GAME ON: Hot Tech Opportunities to Explore at Arkansas Schools

By Julia Shands on Monday, October 25, 2021

Julia Green had always been a bit of a gamer, but when some friends introduced her to the esports club at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, she fell in love with the gaming world and immediately became an active member. She enjoys UA Little Rock’s esports club because it brings together the gaming community on campus.

“We get together once a week in a computer lab. People bring their computers and consoles, and we play video games together and just hang out,” Green says. They also sponsor students who want to form an esports team and help them organize gaming tournaments.

As president of the esports team, Green is excited to help the university expand its gaming lounge. She hopes to bring different games and gaming devices to the lounge to engage students and give them a nice space to play.

Julia Green demonstrates UA Little Rock's virtual reality equipment.

Along with esports, Green is one of the lead developers for a project on campus known as the “360 Projects,” in which they create 360-degree virtual reality tours of different locations on campus.

“We’ve been working on one specifically for the marketing department where we use a 360-degree camera and take photos with it around campus, then we make an actual tour application and you can either view it on the web, or you can put your phone in a device made of cardboard and hold it up like glasses,” Green says. “We’ve also developed applications for your phone where people can hold their phone up and turn around like they’re actually standing there.”

Green is just one example of Arkansas students bringing their love of gaming to the classroom to campus and, hopefully, into their future careers — are you ready to play?

Game On in High School

The Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) approved esports as a varsity sport for high schools in 2019 — only three games are currently approved, however, including League of Legends, Smite and Rocket League. Students compete against other schools and vie for a spot in the annual Esports Arkansas High School State Championship.

Major League

If you’re a passionate player, go beyond varsity and intramurals by majoring in computer game and animation design at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, considered one of the top degree programs for this in The South and the state.

Turn to our degree directory to see all the Arkansas schools offering game and interactive media design programs!

Not Too Cool for School

The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith now offers an esports intramural sports league — joining the likes of UA, ASU, UA Little Rock, SAU, North Arkansas College and Henderson State University (who was the first to offer scholarships and dedicated funding for esports students!) to name a few.

Esports intramurals allow students to be competitive playing popular games like Call of Duty, Madden, NBA 2K, Fortnite, Rocket League and more (varies by the college). Gamers compete against teams from other colleges and universities.

Fun Fact!

More than 80 U.S. universities have esports programs that include scholarship opportunities.