Gaming their way to the top


Derek Raridon, Sports Editor

Junior Kent Nguyen has instilled video games in his blood. Playing since the age of three, he had played video games mainly for his own enjoyment as well as improvement. But then, during his sophomore year, Nguyen found a club that was right up his alley: the eSports club.

“I found the club last [school] year when one of my friends mentioned that they were also in the club, but competing on a different team,” Nguyen said. “I stumbled upon the other members randomly and joined from there. I was very interested in joining so I can improve my own skills and hopefully give others the chance to do so as well.”

The Spring Valley eSports club is a place where people can compete competitively in video games. According to Nguyen, the club can also help students learn the basics of being on a competitive team for future use and to improve members skills in their respective game.

“I think it’s a great club,” senior Valorant player Sebastain To said. “There were never any clubs that intrigued me in high school. Ever since I hurt my knee and I had to quit sports, gaming and streaming [have] become the things that helped fill that missing void that I had from competing. The club ended up coming in at the right place [and] right time when it came to school, since I’m just competing. I ended up making many new teammates and friends, and got a lot of memories out of it. I recommend it to anyone who is really into gaming.”

Currently, the club competes in games that are under the Silver States eSports Organization, such as Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, League of Legends, and Valorant. However, according to Nguyen, the club does plan to expand the amount of games it competes in.

“I would like to see if we could add more accessible games due to the pandemic going on right now,” Nguyen said. “If playing in person becomes an option, I’d like to bring in more fighting games as that option. With our recent TFT tournament as well, It seemed to receive well, so putting that in our roster would be helpful as well. I’d like to add games like Apex Legends or others in that genre, but I’d have to sort that out at a different time.”

Additionally, the club also plays in leagues and tournaments put on by the SSEO. Teams in the club competed in the Silver States League two and three during their year as well as the Silver States Valorant three tournament. The esports club has also put on their own tournament for the game Team Fight Tactics. According to Nguyen, those who have represented the organization have placed in the top three in each of the events mentioned.

“In regards to our performance, I am incredibly proud of my teams that have participated,” Nguyen said. “It’s made me really happy and proud that my club members try their hardest to practice and participate. They’ve done an amazing job this year and I can’t wait for next year.”

According to Nguyen, anyone who wants to join one of the teams in the club must try out. Similar to how traditional sports tryouts work, the team captain would evaluate the potential player through different exercises. However, each tryout is different per game, as the techniques vary from game to game. 

“Each game has [its] own mechanics that everyone has to work on,“ To said. “ [League of Legends and Valorant] are team games with unique abilities involved. [League] is more based off of team play and outsmarting your opponents. Where, in Valorant, it’s more focused on aim and teamwork.”

Through things such as scrimmage games or hopping into a regular online game, the captain would evaluate one for things they are looking for in a new player. For shooting games, this would entail things such as aim/recoil control or utility (or gadget) usage, whereas in a MOBA, the captain would look at the player’s ability usage, team cooperation, and role efficiency.

“League of Legends is a MOBA game,[and] when it comes to league, it’s all about [your] brain in my opinion,” To said. “It involves being very knowledgeable about how the game is played, all of the [champions], and how to play around your teammates. The same goes with Valorant because there are different characters. But the thing that differentiates Valorant from League of Legends is that Valorant is a FPS game. So, aim is a huge factor in the game.”

However, all of this talk is not to say that someone who doesn’t make the team they wanted to is just kicked from the club. According to Nguyen, even if a person doesn’t make the team they tried out for, they can still stay in the club to improve their game skill and/or support the teams.

“We are very experienced and have a lot of practice and game sense that many people have never experienced or know about,” To said. “[When you join] the club, you can definitely learn and pick up things from players on the [teams]. We are down to have a varsity team, a jv team, and a freshman team. And, us being the varsity guys, we are going to try our best to take the freshman and jv players [and] teach them things in the scene to help them improve so they can get better.”