Day one of the esports library pilot scheme kicked off on June 20th 2017 and four children attended as we got things up and running.
The session – held from 4pm to 6pm at Maida Vale Library – started off with an introduction to esports and a Q&A session with the children offering a brief overview of competitive gaming and the careers available.
The children were split into two teams – Purple and Orange – and started with a few practice matches on Rocket League.
Once they got a feel for the game, the children were taught about the coaching side of esports and were encouraged to come up with new strategies in order to beat their competition.
Team Purple were successful in identifying their opponents’ weaknesses and playing to their strengths, picking up three wins in a row.
Following this, the children had a crack at casting. Up-and-coming caster and British Esports volunteer Harry “DocDa” Evans taught the children the basics of casting and the difference between play-by-play shoutcasting and colour casting.
Using a high-end workstation and a special caster desk at one end of the room, children were able to take turns casting the matches and streaming the action live to the British Esports Association’s Twitch channel.
After a break and some mix-and-match games, such as 1v1 duels and children vs volunteer matches (which the children won!), the two hours had flown by.
The British Esports team and volunteers set up the club at Maida Vale Library with systems provided by DinoPC
All of the children said they enjoyed themselves – particularly the casting element of the day – and learnt about teamwork and the nature of competitive gaming.
They each received a certificate and British Esports T-shirt and cap upon completion of the event.
We managed to interview a couple of the children afterwards.
10-year-old Amauri, from Our Lady Of Dolours RC Primary School, said: “When I started playing and getting used to the controls I started to enjoy it. Then when we had 1v1s I had a lot of fun, even though I lost most of the time.
“I liked when we had to talk as a team and had strategy. Sometimes the strategy doesn’t work but most of the time it does work.
“I really enjoy working with a team. My teammates encouraged me a lot and were very supportive.
“I might think of being in esports when I’m older. I want to be a video game designer.”
British Esports content director Dominic Sacco added: “I’m over the moon with the reception to today’s event. The children were left beaming and their parents seemed genuinely interested in the session and finding out more about esports too.
“I’m really looking forwards to the next three sessions and welcoming even more children to the library next week.”
Special thanks to volunteers Jordan Boyle and Harry Evans, British Esports staff Rob Allen and Westminster City Council’s Charlotte Fergusson and Nick Fuller.
We’ll have more footage, images and coverage from the pilot school over the coming weeks. The idea behind the initiative is to learn from the pilot and help other schools and libraries roll out their own esports clubs for children in the future.