Im of the generation who led Johnson City video games to mainstream American culture.
Everything started in the 70’s Pong and was the one-button era of the Atari 2600. Next came the NES, and soon after that the 16-bit war began. Finally, the PlayStation and XBOX have emerged as the main consoles for the last two decades.
For nearly 50 years, video games have been a part of our lives. And with every new wave of games, hardware and accessories, they continue to change our lives in new and exciting ways. One of the key ways video games have changed our lives is that people are getting paid to play games.
Serious money. Some tournaments speak more than 6 digits. Some of the biggest video game tournaments have attracted millions of viewers and awarded millions of dollars in prize money. Teams and players are sponsored by major companies. Similar to NASCAR, but more interested.
These video game players and tournaments make up what is called an eSports organized multiplayer video game competition between professional or college players. Its growing and prosperous industry is now in East Tennessee.
I recently spoke to Jeff Shell, the interim coach of the East Tennessee State University esports program, about the team, how it was born, and esports in general.
After graduating from Science Hill High School in 2012, Shell grew up in Lone Mountain and Johnson City and has always loved video games. StarCraft pulled him into the esports scene, and League of Legends made him fall in love with it.
Shell said he has been coaching eSports since late 2011 and was previously the interim head coach of King. After working with the ETSUs team at the club level in 2012, he heard about the university’s plans to expand into a real diversity program.
According to Shell, I contacted them and provided assistance on how to set up and space the team, and how to make better decisions about how to proceed and build the team. From there he got a temporary coaching job.
And that doesn’t mean that the video game won’t work. Like any sport or competition, that coaching is, according to Shell. It may be fun and fun to watch, but it still takes a lot of effort for the players to really be good at it.
It has changed over the years. In the past, every time Id referred to (eSports), Id had to explain it, Shell said. Then they ask if it’s a job you can have. Well, people watched the game last night or wish I had my job.
Sports at ETSU
Earlier this year, ETSU announced that it would enter the field of esports by following in the footsteps of King University (the first e-sports program in the region) and Milligan University to create and fund a national team. did.
ETSU’s inaugural team has 22 students, most of them in second and third grade, but there are also two seniors and freshmen. Some are from Germany. And to legalize the program, ETSU donated a $ 20,000 scholarship for 14 players.
This is one of the key distinguishing factors between national teams and esports clubs, which ETSU has had since 2011.
The national team is strengthening support from the university, including recruiting coaching staff, providing arena space, and scholarships. That’s a big difference, Shell said.
Around this time last year, students came forward and became interested in hosting a Varsity esports program at ETSU. Earlier this year, 200 students applied and tried out. Only 22 people cut.
According to Shell, this was a very competitive tryout season.
Game people play
Students are divided into two teams, one in Overwatch (first-person shooter) and the other in League of Legends (multiplayer online battle arena-style game). Both games are played on PC and the tournament is hosted by the National University Esports Association (NACE).
The Overwatch team will play every Monday and Thursday from 8pm to October 30th. The League of Legends team will play Tuesday at 7 pm and the next match is scheduled for October 31st. If you want to watch the match, then go to twitch.tv/etsuesports.
ETSU won the first Overwatch tournament against Cornell College earlier this month, but lost to the University of North Texas in the first League of Legends match.
It’s definitely a new sport that has begun nationwide. According to Shell, it’s still at the grassroots level, and many schools across the country may be competing, but not necessarily a national team. So this is an exciting moment for ETSU as we start the competition. We have built two excellent teams of students who have achieved outstanding results in their gaming skills. Many are already ranked high in Overwatch and League of Legends.
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