How Do We Choose Games for Competition?

One of the frequently asked questions we receive is, “why did you choose this game for competition instead of that game?” We’ll tell you upfront that choosing titles each season isn’t an easy task. There are a number of different factors that have to be taken into account when we choose a title for competition. 

Cost and Accessibility of a Game

We want to ensure that it’s not cost-prohibitive for our clubs to compete, so we choose titles that are easily accessible to our community. One of the benefits of starting a NASEF club is the fact that it’s free to join, and we strive to keep the cost for clubs to participate as little as possible. We’re always working to form partnerships with corporate sponsors who can provide benefits to our clubs, such as discount codes or promotions to help keep expenses low.  For example, with Overwatch, it’s a pay-to-play game, but NASEF offers access to free licenses for the tournament, thanks to our partnership with Blizzard Entertainment! 

Diversity of Playership

There are different types of diversity that we look for. We examine player demographics like race and gender, and also take geography into account. We don’t want a particular region or group of players to have an advantage over others because they’re more familiar with the game. We also do our best to choose titles that are popular in all regions where our clubs compete. 

Popularity

When we choose a popular title, it increases the chances that more of our players have had a chance to become familiar with the gameplay. Even though a game is popular, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has had a chance to play it yet. 

If we choose a strategy-based game like Hearthstone, players who enjoy Fortnite might not have played it before. We believe that choosing different types of games to compete in is fun because it exposes our players to games they might not otherwise play. 

Rating

We are a high school esports federation and have to be sensitive to the fact that we’re an educational organization. The content that we promote to our students matters, and NASEF takes this responsibility seriously. 

Games are rated on a scale by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB from E (Everyone) all the way to M (Mature). NASEF chooses games for competition that are rated no higher than T (Teen). Regardless of the rating, there should always be an open dialogue between students and adults who supervise gameplay. Parents and guardians of students who play video games should be mindful of ratings as well as the themes featured within games.

Our Community

One of our most important factors in choosing our titles is the NASEF community! We love getting feedback from our students and general managers with regard to the games that you want to play each season. 

It’s impossible to make everyone happy. However, based on the feedback we’ve received each season we think that so far we’ve done a good job of selecting games that are age-appropriate, popular, affordable, and fun. 

What Games Does NASEF Recommend? 

Clubs aren’t bound by the titles we choose. If they opt-out from our season’s title, they can definitely choose their own games to play. 

One of the questions we’re often asked is if there is a list of games that we recommend. The following is not an exhaustive list, but it should get you started on choosing titles for your student that could be age appropriate. 

Game Titles for Everyone

  • Brawlhalla | Blue Mammoth Games
  • Clash Royale | Supercell
  • FIFA 19 | EA Sports
  • Hearthstone | Blizzard Entertainment
  • NBA 2K19 | Take-Two Interactive
  • NHL 19 | EA Sports
  • Rocket League | Psyonix
  • Smash Melee | Nintendo
  • Smash Ultimate | Nintendo
  • Splatoon 2 | Nintendo

Game Titles with Supervision | Open Communication (aka T for Teen)

  • Apex Legends | Respawn Entertainment
  • Dota 2 | Valve
  • Fortnite | Epic Games
  • League of Legends | Riot Games 
  • Overwatch | Blizzard Entertainment
  • Teamfight Tactics | Riot Games

Games we understand people play, but the content is pretty mature. The more veteran gamer may be interested in these titles, but we do not recommend without supervision by any means:

  • Call of Duty (franchise) | Activision
  • Counter-strike: Global Offensive | Valve Corp
  • PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds (PUBG) | PUBG Corp.
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege | Ubisoft

Please keep in mind that every student is unique, and what is appropriate for one student may be completely different than another. There are a number of factors to consider, age being just one of them. We encourage you to follow our blog and social media channels for more information on healthy gaming, and to learn how NASEF incorporates esports as a tool to improve students’ education.