By Cedric Vitug
Every Friday, the Esports club hosts video game tournaments in room 406, where players compete in the fighting video game Super Smash Brothers on the Wii U. Created just last school year, the club is now introducing tournaments after noticing students’ interest in creating one.
“Tournaments give members another outlet to be competitive. Not just only sports are competitive, but playing video games can be very enjoyable too in a competitive sense. It gives them a chance to just bond with each other and hang out with each other after school,” club advisor and English nine and ten teacher Raymond Chhan said.
The Esports club is split into sections based on three video games: Overwatch, League of Legends, and Super Smash Brothers. Club president and junior Gilbert Rosal first approached Chhan with the concept of having video game tournaments for one of the three sections.
“We first wanted to really get involved in the Super Smash Brothers community because of how popular it was. We just needed some way to make it so that people could practice and enhance their craft,” Rosal said. “We felt we should have a tournament whenever we possibly could.”
Co-captains and juniors Kendall Chase and Michael Cruz took on the responsibilities of the Super Smash Brothers division. They are responsible for hosting these matches and spreading awareness of the tournaments. They also help members of the Super Smash Brothers division improve their gaming skills.
We help members get outside of the scene of just school and get them to local tournaments that are around San Diego,” Chase said.
The tournaments are based around one event: singles, where players face each other in one-on-one battles.This event usually contains two setups for everyone to participate in. These tournaments cost two dollars for entry as a way of fundraising for the club.
“Chase and Cruz have this app that allows them to create tournament brackets based on how many people there are and that allows the tournament to run smoothly,” Rosal said.
The use of brackets allows players to advance in the tournament for a spot at the finals. The main bracket leads to two players who compete in five matches to become a winner. There is also a loser’s bracket where players eliminated from the tournament can still participate and compete against each other in more matches. The placement of these players in the brackets can either be specific or randomly selected. Usually, the brackets are created with the results from previous tournaments in mind when it comes to specific placement of players.
“I participate in them myself too just for fun. Everyone is always really excited and into it, but they all remain sportsmanlike. The players do not disrespect each other,” Chhan said.
There are also side events which are for free and separate from the central tournament. An example of such a side event is crew battles, where players split off into two teams led by the co-captains. Each team battles each other through one-on-one matches. Those who lose are eliminated from the team for that event. Cruz enjoys several aspects of crew battles as he leads his team.
“The nerves that you get when it’s the last hit versus someone, winning and keeping on moving with a momentum, I think that’s the most fun part with an adrenaline rush,” Cruz said.
Leaders of the club have goals for Esports to expand in the near future. This would deal with the continuing growth of the tournaments and hopefully future competitions with other schools.
“To start off particularly for Super Smash, I would like to see more people become consistent participants. I feel like a lot of people want to get better and competing is a great way to do so. I also want to see us join with other schools in the community and have tournaments together,” Chase said.
Within the past year, the club saw the addition of about ten members. Along with the new members, there has been an average ten people who consistently show up to tournaments. The goal for Rosal and Chhan is to increase the popularity of not only the tournaments, but the membership of the club as well.
“As president, I’ve created this club with the intent of unifying a population of students that more often than not, has felt excluded. Gaming was something previously thought to be ashamed of. What I wanted to do was make it so students could really break out of that shell and become comfortable in this environment, where they too could play competitively and be proud of it,” Rosal said.