Club embraces gamers of all levels

Casey O’Brien, president of the University of Miami Video Games Club. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

By Ashley A. Williams

Casey O’Brien, president of the University of Miami Video Games Club. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

Club embraces gamers of all levels

By Ashley A. Williams
The University of Miami Video Games Club members share how their passion brings a diverse group of students together on the Coral Gables campus.

Casey O’Brien realized that video games could be more than a hobby when she was in high school, after she entered into her first tournament. Today, the marine science biology major is using her knowledge and influence as president of the Video Games Club at the University of Miami to support others who enjoy gaming.

“Every single Friday we have a gathering for gamers of all age, race, social background, and levels for four hours where everyone comes to play video games and eat pizza,” said O’Brien, who plays under the tag Caseroos across most platforms.

The popularity of multiplayer video games means that they are becoming more than just something for students to do in their free time—they’re now able to play on a competitive level known as electronic sports, or esports.

“Esports is basically people playing competition-based video games at the highest level,” said Trystan Yzaguirre, the esports general manager of the student organization.

The Video Games Club has recently transitioned to a club sport, allowing them to compete against other schools in the state of Florida and beyond.

“Esports is a very inclusive sport,” said Yzaguirre, who believes Twitch, a live stream platform for gamers, boosted the popularity of esports within the past five years. “Anybody can do anything they want but guys that are like 5-foot-5 aren’t going to come here and be able to play for the basketball team. With esports, there are no physical or gender restrictions.”

Earlier this month the club hosted a big event called Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament. In the future, they hope to host larger tournaments with multiple days of competition.

“There is a good portion of students at UM who want to play esports,” said O’Brien.

To join the Video Games Club visit their page on Engage. To contact the club email umvideogamesclub@gmail.com