Photo courtesy of Canterbury Varsity
Be honest, when you think of sports you probably don’t picture video games. Outside of fitness games, most are played sitting at a keyboard or with a controller, with the only thing moving being the players fingers. But e-sports are becoming increasingly commonplace, with many tournaments being held around the world and even the Olympics debating on whether or not they would be a worthy addition to its competitive lineup. It was only a matter of time before gaming made its grand debut at Varsity. Despite the competition not being worth any points this year, the event itself did not disappoint. Taking place in CCCU’s Student Union Bar, the e-sport tournament was played over multiple matches of multiple games, with UKC winning two games to one.
The first game played was the popular MOBA League of Legends (LOL). In this game two teams of five battle to be the first to destroy their opponents base, with the first match kicking off just before 12 noon. UKC gained an early lead, something that would become somewhat of a recurring theme throughout the day, but CCCU still fought on bravely.
The second match was much closer, but this was partially down to the Kent team suffering from connectivity issues which resulted in several UKC players being disconnected from the game. Despite this, Kent still managed a solid victory in what was the longest game of the day, clocking in at over 40 minutes long.
The third LOL match was by far the shortest as it wasn’t even half as long as the previous game. Kent managed to gain an early lead over CCCU, one that they refused to give up. Whether it was down to Kent having a better team composition or the CCCU team having a bad day, it seemed almost impossible for Christ Church to get anywhere near their opponents base. It seemed like Kent had set up a second home at CCCU’s core; at one point not even bothering to attack it, instead choosing to engage in some unsportsmanlike dancing outside of CCCU’s spawn location.
The fourth match felt like it could have been CCCU’s comeback, and they started strong. However, UKC managed to turn things around and, with 4 wins to CCCU’s 0. With that, they won the first round.
The second game was Rainbow Six Siege. It’s a fast paced first-person shooter where players are either attempting to defend a location from the other team, or are attempting to attack the location to complete secondary objectives. The game mode that the organisers had decided on was “bomb”, with the attacking team having to defuse the bombs that were located at certain points of the map, while the defenders had to prevent this from happening.
There were two matches, each consisting of four rounds, with the players switching roles every two rounds. In the first match UKC won a “Flawless Victory” (the game’s words, not mine). Winning every single round as both attacker and defender. CCCU did attempt to fight back in the second match, winning the fourth round, but UKC once again steamrolled to victory.
The last game, Rocket League, is perhaps also the easiest to explain. It’s three-a-side football except all the footballers are cars with the ability to jump and boost. While CCCU had been having a pretty bad time of it up until this point, Rocket League was where they were going to attempt to reclaim some lost honour. Despite the prestige that both League of Legends and Rainbow Six Siege have, one being a “Triple A” videogame from a large studio, the other being an esports mainstay for many years, it was Rocket League that actually drew the largest crowd. It was also the game that was the closest in terms of both ability and points scored; both sides seemed to be equally good at the game.
CCCU managed to get an early lead in the first game, before Kent was able to equalise and then win 3-2 in overtime. The second match seemed to be the complete opposite with CCCU winning by a large margin, while the third match ended 3-1 in CCCU’s favour. he fourth match was where things got truly interesting. Kent spent the entire game keeping CCCU away from the ball, ending the game 1-0 and meaning that there would be yet another game, a tiebreaker. And what a tiebreaker it was. It seemed like a recreation of the first match! CCCU, having spent the entire day being trampled by Kent only to win the last match in overtime, scoring three goals to Kent’s 2.
And, with that last goal scored, the day came to an end. Kent had managed to win the day 2-1, and it was hard not to feel just a tiny bit proud. While the day had been a mixed success overall as the event had some technical issues that needed to be ironed out, the event was fun nonetheless.
I had gone to the esports event to fulfil a favour. I left the event as a fan.