Written By: William Le ‘20
Edited by: Nick Williams, Club Advisor
At its inception, Gaming Club was mainly a casual club for gamers – a place to meet up with people who really enjoy playing, watching, and discussing video games. Stemming from that was the idea that SAAS could potentially field a full eSports team, competing in a nationwide tournament. The main difference between casual gaming and eSports is that the latter takes strategy, cooperation, competition, and organization to new heights. People on eSports teams get together and practice multiple times a week, they talk strategy, they watch and learn from professionals and apply knowledge in-game, collaboratively. After our initial meetings, we found that we had enough people to create an eSports team with a few dedicated subs. We unanimously agreed on our team name: SAASquatch. Shortly after, we decided to enter a high school league: High School Star League’s Overwatch division. What awaited us was something none of us could have imagined.
The club as a whole began to transform and our standard procedure began to diverge into two main things: in-person club meetings and online practice. When meeting in person we usually discuss match times, strategies, and watch pre-recorded videos of ourselves and our future opponents. In-game is a completely different scenario. We actively play Overwatch matches, and discuss/modify strategy on the fly via voice chat. Overwatch is a 6 vs. 6 multiplayer first person shooter where players play as one of 23 heroes and use the characters’ abilities, as well as each player’s skill and coordination, to complete the objective and win. Our current roster consists of our captain Kaden Rosenblatt ‘19, Jack Edgar ’20, Derek Eng ‘20, Theo Springer ‘20, Cory Wood ‘19, and Wyatt Wren ’20. Kurt Gundlach ‘19 and I act as subs in case one of our main roster players cannot make a match. Right now, we are currently in the middle of the Spring High School Starleague Overwatch Tournament. When it began, there were 64 teams competing for the ultimate prize: scholarship money from Star League’s eSports pool of $20,000. Our team has gone 6 and 1 this season, beating some of most formidable teams, and we are one of only six teams remaining. We have our sights set on the playoffs and ultimately hope to advance to the Grand Finals this summer. A large part of that depends on our performance against RHS eSports this weekend: a do-or-die matchup that could secure us a seed in the summer playoff series.
ESports club does other things aside from playing and practicing Overwatch. Back before Thanksgiving, we hosted a casual Halo and FIFA tournament, where many students not in the club had a chance to compete in our own tournament and it was a lot of fun. Look for another, similar get-together before the end of the year. We needed a club like this because a good portion of our population is interested in or plays games regularly. It’s nice to be able to share gaming culture with a comfortable group of people, SAAS style. On behalf of the whole team, a shout out to those gamers who think they’d be interested. We meet every Monday in the STREAM basement and are always looking for more enthusiasts. We’re also hoping to branch out into other competitive games, so come find one of us, and we’ll fill you in about what it’s like.
SAASquatch UPDATE: The team won again this weekend and has qualified for the Summer Playoff Series! Congratulations all!