By Tyler Saiki
This school year has been an interesting one for fans of video games. Game franchises like Call of Duty, Pokemon, and Final Fantasy all had releases this, but one video game from Blizzard seems to have risen to the top – Overwatch. The game is a “team based shooter” set in the future, where humans and robots live side by side. The game features a diverse cast of playable characters, each with their own unique abilities and skills. Many critics have given Overwatch praise for being innovative and creative, with the game commonly receiving ratings above 90%. The game sold extremely well, and now has a playerbase of over 30 million. That’s about the population of the country of Peru.
The game consists of two teams of 6 heroes battling it out across a variety of maps at locations all over the world, with objectives that can vary depending on the location. Some maps use a payload objective where one team competes to push a cart to a point, while the other tries to stop them. Another is a king of the hill style gamemode where both teams compete to capture and hold a point in the middle of the map. The final game mode is an attack and defense mode where one team defends a series of areas while the other tries to capture them. A large factor of a team’s success is its ability to choose a team that synergizes well together. For example, It isn’t good to choose a team with only damage heroes, because there will be nobody to absorb the enemy damage and heal teammates. It is also important to take into consideration the enemy team’s composition, as some heroes do especially well or especially bad against others.
The game has also become very popular among d.tech’s students, especially the freshmen. One group of students is very passionate about the game, and they go by the name Overwatchers. The Overwatchers club is led by freshmen Sean Duarte, and is a group of gamers who all share a love of the game. I talked to several members of the Overwatchers to get their opinion on the game, and was surprised with my results. When asked why they believe the game is so good, all members, in different interviews, responded with pretty much the same answer: teamwork. They all agree that it’s not the game itself that is so fun, but the teamwork and coordination required with your friends and teammates in order to succeed that makes the experience so enjoyable.
Duarte commented that that he originally, only got the game because it was the “most popular new game at the time” and kept playing the game after he learned that the game is “all about how well you work as a team” Brendon Lin and Jason Reiterman, two members of the Overwatchers both started playing for a similar reason, and stated that they continued playing because it is “heavily team-based” and “fun to play with friends”
When it comes to the members’ favorite characters to play in Overwatch, everyone gave a different response. Duarte says his favorite character is the DJ from Brazil, named Lucio, because “He has some really cool movement and abilities”. One of the key members, freshmen Brendon Lin, says he enjoys playing as the cyborg ninja, Genji, because he “has a really cool and unique design”. Another member, Jason Reiterman, says “I play support [characters that focus on helping teammates] the most, but when the entire team is playing together, I play tank characters [characters with lots of health].
Though Overwatch’s 30 million players still remain in the shadows of League of Legends’ 100+ million players, there is little doubt that the game will continue to grow. It will be interesting to see the direction Blizzard decides to take the game, and how it will affect fans all over the world.