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Why Drexel’s Frank Lee is involved in a televised athletic competition for veterans

Adding eSports to tonight’s Triumph Games is about making sure video games are accessible for everyone. “We have to think more about Universal Access,” Lee said.

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The Triumph Games will air tonight at 7 p.m., and thanks to Drexel video game professor Frank Lee a whole round of competition will be dedicated to eSports.

The Triumph Games, launched by Philly-based OurVetSuccess, is a series of competitions where 12 veterans will, according to the website, “take the playing field of the future where technology & sports collide.”

The veterans — all of whom have faced life-changing injuries to become awarding-winning athletes — will be competing for $100,000.

The Triumph Games  are broken up into three rounds:

– Round 1: A triathlon and obstacle course a the LeFrak Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
– Round 2: An eSports competition live-streamed on Twitch
– Round 3: A motorsports challenge at Wilzig Racing Manor in West Taghkanic, N.Y.

For that second round, Triumph Games executive producer Mary Hagy called on Lee to figure out exactly how to incorporate eSports into their programming.

“She was hoping to have essentially an interactive game component to Triumph games,” explained Lee, a Teaching professor in the Drexel University Department of Computer Science, “and was seeking my advice on what that should be from the very beginning,” starting last spring.

When virtual reality or creating something from scratch where thrown out do to time constraints, Lee recommended doing something with eSports — the often live-streamed multi-player video game competitions that draw surprisingly large audiences. In the end, the Triumph Games will use the game “HearthStone” for its second round of competition.

The opportunity to help veterans was the first reason Lee wanted to be involved with Triumph Games. The second, more personal reason, had to do with accessibility in gaming.

“From a game point of view,” Lee said, “[Triumph Games] are addressing disability and the fact that as game designers its important that we have to think more about universal access and how we make games, how do we make game controllers and hardware accessible for everyone is important.”

Check out the Triumph Games tonight at 7-10 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.

Link to Article: http://technical.ly/philly/2015/11/11/triumph-games-esports-frank-lee/

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Amanda Suarez is a contributor to Technical.ly. In Fall 2015, she was the Technical.ly Editorial Audience Growth intern. A native of Northeast Philadelphia, she is a member of the University of Pennsylvania class of 2016.                     

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