Intramural esports at Iowa State likely to grow in the future


Two teams competing in Super Smash Bros ultimate.

Nick Flores

The introduction of intramural “Rocket League” at Iowa State has gained a lot of attention at the university as it becomes the first intramural esport to be offered to students. It opened the door for more competitive esports to be offered at Iowa State as well.

In “Rocket League,” players are assembled in teams of three as they compete in an intense and fast-paced game of soccer where instead of using a virtual character, they use remote-controlled cars.

The league is set up in a bracket-style tournament where teams must first compete in preliminaries to determine the division a team plays in — either A, B, C or D — and if the team receives a first-round bye or not. Once placed in a division, teams will compete against each other in single elimination knockout game to determine the winner of their respective division as well as the winner of the coveted intramural T-shirt prize. 

Over 500 students have entered into the competition this spring and while “Rocket League” can be played very casually, the games can get very competitive.

“With preliminaries, only seeding was on the line so there wasn’t too much pressure,” said Joseph Romo, freshman in mechanical engineering, who plays in the “B” division. “Now that we’re in bracket play there’s a lot more on the line so it gets very competitive.

“There’s no losers bracket or anything like that so once you lose your series you’re out of the tournament.”

Jens Ourada, sophomore in mechanical engineering, who also plays in the “B” division, recognized the competitive nature of the games.

“It gets heated once games get closer, and I would for sure say they’re pretty competitive,” Ourada said. 

The feedback the university received in terms of participants for the intramural esport has also raised questions about whether to add more in the future. With the gaming and esport scene becoming much more popular in recent years, this could very well be a possibility in the future at Iowa State.

“I would love to see other competitive esports at Iowa State,” Romo said. “Since the response was so good for just the first esport, I’m sure the university will look into adding other esports down the line.”

The high amount of players in the inaugural year of “Rocket League” at Iowa State means there could be interest sooner rather than later in adding more esports.

“I think esports is growing rapidly,” Ourada said. “Especially in the next 10 to 20 years it’s going to be pretty big so I see the university adding more esports in the future.” 

Games such as “League of Legends,” “Overwatch” and “Counterstrike” are currently some of the biggest esports in the gaming scene and could bring in a lot of participants if Iowa State were to implement an intramural league for these games and possibly others.

Only time will tell whether the university decides to add more esports for students to participate in but, as the gaming scene continues to grow, students shouldn’t be surprised if they see more intramural esports at Iowa State in the future.