The sounds of keyboards tapping and mouses clicking fill the room as each team begins their game plan. Constantly fighting other players to save their spot in the finalist round.
Competitive gaming, also known as esports, brings people from all over the world together on one common ground: being considered the best of the best.
The California State University Long Beach Esports Association was created in 2013 and has been playing competitively in games such as “Vainglory,” “Overwatch” and “Rocket League.” The group is already preparing for the upcoming season by looking for new members to improve the association’s skills.
Neil Medina, a fourth-year computer engineering major, is one of the team managers and support players for the Overwatch Team. Medina has been playing at Long Beach State for three years. He wanted to join the CSULB Esports Association because of experience watching a “Counter-Strike” competition with his uncle when he was 12.
“The team was put together in the span of one year,” Medina said. “We went from being random strangers that never met, to a team that’s fully capable of making it to the top of the collegiate scene.”
Last year, one of the associations “Overwatch” teams won first place at both the Winter GameFest at UC San Diego and SIEGE otherwise known as Student Interactive Entertainment Gaming Expo) at California State Fullerton.
In order to recruit more members, the club’s president, fourth-year computer science major Anthony Pham, has been part of the association for four years now, beginning as a League of Legends player and now president.
“I always wanted to be part of esports and I wanted to see how well I could match up against other high-level players from various colleges,” said three-year member Pham.
Last year, the club’s “Vainglory” team won the National Championship at the Collegiate Starleague (CSL), bringing more positive attention to the team.
“It propelled our popularity within athletics allowing others to see us as an actual sport by the way we train,” Pham said.
For Pham, the win gave the team a confidence boost and showed others that the team can work as one to accomplish anything.
Shannon Le, the captain of the “Vainglory” team is currently looking for recruits for her section. Two of the players are graduating this year and the group is in need of new players to begin practicing for next year’s season. This year, CSL expanded the teams from being 3v3 to 5v5, so there won’t be a season this year as the team looks for new recruits, as the team looks for new recruits, but practices will continue.
“For now my team is keeping up their practice, we want to get at least three more members,” Le said. “I need a full new roaster. If anyone wants to learn how to play ‘Vainglory,’ I can help them learn how to play.”
This year, the CSULB Esports Association hopes to hold another charity stream similar to one they hosted last year. In the previous 12-hour charity stream, the members played “Dungeons and Dragons,” “A Way Out” and “Overcooked” on Twitch, a live streaming video platform. They raised $205 for Anxiety Gaming, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising mental health awareness in the gaming community.
“We are currently still discussing which charity to focus on this semester, but there will be a stream during the fall and spring semesters,” said Andrew Rudin, the club’s team coordinator.
Although the Collegiate Starleague has yet to release a full schedule of dates for their team scrimmages, Rudin continues to coordinate times for the remaining practices leading up to the beginning of the season.
The team aims to use LBSU’s two-day Week of Welcome event to recruit more players. They will be tabling at the event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
According to Pham, the team members typically practice from home so every player can feel comfortable, but the club meets 7:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. every Wednesday in Hall of Science 102. The first general meeting will be from 7:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m next Wednesday Sept 12.
For more information regarding CSULB Esports Association visit http://www.csulbesports.org/ or visit their table during Week of Welcome on Wednesday and Thursday.