Still wondering what the next generation of gamers are up to? Last month, we’ve interviewed the NUS E-gaming Society. This time, part two of the article series focuses on the SMU eSports Society! Continue reading ah, then you can find out how the SMU eSports Society was set up as well as learn about their views on esports in Singapore.
What was the e-gaming community scene in SMU like prior to the creation of the community ah?
The eSports scene at the time was considerably smaller and consisted of many smaller communities focused on different games. Most gamers would very likely focus on the handful of games they usually play and was limited to only meeting friends from and out of school in their games; those finding themselves lacking friends for gaming usually direct their energy possibly to sports or other outlets. It was a lot harder to find a specific community of gamers to play with, especially if you’re not playing Dota 2, which was the biggest gaming community in the school.
Tell us about the beginning of the SMU eSports Club, what led to the SMU eSports Club being set up?
Initially, the club was founded by a few passionate individuals within the Dota 2 community that were looking to unite the smaller, splintered Dota 2 communities. It started out as initially making it easier to gather players for LAN parties, which gradually grew into internal competitions and being part of the organizing committee for the Inter-Varsity Gaming Festival, or IVGF for short.
What was the vision of the SMU eSports Club when it was first established?
The vision of the club has not changed since the founding of the club, which is to create a place where gamers of any calibre, personality, or game preference can meet up to play together. Sort of like a community for gamers, by gamers – creating a family of passionate gamers with mutual interested in mind to connect and grow with their favourite games and genre.
How often do members of the SMU eSports Club come together?
We have weekly Friday gaming sessions, which starts at 3.30pm and ends at 6.30pm in the evening. It’s to provide a space for gamers to gather to play some games with the other members of the club, or to play their own games like Overwatch or Hearthstone.
When SMU eSports Club comes together, do your members play specific games that accommodates a lot of people? Or do your members play whatever they wish?
We used to cater only to competitive online games like Dota 2 but have recently taken the approach of catering to gamers on both the casual/party-game oriented as well as highly competitive spectrum. Our weekly sessions are mostly meant for casual gamers to be able to come down to our venue to try out or play with others in party games like Quiplash or Castle Crashers, while also providing a space for more avid gamers to gather with their teammates to play ranked together if they wish. All members are free to pick whatever game they wish to play.
As for our exco, we are all spread out across the same spectrum, although we have made great efforts in finding common games we can all enjoy together such as Minecraft and other games.
Eh, how often do members of the SMU eSports Club play together to climb ranked matches in games? Is it easier to play in ranked matches together with other SMU students compared to playing solo?
This is something we don’t have a lot of data on since the communities will gather on their own for gaming sessions outside of our weekly sessions, etc. But we do believe being able to find like-minded friends to play games with will help a lot in terms of climbing ranked games.
How has SMU been supportive in helping your interest group build up and grow?
SMU’s Office of Student Life (OSL) and our constituent body, Special Interests and Community Service Sodality (SICS) have helped us to get the necessary resources such as venue space and financial support to run our events smoothly and we have to express our gratitude to the OSL managers for helping us out, alongside the Liaison Directors, Vice-President and President of SICS for providing us the resources we need from the school as well, such as venue space, assets like chairs and tables, etc.
Of course, we also have to thank our members for their support through their participation and what keeps us striving to improve and organize more events for them.
SMU got work together with the other universities in Singapore to organize events? Are there other kinds of events can gamers who join the SMU eSports Club expect to have a chance to be a part of?
Yes, we do. As we mentioned earlier, IVGF is one of our club’s biggest signature event annually and it is a joint effort with the other universities like NTU, NUS, SIM and SUTD. And we also have internal competitions like our upcoming Hearthstone tournament – aimed at both long-time veterans and newcomers.
We also are looking at events that allow us to collaborate with the other gaming clubs in the school, such as Strategica, which deal mainly with board games, and i-Sports, which deal with recreational games like Bridge. We have worked with them earlier this year during our SMU Gaming Festival and are also working with them again during our SMU Gaming Parade event later this year as well!
How has the gaming scene in SMU grown with the help of SMU eSports Club?
Honestly, our club still has a lot of room to grow in terms of the community and we’re still learning and trying our best to adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of eSports and gaming in general, as gaming trends seem to change so quickly.
But we have made a splash or two with our bigger-scale tournaments and have put our name on the map for incoming freshmen by having a presence in the annual Freshmen Orientations. These efforts will let us show SMU that gaming is more than just a hobby by destroying the negative stigma and stereotypes surrounding gaming and eSports on a whole.
What are your opinions on the current eSports scene in Singapore? How has the SMU eSports Club helped in building the eSports scene in Singapore?
eSports in Singapore is emerging as a lifestyle choice for many youths locally. We have a lot of effort put in by SCOGA, a NGO that aims to bolster the local eSports scene as well as many other local gaming communities that emerge from these efforts. It’s hard not to find a local group to play games with nowadays as well, since Social Media and Reddit are common ways to source for other players to play with.
A controversial opinion is that eSports is on the verge on being recognized and for parents to accept that it’s an acceptable potential career move. The spotlight on professional gamers in Singapore have never been brighter, which is great for the eSports scene in general.
What is the best memory you have had being a part of the SMU eSports Club?
It’s important to recognize that it’s the friends and memories within the community. We aimed to create a club for gamers by gamers, and it has blossomed into a vibrant community of gamers from different walks of life, which we are proud to be a part of.
Do you have a message that you wish to say to the community group?
The exco would love to thank all the gamers that have served in the exco as well as those who’ve come to any of our events. Our success has never been our own, but from the efforts of those who’ve helped us along the way.
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