The different types of computer gamers taking part in the Singapore Campus League 2017 are worlds apart.
Mentioning the word "gamer" often brings forth a negative image. But many gamers do not live up to the stereotype of being overweight, teenage males who like to insult each other's family members over the microphone.
Here are the three types of players that we were surprised to see in Garena's ongoing Singapore Campus League (SGCL), as school teams from all over Singapore compete in the popular video game, League of Legends (LoL).
The All Rounder
Besides being the captain of the Singapore Polytechnic (SP) team, 18-year-old Zaheer Malik, who is playing in SGCL for the second time, is also a talented musician and sportsman.
Initially a casual gamer, Zaheer entered the competitive scene when his juniors wanted to participate in gaming tournaments. They eventually formed a team, played several practice matches (scrims) and took part in their first offline competition.
Since then, Zaheer has been approached by several who wanted to be part of his team.
His band, the HouseOfCapulet, has even won competitions such as CCK's Got Talent.
PHOTO CREDIT: ZAHEER MALIK
Apart from gaming (and being extremely proficient at it), the SP team captain also enjoys playing the guitar in his spare time. He was also the vice-Captain for his school's Sepak Takraw team, which became the national champion back in 2015.
Zaheer said: "I wake up in the morning, have breakfast, work out and train. In the afternoon, I study till two or three, then play League. I'll go for a run after that, and play musical instruments in my resting time. It's really about your time management".
There are some who see the SGCL as an opportunity to pursue their dreams of being professional gamers, such as 19-year-old Dominic Loh from team Sovereign.
Dominic (centre) discussing strategies with his teammates during a tournament break.
PHOTO CREDIT: DOMINIC LOH
For this tournament, the third year Temasek Polytechnic student sought to find the best team that his school had to offer.
"We were planning on taking the best players for each role. We met up a few times, got to know each other personally, hung out, and started training together as a team," he said.
Dominic (centre) at The Legends Circuit in 2016. His winning team took home $15,000.
PHOTO CREDIT: DOMINIC LOH
Dominic started playing the game about six years ago, and has participated in other League tournaments and even represented Singapore in the 2016 Garena Premier League Summer Split.
The gamers competing just for fun
There are also others who enter a gaming competition in the spirit of fun.
NUS students Jia Wei, Zhi Hao and Jade Lim first met online during a casual game and decided to form a team. In fact, their first physical meet-up was only during the offline qualifiers of the competition.
The team representing NUS in SGCL includes (from right) Jade Lim, Zhi Hao and Jia Wei.
PHOTO CREDITS: GARENA SINGAPORE
"Everyone looked different from what I expected," said Jia Wei, the 19-year-old team captain.
Being one of the few girls in the competition, Jade Lim, 21, also found this lack of familiarity a challenge. She said: "As a girl, when you listen to the guy's voices, they all sound the same. So, when Beng Hwee, my ADC (Attack Damage Carry), screamed for me to shield him, I thought it was Jia Wei shouting, and I was wondering why."
Apart from voice-to-face recognition difficulties, the team also struggled to find time to train together. Zhi Hao said: "When we formed the team, we were actually still in school term. And when we fought in the qualifiers, it was finals week."
The 20-year-old Electrical Engineering student's parents were also not very supportive of his involvement in SGCL.
He said: "Most JC and Poly students like to scrim at night, but I have to sleep by 11, so I had to beg my parents to allow me to play until 12."
The SGCL Finals Offline Event will be held on July 1-2 at the *SCAPE Ground Theatre.
BANNER/TEASER IMAGE CREDIT: ZAHEER MALIK