Ballroom B in the University Student Union was filled with the gentle glow of RGB lighting and the clicking and clacking of controllers Friday as the Long Beach State Esports Association held GGBeach, a student run gaming convention.
The event was the first one of it’s kind, put on by the new board of the Esports Association, and it followed in the footsteps of events such as Beachcon.
Anthony Pham, fourth year computer science major and president of the Esports Association said the event had something to offer everyone interested in gaming.
“We have both the casual and the competitive tournaments going on,” Pham said. “There’s two sides to the coin, but both of them are to the same goal: gaming.”
Pham went on to say that the Esports Association hopes to turn GGBeach into a recurring event every year.
The convention offered tournaments for many popular games including “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” and “League of Legends.” There were also panels that discussed personal computer building and Q&A sessions with Esports industry professionals.
Joel Rodriguez, VR Branch Manager for the Esports Association and third year computer science major, said his favorite part of events like GGBeach is bringing people together.
“It’s the camaraderie,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone is doing the same thing. We’re all gamers.”
Rodriguez went on to talk about how conventions offer a place for people to come together and express their passions.
“Having something like this allows people to come out of their shells in a way,” Rodriguez said. “To experience something that’s bigger than themselves.”
Digital gaming wasn’t all GGBeach had to offer. There was an entire section of the event dedicated to board games.
Mark Killian, a fourth year mechanical engineering major, said that he enjoys the social aspect of playing board games.
“It’s a lot more personable than many video games,” Killian said. “Most video games you do over the computer, or over the xbox, or over the playstation and you don’t often have your friend next to you anymore.”
GGBeach also had an “Artist’s Alley” area where attendees could purchase illustrations and other pieces from student artists.
Fourth year illustration and animation major Jon Sloan was selling art at the convention, and said he was glad the event offered another way for people to share their passions.
“Artist’s alley is sort of like a celebration or appreciation not only for arts, but for the things that people care about,” Sloan said. “You see a lot of artists both big and small tend to take their work and show appreciation for their favorite series, their favorite game, their favorite movies, and they draw it and they try to sell it to people.”
It was clear throughout the day that while most of the attendees and staff of the event cared deeply about games, the community aspect is what brought them to GGBeach.
“One of the big things that this event has to offer is it’s trying to get us more out into the campus,” Killian said “We’re trying to get out more and get more ingrained.”
Video by Josh Sepetjian