Getting to know Roadrunner Gaming

Mason Hickok, Editor-in-Chief

Roadrunner Gaming (RRG) is a student organization started in 2012 by a group of StarCraft players looking for a place to play competitively. 

The current president of RRG is Zach Beesley. The organization has a seven-member structure of officers. The club focuses on Esports, but RRG welcomes all types of gamers.

Esports is the shortened term for “electronic sports,” video games that are played competitively. Often, large sums of money are offered to teams competing in Esports tournaments. 

The group’s faculty advisor is Brent Floyd. Outside his role as advisor, Floyd is an important figure to RRG.

“I do want to give a shoutout to Brent. He is a fantastic human,” Beesley said. “There are some administration things that we go through him to talk about. He gives us guidance. He acts like a big brother figure to the club. He is incredibly important.”

For Beesley, the gaming culture at UTSA is “a lot larger than people like to admit.” There is a stereotype about gaming, and Beesley hopes that RRG is a safe avenue in which people can discuss their love for gaming. Beesley goes on to explore the community that competitive video games can bring. Like people watching their favorite sports teams, Beesley and the rest of RRG root for their favorite Esports teams.

“For video games, it gives a sense of community — they can get behind a team. For example, my dad likes the Dallas Cowboys, so he and a lot of his buddies are excited about backing the Cowboys. For us gamers, all of us [can] watch Envy Gaming, Team Liquid or FaZe Clan. These are teams that we can back, and at that point, it creates another community that all of us are super excited to be a part of, just like someone watching their favorite football team.”

An example of accessible, competitive gaming can be found in Southwest San Antonio. The Tech Port Center + Arena is a multipurpose venue that hosted a video game tournament in May of this year. The event was called FORCECON and served as a bridge between technology, innovation and gaming. RRG sent a team to compete in FORCECON’s Halo Infinite tournament. The team made it to the quarterfinals. Beesley spoke about the importance of a dedicated gaming space in San Antonio

“Having a place to play is critical. It is huge. Places like Tech Port, Shenanigans or other cyber cafés offering memberships to come to play are essential,” Beesley said.

Currently, the university does not allocate any funding to RRG. Though Beesley hopes in the future that will change. 

“Most of the funding comes from within ourselves,” Beesley said. “We rely a lot on BestFest and the annual Halloween party that we host. Other than that, it’s all internally funded; there’s not much that we can get from the school. That’s just how it is.”

An essential step for RRG is establishing that gaming is a safe space. Beesley wants RRG to be a place where people can come to game and have a good time.

“[RRG] is very community-driven. It’s all about the people [who are] in the community, in the Discord and the RowdyLink. One of the things we put out is there is no discrimination. You come here [and] you find a safe place in Roadrunner Gaming … ‘Oh, you play games? Well, come hang out with us,’” Beesley said. 

Floyd highlighted that, from his perspective, RRG is a place where people can come to strengthen certain traits while also having a good time. 

“The variety of interests that students bring to campus is as varied as the students themselves; some students join organizations centered on advancing civil rights, others join fraternities and sororities, and still others look to engage with groups whose mission is to advance them in their professional careers. The importance of Roadrunner Gaming is it provides an opportunity for students to compete and engage with fellow students in an interest that suits them, but more importantly, it allows them to develop themselves as leaders and team players while doing something they love,” Floyd said.

RRG’s general meetings are more spaced out than some other campus organizations. As a result, their meetings are a bit more information-driven, with people often looking for new people to play games with or driving interest in their community nights. 

“When we talk to people, we’re like, ‘Hey, you play video games? This is your place. This is where you need to go,’” Beesley said. “You can come to the general meeting and hear how our teams are doing or [hear about] our events that are coming up. We talk about our Halloween party [and] our community nights, and people get excited. There is also some information on t-shirts or merch they can wear around campus.”

Beesley believes RRG is important to UTSA. Despite the success of some of their competitive teams, for Beesley, it’s about the people.

“I’ve always felt Roadrunner Gaming is an important thing to have on campus,” Beesley said. “One of the things I am proud of is that we’re very good at social events. We’re very good at doing people things … I’m proud of Roadrunner Gaming.” 

RRG will have its second general meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, in the MH Building 2.01.30. For more information, check out their RowdyLink and Instagram, @rrgutsa.