With the College of Computer Studies already offering programs such as Bachelor of Science in Interactive Entertainment major in Game Development and Bachelor of Science in Interactive Entertainment major in Game Art and Design, it was only a matter of time before the University would decide to introduce several degree programs focusing on competitive gaming.
Enter the St. Mutien-Marie Wiaux College of Gaming (SMMWCOG). The college, which will be branded as the premier educational institution for world-class esports and gaming training, will be open for prospective ID121 students in Academic Year (AY) 2021-2022.
The University is currently setting up facilities and hiring faculty to accommodate the first batch of SMMWCOG students, with new programs and courses in store for them as well. “A new age is upon us,” declares University Chancellor Br. Bernard Oca FSC. That new age, he clarifies, is the “age of gaming”.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Development Josemari Calleja discloses that the St. Mutien Marie Hall renovations are expected to be complete by April of next year. “Renovations will begin this April 1, and our goal is to finish everything within a year,” Calleja plans.
Preparing for the “age of gaming”, Vice Chancellor for Academics (VCA) Dr. Robert Roleda reveals one of the main programs to be offered next school year: the Bachelor of Science in Esports Management or BS-EM. Roleda explains that this program is “like a merger” of a variety of Business and Information Technology courses, helping form a foundation for aspiring students who “want to manage and mold [gaming] teams and players.”
The curriculum also places heavy emphasis on strategy, Roleda stresses. Required reading will include classics such as The Art of War and Minecraft: Guide Book Collection, which will form the core of the Strategy Compromises (GMSTRCO) foundational subject.
Video games and esports will not be the sole focus of the new college, according to Roleda. Trading card games—such as Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: The Gathering, and Cardfight!! Vanguard—will also be studied by SMMWCOG students. These subjects, he reveals, will be featured in the Bachelor of Science in Card Fighting or BS-CF program.
Roleda, who admits to being a fan of Yu-Gi-Oh!, further expresses, “Students will really know what it feels like to be the ‘King of Games’.”
Aspiring game masters will also get a chance to apply for a Bachelor of Arts in Board Games Sciences or AB-BGS, where games such as Snakes and Ladders and Scrabble are given the spotlight. The program offers students to “look deeply” into the structure of board games and come up with possible strategies—all to become adept at “outsmarting opponents and maximizing efficiency” with the situation handed to them.
The VCA says that this academic program helps students become one step closer to becoming great “strategists, [a quality that is] quite needed right now, [given] the current state of the country.”
Given the special focus of SMMWCOG, Oca reveals that the prohibition of cards around campus may be lifted starting AY 2021-2022, pending the decision of the Academics Council and the Student Discipline Formation Office.
The very best
Becoming “globally competitive” against other players is the “main goal” of SMMWCOG, Oca emphasizes. In order to help Lasallians become the “very best, like no one ever was”, the Chancellor divulges talks to hire professional gamers and strategists to train the skills of the future students.
Among those already being scouted by the University for the next decade is three-time League of Legends (LoL) World Champion Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Video game streamer Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek and Dota 2 player Johan “N0tail” Sundstein are also in talks of being under contract with DLSU, Roleda notes, revealing that these esports veterans will be among a pool of faculty assigned to teach Decision-making Skills (GMDMSKI) and GMSTRCO—foundational courses that students will take up during their first term.
Lee will also specialize in the course major Tapping Carry Potential (TPCARRY), which hones a student’s ability to contribute heavily to a “subpar performing” team. Additionally, Roleda clarifies that the subject can only be taken by students who have gaming accounts boasting a “high rank” in some of the online video games to be used in the subject, including LoL and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
Professional first-person shooting game player Herschel Beahm IV, also known as Dr. DisRespect, is also under contract with DLSU starting AY 2021-2022. Unlike Lee, Beahm will mainly cover topics like hand-eye coordination and reaction time improvements in the subject Fundamentals of Coordination (FNDCORD).
Becoming “globally competitive” does not just mean learning sessions with professionals; world-class facilities also come into play in enhancing student learning. “As the renovation of Gokongwei Hall comes to an end, the University administration has set their sights on [St.] Mutien Marie [Hall],” Oca announces.
The University Chancellor reveals that St. Mutien Marie Hall will house top-shelf equipment, including 70 “state-of-the-art” gaming computers, provided by NVIDIA Philippines. Painting the building green alongside NVIDIA is Razer Philippines, who will supply the school with gaming peripherals like mice, headsets, and keyboards.
Once the renovations of St. Mutien Marie Hall are complete, Oca promises that students will be greeted with computer laboratories on the building’s first floor. The second floor, on the other hand, will mainly be used for board games and trading card classes. Housing Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 units, a console room is also included in the plans for students taking up electives such as Nintendo in the Modern World (ELECNTD) and Loot Box Predictions (ELECLOOT).
Telecommunications company PLDT has also promised greater access speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second.
Roleda, assuring that the University is prepared for esports as the “next big thing”, envisions that this move will inspire younger generations and aspiring Lasallians to become competitive against countries such as South Korea, who have dominated the esports scene. “We hope that this will open to students a new industry to explore, both locally and internationally,” he states.