Gaming is reaching new abilities to peak your amusement


Jonah Seckel

Gamers play Magic: The gathering together at ECC Gamers United meeting.

Jonah Seckel, Staff Writer

Sometimes life gets a little too serious. Often, people will use gaming as a hobby that gives you time to let your mind run free in a complex fantasy world. As each step takes you deeper into the virtual realm, game developers create a reality full of suspense as you experience the various customizations available to you at your fingertips.

If you like story modes, multiplayer, card games or sports games there could be a game that you and your friends will enjoy because game developers are aiming to entertain all diverse interests and skills for gamers everywhere. It’s an entertainment business that has been constantly updating itself to draw a gamer closer in any time they pick up the controller or put their deck on a table.

Games like Magic: The Gathering (MTG) have teamed up with Nordic Entertainment and Splay Networks to create MTG Studios, where they can make cinematic trailers that add depth to character origins and contribute an on-screen production to the 26-year-old story of MTG. Already, 12 million players around the world are actively invested in this strategic card game of casting spells and summoning creatures to your opponents around the table.

Elgin Community College has its own community of gamers involved with MTG, many of them carry their customized card decks in their backpacks just in case friends around the school are playing a game in their free time between classes.

“I always keep at least three Magic decks with me all the time,” said Andrew Hroba, a second-year student at ECC. “I keep my decks organized [according to the] different strategies I have for each game. If I have time between classes, I’ll go to the gamers lounge and usually get a game going with a couple of friends that are trying to play.”

With 13,000 unique cards released, MTG gives any player the control to play their deck specifically to their gameplay style. Adding more and more variation to the gameplay while also finding a simple way to access the game from anywhere is keeping MTG at the top of the hobby games industry.

Students that enjoy playing MTG and other various video and board games participate in a weekly Wednesday gaming session at the ECC Gamers United Club. Hroba says this is where he gets a chance to take a break and be social with his friends. Having fun with the gaming community and trying out new strategies to help him grow into a better MTG player is what matters most for Hroba. There is also an organized 10-week EDH Magic tournament each year to let each member of Gamers United compete and find out who’s at the top of their game.

“I would say I spend most of my free time gaming,” Hroba said. “It’s either playing Magic or working on a campaign of a game I get interested in. I get frustrated when I need to sacrifice time to focus on school, but I know where my limits are. I’ve been balancing school and games for a while now.”

Hroba works two part-time jobs and is enrolled in four classes this semester at ECC. With a stressful schedule, he looks forward to the time he can spend playing games, according to Hroba.

As MTG becomes bigger each year, there are opportunities to enter tournaments and play online MTG Arena for a chance to win money. MTG competitions are held for professional gamers, some are more popular than others. Recognized tournaments, like the Mythic Invitational, exclusively invites the best players from all around the world to compete against each other with their custom decks for a $250,000 prize. According to Hroba, competing in these tournaments require a career of training and devotion to learn MTG at a professional level.

Popularity in online gaming and esports competitions are increasing rapidly as younger generations are clearly treating these games as a sport. Each year the gaming industry is creating more opportunities for gamers to earn a living from their skill set. In MTG’s 2017 annual report, digital sales grew by 68% and accounted for 31% of revenue for that year.

Kevin Deitche, a 2015 Streamwood High School graduate, is following his passion for gaming by creating content on his Twitch stream playing Fortnite Battle Royale.

Deitche is currently a full-time student at Northern Illinois University and spends all of his time outside of schoolwork dedicated to his followers from the Fortnite community. According to Deitche, this vision of success appeared vividly to him a year ago when he was inspired by a popular gamer, Ninja, that became the face of Fortnite streaming at the beginning of 2018.

“I’ve always been good at video games, but seeing the future in streaming from Ninja’s success, I knew this was something I can be a part of,” Deitche said. “I started dedicating my time towards playing Fortnite and getting to know the game better. Eventually, I was winning games and hitting trick shots that people love to watch.”

Fortnite Battle Royale is being referred to as a gaming phenomenon that took over the world in 2018. The minds behind Fortnite, Epic Games, were recognized for the highest annual revenue of any game ever, earning 2.4 billion dollars, according to a SuperData report. Fortnite is on track to double the revenue of the most profitable entertainment product ever, Grand Theft Auto V. Developing a battle royale game where 100 online players can strategize their own way to be the last man standing is exactly what the world of gamers have been waiting for.

“I’ve realized that Fortnite doesn’t stop,” Deitche said. “When I’m streaming, I will consistently have around 30 people watching me play and they can all talk to me in the live chat room which lets me respond directly to my followers. Even when I’m not streaming, I get notifications of people tweeting at me to get on and play.”

Since Deitche’s initial jump into the world of professional gaming, his gamer identity DXTR has established a foundation for a successful next step forward into this upcoming summer. Deitche consistently streams six hours out of each day for his 2,285 followers on Twitch and then spends another six hours creating content to post on his social media.

“For the last three months, I’ve been teaching myself video editing software to increase the special effects in my uploads,” Deitche said. “With more streaming, I get more content to put in my highlight videos and then people subscribe to see more. When the videos I create get more popular, I get more subscribers which helps me earn more money for my streaming.”

According to Deitche, streaming has earned him as much money as a part-time job would, but he is ready to strive for more. Recently, Deitche became a part of Team Parallel, an esports and content organization that recruits gamers that are all trying to make a successful living from competitive gaming.

With team recognition and consistent increase in viewers on his streams, there are big things planned for his future at Parallel, according to Deitche. After this semester at NIU, Deitche will begin a new milestone in his gaming career as he’s prepared to give his Twitch followers, even more, streaming with more complex plays and trick shots.

“I’m excited for what’s to come,” Deitche said. “A lot of my friends that I play with are also taking streaming really seriously. We have a lot of talented players on my team that are keeping the game really fun, and we keep getting better. Now that we are in a position to dedicate more time as a group, I can see our potential to become something great this summer.”

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