Kiera Savage

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University’s competitive gaming club hosted its annual Best of the Nest gaming tournament on Oct. 27, which helps raise money for new equipment such as controllers, monitors and supplies for the group’s weekly meetings.

The tournament, held in the Richardson Ballroom, was open to the public with a $10 entry fee.

Winthrop graduate Jahiym Staten, who started the group, said the gaming club was created to build a sense of community among gamers.

“Then it started to evolve more into a competitive club,” said Staten. “It’s just fun to compete, like have the points or bragging rights and things like that.”

He said the club has since evolved to include a variety of games.

“We try to be not as exclusive, more inclusive with just different games, because originally it was just for (Super) Smash Brothers, you know platform fighters,” said Staten.

A platform fighting game is one in which the objective is to knock an opponent off the stage and into a blast zone, which is an area off of the screen.

According to Staten, a tournament centered around platform fighting games is the easiest for the club to host.

“We try to introduce more different types of the fighting genre, as well as other games, but those are pretty hard to do, because you need so much more equipment versus a fighting game,” said Staten.

“We have one TV, one set up, two controllers, 30 people can play and just take turns off of that.”

Freshman gamer C.J. Wiley said he enjoys the atmosphere created by the gaming club, which allows him the opportunity to spend time with people who share his interests.

“They started (the) tournaments five years ago and they’ve been working and working to make it bigger and bigger. When I got here, I think it was at its biggest and we’re still working to improve,” said Wiley.

He said the Best of the Nest tournament has drawn gamers and spectators from across the Southeast.

“We got people from Columbia, Charleston, Charlotte, Georgia, just to come out to all hang together and play in a bracket,” said Wiley.

Recently, the Winthrop competitive gaming club attended a tournament at the University of Central Charlotte, which was sponsored by the Collegiate Star League, a group that organizes collegiate competitions and awards prize money.

Brooke Bordner, a sophomore criminology major at Winthrop, said the tournaments are essential to the gaming club, as they help bring in the funds necessary to keep it running.

“I think just last week we went to this tournament called CSL and we played in a crew battle and we made it to regionals. So from that tournament, we’re going to go play with other people,” said Bordner.

Members said they’re grateful the gaming club has provided a community environment where they can share their love of platform fighting games.

The club, which is open to students and members of the community, meets every Friday.