It’s no secret that video games have been increasing in popularity, almost exponentially, over the last few decades. That’s how Marc Taney, Director of Intramurals and Recreational Sports at the Colleges of the Fenway, wound up including esports as part of their recreational offerings. In fact, after getting started on the Mission Control platform, Marc has used esports as a way to connect students in a variety of ways! Marc notes that “there's no doubt our students have been able to connect more with the addition of esport programming. Several Student Activities events, Homecoming events, Welcome weekends, Parent weekends, Spirit weeks, Admission events; are all examples of events or activities that have utilized gaming opportunities to connect with their stakeholders and us at the COF.”
Q: Why did you choose to use the Mission Control platform?
A: “As we researched platforms, we loved the ease of use from the start. Our administrations challenged us to add opportunities to engage the Colleges of the Fenway community. We didn't want to overburden our students. We felt the students' experience with MC would be simple and the administrative would be as well...especially for those of us that have minimal experience in the gaming world.”
Q: What made you choose Mission Control over other recreational esports platforms?
A: “Growth!! We wanted to be with a platform that was growing as we were growing. We felt that the relationship would be beneficial to both as we grew together.”
Q: What have you done to make your organization unique or successful?
A: “As you may be able to imagine, providing opportunities for a community of 5 colleges is a challenge. Fortunately, there are far more beneficial opportunities! We were able to outfit a lecture hall on Emmanuel College's campus and transform it into a gaming arena. The students, faculty and staff LOVED it.”
Q: How has your partnership with Mission Control aided in your success?
A: “The partnership with Mission Control has helped reach a segment of the student body that we had not been able to approach in the past. MC's marketing materials have made it easy to approach the gaming community within the COF community and helped increase student engagement in an area that we could not have prior to our partnership.”
Q: What advice would you give other organizations using Mission Control?
A: “Think big!...and small! Tap into the students/people that are gaming in your organization and listen to what they have to suggest. Whether it's large in-person events or smaller scale game nights for 10 students playing Among Us. There are plenty of ideas out there to build your community, even if it is one gamer at a time.”
Q: How many games did you offer in your first season?
A: “We offered one game, Rocket League 1v1, our first season Fall 2019. There were 18 players in the league. In our second season Spring 2020 we offered 4 games; Rocket League 2v2, Madden'20, NBA 2K, and Super Smash Bros. Super Smash Bros was a live in-person league, played Tuesdays at 7 until COVID-19 sent all the students home. We totaled 70 participants across the 4 games! Fall of 2020 we ran 5 games (and 2 Among Us nights) and increased our participation to 76 COF community members. Considering many higher ed establishments struggled with engagement, we were thrilled to see an increase here.”
After a decidedly successful debut with recreational esports, the Colleges of the Fenway’s live gaming area has been a bonus for Marc’s program. “We have several students who compete in gaming events all around Boston. They play in library basements, small gaming boutiques, basically anywhere they can get together to play. So when they walked in on opening night, their jaws hit the floor. They were super thankful and could not wait to compete on the 20x20 drop down laser projector equipped screens. Once we can all get back on campus'....we look to expand to two live leagues in our gaming arena. The students can not wait!”