It’s purple. It's quiet. The room almost feels like it's straight out of a Marvel movie and I just walked into Thanos’ lair but in all truthfulness I'm just on NSU’s campus. Walking in it smells strange, almost new, but there is a mix of sweat and keyboard dust. Everything is hot to the touch and the air feels too thin to even breathe. The Overwatch team is there practicing and watching in awe. There are people dying and they are yelling at each other and the PC’s mouse is moving all around the table. What are they even doing?
Northwestern State University is home to one of the biggest E sports venues in Louisiana. It was one of the first state-of-the-art facilities on a college campus and get this they also hand out certain scholarships. Opening in January 2021, and located in the Student Union. It has become a home to both competitive and everyday gamers. The venue is free for current students offering many varieties of games like PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Being in an environment like that can be scary for someone who has 0 experience. Having a guide or someone to show you the ropes is a must. That's when my good buddy Bert offered some help. Bert is a student here at NSU and he is a gaming fanatic, as a freshman he visits the Esports venu multiple times a week. So he made the perfect candidate. He showed me around and told me the basic rules, like how I wasn't allowed anywhere near the stage because that's where the teams practice and play.
One of the coolest parts of the place is how spacious the room is and there was this cool graffiti wall that spells out Northwestern State. It’s bright and it is covered in orange and purple, in the bottom corner there is a small hand drawn Vic the Demon holding his baby pitchfork. And above the big letters that read Northwestern State you see the columns which are a big symbol around our campus.
We sat down at the part of the room where the Ps4 is located and he kind of gave me a run down of what I could do and honestly it was more comforting than I thought. Just based on the fact that I have a PS5 of my own and it felt like I fit in and knew what I was doing. He was running me through how to play the game and it wasn't for him I would have had no idea what was going on.
Just walking in and asking people questions seemed a little weird especially if you don't know who these people are and what they might say. So finding someone on the team without knowing anyone may be a little hard.
After having a conversation with the Esports night supervisor, Kasey Moore. I learned what it's like to be in her shoes for a day. She has to come in everyday from 2-9 and she has been doing this since the first semester NSU welcomed the Esports center. Matter of fact she was the very first person to be hired by the venue.
Her day consists of coming into the center just as the League of Legends and Siege captains come into to start their day. She makes sure everything is cleaned and updated along with checking the competitive gaming computers and making sure there are no bugs or online bots in the system that can interfere with the teams chances of competing. Along with setting up the computers to every gamers needs.
Most every sports team has a captain and the captain is someone who is more advanced and they must practice everyday for 3 hours. Along with that they are only allowed to play one game due to the fact how much it takes for them to concentrate on one game.
They have to keep up with all the players on their team and enroll into tournaments, and every bit of money comes from fundraising they put on for the center. And they must have a 2.6 GPA.
One aspect of the Esports center I had no idea about was the scholarship opportunities they can get. They only offer one scholarship at the moment, which is the recruitment scholarship. Only incoming freshmen can apply for the scholarship and they must send in clips and highlights of what game they are trying to play.
The state of the art venue is open to students to play any game and any style except for the open portion where the competitive gamers play.
One of the last things you need to know about the sports center is everything they have to offer. They have all Alienware software for your general use of PC’s. 3 Nintendo Switches, 3 PS4’s, and 2 Xbox One’s.
They have 6 teams that consist of Overwatch, Call of Duty, Rocket League, Valorant, Siege, and League of Legends.
If you haven't checked out the center you can find it located at the bottom of the Student Union, dont worry its the only new looking building around. And it's open until 9 everyday.
Along with it being free for students, any student that has an interest in competing or playing professionally can join the NSU Esports Club Team. It offers students a chance to showcase their skills in games like Rocket League and many others. The program is growing everyday and if you want to join all you have to do is reach out to the Director of Competitive Sports, Jason Kelly.