Fifty-six competitors squared off in Frag Fest’s Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament for a chance to take home the title. | Photo by Scotty Ninh

Frag Fest returns for spring 2024

By Emily Perez and Cesar Rivas, April 30, 2024

Cal Poly Pomona’s Bronco Esports held its spring iteration of Frag Fest at the College of Business Administration, inviting the gaming community to an evening of food, raffles and competition April 19.

Frag Fest is a day of tournaments hosted in a LAN, or local area network, event setting where students bring their own computers and compete against their peers. This event offered various games including Tekken 8, Street Fighter 6, Super Smash Bros Melee, Valorant, Apex Legends, Overwatch 2, Counter-Strike 2 and Rocket League. Big brands like MSI, Zotac Gaming and Cooler Master sponsored the event.

After the event was canceled in fall 2023, the club bounced back with a strong attendance, according to organizers.

“There were quite a few attendees, about 400 this semester,” said Rob Ranit, a computer engineering major and co-president of Bronco Esports. “Frag Fests usually get around 300 attendees on average, and I think the biggest one has 500, so 400 was pretty surprising.”

Frag Fest is the biggest event hosted by Bronco Esports every semester. According to the executive board, it takes about three to five months of preparation to obtain sponsors and figure out the details behind the scenes such as production and promotion.

In regard to the tournaments, all the first-person shooter game competitions were held online and streamed on the Bronco Esports Twitch account for both the at-home and in-house spectators, while all the fighting game tournaments were held in person.

Each title was determined by an elimination tournament, the Rocket League and FPS brackets started days before to finish with a grand finale match on the last day of Frag Fest.

For the games held in person, some participants borrowed equipment, but most competitors and spectators brought their own equipment.

“Though there were some slight hiccups throughout the day, everything that we planned went spectacular,” said co-president and computer science major Evin Menendez-Vargas. “It seemed like everyone enjoyed the event and enjoyed the moments they had with their friends.”

In addition to CPP students, Frag Fest hosts students from other universities, alumni and even some pro players.

The winner of Frag Fest’s Tekken 8 tournament, Arslan “Arslan Ash” Siddique, is known as one of the best Tekken players to ever touch the game.  He won many of the largest Tekken 7 tournaments ever, including the most recent Tekken World Tour in early January and four EVO championships.

“I think this event is really cool, I always support local events, even back in Pakistan,” said Siddique. “I think it is really important to gather the community together as it plays a big role. I love community events and I think events like this should happen more often.”

With new game titles being released so often, there will always be a way to improve Frag Fest in the future.

“Our plan for the future is to have a similar LAN experience to the ones like the VCTs and ALGS provide in terms of competitors competing in front of a live crowd,” said Menendez-Vargas.

The VCT, or Valorant Champions Tour, and ALGS, or Apex Legends Global Series, are two of the biggest events in the competitive esports series in the world that draw upward of a million spectators each year.

Frag Fest is a special event not only for Bronco Esports but also for the gaming community as a whole. Some attendees brought their set-ups for games that weren’t highlighted at the event but were there just to game with their friends.

“What makes Frag Fest special is the community bonding the event brings in,” said Menendez-Vargas. “It’s a great way to meet new people and talk about similar topics around gaming and esports and we feel that is what is most important about Frag Fest.”

Those interested in competing can grab their set-ups or make a team to prepare for the next iteration of Frag Fest in the fall. Make sure to follow Bronco Esports on Instagram @cppesports to be up to date on their next event and stay involved on campus.

Feature image by Scotty Ninh

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