Holmes is an unlikely president for the organization considering his background. “My mom never allowed us to have a game console at home, at all,” said Holmes. “It wasn’t until fall term (of 2017), when we had the machines for the eSports teams, that I started getting into it. I’m trying to learn. It’s definitely a different environment and thinking process compared to what I’m used to.”
The student organization has grown organically. “At the fall student organization day, we brought a gaming rig out, and it attracted a lot of people,” Holmes said. “But it’s basically been word-of-mouth. There was a lot of expressed interest. It’s a large community on campus.” The club employs email blasts, Facebook and Twitter to keep its community updated and draw in new membership.
NCC eSports collaborates with Dev131, the computer science student organization on campus of which Holmes is also a member. Together they hold events to raise money for the clubs, such as a game night at the Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center. “On week five of every term, we break down all the rigs in Carnegie and we transport them to (Judy G. Stevenson) Ratio Hall,” said Holmes. “It’s a night to blow off some stress and play some games. We invite gamers of every skill level.”
Despite its growth, Holmes says eSports is in a realm to itself. ”It’s not publicized a lot in the mainstream media, but as soon as you cross that borderline into the gamers’ community, it is huge,” Holmes said. “People watch on streaming channels and they learn plays online.
“I think especially as augmented reality and virtual reality become a bigger component of technology, that’s going to bring it to a whole new level. You’re going to get the physical component along with the digital component and it’ll be a game changer.”
The president of NCC eSports sees a lot of value in the activity, as a way to develop strategic thinking, teamwork, discipline and dedication. Players also learn to take on a number of different roles in a group dynamic.
“A big factor I see even as an observer and a player is the need for communication,” Holmes said. “When you’re looking at a screen, you’re not in a virtual environment. If you’re not telling your teammates what you see, where you’re going and what the plan is, you’re in trouble.”
[Pictured below, from left: Caleb Lundquist '18, Thomas Bochenczak '18 and Brandon Wallace '19 training in the NCC eSports lab.]