The Ole Miss Esports Club will host their second annual Rebel Rumble at noon tomorrow in suite B of the Jackson Avenue Center.
The club, previously known as Ole Miss League of Legends Club, was started during the fall of 2016 by president Cray Pennison, who saw the need for an organization devoted to online gaming on campus. Pennison, an English major, said it was evident early on that demand for the club was even larger than believed.
“As I got more people, it became apparent that I would want to expand the club beyond just League of Legends. So over the winter break I went through the process of creating Ole Miss Esports and started making the proper arrangements to make it an official club on campus,” Pennison said. “Then in January of 2017, Ole Miss Esports was born, and the first meeting was held with less than 10 people showing up.”
That group of under 10 people has expanded considerably since Pennison’s first meeting back in January. The club now boasts approximately 100 active members. Pennison anticipates around 50 players and over 100 spectators will attend Rebel Rumble.
Saturday’s competition games include Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Injustice 2 and Dragon Ball FighterZ. Other games such as Mario Kart will be available to the side for those not competing in the event.
“We are pretty unique in what we try to offer. We are both a community for gamers of all kinds who want to join and make friends,” Pennison said. “Being able to seamlessly offer both a casual and competitive side to all of the games that fall under our umbrella is truly one of a kind on campus.”
Rebel Rumble is considered a tournament for amateurs, so beginners are welcomed. However, players will not be divided by skill level, which, according to Ole Miss Esports member Josh Caraway, means that practice is the key to success in the tournament.
Caraway is the leader of the weekly Ole Miss Esports meetings and a member of the planning committee for Rebel Rumble.
“Esports in their current form are very much akin to regular sports,” he said. “Top competitors devote countless hours to improving their craft and consistency, with many working alongside teammates to push their games to their competitive limits.
Caraway also believes that players must have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the game. He compares esports to football because both require an insight into how each play can be used against different competitors while still knowing when to implement their own strategies based on the situation.
The winners of some of the games will also receive a “pot bonus” in addition to the original winnings for further competition. With incentives such as these and events like Rebel Rumble, the Ole Miss Esports Club hopes to continue its growth and prevalence on campus.
“If interest in esports continues to rise globally, we may even work towards establishing esports-related scholarships, something that some schools around the country are already beginning to offer,” Carraway said.
Doors for the event will open at 10 a.m. For more information regarding the tournament, visit the club’s website.