RIT students win national championship for video gaming

RIT students win national championship playing "Dropzone"

Rochester, N.Y. - Two RIT students won a national video game championship playing Dropzone, earning the first place prize of $2,500, computer goodies and $250 for RIT's intramural esports club.

Sylvia Mosquea and Bryson McIver told 13WHAM they logged nearly 50 hours of practice time ahead of the month long tournament in the Collegiate Starleague.

"I was not expecting to take first place. It was a dream, and once we hit top four it was really tight. It just feels amazing to have made it that far," said McIver, a computer security major.

"It's more money than I've ever made playing games before, which is zero," said Sylvia Mosquea, a video game design major who said players control three characters at the same time in Dropzone. "It's really mechanically intensive because you have to be around the entire map looking around what's happening."

This is RIT's esports club's first major tournament title.

The students said the tournament was competitive, with the top 20 players around the world going for first place.

"It's so nice to win something and get some recognition and bring a cool name to RIT and put us on the map in the collegiate esports scene," said McIver.

New York lawmakers recognize the gaming industry is lucrative, and developers say the state will miss out on the chunk of its nearly $100 billion industry.

The State Senate and Assembly have re-introduced a bill to try and get a $25 million tax credit for music production and video game development.

RIT's game design and development program of about 180 students loses two out of every three graduates to jobs on the west coast, according to the university.

"New York in general doesn't have a hub yet right there. Almost like what fashion is for New York City, you don't have that like gaming hub right here in New York," said McIver.

Local state lawmakers support the bill. 13WHAM has learned the tax credit for video game development could very well be part of the state's final budget, but there is a chance lawmakers may have to try again in the next legislative session.

If you're interested in playing the game Dropzone, both Mosquea and McIver said the game will be free to play starting next Wednesday.

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