Fanshawe to launch its first eSports league
Credit: SIMON DUNFORD
Fanshawe students can now sign-up for the College's first eSports league.
Electronic sports (eSports) are defined by the oxford dictionary, as multiplayer video games that are played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers.
While the roots of eSports date back to arcade gaming during the 1970s and 1980s, the practice has flourished with the introduction of online play.
Shooting games like Halo and fighting games like Street Fighter have led the industry’s most popular genre, multiplayer online battle arena games (MOBAs), to fill Olympic stadiums with spectators while the scene’s pro players battle for millions of dollars.
With franchise systems entering the eSports industry akin to those in other major sports like baseball and hockey, collegiate leagues are sprouting up across North America for a chance to foster talent and compete for prestigious titles.
According to Tyler Hetherington, Fanshawe Student Union’s (FSU) events and programs co-ordinator, FUEL will be the first eSports league in Fanshawe’s history.
The league plans to host both Super Smash Bros. Melee and FIFA 18 for members to play, along with two other 1v1 console games that will be decided by popular vote amongst members of the league.
Each week, the league will alternate which game it will host for the evening.
According to Hetherington, the league is open to all students and will hold meetings on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. starting Sept. 11 in Forwell Hall.
People interested in joining the league do not have to have a history of playing a certain game, as all skill levels are welcome.
Hetherington explained that when the event is set up in Forwell Hall on Monday evenings, there will be multiple televisions lined up for students to play on.
In order to eliminate any latency issues for Super Smash Bros. Melee, Hetherington has collected seven tube televisions from the London community for members to play on. In addition, each television will have a monitor set up behind it for individuals who want to watch the matches in real time.
The concession stand in Forwell Hall will also be open for people the purchase items such as energy drinks and hot dogs during the weekly gatherings.
“I hope the league gives people a fun distraction while they are stressed over exams and school work.” Hetherington said. “That it gives them a night where they can just come out, have fun and play video games.”
Many eSports viewers in North America use streaming services like YouTube and Twitch to watch matches; however, the rising popularity of eSports in the western world has piqued the interest of major telecommunications companies. Rogers confirmed in 2017 press release that Sportsnet will be partnering with ESL (eSports Live) to create Canada’s first 24/7 eSports television channel.
According to Jackie Corby, Fanshawe campus recreation athletics program officer, the eSports league will be an official intramural sport for the college.
Corby said that she is always looking for new ideas for the campus recreation program. When Hetherington pitched the idea for an eSports league to her, she said that the league would be a great opportunity to engage students who are not particularly interested in traditional intermural sporting events. Doing so further establishes a sense of community for Fanshawe students.
Corby explained that the suggestions from the students will determine the future direction of the league once it is up and running.
“This league is an opportunity to bring the gaming community together,” Cynthia Kaczala, a second year Fanshawe student in the video game design and development program said. “Some students may not know a lot of other people who play games. It’s a great opportunity for gamers to meet each other.”
Kaczala suggested that other fighting games such as Street Fighter, BlazBlue and Guilty Gear may be good titles to add to the league’s roaster of games.
Hetherington said that the league will also be keeping track of player statistics with a points system. The points system will keep tabs on win/loss ratios and member participation.
The league will be sending the champion with the most points from Super Smash Bros. Melee to Windsor in order to compete against champions from other schools.
Hetherington explained that if the league becomes successful in the Fanshawe community, he plans to introduce team games to the roster in the upcoming years. “We’ve got to get some numbers first as we build it from the ground up.”
Students who are willing to hone their skills and build new friendships can sign-up for the league for free at fsu.ca/fuel.