Whether you’re into Super Smash Bros, Xbox, or PC games, the Esports Club at KCC has a place for you. (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

The Esports Club at Kapiʻolani Community College is the newest registered independent organization (RIO) on campus. Consisting of approximately 20 student members, the club welcomes gamers of all gaming backgrounds and experience levels to join and become a part of the community.

“For us, our goal is about creating a community for gamers and fostering sportsmanship and teamwork,” said Adam Moura, one of the three advisors for the Esports Club. “Esports is a growing industry, and it ties in with some of the career opportunities that Kapiʻolani already has. We have a game development class, which is part of the New Media Arts program, and there are things like event management in esports, which is in alignment with the Hospitality program here.”

All three advisors, including Jake Shimabuku and Marcie Moura, are instructors of the New Media Arts Program and have worked in collaboration with Sky Kauweloa, the director of Esports at UH Mānoa, to create the club.

“We’re also seeing an explosion of esports statewide, and it’s also in the high schools as well,” Marcie Moura said. “Since we’re a community college, we wanted to be able to bridge the high schoolers and the community around us so that they’ll have a place to come to at Kapi‘olani. We saw a need not just from our current students but incoming students as well.”

Currently, the club meets weekly and organizes game nights via Discord. Recently, game nights have focused on games like “Valorant” and “League of Legends,” though according to Shimabuku, students soft organize on their own for other games. 

“The students also plan meet-ups on their own to gather on campus in the student center,” Shimabuku said. “I thought it was cool that they were planning to hang out and game since it adds a personable aspect to the generic understanding of esports.” 

Adam Moura shared that the top three esports games include “Valorant,” “League of Legends” and “Overwatch.” For non-esports games, the more popular choices include any variation of “Pokemon” as well as “Minecraft.”

One of the biggest events that the club is anticipating is the “Super Smash Bros.” tournament held at Kawaii Kon, Hawaiʻi’s largest anime convention that will take place this year at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center from March 29-31.

“Mānoa was looking to put together some teams, and we think that every campus should have some representation,” Adam Moura said. “I think last Kawaii Kon it was a bit of a surprise because Kauaʻi Community College won for ‘Smash.’ That put the community colleges more on the map, and now they’re [UH System] looking to have more involvement from the community colleges overall.”

At the moment there are three students on the Kapiʻolani “Smash” team, though there are two more spaces available. Students who are interested in participating must first join the club and meet the current team. If more people are interested than the number of available spots, Marcie Moura stated that it’s likely students will have to compete for a spot on the team. 

“That would be the first real esports competition for Kapiʻolani,” Adam Moura said. “It’s kind of exciting because as a community college, we don’t really have chances like that to play in an intramural kind of way with every campus across the system. At Kawaii Kon, it will be a cohesive venue.” 

The founding members of the Esports club include Kapiʻolani students Eric Chituck, Akira Uyeno-Pidot, Amanda Young, and club officers Kayli Higa, Katheren Lam, Jowen Ming Hong Shu, Emily Pham, and Janae Taclas.

“These students completed the RIO tasks and other paperwork, and they’ve formed this sort of executive committee that’s actively steering the club’s direction,” Adam Moura said. “We are looking at formalizing roles as we move forward to align with the club’s evolution.”

Students in Esports Club will have the opportunity to hear from Mānoa’s Kauweloa on Friday, March 1 at 3 p.m. in Kopiko 202. Students who are interested in joining the club can visit the KapCC Esports Instagram (@esportskapcc) and use the link in the bio to fill out an automated form. Upon completion, students will be sent a link to join the club’s Discord server.