This year there is a new location for e-Sports on campus that students at the University of Maine who play video games should take advantage of. The room is located on the bottom floor of the Union in room 131 and functions as the base for the growing gaming community on campus.
The e-Sports room is set up with everything a gamer needs. The room is loaded with 16 high-end gaming PCs, all with state of the art monitors, keyboards, headsets and mouses. The room also has a Nintendo Switch, and they are working on getting a Xbox Series X and PS5 in the near future.
There is a wide array of games available to be played on the computers in the e-Sports room. League of Legends, Hearthstone, Valorant, Apex Legends, Rocket League and many others are available on the PCs. The Switch has big name Nintendo games such as Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, as well as others. The room is still growing, and as it grows so will the catalog of games in which students can choose from.
The room is open to all UMaine students, whether you are a part of the e-Sports program or not. Just walk in and there will be an employee at the check-in desk who can answer all your questions relating to e-Sports. All you need to bring with you is your MaineCard to sign in and start playing.
The e-Sports room is open from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m from Monday-Friday, Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The group aims to make the space accessible to all skill levels and all types of gamers, and they do not want the e-Sports name to scare away non-competitive gamers.
While not wanting to scare away casual gamers, the e-Sports program is also focused on being competitive and attracting skilled gamers to join and compete. They are encouraging anyone interested in competitive gaming to join the e-Sports club at UMaine. The program is still young and is a work in progress, but the e-Sports program is in the process of setting up competitive teams to compete in various events across a wide variety of games and already has teams formed for League of Legends, Hearthstone and Rainbow Six.
Students interested in joining should look to sign up on the IMLeagues page for UMaine intramural sports clubs. Second-year political science student Jack Sjoberg is the president of the e-Sports club and is optimistic in the e-Sports community that can be created at UMaine.
“I want a community [to form]. I see potential in the gaming community at UMaine. We don’t need to be the best competitively, although we want to be competitive,” Sjoberg said. “I think we can have solid events where we can come together, have viewing parties for e-Sports events and community gaming events where we come together and play, while also having a strong competitive environment.”
Sjoberg is big on the community aspect of e-Sports, and experiencing an in-person gaming community was at the forefront of his mind. Some events Sjoberg stated he wanted to have are a Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros Melee tournament. Another aspect that can enhance the community between gamers at UMaine is the discord that the e-Sports club has, as this allows gamers at UMaine to connect with others online with ease.
The e-Sports room has had over 100 students use it so far this year, and that number is expected to increase as awareness grows across campus. If you are a gamer who has interest in being a part of a larger community, this is your chance.