WICKed Esports Taking Hartwick College by Storm
“SpawnDie” isn’t surprised by the rising student demand for Hartwick College’s fastest-growing student organization, WICKed Esports ─ the biggest college Esports organization in the region. Formed in 2017 with nine students, the club now boasts interest from more than 90 ─ and climbing.
Esports, for those who haven’t been exposed to it, is competitive video gaming. Either played solo or as part of a multi-player, cross-Internet competition, it has become a multi-million dollar industry, complete with professional teams, sponsorships, and even academic scholarships. In July 2019, 16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf won $3 million after taking the top prize in a tournament for the popular online video game Fortnite. According to CNBC, global revenues from Esports will reach $1.1 billion in 2019, an increase of 27 percent compared to last year.
“SpawnDie” is the gaming handle for Bruce Campbell, a recreational gamer, advisor to WICKed ESports, and the College’s executive director of information technology. Through his work, Campbell recognized an increasingly vocal subset of Hartwick students who were also interested, so he helped launch the club in the winter of 2017. “Today the club is autonomous, running its own practices, making its own game and team selections, and handling its overall management,” Campbell said.
It developed its own constitution, deciding it would exist for three primary purposes: to connect, collaborate, and compete. The club continues to gain traction, even receiving private donations.
Unlike many Esports clubs, WICKed Esports is not all about dominating other schools on the battlefield. That’s part of it, but just part, Campbell explained. WICKed Esports is more about sharing a common interest in an accepting environment and interacting with like-minded students.
During Hartwick’s True Blue Weekend 2019, the club will hold a showcase for members of the Hartwick community. Club members will demonstrate their prowess at games like “Fortnight,” “League of Legends,” “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” “Rocket League,” and “Mario Smash Brothers.” Part demonstration, part question-and-answer session, the event will also feature the club’s homemade “Donkey Kong” console that boasts wall projection capabilities.
Trevaughn Smith ’21, aka “LogicTre,” is WICKed Esports’ communications coordinator, and is excited for the True Blue event. It is a “coming out party” of sorts, he said, and the club hopes to achieve several goals.
“Our first goal is to enhance community gaming,” he said. “Video games are often seen as an addictive, damaging hobby that often leads to recession, not growth. However, in a community environment with friends, family, and classmates, video games can be used as an avenue of stress relief, creative stimulus, and enhancement of the mind’s decision-making ability.”
This dovetails perfectly into one of their larger goals: to break the video game stigma often held by members of prior generations.
“When people think of Esports, they often think of a group of reclusive, failing kids who haven’t seen sunlight in days,” Smith explained. “However, that isn’t true. Esports contains and often requires an overwhelming amount of strategy, team-play, and skill.
“Gaming can be a creative and healthy output for the daily stresses that the average human has,” he said. “Balance can be achieved between school life and gaming life, and we can illustrate that by showing them the wonderful and creative members of our club.
“It is possible to be a successful student and have extensive knowledge in gaming, both in the casual and competitive levels,” he added. “We invite area high school students, SUNY Oneonta students, Hartwick students, and everyone in between to come out and see this first hand.”
Join WICKed Esports for its True Blue Weekend live event on Saturday, September 21 at 4:30 p.m. at Johnstone Science Center on the College campus. For those who can’t attend, it will be livestreamed on the College’s Facebook page and the club’s Twitch channel.
For more information on WICKed Esports, contact Smith at email@example.com.