Intellivision: 40 Years Later


by | Feb 9, 2019, 11:00AM PDT

Featured image courtesy of www.beeslife.com

Released by Mattel Electronics in 1979 (yes, that Mattel! As in Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, et al.), the Intellivison is a historic home video game console whose name comes from the merging of “intelligent” and “television”. Its development began in 1977, the same year the Atari 2600–it’s main competitor–was introduced. Word first broke in Spring 2018 that a reboot console was in the works.

UCI professors, Tom Boellstorff (Department of Anthropology) and Braxton Soderman (Department of Film and Media Studies), are keenly interested in a retrospective look at the Intellivision, a historic innovation in home entertainment and ancestor of modern gaming. From their flyer for last week’s colloquium:

“We are writing a book on Intellivision, provisionally entitled Intelligent Visions: The Intellivision System, Video Games, and Society. Intellivision, developed by Mattel Electronics in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is one of the most important but understudied home video game systems. In this informal talk, we will present this project, very much in progress, and introduce some key working concepts under development, including productive constraint, systems theory, and transplatform. We will explore our multidimensional approach to Intellivision as social history, computational infrastructure, design platform, and gaming space. Finally, we will discuss how Intellivision provides a crucial [alternative] history to Artificial Intelligence (AI), with consequences for anthropology and [science and technology studies].”

One focus of their academic inquiry involves inviting contemporary gamers from the UCI Esports family to play-test the console and see what feedback and observations they have to offer from a modern perspective. While hardware and software have grown by leaps and bounds in forty years, some basic fundamentals may still exist beneath the surface, waiting for sharp eyes and keen minds to perceive connections across the decades of time.

UCI students, staff, and members of the public alike are also welcome to come by the Arena during business hours–simply ask to play it for free in our Community Corner! (Pro tip: if one might typically jump straight into video games, it is highly recommended to read the instruction booklet in the game boxes if you want a smoother ride. **Tutorials did not exist in video games in the 1970s**.  But, if puzzling out how to play a game sounds like a fun game within a game, enjoy the game-ception!)

As the old TV shows would say, don’t touch that dial! Stay tuned for more. This announcement article is the first in ongoing coverage about this research project.

If you seek the Intellivison, quest into yon Community Corner and find the small screen CRT monitor beneath the LoL poster!

UCI Esports’ New Jerseys Revealed!


by | Mar 22, 2019, 6:00AM PDT

As our scholarship teams enter playoffs, we are excited to unveil our new jerseys for the current season. The new 2019 jerseys feature two variants – one for home games and one for away. Design efforts were headed by our Digital Marketing Intern, Nick Gasparyan, with support from fellow intern Allison Le (League of Legends and graphic design team manager) and design help from Dishanth Shankar Reddy (student graphic designer).

Together, Nick and Allison brainstormed ideas for the new jersey using a Pinterest board to correlate ideas, taking inspiration from other esports jerseys and experimenting color swatches. These ideas were then passed around to multiple people and some minor alterations were made – most notably from the input of Sebastian “Selectt” Vasquez, UCI Esport’s very own Overwatch scholarship team player. At the end of the brainstorming process, all was taken to Dishanth, who then brought the initial designs and their variations to the drawing board.

In an interview with Nick, he revealed that he wanted to create a new jersey that was “cool, innovative, and different”. He noted that as of now, there are few jersey companies that specifically cater towards esports collegiate programs. As a result, there is little room for more innovative designs to be produced by the companies themselves. Seeking to alter this trend, Nick decided to take action to move UCI Esports in a direction that would make us stand out from the rest.

One of the main issues Nick encountered was the actual rendering of the jersey design onto a feasible print file. As a solution, he worked with Archon Clothing (our current jersey sponsor) to bring the designs to life.

Moving from the 2018 design to the new, Nick noted that an aspect of the previous design he enjoyed was the sponsor logos being displayed on the sleeves. This element was reimplemented into the new design, albeit on a smaller scale. This was done to make it easier to capture the logos on camera during events, as compared to stretching out the logos, which would make them harder to recognize from a distance. “[This way] our sponsors can get the attention they need.”

Another choice detail on the new design worth mentioning is the new strip on the jersey that displays the in-game name of the player. Compared to previous designs that only displayed in-game names on the back, the design now boasts the names in front as well. This gives even more attention to the players’ identities, as cameras can easily capture both the players’ faces as well as their in-game names. Nick notes that the main inspiration for this change was the designs of Overwatch League/Contenders jerseys. “It gives them more of an identity of where they are on the team. You don’t only know their name, you know how they play, and what to expect.”

Next time you visit the UCI Esports Arena, be sure to check out the jersey wall and see for yourself how the designs have transformed over the years. You might even see the newest design being sported by our very own scholarship teams!

UCI Esports’ Summer Camps 2019


by , Alice Lee, Kathy Chiang | Mar 14, 2019, 11:00AM PDT

We are excited to bring back our Youth Summer Camps for this upcoming summer! Our camps are fun and educational events in which campers will receive in-depth knowledge about the esports industry or how to improve their gameplay.

