Rutgers Esports History
This page will go over the complicated history of Rutgers Esports, from the time before it was even created, chronicling the events that lead to its inception, and its rise through all sorts of obstacles that were never encountered. This document should be continually updated so that there is a place where future officers can look back to better understand the roots of the organization they work so hard for. Finally, it’ll be a great resource when they make a book, film, and tv series about the organization!
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Gaming at Rutgers before Rutgers Esports
It’s not currently known when many of the gaming clubs at Rutgers were truly founded. The Underground Gaming Society, our gaming cousin at Rutgers, was perhaps founded even before the Starcraft Club, which has had a presence since at least the days of Starcraft: Brood War.
What is known is that Rutgers has always had a rich tradition of being involved in gaming and esports. In the very first Collegiate Starleague (CSL) for Starcraft: Brood War in 2009, Rutgers placed top 4 among 26 teams, showing it’s skill in the highest competition of collegiate esports at the time. Rutgers would continue to participate in the remainder of the Brood War CSLs, proving itself as one of the very best chapters in the East Region, a trait that would come to define Rutgers in numerous games in the future.
However, the collegiate esports scene was a reflection of the greater esports scene at the time; the failure of the Championship Gaming Series (CGS) caused the entire North American esports ecosystem to collapse, leaving only a few scraps to rebuild itself. However, the scene was slowly recovering with the release of games like Street Fighter IV. As the North American esports scene slowly crawled back to the top of the mountain it once conquered, a few key milestones occurred at Rutgers in what would come to be a defining year for gaming at Rutgers: 2010.
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, the long awaited sequel to one of the greatest esports of all time, was released in late July of 2010. The game was a hit before it even released, with numerous pros from Brood War and even Warcraft III flocking to the next great esport. Everyone knew this game was going to be huge and would be the competitive game for years. However, no one, not even the players aspiring to be professionals like the South Koreans they so highly admired, would anticipate it as the beginning of the new esports age we find ourselves in. The game exploded in popularity and Rutgers immediately started training for the inevitable Starcraft II Collegiate Starleague.
Only a couple of weeks after the release of Starcraft II, a certain smash tournament took place at the College Avenue Multipurpose Room: Apex 2010. Apex 2010 was a relatively new tournament scene in the much smaller Super Smash Bros. esports scene but it had quickly proven itself as one of the premier tournament series, featuring numerous top players from all around the world in the humble student center of Rutgers. It was here that Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma would win his first major title by beating Adam “Armada” Lingren from Sweden (now considered one of, if not the greatest Super Smash Bros. Melee player of all time), laying the groundwork for Armada’s work in developing a counterpick. The College Avenue Student Center would see numerous other historic moments in Smash history as it hosted the Apex tournament series until 2013, where the venue would grow to be too small to contain the exploding Super Smash Bros. scene thanks to its inclusion in Evolution 2013 and the release of The Smash Brothers documentary series (part of which was filmed in the College Avenue Student Center). Still, the release of Starcraft II and the start of Apex at Rutgers set the trend of the gaming scene at the university for years to come.
Each year, another Apex would happen, drawing even more top player from all over the world to produce incredible matches that continued to push the boundaries of Smash. Right alongside Apex, Starcraft II would continue its dominance at Rutgers as players continued to prove themselves as a prominent force in the Collegiate Starleague and beyond, even winning the Princeton LAN in 2012. Some Rutgers players would even journey to the biggest tournaments of the time, like Major League Gaming (MLG) Providence, to play against the pros they looked up to. A couple of players were even reaching Grandmaster level