Computer Says No: York gamers speak out at Roses points exclusion

Furious gamers have spoken out to Vision after being snubbed for points at this year’s Roses for the third year in a row.
eSports, or competitive gaming, is where computer gamers take part in organised multiplayer competitions.
Members of the University’s computer gaming society, Fragsoc, expressed frustration at the fact that they were given zero points to play for in Roses.
Last year’s Chair of FragSoc, David ‘Faraday‘ Meehan talked about his struggles to get eSports recognised by the York Sport Union as a legitimate Roses sport.
He said: “Two years ago I went to the York Sport Union and said I wanted eSports to get involved in Roses.
“Cass [the York Sport President] said that’s fine, you can have an exhibition year.”
Two years on and eSports is still played for zero Roses points, despite York’s competitive gamers submitting an application this year for the sport to count for points.
Meehan said: “No one’s ever sat us down and said this is what you’re going to have to do to get points for Roses and so we were just blindly going through it.
“It’s understandable that everyone’s tastes are different, but what really stinks is when you see #RosesIsForEveryone, and then we’re just being discriminated against.
“It’s really frustrating and it feels like we’re having to fight the people who should be working with us and for us.”
eSports has seen a large surge in popularity in the past decade with a number of professional players and teams competing in a growing number of leagues.
Players are even able to get scholarships, with San Jose State University in California offering paid tuition to accomplished League of Legends (LoL) players.
Jack ‘NarcFox’ Butler, FragSoc’s eSports Rep said the idea that eSports wasn’t popular was “rubbish” and that Roses allowed activities that weren’t sports like debating and University Challenge.
He said: “Competitive gaming is on par with sporting activities but they have no idea what we’re playing because they don’t care.”
FragSoc are understood to be in the process of submitting a formal complaint to YUSU.
FragSoc’s application for being included for points is understood to have originally failed due to not meeting the requirement that a Roses activity “must be a prestigious, inter-university event with a competitive academic grounding.”
Alex ‘Yami’ Hart, the current FragSoc Chair, said the whole experience was “very frustrating”.
She said: “eSports has got a lot of following internationally and is something that is very close to a lot of people’s hearts.
“How many people do you know who will spend two or three hour on their sport every single day? I don’t think very many. That’s what our players are doing.
“It’s a real dedication. It’s not just people faffing around on the Xbox – things are very, very serious and to be told [we’d get no points] for a third year running is extremely insulting. It’s just frustrating.
Talking about why she didn’t think people took eSports seriously, she explained that “most people don’t think of it as a ‘try-hard’ sport, something that you can be competitive in.”
“You can play most sports casually and competitively and people just don’t see the competitive side of gaming in quite the same way.”
FragSoc members compete in multiple tournaments throughout the year, including the National University eSports League, which is the biggest LoL tournament in the country.
Over 350 teams from across 90 universities see about 5000 students compete in various tournament formats every year.
Christopher ‘Hench’ Henshaw, the Head Tournament Admin for the national LoL league and also a member of previous winning Roses’s teams for eSports and Ultimate Frisbee, said eSports was “not just candy crush on someone’s phone.”
He said: “What we’ve seen is unparalleled growth. The year before I played, there were 100 teams and now there are 350.
“York finished seventh overall nationally and they got promoted into Division One. For the finals we had 20000 viewers and about 5000 players.
“The Roses Committee just doesn’t see the competitive element is there for a lot of games. There were six LoL teams at York, and one got to compete in Roses.”
Other sports that did not compete for points at this year’s Roses included men’s rugby league, octopush, cheerleading, men’s futsal, sitting volleyball, pole exercise and Pokémon.