When I was a kid, my Super Nintendo Entertainment System and I were inseparable. I’d spend hours in front of the TV throwing barrels with Donkey Kong and flying through space with Fox McCloud. Eventually, Nintendo 64 and “GoldenEye 007” replaced them and changed what I thought video games could be. But as I got older and moved away, my new friends didn’t care for video games. Even my shiny new PlayStation 2 began gathering dust.
For years I moved away from gaming, yet I always wished for a friend who shared my love of those games and could have shared those experiences and adventures with me. Today, there are organizations for individuals to share experiences and interests, providing a space where they can grow as gamers and as part of a community.
One such organization is SDSU eSports, a club at San Diego State where student gamers of all levels can come together and play.
“As a club, we’re here to network and get gamers together so we can have fun playing the games,” SDSU eSports vice-president and interim president Garrett Smith said. “On top of that, (gamers) get practice partners to play competitively.”
Although some members just play casually, the club also fields several competitive teams, including two for “League of Legends” teams and one for “Defense of the Ancients.” The teams compete in collegiate leagues, which have a regular season running parallel to the semester. During the season, teams play weekly to bi-weekly, with matches ranging from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the game.
Aside from the the weekly meetings, SDSU eSports and San Diego-based gaming community LanDiego.com recently hosted a large-scale lan party on campus called LanDiego State. Smith plans to have another similar event in April.
As one of eSports official sponsors, LanDiego also provides the teams with two TVs to use during meetings, which members use to play anything from fighting games such as “Tekken Tag Tournament” to “NFL Blitz: Pro.”
LanDiego embodies many of the ideals behind several gaming communities.
“We want to share the experience with other people, whether they may share the same passion for gaming or new to the scene,” LanDiego co-founder Sean Peralta said. “It is fun to gather people of like minds to compete and have fun with eSports.”
The spirit of their mission statement, which reads in part, “We will unite our community of gamers to share our love of the game, exposing gamers to the classics, current and next generations of gaming,”
Smith encouraged anyone interested in either casual or competitive gaming to attend weekly meetings
“Just come in, talk to us, bring your game and start playing,” Smith said.