NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

How Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins set the bar for pro gamers

NECC students are embracing the world of video game competition

Video games have for a long time been a great way to create separation from reality and gain entertainment.

If you go back in the relatively short time that video games have been around, video games were meant to entertain. Shoot bad guys with your friends, solve puzzles, compete in various different ways. There was a really small group of players who aimed to take their video gaming skills to bigger stages by showing them on streaming platforms like Twitch and Youtube and competing in real-life tournaments like Esports.

These “streamers” eventually saw growth in popularity from other players watching their streams, enlarging and strengthening this community of like-minded gamers and welcoming more as more players start to idolize and find favorite streamers. Enter Tyler Blevins.

Tyler Blevins, known as “Ninja” to those inside and outside of the gaming community took the gaming community by storm, streaming a variety of games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Blackout and started his gaming career by playing competitive Halo and participating in tournaments. However Ninja is most popular for playing the popular free-to-play game Fortnite Battle Royale, where one hundred players are dropped onto one huge map to battle and survive as “the storm” pins them closer and closer together until there is only one left standing. Ninja has grown a lot of his followers from teens and adults who play the popular mainstream game because of his ability to play at a high level and entertain his viewers, and his popularity has reached the Northern Essex campus.

Student Christopher Molinari, a gamer at NECC who likes Nintendo games like the Super Mario series and Splatoon, said that he actually loves Fortnite, and that “Fortnite is interesting when you see streamers play, they do different things, I don’t particularly play to win but I do like to goof around and scream out battle cries because it’s fun”. There are people who like to play competitively on campus too, which with the growing population of students who play and the growing acceptance of video games becoming mainstream, the Northern Essex Community College announced in November that a competitive Esports team will be formed this year. Mike Donovan said of the upcoming Esports team “It’s really funny but really cool at the same time… maybe you should join it Carl (Squatrito), I know you like to play competitively and you’ll have a good time destroying kids on Fortnite” Mike finds it hilarious that I can be a lot better at video games than other people, but as he may know we have an Esports team now so there is definitely an interest filled with people who love to watch people destroying other gamers in video games, thanks to streamers that give these video gamers something to idolize, or a template to follow.