E-sports Are Growing at Stony Brook University

Veterans playing Call of Duty at VESO tournament

By Ronny Reyes and Kevin Rate

League of Legends (LOL) at Stony Brook University, the campus’ LOL club, is hosting their Battle for the Brook tournament on Saturday April 9, where 16 teams will play in a LAN competition, event organizers said.

The LOL club’s e-sport team already competed in the 2015 North American Collegiate Championship, where they placed in the Top 32 in a tournament with over 540 colleges, Elias Jalili, the club’s vice president and team manager, said.

“The thing is that when you play games, you usually play for fun,” Jalili said. “But when you play competitively in esports, losing is not an option.”

“On Long Island, there are local tournaments across the island very often, most of them biweekly, and some of them weekly,” Ryan Noonan, President of Stony Brook Smash Bros, said. “Numbers can fluctuate greatly, but most tournaments have about 30 entrants, a Major or National can get upwards to 1,000 entrants.”

The Stony Brook Smash Bros. is a club that regularly meets to play and train with the popular video game, Super Smash Bros.

The club attended Pound 2016, a tournament in Maryland from April 2 – April 3, 2016 which hosted 1600 attendees and 933 entrants in the largest bracket. A member of the Stony Brook club placed in the top 50 of 933.

“Majors are always a ton of fun because some of the best players in the world are there, and watching them duke it out with a ton of people freaking out at some of the crazy things they do is amazing,” Noonan said. “It’s also a great practice tool, because it attracts players from all over the country, allowing you to play people with different styles and learn and improve very quickly.”

Although video game tournaments are beginning to be recognized by major sports outlets, and major tournaments bring in around 1,000 entrants, small self operated video game tournaments are being used to attract people to certain events.

The Veteran Students Organization (VESO) at Stony Brook held a Call of Duty tournament on March 31. The club promoted it as a way to play Call of Duty against real veterans.

“We were looking at a YouTube video, and it was actual veterans vs hardcore gamers, y’know the actual veterans were [beat] because of course they’re not used to the video games,” Jay Garcia, President of VESO, said. “Then they took the gamers out to a shooting range to shoot real weapons, which was pretty cool too. I would love to do that here too, but it gets kind of expensive for a big group like that to go shooting.”

VESO is designed as a way to help veterans coming back to school reintegrate with the student body at Stony Brook. The organization saw a video game tournament as a way to attract civilians to interact and play video games with veterans.

“I think video games definitely offer camaraderie and togetherness,” Noonan said. “It does also offer competitiveness though, I think that competitiveness brings us closer together in a way.”

About Ronny Reyes 8 Articles
Ronny Reyes is a journalist earning his degree at SUNY Stony Brook's School of Journalism. He is the Associate Editor for The Stony Brook Press as well as a media relations intern for Stony Brook University Hospital. His concentration is on public policy and public affairs.