story | Chia Jie Lin, Contributing Reporter
photo | Shelby Goh
In early February, the NUS Inter-College Games (ICGs) hosted its inaugural Overwatch tournament at Tembusu College. A team of eight players, consisting of Feroz Khan ’18, Woon Han Chong ’18, Keith Tong ’18, Keith Yaow ’18, Kelvin Fung ’21, Kevin Wong ’21, Mark Lee ’18 and Shelby Goh ’18 represented Yale-NUS College. The team eventually went on to defeat Tembusu College, clinching third place in the ICGs.
The Octant met up with Han Chong and Shelby from the team to talk about their Overwatch experiences and the gaming culture in Yale-NUS College.
Ed: Responses have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. The screenshots of the game were taken by Woon Han Chong ‘18.
Tell us about yourselves.
Shelby (S): I’m Shelby. I play supports on Overwatch. For the [ICG] team, I’m the support main. I suck at everything else. *laughs*
Han (H): Hi, I’m Han. I’m a hardcore personal computer (PC) gamer; and the Yale-NUS ICG Overwatch Team Captain. In Overwatch, I mainly play the Tank role and sometimes flex into other roles as well.
How did you guys get into Overwatch? How often do you play and with whom?
H: I played the beta version with a bunch of other Yale-NUS students and I absolutely loved it. I preordered the game and as soon as it came out, I’ve been playing it ever since. Generally, I play with friends from Yale-NUS.
S: I got my gaming laptop around the time that Overwatch came out. My brother–the beautiful soul that he is–decided that [me getting a gaming laptop] would benefit us both, and so we would be able to game together [from across the world]. He used his savings to buy me a gaming laptop; it’s the best present I’ve ever gotten in my life. Overwatch is the first PC game that I started playing properly.
How was the current team formed and who are its members?
H: I actually had no idea that Overwatch ICG was happening, until one of my friends–Kelvin Fung–told me that his friend from College of Alice and Peter Tan (CAPT) was getting ready for the Overwatch ICGs. Haroun Chahed ’20 confirmed it and I started putting together a team. Once we had enough sign-ups, we had an internal six versus six game, rotating people in and out. We also played against Residential College 4’s (RC4) team in a scrimp (Ed: friendly match).
Based on the team’s synergy, individual skills and the kinds of hero roles that they tend to play, I picked eight people for the team. Overwatch is a game of six versus another team of six; if we have a team of eight, we can substitute people in and out.
S: A lot of the game is won in the team composition. You need certain people to specialize in certain roles and others who can fill in the gaps. These eight people are basically a puzzle of our maximum potential based on what heroes we can play. For example, I am an “okay” healer, so Han put me in the role.
How does the team train for the ICGs?
S: There’s two versions of regular gameplay: quick play mode and competitive mode. The quick play mode is not ranked, whereas the competitive mode is ranked. We queue together in competitive mode to play against other people who take the game more seriously. When we do that, we are playing against people who are of higher standards. But sometimes we do scrimps instead just to see where it goes. It’s quite interesting because we get to see how the teams will accommodate different competitors.
H: So long as we get an excuse to play, we will play. For me, more importantly, the more time our team has to play with each other, the more we get used to each other.
S: Communication is the make and break of the team. If the team doesn’t synergize well, it doesn’t work out. Our communication usually gets better as the game progresses. We know where people will go and we understand one another’s playing styles.
What value does Overwatch bring to your life?
S: Communication! Honest to god, communication! My boyfriend and I play a lot of video games together. We always have a problem communicating online. When we started playing more communication-based games online, our teamwork got so much better and it makes the whole [gaming] experience much more enjoyable.
Generally, Overwatch is a very collaborative game, so there is a lot of teamwork and communication elements that we can really build on. We learnt how to communicate more effectively, not only in Overwatch, but in general, and with as little words as possible.
H: For me, Overwatch is just a great way to socialize with friends. Besides going out for food, we can just get online and play Overwatch together.
S: Everyone in my suite plays Overwatch, so it’s quite fun. We can just sit around in the suite and play together.
What are your thoughts on the culture of gaming at Yale-NUS College?
S: I quite like it. People don’t get so–for lack of a better word–tilted (Ed: slightly mad) when you play with friends. I can sense that everyone’s trying to have fun with each other; it is a very nice bonding experience. Yale-NUS is also the place where I’ve felt the least amount of sexist remarks directed to female gamers.
H: We have a very diverse gaming community, in the sense that there are a lot of people who play a lot of different types of games. Anyone who comes into Yale-NUS as a gamer will surely find a niche or at least a group of people that will play the game that they play. Personally, I have made a lot of friends here at Yale-NUS just through gaming.
What are your hopes for gaming at Yale-NUS College?
S: I want to meet more people in the Yale-NUS community who game. It is really nice to have a goal to work towards as well. I can game thinking that there’s a reason for it rather than it just being a means of procrastination. Having competitions [like ICG] makes it really fun. Our suitemates and us have really bonded a lot over the Xbox, through games like Grand Theft Auto 5, Batman, Halo and Assassin’s Creed.
H: I hope that people at Yale-NUS will carry on the legacy of letting gaming be a great way of making friends. Back then when Shelby and I were freshmen, I created the Yale-NUS College Gaming Community Facebook group and started adding people in. Until today, people are still adding their friends, which is great, because there are more opportunities to meet.
Not much goes on in this group nowadays, but in the past, we used that page more actively to organize gaming nights. Close to 20 people used to show up for a game. I hope that, in the future, the younger generation of Yale-NUS students will continue the legacy of making college-wide gaming events that are accessible to anyone.
The Yale-NUS Overwatch Facebook Group is open to any Yale-NUS student who wishes to join the college’s informal Overwatch community.