As Ohio Northern University students continue to do their part to maintain a safe campus environment during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis by wearing masks, disinfecting surfaces and socially distancing, one student group is helping students come together safely online.
The ONU Gaming Club is hosting weekly Super Smash Bros. Ultimate video game tournaments for ONU students on Twitch.tv and Discord. The tournaments, which run from 4 to 8 p.m. every Friday, are open to all students on campus with a Nintendo Switch game console and a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
Organizers chose to limit the tournaments to ONU students to make it feel more like a campus event where players and spectators alike can come together to socialize after a week of socially distanced classes. The aim for the Twitch stream is to be a safe space for the campus community to play the games they love in a way that mirrors a traditional campus gathering.
Limiting it to ONU students should also make the tournaments more fun, competitive and reliable. Due to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s somewhat temperamental online functions, having everyone on the same internet connection via campus wi-fi should reduce connectivity issues and make the gameplay feel more like an offline tournament.
“We hope that the Twitch stream format will allow those who do not, or cannot, play the games we stream to interact with fellow gamers on campus,” says sophomore environmental and field biology student Jake Meyst. “There's no telling how effective this will be right now, but we hope that non-players on campus will join in.”
Should these tournaments catch on, the ONU Gaming Club is prepared to implement this format for future events and for other games.
“After we iron out the kinks with running this event, we believe we can establish a community of competitive players and people who just want to hang out with other Polar Bears,” says Meyst. “And when things return to normal, we hope it will carry over to when we get to do these events offline.”