Chico State opens esports gaming lobby on campus


University President Gayle Hutchinson plays Mario Kart with students. Photo taken by Sam Kyes on Sept. 1.

Chico State’s Wildcat Gaming Lobby had its official opening on Sept. 1, drawing in many gaming-enthused students and staff alike. Whether playing competitively on PC or playing rounds of Smash Bros., people were able to find something fun to enjoy in the newly opened lobby. 

The gaming lobby — which has been in the works for a few years —  is a place for members of the esports gaming club, as well as students who just want to hang out and play video games.

Angel Tapia, a staff member and the lobby’s social media coordinator, said the lobby will be open from 2-9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It is free to all students.

In the lobby there are high-end PCs for playing popular esports titles such as Call of Duty, League of Legends and Rocket League. It also houses video game consoles like the Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series X to play popular games such as Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart and Fall Guys.

Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson, attended the opening and gave a speech during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“When I started some years ago, I was approached by the club and they were like ‘Hey, we want a lobby. We want a stadium.’ And so, I know that kind of set in motion all of these great ideas,” Hutchinson said. 

She said she was a “gamer wannabe” and that one of her favorite games is Mario Kart, of which she challenged students to a few rounds. Most students stood around to watch her race, some swapping out with whoever won the last round. Hutchinson got really into the game even turning her controller like a steering wheel. 

Though she did her best, Hutchinson couldn’t quite beat the students she competed with. However, she walked away satisfied with her performance.  

“I think I did okay for not playing like ever,” Hutchinson said.

Kendall Ross, director of recreational sports, said this lobby would be an affordable way for students to play and compete in games.

“Technology and gaming can be very expensive,” Ross said. “This is going to lower those barriers of financial restrictions for students and to increase participation.”

The Wildcat Gaming Lobby is located in Whitney Hall on 711 Warner Street, right next to Tehama Hall. 

Sam Kyes can be reached at [email protected].