Esports: More than Just the Game

There is more to her than being the only woman on the Valpo Esports team. Shannon Hollinrake ’22 is a computer science major with a minor in music. While Super Smash Bros. is her expertise, she decided to join the League of Legends Esports team. This only hits the surface of her dreams and passion to impact the gaming world.

“I thought, if it was a team of gamers, I wanted to help build it up, because this is my passion, and I think it makes a lot of people happy,” Hollinrake says. “Games have always been my favorite pastime. I love the worlds they immerse us into and how games help us explore deep life questions. They’re also a way to relax for me — not every game has to be deep to be fun.” 

Due to her passion for games, she looks to share this gaming experience with others. 

“I want to give others the same experience that games do for me,” Hollinrake says. “I want to make people have that immersive experience where they learn from the game. It can make them feel nostalgic or be in disbelief that someone thought of this whole new world.”  

Like many Valpo students, Hollinrake has enjoyed getting involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, including a crossover with another one of her passions, Japanese pop culture. 

“In middle school, I was bullied a lot,” Hollinrake says. “I began playing my Nintendo DS, and it had a feature called Flipnote Studio. It had little notes that people would draw and add sounds to; it felt like an animation. I came across a Japanese song called ‘Melancholic.’ I wanted to try to find more songs like that since I thought it was catchy.” 

With her passion and experience in gaming, she has been exposed to unique career opportunities for her future. 

“I thought I could create games with music, and hopefully be a game designer or someone in the sound design department,” Hollinrake says. “The classes that I am taking right now are geared toward programming correctly, and I had previous programming experience in my last year of high school.”

As the only female member of Valpo’s first Esports team, Hollinrake is already thinking of the ways women can pave their way in gaming.  

“I do hope that more than one girl is playing the games with us in the Esports lounge, not just the occasional people that come visit the guys,” Hollinrake says. “I would just like to see more genuine players. I don’t like the distinction that it is a guys’ sport because we are both equal in how we train ourselves.” 

Beyond Valpo, Hollinrake wants to see women excel in the gaming industry worldwide.