Esports Arena opens for fall semester

By Parker Otto

Video games are among the quickest-evolving art forms in popular culture due to the constant improvement of the genre. The industry has gone from stacking blocks in “Tetris” to grand worlds of multiplayer games like “League of Legends.” For students looking to immerse themselves in the world of gaming while meeting students with similar interests, look no further than NIU Esports.  

Located in Neptune North, the Esports Arena is open from 2 to 11 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Inside the arena are 24 computers for PC gaming with keyboards, computer mouses and chairs all designed for PC gaming. Also located in the vicinity are two flat screen tvs used for console gaming.

“We have Play Stations, Xboxes and Nintendo Switches as our consoles with a variety of games to choose from,” Alex Kramer, Vice President of the NIU Esports Club, said. “We also offer any games that the students want to play. If they are on a PC, they can play whatever they want as long as it’s from an official gaming site and we offer a large amount of console games. And even if we don’t have a particular game, we can order it for future use.”

For more competitive students, the Esports Arena also hosts the NIU Esports Club, which engages in club tournaments and hosts viewing parties, according to the club’s webpage. According to the club’s General Manager, Conner Vagle, the club’s roster is extensive with an average membership of over 100 students

The club meets every other Friday with the first meeting taking place from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 6 in the Esports Arena, according to the club’s webpage.

Esports has been a way for students to get to know other students with similar interests. 

“I already enjoyed

games, but I was able to make friends and, because of the vast resources, expand my gaming by being a part of NIU Esports,” Jireh Goodwin, Community Leader of NIU Esports, said. “The arena is a great way for students to get out of their rooms and meet people.”

Also occurring in the arena is the Esports Open House, which will introduce the arena to new students, transfer students and people unaware of the venue’s existence, according to Kramer. The open house began Tuesday and will continue through Sunday from 2 to 11 p.m. on weekdays and from noon to 11 p.m. on weekends. 

“NIU Esports is an opportunity for students to get involved,” Kramer said. “It’s an atmosphere for students to be a part of a community of people who feel as strongly about gaming as they do.”