The smell of plastic game cases lingers in GameStop, as senior Tyson Lo enters with his older brother. Lo runs to the shelves, ecstatically perusing the new game releases and anticipating a present for his fifth birthday. At the same time, his brother makes a purchase at the cash register and surprises him with his first gaming controller, a gift that changed his life.
What started as a childhood bonding activity with his older brother evolved into an enjoyable personal hobby that Lo continues to pursue to this day.
“He would always invite me to play games with him and his friends whenever I was done with homework,” Lo said. “I also just had interests in recreational guns from the start, especially when my dad bought me my first Nerf gun. It was amazing how guns would work and the type of sports that are played using these guns.”
Going by the username “Cronos,” Lo has been playing airsoft and “Call of Duty” (COD) competitively with his team, AARPCQB, which stands for American Association of Retired Persons Close Quarter Battles, since 2019. Recently, Lo advanced to the SpeedQB Global Invitationals, a tournament of COD-inspired airsoft scrimmages played with two competing teams. The winning team will win a trophy.
“I joined this COD team to play competitively because there were trash talkers and doubters from the beginning saying that I wasn’t good enough,” Lo said. “Whenever I play, I keep what the doubters have said to me and use it as motivation to succeed. In the end, all the hard work I put into the tournament paid off.”
After eight hours of daily practice, Lo and his teammates won 10-8 against the European team and 10-5 against the Australian team in the finals. He recognizes that teamwork, communication, and self-improvement were crucial to his success as a competitive player.
“All the strategies were unique and different, but in the end, they always had a purpose,” Lo said. “The tournament was a two-on-two match. Against good players, the only solution is to always, and I mean always, try to single out or double team one player.”
Currently, he balances playing first-person shooter games competitively with playing less violent games, such as “Genshin Impact,” as a way to relax after a long day of homework assignments. Both have shaped him into the individual he is now.
“For the past few years, I have been playing games, and I learned many ways to solve a problem,” Lo said. “In short terms, it definitely improved my problem-solving skills as well as helped me learn how to stay humble instead of bragging.”
In March of next year, Lo looks forward to traveling to the Netherlands for a week of paid board and travel, where the Speed QB Global Invitationals will be taking place. Although Lo does not plan to pursue airsofting or gaming as future career paths, he will always appreciate the experiences of growing up with them.