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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC Esports' Spring Gamefest heats up Sitterson Hall

UNC Esports held their biannual gamefest on Saturday in Sitterson Hall.

Action on laptop and monitor screens heated up Sitterson Hall on a rainy Saturday morning during the 2018 Spring Gamefest.

The biannual gamefest was held by UNC Esports, the largest video gaming club on campus. The student organization has 400 to 500 active members ranging from undergraduate students to alumni. 

“We have competitive events for League of Legends, Dota 2, Overwatch, Rocket League,” said Shane Steele-Pardue, co-president of UNC Esports. “Whatever game you name it, we basically have a competition for it.”

UNC Esports officially began Gamefests in 2014. Over the years, it has become a home for video game lovers who are passionate about a variety of games, from hardcore competitive games to smaller casual ones. 

“Video gaming is probably one of the only sources of entertainment where you have to actively participate,” said Irene Zhou, co-president of UNC Esports and design staffer for the DTH. “So for things like watching a movie, you just have to passively participate. You just have to wait for things to come to you. Of video gaming, it’s a highly interactive process, which I think is more engaging for a lot of people.”

Steele-Pardue said the beauty of video games is in its capacity for people to do things they can't do in real life. 

“You can fly and you can transform into crazy things and use magic and whatever. It allows you to do anything,” he said.

While video games create a virtual world for dreams to thrive, it is also criticized by some people as promoting violence in light of recent gun tragedies. But Steele-Pardue thought most of the recent criticisms were undeserved. 

“Violent people commit violence not because of video games,” Steele-Pardue said. “It’s like if you watch a movie that has violence in it, you are going to start blaming the movies we have for making people to be violent.”

What’s important, as Steven Spielberg's recent film "Ready Player One" suggested, is always how to strike a balance between the virtual world and the reality. In terms of that, Zhou said she thought they were doing a great job. 

“In the movie, they do emphasize that gaming is not just for competition, it's not just to win. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a way to make your life more interesting and more fun,” Zhou said. “I think our club has done a good job of allowing our students to be students, focus on school but also have a lot of fun when they have down time.”

Brandon Price, a graduate student who has been gaming with members of UNC Esports for 8 years, was ready to enjoy time with some of his online friends who don’t usually meet up in real life. 

“It’s like recreation versus work,” Price said, while playing Dota 2. “It’s a hobby, and it’s like any other hobby. You can do too much. You can do too little. You've got to find the balance.”

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