Gaming community joins Kryzsko After Dark

Computers%2C+and+gaming+chairs+adorn+the+desks+at+the+Warrior+Esports+Lounge.+The+surrounding+TV%E2%80%99s+stream+games+for+spectators+to+view.+The+%0AWarrior+Network+collaborated+to+use+the+lounge+for+a+Rocket+League+event+during+last+Friday%E2%80%99s+Kryzsko+After+Dark+event.

Mohammed Islam

Computers, and gaming chairs adorn the desks at the Warrior Esports Lounge. The surrounding TV’s stream games for spectators to view. The Warrior Network collaborated to use the lounge for a Rocket League event during last Friday’s Kryzsko After Dark event.

Hannah Hippensteel, features reporter

The gaming community at the Winona State University campus looks to grow with the usage of the Warrior Esports Lounge after the space’s implementation in the Warrior Entertainment Network’s Kryzsko After Dark (KAD) event, held on Friday, March 5.
The Esports Lounge opened on Oct. 5, 2020 and has eight gaming PCs, six Nintendo Switches, five 65” Sony TVs, peripherals like controllers and keyboards and over two dozen games including Super Smash Bros, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Minecraft and League of Legends.
Since opening, the COVID-19 regulations for usage have remained consistent with a mandated 25% capacity.
The space is open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Director of student union and activities, George Micalone, spoke to general feedback about the lounge space.
“I think all things considered with our pandemic numbers on campus, the responses have been strong. We have a loyal group of folks who use that space,” Micalone said.
To use the lounge, players must have a GGLeap account. Micalone said the system currently has 225 registered players.
Micalone said while organizing the Esport Lounge’s schedule of events for the semester, an opportunity to partner with the Winona Gaming Community (WGC) and sponsor an event arose.
The event is called Rocket League 101 and will focus on how to play rather than being a tournament.
“Because Kryzsko After Dark is inherently a come hang out kind of program, we felt it was more important to have an open play type of activity,” Micalone said.
In this program, people of any skill or interest level can attend the event and watch or learn gameplay.
“We built this space for the spectator just as much for the player,” Micalone said.
Micalone said he is excited to have the Warrior Gaming Community promote the event.
Connor Forhan, fourth-year film studies major and president of Winona Gaming Community, spoke to his involvement in Winona State’s gaming population.
Forhan discovered Winona Gaming Community at a club fair last school year and was “pleasantly surprised” to find the group.
Last year before the pandemic’s onset, the club was able to meet on the last Saturday of every month and come together to play for about seven hours.
Forhan’s interest is primarily in tabletop games.
This semester, meetings have become more stable, according to Forhan, with a steady attendance of about 20 gamers.
When Forhan was approached by The Warrior Entertainment Network about Kryzsko After Dark, he thought facilitating an event would be a great idea.
After the WGC facilitates the Rocket League event, they will host their own Smash Bros. contest with prizes.
As this is the club’s first time participating in a Kryzsko After Dark (KAD) event, Forhan hopes it will go on to spark future collaborations.
For Forhan, the club overall provides him with “a nice opportunity to come together to do something fun and interactive with people who share the hobby.”
Director of KAD events, Nicole Feiner, third-year history teaching major, spoke to her involvement with the Warrior Entertainment Network and the event series.
Feiner assumed the role of KAD event director position this semester but was previously the local programming director in fall 2020.
For Feiner, being a part of the executive board for The Network is enjoyable because she gets to see new members join the club where they “find their voice and place on campus.”
As for this month’s KAD event, Feiner said she doesn’t think online gaming will make any significant gains because of their involvement.
“However, I think that it will give students who enjoy online gaming a reason to come out and participate in events and space on campus that they might not normally come to,” Feiner said.
She also said her continued focus this month was working to include different clubs to work together and create fun and engaging events.
“If KAD can be the one event that you can go out and enjoy with your friends, we want it to be the best thing that you go to during the month,” Feiner said.