Warrior Esports Center: A new high-tech gaming hub and community space


A student uses a computer and a couple of Warrior Esports club team members hang out at their future headquarter, Esports Center at El Camino Library East Wing basement on Sept. 14. (Nindiya A Maheswari Putri | The Union)

What is now an old computer lab residing in the library basement will soon be home to the Warrior Esports Center, a community gaming hub containing 25 high-powered computers and a few Nintendo Switch systems capable of running a myriad of video games ranging from “Call of Duty” to “Super Smash Bros”.

In that same space, you’ll meet the Dean of Library and Learning Resources, Crystle Martin. With her electric blue hair and sporting a “Psychonauts” video game t-shirt, Martin is a gaming expert and strong advocate ofWarrior Esports Center.

Martin collaborated with the Dean of Health Sciences and Athletics Russell Serr, library staff, as well as other faculty and club members to create the Warrior Esports Center.

Her vision is a place where people interested in gaming can go to hang out together on campus.

Crystle Martin, PhD, MLIS, Dean of Library and Learning Resources, sits at her work desk inside her office during an interview with the Union on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Crystle Martin, Dean of Library and Learning Resources sports a “Psychonauts” video game t-shirt in the El Camino College Library on Sept. 20. Martin is a gaming expert and strong advocate of Warrior Esports Center. (Nindiya A Maheswari Putri | The Union)

“I actually did my Ph.D. research on gaming, so that’s kind of near and dear to my heart,” Martin said. “The way that we got the esports center in the library was [that] as the esports club was growing, they were looking for a space and we were interested in having a gaming space.”

Some universities have already established big competitive esports arenas and scholarships for esports team players. An esports team at El Camino will give one more career pathway for students interested in transferring to universities.

Currently, The El Camino College esports teams are comprised of 136 active members. On average, competitions garner 65 viewers for each game played, with one season consisting of 16 games.

“When you play an esports team, you still have to do the same kind of like learning, collaboration, teamwork, and tactics as a team, that you would if you were playing sports as a team,” Martin said.

Founder and President of the Warrior esports Club, Luisa Paredes, was heavily involved in revamping the Warrior esports Center. She worked with library staff to create computer specifications and a spacious layout.

“One of our goals is to achieve equity in gaming. There are people who do not have the financial means to play video games,” Paredes said. “For a long time [I] couldn’t play video games because I was broke.”

Luisa Paredes, Founder and President of Warrior Esports Club participates at the El Camino College Fall 2022 Club Rush. September 14.
Luisa Paredes, Founder and President of Warrior Esports Club participates at the El Camino College Fall 2022 Club Rush on Sept.14. (Nindiya A Maheswari Putri | The Union)

The new high-speed computers in the Warrior Esports Center will have specifications consisting of an “Nvidia RTX” 3070 Ti graphics card, AMD 5600 desktop processor, 16 gigabytes of RAM, a one terabyte SSD and two terabytes HDD for storage.

All component specifications will enable each computer to run modern video games at near limitless potential.

Paredes said that the center plans to implement a modular design that makes it easy for students to move computers around. They can rearrange the space for both tournaments and casual play.

Sam Park, a library staff member and student workers Angel Tapia and Moises Santander also helped with the center.

Park said students could add their games onto the computers but have to use the same PCs to access them. They can reserve computers in advance by using the library reservation system.

Tapia, esports club competitive director said that the center is a safe and inclusive space for all student gamers. As a competitive director, he enforces game rules.

“We’re gonna have competitive players, but we also want to have casual players as well,” Tapia said. “We just want to include those people, we don’t want them to feel marginalized or left out.”

The space welcomes all students whether or not they associate themselves with the esports club. Gaming experience is not required.

Warrior Esports Club members welcomed and answered questions from a student who visited their table at ECC Fall 2022 Club Rush. September 14.
Warrior Esports Club members welcomed and answered questions from a student who visited their table at ECC Fall 2022 Club Rush on Sept.14. Students got the chance to compete in “Super Smash Bros.” while attending the booth. (Nindiya A Maheswari Putri | The Union)

“It’s a space where collaboration is supposed to happen, learning is supposed to happen,” Santander said.

Santander said that Martin also considers developing a curriculum around esports in the future. Some faculties have shown interest in using the space and educational games to help students build math, communication, and creativity skills.

However, not all students knew about the esports center’s existence on campus.

Sheriff Abdrahman, a business student and President of the Black Student Union, showed interest in the new space.

“I’m not so much of an esports guy, but definitely will check out and play casually and even get better to play in competition,” Abdrahman said.

The Warrior esports Center is still awaiting 25 high-powered computers to arrive between late October and early November. The center is currently planned to be fully operational by Spring 2023.

In the meantime, the space is open for students, however, the computers are not yet updated and can only run “League of Legends.”

The Warrior Esports Center is located in the East Basement at the library. The center opens from 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m every Monday through Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.


Editor’s Note: Story updated for name spelling correction on Oct. 03, 2022 at 12:05 a.m.