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Students compete for prizes in esports tournament

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Students compete for prizes in esports tournament

Mary Park, Staff Reporter

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s face on posters around campus announced a call for gamers. The call was for FIFA 19 players and for Rocket League players, the newest addition to the esports events that have been held on campus.

While FIFA needs little introduction, Rocket League, which is basically soccer with cars, is much newer. However, its popularity rivals that of the decades-old classic in the esports world.

The upcoming competition hosted by CWU Recreation will be held on April 11 for FIFA, and on April 18 for Rocket League. Both tournaments will take place from 6-10 p.m. in SURC 201 and 202.

Jordan Bishop is the coordinator of intramurals and special events at the Recreation Center, and is the organizer of the event.

“It’s free to join, so all you have to do is show up,” Bishop said.

Anyone with a CWU Recreation membership can pre-register on imleagues.com/cwu, but those who haven’t registered can do so at the doors from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on the day of their chosen event.

“We’re going to start with pool play so that no one is getting eliminated right off the start,” Bishop said. “We value play, and we want everyone to get a solid amount of game time.”

Competitors will play simultaneous games on four consoles to help speed up the process and limit the downtime between transitions.

The top competitors from each pool will be put into a single elimination bracket in a battle to determine the champion.

The winner will receive an Intramural Champion shirt and a pair of Wildcat socks, while second place will receive a pair of socks.

According to Bishop, previous esport events have included Madden NFL, NBA 2K and Fortnite. The FIFA tournaments, which were first held in spring and fall quarter last year, have been the most popular so far with the largest turnout of 28 people.

“We start to see familiar faces come to our events,” Bishop said.

He added that whether it’s a “gaming-specific crowd, or a sport-specific crowd,” people with a common passion in esports come together to have fun and to compete against each other.

Akira Wong, a sophomore in biology, said he went to the first and second FIFA tournaments after reading about it in the Hype magazine.

“I never got far, but it was fun,” Wong said. “But it’s also intense, you know. Everyone’s trying to win.”

Wong, who plays competitive soccer in real life, said he is returning to compete for the third time under the name, “Borussia Dortmund Fanboy.”

Yucel Vasquez, Wong’s friend and a sophomore planning to major in psychology, said he is really into competition but also knows the frustration of losing.

“I’ve broken a lot of controllers because of FIFA,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez said he now plays more for fun and simulates tactics like the “rainbow flick” or the “scissor flick” in the game to practice in real life soccer.

Johnny Felty is a freshman in communication studies and a platinum-ranked Rocket League competitor.

“At first glance, it looked really simple,” said Felty. “But when you start to get into it, there’s a lot of things that you have to work on and practice.”

Braedon Swanson, a freshman in history education, is another Rocket League enthusiast interested in competing in the tournament.

“It’s a really interesting idea,” said Swanson. “It takes something [typical] like soccer or basketball and flips it on its head to something that can’t be done in real life.”

To the outsider, esports or e-gaming might appear to be nothing more than rapidly moving thumbs and bright flashes on the screen, but it is increasingly being seen by worldwide audiences and professional gamers as a career or a real sport.

Bishop said there are many benefits of esports.

“I’m definitely on the side that esports is a viable sport and a viable activity,” Bishop said. “I think that it has a purpose on college campuses.”

He said that esports provide an opportunity to those who may not be the most physically or athletically gifted, to compete at a high level.

“Egaming provides a platform to engage in community, to be part of something,” Bishop said.

Bishop hinted that while there is nothing major decided, CWU Recreation plans to start an esports club.

“It’s up in the air, but we’re definitely ambitious about getting that started,” Bishop said.

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