College gamers form team, enter growing sport

Tournaments are battleground for this local e-sport team

By THONG NGUYEN

ATLANTA — A collegiate community of gamers living in Georgia have recently developed teams to compete in nation-wide gaming competitions.

Georgia Tech recently held its yearly “Gamefest,” which students and gamers from across Georgia come together and compete for cash prizes and more. Although the competition is over, there are still teams based in Georgia that are looking to succeed in future tournaments.

The team known as “Battle Grounds” uses players from Georgia’s collegiate teams in an attempt to create a group that plays well enough to advance to international tournaments.

Variety of genres

The gaming community in general is open to competition from all genres of video games — even retro video games. Whether it be fighting video games, shooting video games or simulation video games, Georgia’s gaming community has developed and organized many different events that players can make a name for themselves while playing their favorite video games.

One such player, Abbas Alemi, has recently made waves in Marietta, Georgia: his local gaming community.

Alemi plays the popular video game by Valve titled “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.” This is the fourth installment of the shooting video game, involving two teams that compete to either eliminate each other or set off a bomb to obtain victory.

“I’ve been playing ‘Counter-Strike’ since I was 10,” Alemi said. “When I was offered to play with ‘Battle Grounds,’ I got very excited to take my game to the next level.”

Alemi keeps practicing by playing in online tournaments and meeting up with his teammates for scrimmage matches.

“Wintertime is when you see the most live tournaments, but ‘Battle Grounds’ keeps practicing year round,” Alemi said. “We are trying to make a name for ourselves.”

Entry of new video games

Each year, video game developers produce new video games that eventually become a new e-sport.

A recent video game made by Blizzard titled “Overwatch” has become a new catalyst for competition gaming events and tournament.

Released May 24, 2016, the video game involves picking a hero — with certain skills and abilities — whom the user plays in a variety of game modes such as capture the flag.

Georgia, like many other states, will begin hosting “Overwatch” tournaments in that competitive players will hopefully create a large championship series.

One of the problems with new games becoming popular is the loss of popularity for already established games.

“’Overwatch’ will likely take players from the ‘Counter-Strike’ community because it is also a shooting game,” Alemi said. “I think it will be harder to create large prize pools and motivate pro players to play ‘Counter-Strike’ once that game becomes more popular.”

Preparation for Competition

Weeks of practice are required to compete with other teams that look to make a name for themselves in e-sports.

Although “Battle Grounds” doesn’t practice day-and-night and doesn’t put any limitations on the members’s personal lives, there is still a level of commitment and intensity required.

“The players practice for at least 30 hours a week depending on which game they play,” said Rakan Nassederin, a coach for team “Battle Grounds” and former player on Georgia Tech’s team. “Some players who are very committed play for as long as 60 hours a week.”

Georgia’s gaming community will continue to grow as long players and spectators continue to be committed to the sport.

If the trend of competitive video gaming becoming a real sport continues, then Georgia gaming community will likely grow alongside it, nurturing a community full of great people.

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