Esports Club Offers Competitive and Casual Environment

Posted on: 8/22/2019


Esports Club Offers Competitive and Casual Environment

“All are welcome.” That’s what each of the officers of the relatively new AMP Esports Club will tell you.

“There’s a competitive side and a casual side,” said Johnny Phung, an Online Multimedia Specialist who serves as the club’s adviser.

The casual side means that students like Scott Murray, a Wildlife Studies major, can come in and play table-top card games like “Cards Against Humanities” with his pals. Murray, who is also the club treasurer, isn’t shy about playing on his Nintendo Switch, even though he is surrounded by competitive gamers.

Yes. There is a competitive side, an ultra-competitive side where club president Erick Anderson and club secretary Carlos Reyes thrive.

Anderson, a Business major, and Reyes, a Computer Engineering major, are part of the official Esports team, which competes in “Overwatch” competitions. “Overwatch” is a popular team-based, multiplayer first-person shooter.

The team has already participated in two exhibition matches against CSUN. Anderson says that while the first match was humbling, the team held their own in the second match, proving that gradually, the team is beginning to understand how to work with one another while improving their skills.

Anderson believes the college has an opportunity to produce high-level “Overwatch” players. He says professionals usually range in age from 18 to 21 years old and rank in the top 200 players in the world. Some of the Esports club members are ranked in the top 500.

And while the competitive side is a draw for some members, the club is more than just an “Overwatch” team.

“We’re a gaming club … We play Fortnite, League of Legends, Rocket League, and mobile gaming. The club is a great place for people who like games.”

Anderson said “Overwatch” draws an audience because of its unique characters.

“It brings people in,” Anderson said. “It’s kind of the NBA [of gaming].”

Proof of the game’s popularity is Club Vice President Eddie Nicolas, a Culinary Arts major, who first got involved with the club when Phung organized an informal gaming session inside the Culinary Arts Student Dining.

“The people here are friendly,” Nicolas said. “Our schedules line up, so it works out great.”

Some L.A. Mission College students don’t drive, and they usually have to wait for their parents to pick them up from school. The club is a great place for students to hang out.

With more than 65 club members, Phung said the club is now reaching out to clubs at other L.A. Community College District campuses to encourage them to start their own Esports teams.

“We got in touch with a computer club at Trade Tech,” Phung said. “We’re reaching out to the other student organizations … We’re desperately looking for teams in the District to play against.”

Phung used to be part of a gaming club when he was a student. He grew up on PC games like Doom. A Computer Science and IT Management major, he learned about computer networking through gaming.

To get the club started, he donated six of his computers from home, and purchased another six on eBay with his own money. The computers he brought from home were custom-built, and have high refresh rate monitors required for competitive gaming.

One of the club goals this school year is to host more events and fundraisers to purchase the computers they need. They plan on working with the college’s Foundation, and the Sylmar Neighborhood Council to build partnerships and support.

“You need good computers and equipment to provide better entertainment for the audience,” Phung said.

The club hosts tournaments, which are open to the public, but to be on the team, you have to be a club member.

If you are interested in joining the club or learning more, they meet on Mondays at 2 p.m. in the brown bungalow near the Sheriff’s office.

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