Gaming association Blueshell, lively both offline and online

| Rense Kuipers

The UT has countless clubs, fraternities, sororities and associations. What keeps them going? What binds the members together? In this thirtieth episode: Esports association Blueshell.

Anyone who has ever gloriously raced for victory in Mario Kart will undoubtedly have experienced the 'blue shell' up close. There is a good chance that the victory that was up for grabs was overshadowed by the mighty power-up in the form of a blue, spiked turtle shell.

The eponymous Esports and gaming association at the UT has been in existence since 2017. The genesis was actually a matter of time, given the increased popularity of gaming and Esports. 'Almost everyone plays games at some point these days. Or people like to watch others play games', says secretary Max Jansdam. 'Often the only thing you need is an old laptop, since most competitive games are free. You can still run League of Legends on a twenty-year-old laptop.'

'Extremely casual'

The popularity is noticeable in the number of members, Blueshell has more than two hundred. 'Although that may also be due to the low membership fee of 15 euros per year,' says Sanne van Kooten (External Affairs). "And you don't necessarily need a UnionCard to become a member. That's why, during the Kick-In, we also say to potential new members: if you choose not to eat two pizzas, you can already pay your membership.'

Keeping the threshold as low as possible, that's what Blueshell is at its core, according to Van Kooten and Jansdam. Unlike student team Esports Team Twente, it's not about performance anyway. 'We are extremely casual compared to Esports Team Twente', says Jansdam. 'We do have some competitive teams, but it's not that the association is putting pressure on them. Although the prize money at tournaments can still yield a nice pocket money.'

Esports Lounge

Even though things are super accessible at Blueshell, there is no laissez-faire culture. About a quarter of the more than 200 members are active and there are nine teams divided between games League of Legends, Valorant, Rocket League and Counter-Strike. In addition, there is a very own Discord server with over 1100 members. In short, the association lives both offline and online. 'Because it's so accessible, interests can be a bit far apart. For example, some members prefer to game online and almost exclusively have contact via Discord,' says Jansdam.

But if you want to meet physically, you can go to the Esports Lounge, the space where De Stek was located on the second floor of the Bastille for years. It's a remarkable contrast: the classic wooden bar and the PCs, racing simulators and LED lighting around it. But it is the place where many a Blueshell event is held, such as a monthly game night. 'With a few exceptions,' says Van Kooten. 'For a large-scale LAN party, for example, we went to the Spiegel. With some self-control, gaming can easily be combined with a study. But towards the end of a twelve-hour LAN party, around five o'clock in the morning, you can sometimes start to wonder what you're doing with your life.'


What both board members want above all is for the association to remain lively. 'If you want to participate in tournaments, you can participate in tournaments. If you prefer to play single-player games, you do that’, says Jansdam. 'And if you want to start a committee, you start a committee', Van Kooten adds. 'I think the strong point of our association is that someone with a good plan can simply go ahead and execute that plan.'

As a result, the association already has more than ten – very diverse – committees, from the MCie (for Minecraft), ChessCie (for chess players) and NintenCo (for Nintendo fans) to a TacCie (for those who play tactical first-person shooters). 'And we have the DisCo, which organises karaoke evenings, among other things,' says Van Kooten. 'That has sometimes led to angry neighbours upstairs and downstairs. Not everyone in the Bastille can appreciate a live version of a-ha's Take on Me .'

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