell other people about this,” said Boak. At the moment they even have some resident visitors who aren’t Malone students. “We don’t have strict requirements for skill levels…if they want to get better then this is the place to do it.” Boak added. They can gage skill levels by the in-game rankings in League of Legends, and the 1 versus 1 tournaments for Super Smash Bros for when they do want to get more serious about forming a proper team. Boak explained that, “If it were to be just a game night you could have up to 8 people playing at one time, and since we have two [Nintendo] Switches we can have 16 people.” He continued saying, “For League of Legends it is one person per computer–15 people can play at the same time, but it’s just a matter of me installing it on a computer, so there could be 20 plus people playing at the same time.” Out of the 20-25 students that attend, the demographic is mostly men. Crosier explained, “There is one girl who plays League of Legends–occasionally they’ll bring friends or girlfriends who will swing by and watch, but not a whole lot of girls are playing…” “Not now at least! Not yet.” Boak interjected, “But yeah, it’s pretty much all guys.” However, everyone is welcome The dream is to go to nation-wide championships. “Depending on the game; Smash Brothers has a lot of citywide and state-wide championships.” Crosier explained. “There is a college League of Legends league–then you can compete against other schools that are also signed up.” Boak added. E-Sports is still pretty new overall, so there isn’t a lot of structure yet. “For college it’s usually just the people that want to take the time to organize the events right now,” said Crosier. “People are throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks.” Boak concluded. Super Smash Brother tournaments get pretty intense.“ There are a couple folks on campus that are pretty darn good at it,” said Boak, and one of those people is Noah Marsh, senior Integrated Language Arts major and RA in Haviland Hall. Marsh recently won the last competition with 14 competitors, and he seems to be the man to beat. “I am infamously known for Super Smash Bros, and it’s like me against the rest of the people there, so they have a team to try to take me down, if that makes sense.” He went on to explain that, “When people are playing everyone’s cheering and having a good time–people are choosing sides for who they want to win, so yeah it’s [team camaraderie] good.” He’s been playing Super Smash since he was about 7 and more seriously at 13. “It just kept going from there!” Marsh explained. “I hope that [E-Sports] can become a club that can actually make a big impact on campus. Video games are a good leisure, and having E-Sports is something to do if you’re more competitive about it.” E-Sports is a new and fun way to get involved on campus, especially if you like to play video games. The atmosphere might be competitive, but the club always welcomes new-comers.