Cajun eSports hosts esports expo, introduces many to different gaming communities
Competitors and casual gaming fans alike coalesced in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Student Union Ballroom for Ragin’ Cajun eSports’ Expo on Sunday, Sep. 2, to experience all that UL Lafayette had to offer for gaming communities.
The Expo itself ran brackets for “Overwatch” 3v3 Elimination, “DRAGON BALL FighterZ,” “Rocket League” and “Super Smash Bros.” games “Smash 4” and “Melee.” Showcases of the newly announced competitive teams and sets from top 4 of each bracket were streamed, complete with a projector and chairs set up for the audience’s viewing pleasure.
More than just Lafayette players were welcome to the expo; players from Baton Rouge and New Orleans entered “FighterZ” or one of the “Smash” brackets. One of these outside players, Feroz “Caius” Mughal, went on to win the “FighterZ” tournament for his home region in Baton Rouge as one of the few players from that area in attendance.
“I’m familiar with the scene in Baton Rouge, and that’s where the strongest players are,” Feroz “Caius” Mughal, winner of the “FighterZ” tournament said. “A lot of the players here who don’t go to the tournaments in Baton Rouge, where the main scene is, are still pretty good. I’d say that they would do pretty decently at the bigger tournaments as well, and I encouraged a lot of them to come down and play.”
There was more to do than just play in brackets; players had the opportunity to experience games in virtual reality, or play around with game projects made by UL Lafayette game design students and alumni.
Three UL Lafayette senior computer science majors, Ryn Baird, Jace Babin and Seth Miley, got to show off a project they had made during the spring semester for their CMPS 427 class, Object Oriented Dating, which has been made public to download and play.
Object Oriented Dating fits inside the Dating Simulator genre, but instead of romancing anyone the player is trying to find a professor to mentor them for grad school, with the game’s professors being based off of the group’s computer science professors.
“It was very cool being able to play in person,” Maddie “Quack” Boyce, part of the winning “Overwatch” 3v3 team said.
Boyce and her teammates Mason “TheJuice” Pfingsten and Calegan “CanianManiac” Gruber also play for Cajun eSports’ black “Overwatch” team. This was their first time competing in an eSports event, and Boyce and Pfingston added that they enjoyed being able to play with on a stream with caster and even just shaking hands with their competitors after a match.
Boyce and Pfingsten weren’t the only people competing for their first time at the expo. There were younger players there with their families, UL Lafayette students who had yet to experience their local eSports scene and even a group of high school students from David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy entered multiple different competitions as part of their school’s new eSports team.
Two players from David Thibodaux, sisters Melissa “Sulzdune” and Allison “Sd107” Miller, joined the fight in “Smash 4,” marking the expo as their first time ever competing in an eSports event.
As for the competition itself, Allison Miller said that she enjoyed meeting what she found to be friendly competitors, while Melissa Miller was inspired by her competitors’ skill to improve.
“It was fun and it was very challenging, because there was a lot of people that were really good, like (Greg “Hoodlife” Jordan),” Melissa Miller said. “They were pretty hardcore, and it aims for me to practice a lot and try to become somebody like them so I can enter more and be a little bit better.”
Everything that was streamed at the expo was saved on Cajun eSports’ official twitch account, cajunesports. While future events from Cajun eSports have been confirmed, no details have been given yet as to what they may be.