Party party bye bye :( but video games are an obvious solution for a campus in need of community. Gamers often make friends on the servers they frequent, regardless of physical ties or belonging to the same school. In theory, students could have a grand ol’ time trolling Overwatch servers by themselves, but with the possibility of school returning in the spring (hopefully), joining an organization under the USC umbrella could be a way to find a community to continue vibing with on Discord after we all move back to campus.

Some people may want some more heavy duty competition: taking UCLA and smacking them into submission over and over on the Rift, trying to forget about GOATS, things like that. USC Esports Union’s competitive teams offer both, as well as Hearthstone and Smash. For League of Legends, most of the competition takes place in the spring when the Collegiate StarLeague tournament begins, but they participate in tournaments throughout the fall. There were some highlights last year when they attended Dreamhack Anaheim, beat UCLA at Conquest, and placed in ESPN’s Top 25 list of college teams. Their tryouts start September 5.

Varsity Overwatch competes in the Tespa tournament - the dates are to be determined - but will also play in some tournaments throughout the fall, the most notable being against UCLA on August 22. They got a new coach last semester, and will hopefully see success in the possible few months before Overwatch 2 comes out. They’ll have tryouts on September 1.

ESU also has a varsity Super Smash Bros team that lends itself to some spectacular matches. UCLA’s La La LAN being the best example, with a dramatic finish where Deviender “SWERV” Carson took out two UCLA players, all six stocks by himself in a nail biting finish.

They’re not having tryouts this year for their varsity team, but Smash Club is well known for their bi-weekly tournaments for USC and non-USC players alike, seeing a substantial turnout every two weeks. The tournaments will continue as always, albeit online this year. The schedule is still to be determined, but stay tuned; I’ll be there Kirby down-b-ing my way to victory.

The varsity Hearthstone team was strong last year, with a notable performance by Julian “Jucchan” Kida who won the Hearthstone Masters Qualifier tournament in April. They’ve also had success at the Conquest tournament, and made playoffs in the fall Tespa League season last year. Neither Tespa nor Collegiate StarLeague has announced a season yet, and tryouts for the varsity team are still to be determined.

There’s more to life than winning all the time. Sometimes it’s more fun to lose, at least that’s what I tell myself. But like small businesses, casual gaming is the backbone of America.

USC Esports is there for the rest of us. They have community events and socials, ways to play video games with friends without the stress of Annenberg Media Esports writing about why you lost. They give great info on tournaments to join, providing some of their own as well. USC Esports gives more space for people to play games that aren’t offered in the ESU varsity program. Games like CS:GO, Rocket League, TFT and Animal Crossing all have a presence.

If you’re super into League of Legends, Summoner’s School provides a full stack platform for anything you may desire. It’s got a strong community with a leadership that puts on consistent events ranging from socials to tournaments and panels. Last year’s Valentines 2v2 tournament brought in a bunch of people, and other events boasted pretty large turnouts as well. The officers involved have strong connections to the professional League of Legends scene, and provide insight and resources to players looking to get involved in esports as a career.

This may be a little biased because I’m pretty involved with the USC Minecraft server (USCraft), but it’s another fun community to be a part of, and maybe help finish building campus. I’m still trying to finish old Annenberg, but the architects made life difficult with the whole seating area under the bridge. Sometimes I wish everything looked a bit more like WPH.

There’s also survival sections, a minigame server, and an area for students to create art galleries with their own images and text.

Streaming can feel very solitary, especially when you’re like me and talk to yourself and maybe one AFK viewer for most of the time. USC Streaming exists to remedy some of that mild insanity, with an active community that helps each other develop their streams. On Twitch itself there’s USC Live, a community of streamers all under the USC banner.

According to Lance McMahan, a senior in the Interactive Media and Game Design program, “USC Live is a community that aims to build connections through collaborating on and off stream and through “raiding” each other so that we can all grow collectively as a group.”

This semester is going to be a weird one, but we’ll all get through it with a healthy dose of video games.