LASA’s favorite games

Grant McCasland, Club Writer

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The noise of controllers clicking can be heard from around the corner. Students are gathered in the hallway playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate while in the class next door others crowd around Chromebooks playing browser games. Whether they are for killing time or perfecting skills, a variety of games are played by LASA students.

Competitive multiplayer games have entered the mainstream in recent years, with both general popularity and exposure increasing. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and Dota 2 are leading the charge. Among these games is Rocket League, which lies at the crossroads of racing and soccer. In the game players face off in cars equipped with rocket boosters, knocking a giant soccer ball around an enclosed arena and trying to score goals. Senior James Koeper described Rocket League as a fast-paced game that rewards players for improving.

“I think the best thing is probably just the high skill ceiling, you look at some other games and you can see improvement but it’s harder to quantify,” Koeper said. “Your aim is getting better, maybe you’re getting a bit more shots on, but in Rocket League all of a sudden you can just get in the air and do an aerial. And you’re like ‘Wow, I can do this now, it’s kind of crazy,’ and you just learn more and more skills. And the best thing is probably that as you learn more, it becomes more fun, which is kinda cool.”

Freshman Billy Flukinger plays Overwatch, another competitive multiplayer game. Blizzard’s multiplayer first-person shooter is known for its cast of colorful heroes, who each have unique abilities. Flukinger said he enjoys the Overwatch community and that it is a fun way to make new friends.

“There’s a good social aspect where it’s not just mechanical skill,” Flukinger said. “ You can really work with your team and make cool things happen, compared to just solo games. A lot of the time I like to play with real-life friends so that we can rely on building up chemistry and pulling cool things off.”

While Flukinger and Koeper value the directly competitive nature of their games, senior Gus Albach prefers the grand strategy involved in Europa Universalis IV (EU4), which puts players in control of a historical country. The game is set in the early modern period from 1450 to 1821. In the game the player fights wars, controls diplomacy and expands their empire, leading to a variety of alternate history timelines. Albach said his favorite part of EU4 is the freedom provided to create his own goals.

“You get to determine whatever you do, like if you wanna play tall and not expand very much and just be really rich, you can do that,” Albach said. “It’s not extremely hard to just conquer the world, it takes a lot of time but it’s something you probably could do with most countries. But like obviously that’s kind of tedious and not fun. If you want to, rather than like be the Aztecs and invade Europe, which is ahistorical, you could just stay as the Aztecs in Mesoamerica and do what you want there so I think that’s cool.”

For those interested in Overwatch, Rocket League, EU4, or another game, Flukinger said that any game can be great if you give it a chance.

“I think a lot of it is just like not to judge it until you try it, because sometimes there’s a lot of stigma against certain games,” Flukinger said. “Just be open to it and maybe play with friends to start out. That can be a good way to start.”