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Esports Club offers fall gaming events

October 11, 2018

DSU’s Esports Club is taking their gaming to the next level.

This fall the relatively new Esports Club became an official Tespa affiliate. Tespa is a network of college clubs focused on gaming culture and esports competitions.

As a Tespa affiliate, the Esports Club will be able to utilize resources including use of a network of college gaming clubs, advice for planning tournaments and other events, and access to affiliated merchandise, according to Griffin Egner, a cyber operations major from Austin, Minn. and DSU Esports Club vice president.

The Esports Club “has been around officially about two and a half years,” according to Esports Club President, Dominic Sharma, a game design and computer science major from Vadnais Heights, Minn.

It’s difficult for the Esports Club to determine the specific number of club members because their events draw people from outside of the club as well.

“If we go by our Discord (a free voice and text game communication app) size, it’s about 250 people,” Egner said. “For official teammates, I would say we have about 80 official players on teams.”

These DSU teams compete against groups from other colleges in games like “Heroes of the Storm,” “League of Legends,” and “Rocket League.” Most competitions are held through the internet, but occasionally larger gaming competitions are held face-to-face.

The club tries to host events once a month, competitive games, and non-competitive games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers. Their most recent event drew over 100 people.

Members of the club are hosting a Smash University tournament on Saturday, Oct. 12 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the T.C. Underground. Students and members of the community are welcome to join; more information is available on their event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1515967411837210/.

The club will also help run Nanocon, the annual free gaming convention held at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse November 9-11, where they will host various gaming tournaments.

In addition to events, the Esports Club is currently talking with the athletics department about becoming an official Dakota State University sport. The athletics department approached the club with the idea, according to Sharma.

“This is a natural decision with DSU’s prominence in the IT fields and the growth of gaming,” said Jeff Dittman, DSU athletics director. “It only makes sense that one of the top technology schools in the country has a strong esports program.”

Dakota State University has committed money for a coach, computers, ergogenic chairs, and other equipment necessary for the student athletes. They are also raising money for scholarships to recruit top players and will be creating an esports competition center for practice and competitions, according to Dittman. Initially, esports will be housed in the basement of the Trojan Center in the renovated Alumni Room. The new athletic complex master plan has space allocated for an esports arena that will have a live streaming area, house up to 35 gaming computers, and offer seating for 150.

“Our goal is to begin officially in the spring of 2019,” Dittman said.

Egner explained that esports may not be physical, but it still requires communication, teamwork and team chemistry, and practice. “We practice, put in time and try to better ourselves, just in different ways,” he said.

Competitive team members practice about 10-11 hours a week, four of those hours are as a team and the rest individually. Teams for most games play competitively about once a week, often on the weekends.

Competitive and non-competitive players are invited to check out the Esports Club to learn more about gaming. For more information on the Esports Club email esports@dsu.edu.