eSports is taking over video game tournaments

By ISAIAH MCCALL
On December 12, 2018

Photo courtesy of John Puchalski

In this new era of gaming we’ve begun to say goodbye to the days of hosting shady, poorly put together video game tournaments in the depths of your grandmother’s basement and instead, started saying hello to one of the most lucrative industries in recent years; and it’s all going under the title of eSports.

It’s a term that will likely cause your parents to raise a brow or two, but with this sudden emergence of the competitive video game scene, eSports are receiving a spotlight like never before. Popular games like Fortnite have awarded players nearly $20 million in the short amount of time the title has been around.

And if you want to talk numbers, Dota 2, Valve’s globally popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) has awarded it’s players $172,572,695.59 over the course of 1000 tournaments.

One would think the figures, and the overall popularity of eSports would be more than enough to garner attention at Ramapo, yet founder of Ramapo’s E-Sports club, Ramapo College junior Matt Bedell, was stunned to see there was no such organization representing eSports.

“My freshman year I came here and was surprised to see there was no gaming club,” said Bedell. “There was a Smash club, but no club dedicated to gaming or eSports. So my friends and I started up The Ramapo E-Sports club, and by the time my sophomore year hit we were up to 80 members.”

Bedell’s goal in creating the club with his friends was to build an environment and a community where people could feel comfortable playing games competitively or even casually. One such member using the club as a vehicle to showcase his competitive play is John Puchalski, or under his StarCraft II name of Starkiller, is currently one of the best players in the Tri-State area.

For the unfamiliar, StarCraft II is a military science fiction real-time strategy game and was developed by Blizzard, the same people behind the popular World of Warcraft series. It might be a little too ambitious to explain the ins and outs of StarCraft here, but when it comes to this million dollar earning game, Puchalski is as good as it gets.

“I bought the game in 2010 when I saw my older cousin playing and I liked the concept of it so I decided to play it for fun,” said Puchalski. “And in 2016 I started to play competitively when I achieved top 200 in North America.”

Puchalski recently placed second in The Tespa 2018 StarCraft II Collegiate 1v1 Tournament, beating several semi-professional players along the way and finishing his day with a $500 scholarship.

“Both the Ramapo E-Sports Club and my professional team, Psionic Aftermath were very happy of my accomplishments from the tournament,” said Puchalski. “It feels great to be Ramapo’s first prodigy for eSports and I hope I can stay a top competitor for the upcoming years that I’m here.”

Keep up to date with The Ramapo E-Sports Club by joining their discord at https://discord.gg/t3QwZb9 or "Ramapo Esports (Main)" and keep a lookout for their upcoming events.

 

imccall@ramapo.edu

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