As the snow and wind poured down on our campus for its yearly winter makeover on the first Saturday of November, another tradition was taking place on the mythical 3rd floor of the library. 

After all, it is at this time of the year that the UBCO E-Sports Club holds one of its trademark charity events for Extra Life, a fundraising community that supports BC children's hospitals. Joined by their partners at the UBCO Games Club, they would transform Lib 305 from a desolate classroom (as all are on weekends) into a magical place. 

It had been a while since I had seen such an impressive stock of gaming hardware, trading cards, and board games; if it was on sale, few toy or electronics stores could have competed. 

Throughout the 25 hours, there was a wide array of activities and donation goals that invigorated both the attendants and would-be donors to participate in this congregation. Naturally, some games garnered more attention than others. If you liked League of Legends or Valorant or Mario Kart, you were in luck. Unless you wanted to play a very obscure and esoteric port of Galaga, there definitely was someone with and somewhere to play. 

Apart from the gaming, there was, of course, a buffet filled to the brim with all the fundamental snacks of a university experience: pizza, red bull, cookies, chocolate, chips, soda, just to name a few. It was born of necessity to have that amount of snacks because, even if most attendees did not stay plugged in for the 25 hours, many did indeed stay throughout the night or at least tried to clock in the entire event. So, the participants were fueled spiritually – by the prospect of laboring for a charitable endeavor – and physically – by those always delicious dishes.

The timing of the event also helped, as it allowed us all to bond with others and unwind after the daunting midterm session. Like co-presidents of the E-Sports Club, Lance and Mackenzie, said, “gaming is great, it helps create new friendships and also relieves stress”; great minds do think alike.

There was indeed a lot of friendship on display, though some attendees of the League of Legends championship watch party, or those being ranked for their performance in online games, might beg to differ on the relieving of stress. It also occurred right during the middle of a snowstorm, which helped retain and recruit a lot of attendees to the event, for there were few (if any) alternatives for an event on campus in those 25 hours. 

Regardless of the time of the event, the organizers did a great job in pivoting the attention between the watch party for League of Legends (a popular e-sport), setting up a virtual stream for those joining the party remotely, and ensuring the main room stayed in pristine condition. 

Though I did not spend the whole 25 hours there, the time I spent was marked by a welcoming atmosphere where new adventures on either type of board (game or keyboard) could be started, or where you could simply bear witness to others playing while building friendships with other attendees.

They also met the target of $1000 to be raised for charity through a diverse set of donor goals that included dances, costumes, and even food competitions; a truly successful event in both form and function. We should be proud as a university community that we are pushing the boundaries of charitable endeavors while also having a grand old time. 

For more on the UBCO E-Sports Club and UBCO Games Club, make sure to follow their Instagrams (ubcoesports and ubcogames), and for everything else: stick to The Phoenix.