This year’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo — or C2E2 — will feature a pair of DePaul panels that focus on gaming and esports in college. In addition, the university will co-sponsor the Overwatch Gaming Zone during the three-day expo set for March 22-24 at McCormick Place.
DePaul will play host to two gaming panels March 24. The first one, titled “Gaming & College: Incorporating Gaming into Your Academic Career,” will be held from 12-1 p.m. and feature Samantha Close, an assistant professor in the College of Communication, serving as moderator for panelists Chris Jackson, Esteban Perez and Stephen Sotor, all DePaul alumni, and students Katie Pawlicki and Sam Elsbernd. The panel will look at how DePaul is working to incorporate gaming into the curriculum through programs like journalism, business, game design and digital media.
The second panel, titled “Being an Esports Athlete in College,” is set for 3:30-4 p.m. and features DePaul students Abbey McClain, Emilio Pilapil and Linas Savickas, with Nicole Yang, a technology support specialist, who works with DePaul’s esports competitive teams, moderating. This panel will take a deep dive into what it’s like being an esports college athlete, the balance needed between gaming and academics, collegiate competition structures, opportunities for gamers, and more. This panel will be held on the C2E2 live stage.
“One thing that surprised me about being an esports college athlete is how supportive everyone is,” says Savickas, who captains DePaul’s Rocket League squad. “I figured that people who didn’t play esports would look down on us, but I’ve had so many people come up to me in person and ask about how it works and to explain esports to them. That was cool for me because I think a big part of why some people might be hesitant when it comes to playing collegiate esports is that they're embarrassed of just how much they play or what others will think of it. I want to let them know that more people think it's cool than just you.”
In conjunction with I Play Games, DePaul will co-sponsor an Overwatch competition on 12 Alienware gaming laptops throughout the weekend. Interested competitors, or those that just want to play for fun, need only stop by the gaming zone during expo hours for competitive or casual play. Casual play is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. all three days. There will be a competitive tournament featuring four teams on Friday and Saturday.
“The Overwatch Gaming Zone will officially be the first space to truly bring esports to C2E2,” says Kevin Fair, founder and CEO of I Play Games. “Complete with 12 top-of-the-line gaming computers, dual viewing units for spectators, and arranged seating, the space will be perfect for both the competitive teams and for people who are still learning about the world of esports.”
Fair was interested in collaborating with DePaul after seeing the growth of the university’s esports program.
“After officially opening its gaming center, DePaul has taken a number of really positive steps towards officially including esports of all titles as regular activities on campus,” Fair says. “Esports makes a great fit for what today's college students are looking for from their university experience.”
Started in 2010, C2E2 is the largest pop culture convention in the Midwest, welcoming 82,500 attendees to 2018’s convention. The expo features booths, panels, entertainment, and influencers from the world of comic books, cosplay, video games, anime, TV shows, movies, books, wrestling, comedy and more.
“As DePaul continues to expand and grow our esports program, C2E2 is an exciting opportunity for us to showcase what our students, faculty and staff are doing in the Chicagoland community,” says Courtney James, director of student involvement in DePaul’s Division of Student Affairs. “Outside of the esports program though, this is a chance to showcase a myriad of DePaul’s pop culture organizations, including the Comic and Manga Club, Cosplay Club, DePaul Doctor Who, Japanese Media Appreciation Group, the Virtual Reality Society, DePaul Role-Playing Groups and more.”
To attend C2E2, head here for ticket information. Hours are 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.
“Gaming & College: Incorporating Gaming into Your Academic Career”
Sunday, March 24, 2019
12 – 1 p.m.
Samantha Close, Sam Elsbernd, Chris Jackson, Katie Pawlicki, Esteban Perez and Stephen Sotor
“Being an Esports Athlete in College”
Sunday, March 24, 2019
3:30 – 4 p.m.
Abbey McClain, Emilio Pilapil, Linas Savickas and Nicole Yang