Rocket League

Last week saw the culmination of almost three months’ hard work with the inaugural SJF eSports Tournament Final taking place.

Rocket League (basically football in cars!) was the tournament game of choice and almost 150 pupils from Year 7 – 13 took part.  The two finalists, Year 11’s ‘Veracity’ and Year 10’s ‘Mansfield FC’ were both on top form coming into the final with both teams not having lost a team through the group and knockout stages of the contest.

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The gathering crowds knew they were about to witness something special and both teams didn’t disappoint as each game in the best-of-three final featured some outstanding gameplay from all involved.

After two games, with each team winning one game each, the assembled masses were on the edge of their seats knowing that only one team could be victorious.  With tensions mounting (and some tempers fraying) the pressure was certainly palpable as the combatants took to the arena one last time.

After what seemed like an eternity, the mighty gladiators of Team Veracity emerged victorious, with a score line that really did not justify the incredible endeavour shown throughout by both teams.

Both finalists and losing semi finalists will now make the long journey to London where Veracity will take on the best of what other UK schools have to offer in an attempt to be crowned the first ever UK eSports School Champions.

But what is esports?

eSports is an evolution of multiplayer gaming. It is the practice of playing video games competitively. Players perform either solo or in teams (depending on the game) and winners are awarded prizes; which for the world’s best can reach into the millions. Professional arenas and live tournaments are organised, with thousands attending to watch live matches and millions following a live stream online.

What does this have to do with education?

The event is designed to engage and inspire students with computing technology and the creative digital sector using a medium and a platform that they are already very familiar with. By using the medium of games, students are introduced to and given insight into a new world of career opportunities developing in the UK. In addition, students are very much at the forefront of the entire tournament, with many taking on the responsibility of organising much of the regional heats.

The teamwork and collaboration required to play the game along with the strategic thinking required to win the game, provides creative links to help develop computational thinking skills. The game itself is a strong hook for further cross-curricular computing opportunities and ongoing work. We want the participants to think beyond the enjoyment of the game, to the people who have utilised their expertise in computing and creative technology to successfully build a game that is enjoyed by millions globally.

From encouraging students to engage with education to careers education, and cross-curricular creative computing lessons, to planting the seed of alternative career paths, eSports is a cutting edge and highly motivating educational experience for all those involved with it.

Every pupil involved in every team has behaved impeccably throughout the entire tournament.  An amazing amount of sportsmanship has been shown throughout and it has been a joy for me to be a part of an event like this, allowing pupils of all ages to participate in the same event.

Roll on next year!