By Tamar Bot
— On Saturday, Apr. 18, AUC won the League of Legends competition which was part of the UCSRN Tournament, in which six Dutch University Colleges competed for the UCSRN trophy. It was the first time ever that League of Legends, or any video gaming competition, was included in the tournament.
The AUC team, named “Charizards of Love” (referring to AUC’s mascot of the day, a two-meter high Charizard) consisted of AUC students Thomas Bavin, Misha Goudsmit, Thomas Hakman, Louis Leestemaker and Chris Norvell. They won the first game against University College Roosevelt, after which they played University College Utrecht in the semi-finals, and eventually beat University College Maastricht in the best-of-three finale by winning the first two games.
The AUC team did not expect it to go this well, according to Goudsmit. “We were the underdog for the first match against University College Roosevelt, but as soon as we won that one, it was quite easy,” he said.
As AUC was hosting the tournament, the competition was organized by Tim Alpherts, a second-year AUC student. He was also the initiator of adding the competition to the tournament in the first place. Together with Job Zegers, a third-year AUC student, he proposed the addition of a League of Legends tournament to the UCSRN board. Even though students of other University Colleges proposed to include other videogames such as FIFA and Mario Kart, League of Legends eventually got through. The reason for this, according to Alpherts, is that it is one of the biggest games in terms of players as well as watchers. “It’s really got a strong competitive scene,” he said.
All games were streamed in room 1.01 of the Academic Building, where Alpherts also provided live commentary. It was busy all day, with students of the various University Colleges dropping by to get a sense of what was going on in the dark room. “We had peaks when AUC was playing, and I was told that during those peaks it was even busier than at the hockey matches,” Alpherts said. “I guess a lot of people were interested because it is so new.”
Also, League of Legends is set up in such a way that it’s easy for people who are not familiar with it to still understand the basics of what’s going on, according to Alpherts. “Most people who attended the screenings didn’t have in-depth knowledge of the rules,” he said.
David Langerveld, a second-year AUC student, was one of those people. He attended the screening of various games in which AUC was playing, even though he had never played the game himself. “I actually got to understand the rules through Tim’s commentary and by talking to other spectators in between games,” Langerveld said.
Video game competitions like these are traditionally not considered part of tournaments like the UCSRN, which mostly focus on sports and performing arts. This is changing, however, according to Alpherts. “Technology is shedding a new light on being intellectual,” he said. Furthermore, League of Legends has about 30 million active players every day. Games like this are so massively played, that they are too big to ignore.
Goudsmit agrees. “So many people play this game, it’s only worthwhile to include it in competitions like these,” he said. In the end, it isn’t even that different from the other competitions, according to Goudsmit. He felt the same kind of team spirit. “It literally felt like playing a soccer match, but then it was even more emotional,” he said.
Alpherts is determined to pursue the incorporation of League of Legends in the battle of the University Colleges. “I’m going to try to set up an Inter-UC League of Legends competition throughout the year,” he said. It depends on the next host if the competition will return to the UCSRN next year, and if it does, what game will be played. This year’s success might be just the start.