Esports club raises money for Third Street Alliance with speedrunning event

The+esports+club+holds+a+variety+of+events+throughout+the+semester%2C+including+a+speedrunning+fundraiser+and+a+finals+week+cool+down+event.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Wikimedia+Commons%29

The esports club holds a variety of events throughout the semester, including a speedrunning fundraiser and a finals week ‘cool down’ event. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

Last week, the Lafayette Esports Club hosted a speedrunning event, which raised $215 for Third Street Alliance. In this event, participants played a variety of video games with the intention of beating them as quickly as possible.

“It was really a fun event to have in person and to introduce people to speedrunning and just being able to play together,” club president junior Casey Ford said.

Ford took over the club from its founders a year ago.

“I was very nervous because this is the first time that I had to be in charge of something,” Ford said. “I started by playing with the Overwatch team, which was our most popular subgroup in the club. From there, I ended up kind of just stumbling my way into a presidentship. I started the speedrunning charity event, which we’ve had for a couple of semesters now.”

The club is run on a Discord server. On the server, there are different channels, and each team has its own channel.

“One person from each team is the representative for their respective team. I’m the representative for the speedrunning section of it,” junior Henry Steinthal explained. “That is a pretty broad term because you can speed run any game. It’s just people playing a bunch of different games, but we all have the same objective to beat the game fast.”

The rest of the club’s executive board includes junior vice president Jacob Potter, freshman secretary Samantha Peabody, sophomore treasurer Isabel Reyes and junior Zach Freiheiter is the general consultant for the club.

Steinthal said that the way the speedrunning event is structured is that four people do their runs back to back so there’s always just something to watch on the stream.

“While that was happening, there was a side event of people racing to see who could be the fastest at this flash game called ‘Fancy Pants Adventures,’” he said. “It’s a silly game that I personally used to play in the computer lab during elementary school classes, and I think that was the case for a lot of people.”

At the end of the stream, after the four of the speedrunners had finished their respective games, they had a race where five different people tried to beat Fancy Pants Adventures five times in a row. Whoever was the fastest overall received a $10 gift card.

“At any time, you could come by and donate,” Steinthal said. “We might do more things like that in the future because it was really fun.”

Steinthal believes that anyone who has a video game they like should give speedrunning a shot.

“As long as you try and get involved just a little bit, you might start to really like it,” Steinthal said.

The idea of the club is a bunch of smaller groups organizing a tournament for different games, Ford said.

“We go really all out at the end of every semester with a LAN, or local area network. It’s ‘gamer’ terminology for playing online while physically near each other,” Ford said. “We have everybody bring their desktops into Keefe Commons; we have this big switch with thirty-eight Ethernet ports, and everybody’s playing games.”

The event usually has pizza and includes a Mario Kart tournament on the big screen.

“It’s just wonderful. You get to see all of these people engaging with games that they love. If you ask them about it, they’ll tell you about it,” Ford said. “We’re trying to get more people who are less invested in it to just come with their laptops and play Minecraft or whatever. It’s really not about being an ‘epic gamer.’”

Ford said that they host a LAN party on the last day of classes each semester as a “cool-down event.”

“The main thing we want is to encourage more casual gaming on the server,” Ford said. “I would really like to have more people who are not necessarily playing competitive games just be on the server, talking about Animal Crossing or playing Mario Kart together.”