Written by: Kayla Henson, Dickinson State University writer

Dickinson State University offers more for gamers than just varsity esports teams. From its gaming club to its broadcast team, there’s something there for everyone.

DSU freshman Mary Hashem is the vice president of the DSU Gaming Club. Influenced by her older brother Michael, she’s been playing video games since she was a kid.

“He’s always been interested in it, and he’d get a game, and I’d get the game to play with him, like Minecraft,” she said. “We used to play on our iPads and Nintendo stuff too, like the 3DS. We’d play Pokemon and Animal Crossing.”

Although Hashem considers herself a gamer, she isn’t on any of the school’s varsity esports teams…yet. In the meantime, Hashem and the three other officers of the club schedule gaming events in the Blue Hawk Hub, to which anyone on campus is invited to play or watch. 

“We’ve done different tournaments with sporting games like Madden and FIFA, which is football and soccer,” Hashem said. “Another thing that’s really popular which we do is VR (virtual reality) nights, where we play different games in VR. There’s a big projector in the Hub, and we hook it up to that so everyone can see what you’re doing.”

She sees the goal of the club as creating a comfortable gaming environment for students who may be intimidated by the varsity teams.

“Even if they think they’re not that good or they don’t want to do something that professional, there’s a space for them to be able to have fun with their friends and others on campus,” Hashem said. 

In addition to the club, the program’s broadcast team is just getting off the ground.

“We have broadcast a majority of our games since we started, but essentially we’ve just been broadcasting the game feed itself,” said Josh Nichols, DSU’s esports coordinator. “There’s no commentary; it’s just raw game feed, and people can watch and just discern what’s happening on their own. This semester, we’re looking to add shoutcasting – like pre-game, post-game, and in-game commentary and interviews.”

This will allow for more engagement, as people who may not be familiar with the games can learn about them in real-time. 

To pull this off, the esports program is seeking recruits with a variety of skill sets. 

Nichols needs students with technology skills to run the broadcast software and equipment such as cameras, who are comfortable with communication to provide commentary and analysis, to keep track of scores and stats, and to update the website and write articles. 

“The opportunities include paid and volunteer positions, as well as internships. Whatever the capacity, joining the broadcast team is a good way to get involved with esports and get hands-on broadcasting experience,” Nichols said. 

Regardless of your level of interest or proficiency, anyone can be involved in gaming on campus.

“We can find a spot for you,” Nichols said. “If you’re not proficient enough to be on a varsity team, then we can get you part of the club. If you’re not really into gaming in that way, we can get you as part of our viewing audience or part of the broadcast team. I want to make sure that any student that walks into DSU’s doors knows that there’s an opportunity in our esports program, regardless of their skill level.”

To learn more about the esports program, please click here or email Josh Nichols at joshua.nichols@dickinsonstate.edu.