GAMEmason 2023 set to be the biggest event yet.
BY MADISON SCHOFIELD, STAFF WRITER
GAMEmason 2023, a convention dedicated to gaming and esports, will be held on March 3&4. The convention will include a two-day tournament of Rocket League, League of Legends, Overwatch 2, Valorant, and Super Smash Brothers games, free arcade, tabletop, and console gaming, an artist alley, and speakers covering game design, voice acting, composing and more.
GAMEmason was created in 2019 to support a growing population of gamers at Mason, explained Lauren Long, Executive Director of Student Involvement.
“I felt like we had a lot of students that were gaming. We had a popular esports club at the time and we had a lot of tabletop gaming clubs. I just felt like we never see these students at anything else, and it’s a population of students we need to do something for,” said Long.
With hundreds of students participating, Mason has dove all in on supporting gamers. Long explained that she’s collaborated with different groups and departments on campus to create an all women’s team and an Intro to esports class. In addition, she shared that they’re working on creating an esports minor in the game design program.
“It’s exploded,” said Long on the growth of esports at Mason. “Ever since we brought it in as a departmental group GMU esports has grown. We have 5 different varsity level games, and the team competes at different regional and national competitions.”
Long added that as the convention and the esports program grow, she hopes to build a larger gaming arena. Currently, Mason esports has a 400 square foot space.
The event was canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020, held virtually in 2021 and held at the Center for the Arts last year in 2022. The event is free to students and $30 for community members looking to purchase a two-day pass.
GAMEmason includes keynote speakers Greg Street, Head of Creative Development for Riot Games, Carolina Ravassa, Voice of Sombra in Overwatch and Raze in Valorant, and concerts with DJ James Landino; All Hell Breaks Loops, and Bit Brigade.
The expansion of the GAMEmason wouldn’t be possible without the event’s sponsors, said Long.
“This year we’re really proud to be sponsored by Lenovo and Intel.” shared Long. “Lenovo and Intel are sponsoring our huge expansion of our esports collegiate tournament. We have university varsity teams from across Virginia coming to compete.”
“We are sponsoring the rental fleet of 40 of our Legion Towers, which are our esports machines, so we can help enable their tournament,” said Lee Hyde with Lenovo.
“We pride ourselves on being a solutions provider for esports and education. We try to work with schools on what their goals are, but our goal is to help esports reach a broader audience and to empower students to find themselves within the esports community.”