How Quarantine Has Helped Local and National eSports

How+Quarantine+Has+Helped+Local+and+National+eSports

Darien Hamilton, Staff Writer

Quarantine has come as a shock to some, and a relief to others. While the typical social extrovert may love going out with friends every day, many people at our school prefer playing video games inside with their friends, sometimes even online. Quarantine has been detrimental to sports and other potential super spreader activities. However, there is an industry that for the most part, has been untouched or even helped by the spread of Coronavirus. Gaming. Whether it is selling games, making games, or professional level competitions and live streams, the more people at home the better. One of the few competitive skill-based activities that haven’t been temporarily halted by the virus is eSports. eSports is the ranked, and competitive play of video games. Whether you’re on your couch with 10 other people doing tournament-style battles in Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros, or in live competitions with thousands of viewers and attendees playing Overwatch for millions of dollars, you are doing eSports. 

One such casual and close-by eSports group that many of the American Heritage students are in is the Lone Peak Monthly Smash tournaments. They are a group of Super Smash Bros Ultimate players that meet every month to play in competitions. They use tournament brackets and multiple televisions to help make this happen. During the lockdown, they were forced to play online with each other which actually helped attendance grow. But now with the quarantine laws loosening, they are meeting in person once again. One highly skilled member of this group who attends this school is AHS sophomore, Logan Brown. I had a short interview in which I asked Logan some questions about esports, quarantine, and his favorite games to compete in. 

Logan is highly skilled at many games, but his area of expertise so to speak is the series of fighter games released by Nintendo, specifically Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Logan explained that he “does not actively participate in the Lone Peak Smash club” as they take place during school hours. However, like many students, he “participate[s] in the unofficial tournaments held by the members at their houses”–Even hosting some at his house from time to time. When asked where he would place himself among the active participants of the club he believes himself to be in the top five. His statement seems to be true as he has placed top three in the tournament ten times and came in first place four times. When questioned on how the mandated quarantine has affected esports he replied that “it depends on the game, while Smash Bros has been negatively affected, some games have not been affected at all”. Some games have even had to stop completely as it gained the most revenue on attendees.  When asked about how competitive esports is, Logan explained that “some people believe it is just people sitting next to each other playing video games, but it’s not. Utah especially is a very legitimate scene for esports, especially Smash Bros”.  If you are interested in joining or participating in the Smash club see the link to the discord at the bottom of the page.

While quarantine has nearly stopped physical sports completely, esports is just hindered in how it continues. Some games are just held online, while some just social distance. Even in the rare case where the competitions had to be stopped completely, they are expected to continue soon. While esports may never be the most popular form of entertainment it is growing quickly, having already surpassed some. So if you have been hesitant to participate in esports, give it a shot, you never know if you do not try!