Story by Eric Lawson
Lander University unveiled its new gamer’s lounge during a grand opening celebration last week.
Nicknamed the Bearcade, the lounge is located in the Thomason residency complex. In addition to having three gaming stations for the general student population, the Bearcade also features a 12-station training area for Lander’s Esports team, the Bearcat Bytes.
In February, Lander President Richard Cosentino hosted a meeting with about 40 self-proclaimed gamers from across campus and asked what they needed in order to field a competitive team. Once a location for the lounge was identified, students from Lander professor Jim Slagle’s graphic design class created the wall illustrations.
“Students work hard in their classes, so being able to come to the Bearcade for a little gaming is a great way to blow off a little steam before going back to class,” said Brandon Hernandez-Flores, a senior graphic design major from Greenwood who helped with the design of the Bearcade. “Playing games in a lounge-like this is much different than playing solo in your room. It’s a much more social activity.”
Now in its second year, the Bearcat Bytes team competes in the Peach Belt Conference. In March, Lander served as the host school for the Peach Belt Esports Tournament. While this is the third year for conference play, Esports, in general, is experiencing a meteoric rise in popularity. The 2018 League of Legends World Championship attracted more than 200 million viewers, easily topping the 98 million viewers of Super Bowl LIII.