By Zach Strohecker, Apr. 26, 2022
Bronco Esports’ FragFest spring tournament returned to a live setting on April 22, after a stint of online tournaments during the COVID-19 pandemic, inviting gamers to bring their PCs and controllers to campus for a night of competition, community and pizza.
Free admission for spectators and competitors alike rallied enough gamers to pack two lecture halls and two classrooms in the College of Business Administration. The rooms were lit by LED PC cases and the glow of monitors. The sounds of button mashing and mouse clicking became the standard for ambient noise.
Adrian Martinez, an architecture student competing under the pseudonym Joseph, attended FragFest for his first tournament experience.
“I thought it was going to be really nerve wracking, because seeing all these people here was really intimidating,” Martinez said. “But when I came in here, it feels pretty comfortable. It seems like everyone is just playing the game and having fun.”
A diverse array of games was on display with eight different titles streamed live on Twitch. The first-person shooter genre was represented by the flagship staple of Valorant in standard format, accompanied by CS: GO which was played under a more restrictive 2vs2 format. League of Legends was the only representative for the ever-popular MOBA genre of esports with a 1vs1 tournament. Rocket League also made an appearance with a 2vs2 tournament.
Jason Kison, a chemical engineering and computer science student and captain of the varsity CS: GO team, compared this event to his first year at FragFest.
“It was kind of underwhelming,” Kison said. “The population is not even a third of what it used to be. We used to have sponsors like MSI set up complete booths outside. That’s not here anymore.”
The team-based games were played online, but many competitors brought their PCs to the event with their teammates to get the “LAN feel,” playing over a local connection instead of the internet, while others preferred the comfort of playing from home.
The CS: GO matches got heated with Kison slamming the desk in breaking moments. Kison reflected on his shaky performance citing nervousness and hesitation as factors.
“I was mostly heated at myself,” Kison said. “I was disappointed with myself because this whole season, I see myself as the captain of the varsity team, and I should be top two in the leaderboard.”
The fighting game community took most of the airtime having to play through some meaty double-elimination brackets for Guilty Gear Strive, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros Melee. The fighting games were all played on-site, resulting in tense face-to-face action.
Competition aside, FragFest served as a venue to bring communities of aligned interests together. Costumes and props were on display by many attendees including the Game Design and Development Club promotion table and its hosts wearing cat-maid costumes just outside the main hall.
“We hope to do more collaborations with the CPP esports club in the future,” said Laurence Garcia, secretary of the CPP Game Design and Development Club. “The club is open to anyone regardless of any experience in coding, art or anything like that.”
The games stretched well into the night with the event being scheduled until 10 p.m. The Valorant bracket concluded with the team edaters prevailing over CPP Blue in a 2-0 series. Team Mort dominated the Rocket League tournament with a 3-1 series score over Ego Merchants, a repeat affair from the winner’s final match.
The CSGO 2vs2 tournament was topped by Kibe and Barry. The League of Legends showdown was cleaned out by the undefeated UCLA AliasUsername. For the fighting games, Tekken 7 championed xTheronkaos and Guilty Gear Strive crowned IVC Espi0. The Super Smash Bros. titles favored X24Mystic in Ultimate and YET Venelox in Melee.
Featured matchups were streamed on the Bronco Esports Twitch channels with the broadcasts still available for viewing. FragFest and other Bronco Esports events are organized through their Discord server.
Featured image by Audissey Hernandez.
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