Esports club steps up its game for fall semester


by Chase Thurston, Staff Reporter

The Simpson Esports Club is in its second semester and is already making its presence known on campus.

Started last spring by then-senior Sherwin Lacsa, the club quickly generated plenty of buzz on campus. With the fall semester and influx of new students, esports has only grown in popularity on campus.

“The college and the esports club have been talking for a while, and over the summer, they worked on an empty space in part of the old Goodwill,” Erik Knouse, esports president, said. “Before it was just a hallway and now they’ve walled it off, put in some security measures and it’s a really nice room. It’s finished now and we have the budget from SGA to build computers, so we’ll be working on that in the next few weeks.”

 Knouse said the computer lab’s purpose will be to provide a gaming and practice center outside of the club’s regular meetings.

League of Legends is currently the only team game that the club plays competitively, but, according to Knouse and club vice president Jacob Kuehl, there are plans for playing other games competitively. 

“Overwatch is a big one for us and there’s several other games people are interested in doing. We just need to check the numbers and make sure people are wanting to do that,” Knouse said.

The solo gaming tournaments are also becoming a facet of the club’s operation.

“We have guys going to [Super Smash Bros.] ultimate tournaments up at Jay’s CD & Hobby,” Kuehl said. “They have them every other week or every month. Some of the guys have gone to ISU to play in their smash tournaments.”

As for tournaments hosted by the club itself, Knouse also has plans in the works.

“We do plan on having a charity tournament for Super Smash Bros.,” Knouse said. “We’re working on that right now. There will be a small fee, a buy-in. Raised money will go to charity and then the club will donate a prize. We’re working with Lambda Chi Alpha on that.”

Comparing the club’s attendance to last semester, Knouse said the club has seen considerable growth, but the current meeting time of 7 p.m. on Tuesdays creates conflicts. 

“I’m working on changing that date to Mondays, but, in general, we’ve still seen an increase, two dozen people, at least,” Knouse said. 

Knouse and Kuehl also explained why they believe esports is gaining traction at Simpson and at colleges in general.

“As being part of that League of Legends team for our esports, they have this roster of all the teams that are in our division, and there’s so many more teams than I thought in the area.” Knouse said.

Krouse said that having an esports club helps bring awareness to professional gamers.

“Esports in general, not even just on college campuses, the numbers are there to support that it’s getting really big,” Knouse said. “More people viewed the League of Legends world finals last year than the Super Bowl. A lot of people nowadays, incoming first-year students to college, they’ve been growing up with video games their whole life.”

Knouse states that the stigma against professional gaming is lessening.

“Anyone can stream now, so you get college kids wanting to stream and make a name for themselves,” said Knouse. 

Knouse and Kuehl have plans to keep the club as active as possible throughout the semester. The esports club currently meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Carver 235, though that time is likely to change.