Bethel’s Esports Club Creates Community Among Gamers

Kyle Howey ’23, a student leader of the club and physics and engineering major, was drawn to the idea from its inception. During his first few weeks at Bethel, his ice-breaker was, “So, what video games do you play?” since almost everyone had an answer. Howey’s freshman experience echoes what Smithee had noticed while living in the residence halls. “It’s totally the culture there. Definitely everyone plays some video games, and some kids play a lot of video games and spend most of their time inside,” Howey laughs, though he hibernates as well. “I play video games too, so I thought it would be pretty cool to be involved.”

With the club moving forward, they needed to pick a game, and Smithee knew just the one: Rocket League. For those who have never played this video game, Smithee explains it with an excited smile. “Rocket League is, in the most boiled-down form, rocket-powered cars playing soccer. That’s it. That’s all it is.” Despite the peculiar concept, he likes that the game is not violent in nature, and anyone can pick it up quickly. There’s not necessarily a skill to master or a strategy to learn; rather, after a quick rundown of the rules and controls, even novices would have a chance against the most practiced gamers.

However, Howey certainly came across people in his residence hall who spent a lot of time practicing. “I knew a couple guys from my residence hall that came to the event,” he says. “It was really cool to see them up there. Hearing stories from other people about how hard they practiced. It was pretty great.” 

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