Our target audience consists of high school students in their junior or senior years interested in pursuing a career in the ever-expanding esports industry. However, we still encourage anyone who is interested to apply, as we may make exceptions based on qualifications and circumstances.

There will be three summer programs in total, each with a specific focus in mind: Girls in Gaming Camp, League of Legends Bootcamp, and Overwatch Bootcamp.

Girls in Gaming Camp

The Girls in Gaming Camp was created for young women who have a strong passion for gaming and will explore a variety of gaming-related topics such as streaming, game development, competition, and more! We will be joined by guest experts from all across the gaming scene to share their own story and insight – with a focus on professional women and their day to day lives in the currently male dominated industry.

This is a day camp run from Monday through Friday with unique talks and activities planned for each day in our very own esports arena.

League of Legends Bootcamp & Overwatch Bootcamp

Both of these camps are geared towards players who hope to play at the collegiate or professional level. They will be led by our UCI Esports scholarship players and coaching staff. Campers will not only receive strategic coaching throughout the duration of the camp, but they will also have the opportunity to learn about team play, communication, and VOD review at a professional standard. If you want to take your game to the next level, this is the place to start!

Unlike the Girls in Gaming camp, our bootcamps are a 7-day overnight program that comes with on-campus housing, meals, and unlimited access to our esports arena.

Applications are open TODAY in our Camps section! Camp prices and deadlines are located on each camp’s page. You can also reference our schedules from past camps.

As the dates draw closer, stay on the lookout for future updates as we finish inviting this year’s guests and developing the 2019 curriculum.

A Look into the UCI Esports Fitness Program with Haylesh Patel!


by | Mar 10, 2019, 6:00PM PDT

In a recent article we touched upon UCI Esport’s fitness program as part of a series on how our scholarship players use the program to stay fit and active. Here, we will explore the program in depth and learn exactly how it is run! Haylesh Patel, the man behind the UCI Esports fitness program, was kind enough to give us the inside scoop on what his role entails and how he helps our scholarship players achieve their fitness goals!

Originally from New Zealand, Patel studied at the University of Auckland and holds a Masters in Exercise Science. He is also a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine and currently works in the Cardiac Rehabilitation department at Hoag Hospital. Beyond his duties at Hoag, he also works for UCI Campus Recreation at the Anteater Recreation Center (ARC), functioning as a personal trainer for staff and students. To round it all off, Patel is also the UCI Esports scholarship teams’ designated Exercise Physiologist.


“One of my key aims with UCI Esports is to improve our players overall health, wellness and improve their performance (physical and mental).  I have designed and created a health and wellness program for the two scholarship teams that looks to improve all aspects of health.”

Haylesh Patel, Exercise Physiologist

Based on his current set of occupations alone, it is clear that Patel works with a wide variety of people and has great experience in doing so. We inquired how Patel and his fitness program cater specifically to scholarship esports players. Due to their practice hours and the strain on certain muscles during gaming, scholarship players requires careful attention. “The last thing we want to do is overload the players and place any undue stress and strain on their muscles and joints,” Patel notes. In order to avoid overexertion, the practice hours of the players are constantly monitored throughout the year. Their workouts are then adjusted based on their current physical state. According to Patel, “the scholarship players must balance school, gaming, and other personal commitments in order to be successful in all aspects”. With this in mind, he has crafted a specialized health and wellness program for them – both manageable and effective.

“We are using a holistic approach to health and wellness with a heavy emphasis on strength and conditioning specific to improving their physical fitness and trying to enhance cognition,” says Patel. Among the scholarship players, there is already a rift between their current statuses in physical fitness (referencing aerobic fitness and strength in particular). While some players partake in regular exercise, others were unfamiliar with it. Patel notes that this renders prescribing exercise routines a little tricky. Even so, he works hard to craft both challenging yet doable workouts for each individual player.

Every week, the scholarship players (in groups of 2-3) meet directly with Patel at the local gym. From there, they first workout altogether under Patel’s guidance, averaging from an hour to an hour and a half. In addition to working out together, each player has their own individualized exercise program to carry out by themselves between meetups. This allows Patel to help players on a more personal level. These individualized exercise programs are personalized to what the player in question wants to improve on – whether it be weight loss, building muscle, or even stress relief. Based on their preferences, Patel creates a regimen and works closely with the players to ensure success in achieving their goals. In addition, he also provides for other aspects of health, such as sleep and nutrition, by providing tools and resources for the players to use in their daily lives. While the fitness program is by no means mandatory for the scholarship players, many have chosen to take advantage of Patel’s professional expertise.

This concludes this week’s Fitness Program series. Up next, we will be featuring interviews with two scholarship players and will go into depth on their own fitness journey, and how the program has impacted their lives!

Interview by Gianeen Almaria and Nathan Dhami.