Video gaming is no longer a hobby. It’s a profession. Once relegated to basements and man-caves, professional players now compete in tournaments with multi-million dollar jackpots. Sophomore Scotty Hill, the founding member of eSports club, hopes to build a competitive team here at Valley. Currently, the eSports club has five members and a teacher sponsor, Jason Dutton.
“Typically what club members do is they take a look at professional matches… and break them down to what techniques are used, what strategies are used, what could have gone different at different points in the game that could have made somebody win or made somebody else lose. So basically breaking down tape,” Dutton says.
Since games like Starcraft and League of Legends can’t be played on a school computer, the competition side of the club would take place entirely outside of school.
“[Starcraft leagues compete] Saturday nights at 11 PM, and whenever my team had a competition, we would hook up to the Internet through our different computers and then we’d play out matches,” Hill says.
Though Valley already has a videogame club, the eSports club has a particular emphasis on the competition aspect of gaming.
“The main focus of the eSports club is the High School Star League, and doing well and competitive gaming basically, whereas the videogame club is for relaxed gaming, hanging out, having a good time. Esports club would have a full focus on competing,” Hill says.
A 2014 article in the New Yorker on eSports stated that, “Chess may soon be eclipsed as the standard-bearer of competitive I.Q.”
Both Dutton and Hill agree that eSports teaches players valuable problem-solving and strategizing techniques.
“I enjoy the thinking and strategy behind [Starcraft], you have to build a base, maintain your resources and create an army before your opponent, and make the counter to your opponent’s army,” Hill says.
Dutton stresses that traditional sports and eSports are more similar than most think.
“A lot of it’s the same stuff as regular sports or anything that’s done with school; ability to break down and analyze a situation. Strategy, teamwork, communication,” Dutton says. “The biggest difference between eSports and ‘real sports’ is how much physical aspect people think about.”