When did you start playing video games, and why?
I’ve been playing video games since I was maybe five or six. I started because my dad actually played a bunch of sports video games so I always saw it growing up. The first I started playing were the Mario games. It’s been a while.
Tell me about the eSports community at LMU.
Our community is really, really great. It’s small — our active members are probably around 30-40 consistently. It’s just a group of people who all enjoy video games, who are all interested in getting to know more about the gaming community as a whole and meeting people who enjoy the same hobbies that they do. On top of that we have a lot of people who are very competitive, so we have multiple teams on campus that practice and play against other collegiate teams. So it’s really awesome.
What does a regular eSports meeting look like?
So we have our meetings once every other week. So we sit everybody down and talk about the results from our teams, any future events that we may have, we discuss things that are going on in the gaming community that people might be interested in and then every week we have a little quiz or Kahoot to wind down for the day and test everybody’s gaming knowledge. We’ll have a Kahoot and one [question] will ask “how many characters are in 'Super Smash Bros Ultimate?'”
What is your role as president of eSports club?
As the president I kind of do a little bit of everything, I help organize the teams and make sure the teams are doing what they need to do when they need to do it. I’m kind of overseeing all the other E-Board members, making sure our team manager is on top of everything and we’re always communicating on how the teams are doing or if a team needs a certain thing I have to be the one to supply it. I organize a lot of our events and I host a lot of our events. I’ll be the main tournament organizer for our 'Smash' events. On top of that, I’m the main point of contact for other schools. So if another school reaches out for an opportunity to collaborate or if an eSports company wants to collaborate with the school they’ll reach out to me.
The club competes with other schools through Tespa. What are those competitions like and how do they work?
So, Tespa is our main league that we are in, at least for ‘Overwatch.’... Basically, you play different teams each week and based on the results, you get points. At the end of the season, there’s ‘regular,’ where everybody just plays as many games as they can before the season ends. Once the season ends there’s top 64, which then becomes single elimination round. The top 64 then becomes the top 32, and then the top 16, down to the final two at the end. It’s a point system turning into a bracket system. It’s super competitive. Last year I think there [were] about 500 ‘Overwatch’ teams [competing].
There is some debate on whether or not eSports should be considered a part of the athletics department, what are your thoughts on that?
The way I see it is people like to define sports as a physical activity competition. But, in its nature sports are about the competition. It’s about working hard, being better than the other team and doing what you need to do to improve and compete. For the people who say it’s not a sport, they can continue saying that. It doesn’t really bother me that much. Just know that, if you are going to put in however many hours to compete and learn and grow just expect us to do the exact same thing. You can call us whatever you guys want. Don’t call us a sport if you don’t want to, but know that we are working super hard to compete and show that we are really about our business.
What does the future of eSports look like here at LMU?
The future of eSports is super, super bright and I’m very excited. We’ve been in the works with LMU Recreation and I’ve been talking a lot with the head of recreation. [The head of recreation] has been working with administration, and he’s met with the board of trustees as well, all surrounding eSports and the future of eSports on campus. As of right now, starting next semester what’s currently in construction is an eSports room. It’s this massive investment towards eSports as a whole on the LMU campus and it will be open to the public so people can try their hand and see how much they enjoy it. It will be open for the teams to practice. Long term, I’m super hopeful. As a senior it kind of sucks to be on the way out as everything starts to get rolling, but I’m really proud to say I helped plant the seed.
What is your favorite game and why?
I have a lot of games that I really enjoy, but I think my favorite competitive game is 'Super Smash Bros.' That’s my primary game. But the game I probably play the most is 'Overwatch' with our team in the Tespa League.
What is one thing you would want the LMU community to know about eSports?
Honestly a lot of people are kind of timid to get into something called eSports — it automatically has a connotation of being hyper competitive. What a lot of people don’t understand is that almost every single person who is now a competitive video game player was at one point a casual gamer. You have to love video games in order to really get into it in the way that these people are. Just like for an NBA player, there’s no way that you’re going to go and pursue being in the NBA without first having a love for the game. It’s very important that people realize we are not just a community of people that take every single game like its the last game they’re ever going to play. We very much enjoy video games for the pleasure that it brings [and] the community that it builds. For me it’s all about community.
What is your favorite memory of being on eSports?
I would say one amazing memory for me [was] when eSports was just on its first legs just a few years ago, when me and the former members, all the people who have graduated, started [it] off as just a lot of people who started playing 'Smash Bros.' together. We would just go from study room to study room setting up our multiple setups and just playing for hours. Those are some of my really great memories because it was the first feeling of a community that I had at LMU. It was what really prompted me to say that I would love to be on the E-Board and start moving this club to where I know we can be.
If you could live in one video game, which one would it be?
'The Sims' world is so crazy because you can build whatever at the snap of your fingers, I just feel like we’re so much more productive in that world. Things just get done. Infrastructure is just off the floor.