While most events and gatherings have either been postponed or canceled due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the gaming community continues to flourish.
Starting Saturday, more than 1,300 students from more than 80 universities across the nation — including Ohio State — will participate in an online game night through chat application Discord, Rachel Cronson, a third-year in biology and statistics and president of Carnegie Mellon University’s esports club, said.
After CMU made a shift to online classes in light of the pandemic, Cronson said she and members from other student organizations had to cancel ScottyCon, an upcoming gaming and anime convention that was due to host about 800 people at CMU Sunday.
Cronson said she noticed other esports leaders were canceling their respective gaming events, which gave her the idea to make an online event put on by students from colleges all over the country.
Allison Dang, a second-year in sociology and philosophy and the director of community management for Ohio State’s esports initiative Buckeye Gaming Collective, said she plans to participate in the game night and looks forward to playing with fellow gamers from different schools that she might not otherwise meet.
“The concept of the event — to bring together gamers across the nation from various schools to play, learn and connect — is appealing to me,” Dang said.
Dang said the current recommendation to social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 does not have to mean total isolation from the world, and gaming has helped her stay connected with friends.
“We should still take steps to care for our mental health, and part of that for some people is being social,” Dang said. “Even if we can’t meet in person or encounter people face to face, we’re lucky that one of our passions is gaming, something that is digital with multiplayer capacities.”
The Discord server will also host educational panels throughout the event, covering topics such as working for gaming companies, writing resumes and playing pickup games, Cronson said.
There will not be a competitive tournament; however, Cronson said there will be a number of livestreamers broadcasting during the event who will raise money for nonprofit health organization Easterseals, a nonprofit that provides disability services.
The game night will also have automated raffles offering prizes about every hour through Discord, Cronson said. Some of the prizes include computer items such as a graphics card, a processor and gaming mice, Cronson said.
Cronson said there will be several different text and voice channels on the Discord server for games such as League of Legends, Jackbox games, Call of Duty, Rocket League and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
“There’s pretty much a channel for everything,” Cronson said.
The server will be organized to help participants find other players within text channels before moving to voice channels, Cronson said. The server is also meant to be a resource to connect with players for future gaming opportunities.
“If you think you’re bad at video games, don’t let that hold you back. We have a ton of people at all different skill levels,” Cronson said. “And if you’re shy or more introverted, everyone is extremely welcoming, and you can win free stuff.”
The event will take place Saturday from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. and can be found at https://discord.gg/VWfxZe5. The event is available to college students across the country.