We Have Esports, Why Not More?

We Have Esports, Why Not More?

Ace Boldog, Contributor

Bob Jones already has far more esports than other schools in our area, but why can’t we have even more? FPS (first-person shooter) games are the most popular game type in all of gaming history. Games like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike: GO have dominated the industry with more coming out, such as Overwatch and Valorant. So why aren’t these included in the high school Esports? 

“First-person shooter games we believe do not fit within the educational mindset that we are hoping to bring to this activity,” Mark Koski, the CEO of NFHS, says in an article on Polygon. Agreed, they aren’t educational, but then again what Esports games are purely educational?

Bob Jones currently plays Rocket League, League of Legends, Mario Kart, Madden, Splatoon 2, and Super Smash Bros. I have played each of these games, and none of them are “educational.” So why not include more game varieties? BJ Coach Aubree White shared, “My theory is that the state of Alabama is worried about promoting shooting games within high schools since school shootings are still happening a few times a year. While I completely understand the concern there, being able to offer the opportunity for students to play these games with the purpose of competing for their high school gives students a community that they may not have previously had. Additionally, colleges all over the country are actively competing in FPS games, so without the inclusion of these games in the high school scene, the state is actually hindering high school students from getting recruited to receive scholarships and compete in esports on the collegiate level. As a high school coach, I have no way to promote skills of students that do play very well in FPS without the state’s approval of these games to be included in our competitive pool of games. PlayVS (the organization that the state approves to run high school esports) actually offers Overwatch as a title, but Alabama does not approve this game for schools to compete in.”

College-level esports teams include FPS these games, and sometimes they will even give scholarships for some students if they are good enough to compete on professional teams in the real world. I know I would join the team if I were to have the option of my favorite games. A few other students have also said that they would probably join the Esports team if they had their favorite competitive games to play.

And if being “educational” is what they are trying to do with the Esports program, they should include FPSs. Maybe it’s more skill than education, but FPS involve reaction time and quick critical thinking. FPSs like Valorant & Counter-Strike: GO, the slow-paced, good-aim games, can help one’s critical thinking skills and reaction time. FPSs like Apex Legends & Overwatch, which are fast-paced, quick-thinking games, help one’s reaction time and the ability to make quick decisions about where to go on the map to challenge the enemy team. These skills also are used in our current games, such as Rocket League or League of Legends.

Ultimately, FPS games would draw far more people into high school esports.