MISHAWAKA – Bethel University’s Esports team has access to a new practice and competition facility: the recently-constructed Bendix Arena in South Bend’s Century Center.
Gaming is a fairly sedentary hobby, so the location is not as important as some of the other factors: system, game, accessories and number of players. Comfortable seating is pretty important as well. However, for most gamers, the location of their setup is a minor concern, especially for console players, who really only need space for an outlet or two and a monitor or TV.
That being said, spending the Fall 2020 semester in the basement of the Student Media Center, sharing the space with Bethel Prime Time equipment and making sure to control our volume levels so as not to disturb any potential classes happening upstairs during practice times, were not conducive factors to our performance. Despite the humblest of beginnings for our fledgling team, we all managed to do pretty well, and we quickly acclimatized to our surroundings: fewer people tripping over green screens, fewer controllers left on workspaces and not a single noise complaint by the end of the season. The place went from feeling like we were living in our parents’ basement to feeling practically cozy.
However, as cozy as it was, it cannot possibly compare to the LAN center in the Bendix Arena. Eight stations of high-end PC’s, table-top game tables, four flatscreen TVs for consoles, lights, sound systems and four more flatscreens for spectating ongoing streams adorn the spacious room, which is at least five times the space we had in the Student Media Center. Moving from 24-inch monitors with no built-in audio output to 50-inch TVs with some of the nicest stereo audio I have heard is an incredibly pleasant upgrade. On top of the wonderful screens, we also have some super comfortable couches, a marked improvement to the office chairs we had previously used.
Furthermore, one of the best parts about the Bendix LAN center is the fact that every team member can not only be present and together – socially distanced, of course – but we can also easily observe and support each other’s gameplay. It is not only a technological and space upgrade, but it could very easily improve team cohesion as well, and I, for one, am unbelievably excited to make full use of the new facility.