Any eSports fan will have heard of League of Legends and you’ll take to it like marmite. Some of you will love it. Some of you will hate it. Some of you will eat it even if you don’t like it because there’s a $1,000,000 prize up for grabs in the World Championships!
I was really excited to find out that there was a local League of Legends tournament being held in Liverpool with a nice cash prize and being streamed live out onto the internet. Here’s why I’m writing about this particular tournament, it’s being hosted by The City of Liverpool College.
Being the nosey person I am, I got in touch with Wayne Fellows, a tutor at the college who kindly spent time out of his day off to allow me this interview. Wayne teaches Games Design and Development at the college and is managing the tournament himself.
From the word go Wayne expressed that every bit of the project was all about the students, from setting up to live casting the students are involved and are 100% a part of the project. This is their tournament just as much, if not more than it is Wayne’s. He told me it was through his students that he learnt about pro eSports. What better way to return the favour than giving them their own pro tournament?
The project is a large collaboration between students of many departments, not just the games students. Media and Arts students are able to test out their production skills as part of something big. It’s the next best thing to work experience, in fact this is beyond work experience because it is going straight out onto public domain. Wayne cares for his students greatly and has set the dates for the event during the May half-term because it gets them off the street, keeps them entertained and become a part of larger community. This actually warms my heart a little, I’m man enough to say it! Oh yeah I wish my tutors allowed me to set up gaming tournaments when I was in college, so there is a bit of jealousy there! On behalf of JoypadAndMe we salute you for the hard work you’ve done for the students of Liverpool College.
We’ll look at the tournament in a bit of detail shortly, first I want to talk about the teacher who boldly stepped up and said “playing games is a perfect method of teaching!”
Wayne has an interesting background in games because he was raised in South Africa. When he came to live in Liverpool at the age of 17 he had to adapt to life in the city. What do you do in the city? You play games of course. His earliest experiences with games involved Call of Duty 2 and the massively popular Counter Strike 1.6. Straight into the deep end and aiming to be a pro player.
Wayne has been a part of the Liverpool College staff for about 5 years after completing his diploma. Being a tutor and a semi-pro gamer Wayne has unique insight and views into the way games and students coexist today. If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, pay attention!
I asked Wayne about the his views of using games as a teaching platform, and the possibilities of teaching students certain values that cannot be taught on a board. Of course student collaboration on creating a live tournament is enough, but Wayne makes a very good point regarding the older generation before us. No offense intended of course, but using my own experiences as example, I was taught how to use a keyboard when I was in secondary school. By comparison my nephew could use a keyboard as soon as he learnt to write! Wayne expresses, the generation of children growing up today are growing with games as an integral part of their life which has changed the way they interact with computers, whereas the previous generation did not. That difference between the generations makes it harder for the older generation to relate.
As well as discussing the positives of games, we explored the negative and controversial side of games. Wayne points out several games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, whilst they do have a positive community it’s the small numbers of violent gamers that the press are concerned with. Parents! You wouldn’t let your child watch an 18 rated film or read 50 shades of Grey why on earth would you let them play Grand Theft Auto? An 18 rated game!
Wayne brought up a very good point. In China and Sweden, players would spend their time at gaming/internet cafes for hours on end. This creates a strong public and community atmosphere that simply doesn’t exist in England. In England, playing games means being in your room on your own. It’s teachers like Wayne, establishments like Liverpool College and communities like A&J’s cafe that are changing the face of games in England.
I can see myself causing a political riot! So let’s get back to the main event. Wayne has managed to gain sponsorship from local businesses such as Richer Sounds, next to the college, who provided a high quality HD projector. Hannover Hotel offering discounts for anyone who has to travel for the event. Top of the range gaming hardware manufacturer Razer has also provided equipment for the competition.
Wayne has also been teasing me with a big secret. Apparently there are some pro league of legends players turning up to the event. We played a guessing game, by that I mean I constantly bugged him, but he wouldn’t give in. The only thing I know is that these are LCS qualified players, that’s the League of Legends World Championships! If you want to test yourself against the pros, get the game for free, get a team of 5 together and enter the tournament!
More information can be found here:
Make sure you enter the tournament before May 1st if you wish to compete. For anyone not wishing to compete there are other community events running around the tournament such as a FIFA tournament, a Minecraft speed build competition. There will be games for anyone to play at the event regardless of whether you’re there to compete or just have fun.