by Rastko Koprivica, SFU Student

Since 2015, the SFU Esports Association has been a strong presence not only on the SFU campus, but also in the Vancouver Esports scene. The Peak had the opportunity to sit down with a couple of executive members for the club to talk about the recent growth of Esports, the club’s beginnings, and how people can get involved. 

“This hobby is always in a state of change given how volatile the popularity of video games can be day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year,” said Max Kaczmarczyk, vice-president internal for the SFU Esports Association. “Always getting new faces and new perspectives can be incredibly helpful in having a guide on how the game works and what players might, in turn, want to see in our club. Not to mention there are countless video games that likely you and I have not heard about that have bustling online communities.” According to Kaczmarczyk, the club is now home to over 2,000 members on Discord and grows more each semester.

It is no surprise the SFU Esports Association has this many members — the video game and Esports industry has seen tremendous growth over the past decade. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of popular titles like League of Legends and the newly trending game Valorant. 

Anyone is welcome to join the SFU Esports Association, Kaczmarczyk said. “As long as you are interested in video games, you’ll find an incredibly passionate, open-minded and receptive community. Video games are an amazing medium, when you are open to the range of experiences these virtual spaces can offer, you can make the most amazing discoveries and worthwhile friendships.” 

In an article for the Vancouver Esports Association, former vice-president Rui Yang Xu said, “Many post-secondary schools have gaming clubs like SFU Esports that run events from viewing parties and various get togethers all the way to high level Esports tournaments.” He also said these clubs operate as “a social hub for the growing student population and general public that enjoy gaming.” 

The SFU Esport Association was formed when several smaller clubs dedicated to individual games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Hearthstone decided to come together and form the SFU Esports Association. The club has found great success over the years despite not being formally recognized by SFU as a sports club. This is unlike other post-secondary Esports clubs like Vikes Esports at UVIC which has been recognized by UVIC Athletics and Recreation.

Meetings take place primarily over the club Discord server which has been the club’s main online space over the years. The club frequently collaborates with Esports groups at UBC (UBC Esports Association), UVIC (Vikes Esports), and Langara College (Langara Esports Association).

The SFU Esports Association typically hosts one major event per semester, in addition to a few smaller events throughout. Past events this year include the flagship club event Racoon Cup — a large week-long competitive tournament that features popular games such as League of Legends, Valorant, Dota 2, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Minecraft is also a game popular among club members and in May 2021, the club hosted the BC Intercollegiate Minecraft Build Contest. This was a collaboration between the SFU Esports Association and other student-led Esports organizations at UBC, UVIC, and Langara College. At the end of August, the club hosted in partnership with Langara a three-day Minecraft build contest. The Minecraft End Of Summer Clash Of Craft consisted of many minigames, PvP (person vs person) events, a build contest, and a parkour map in SFU Esports Associations Minecraft server. 

In October, the club is planning a four-day Halloween collab event with SFU Canadian Asian Club (CAC) and UVIC Minecraft Club which will include numerous casual games. Vice-president of events Emily Zhang said anyone is free to join and has the opportunity to win one of the numerous raffle prizes being offered. “It’s a great opportunity to meet new people that share an interest in the same games.” 

The best way for prospective club members to join in on the fun is by joining the SFU Esports Association Discord server and activating their membership by logging into the SFSS Club Portal listing for the club

Executive position hiring just recently closed, but Hanna Luu, vice-president of media, said the club is always looking for more graphic designers and video editors. “Most of the graphics you’ll see from us are also made by our amazing graphic designers,” said Luu. She added the club would love to expand their broadcasting and video work to competitive events and teams — but they need more graphic designers and video editors to help with that.

“We’re always looking for more graphic designers and video editors. If video games are also a hobby/passion, then the club is a great place to help build up a creative portfolio while also getting to work and talk about video games with other people.”

COVID-19 pushed the club to try and think outside the box to help keep club members feeling engaged off-campus, so they started recording and live streaming some of their casual events and posting edited highlight videos of them on their YouTube and Twitch channels. Now that school is back in person, the club executives said they expect even more events to be announced soon. 

Keep an eye on the SFU Esports Association Discord for updates and events or by following them on Twitter or Instagram @sfuesports