KontrolOne provides a community for gamers in New Jersey

"KontrolOne: A Jersey Gaming Community was established in October 2019 to unite gamers locally, and eventually worldwide, to build a community to interact socially with one another." - Photo / KontrolOne on Facebook

Since the rise of online gaming, the activity of gaming has slowly become more and more of a solo venture. While someone may be playing with friends online, most times they are at their own house communicating via Discord or an in-game chat. Now it is more common to game alone, and to sometimes feel lonely while doing so. In order to combat this, a group of students and players across New Jersey have created a community known as “KontrolOne.”

Delaila Aguilar, a junior at Rowan University, was recruited by the creators of this community and shared her experience. 

“I ended up being a part of KontrolOne back in 2019 before the pandemic,” Aguilar said. “I ran into the founders of the group when I was working at GameStop and they were talking to me about how they wanted to create like a big community within the state of New Jersey basically, where gamers can just go have fun, make friends, and just share in friendly competition for whatever games they’re interested in.”

Aguilar explained that since KontrolOne is an independent project they struggle with a lack of sponsors. The two founders, Justin Carrels and Maxwell Taylor, took it upon themselves when they began in 2019. While in the process of recruiting, the team looks for other areas a new member can help. For example, a new member is taking the role as a videographer, while Aguilar herself took on handling graphic design for KontrolOne.

“I try to help making flyers and graphics and stuff,” Aguilar said. “Sometimes they will get independent people to create artwork. We’re trying to build ourselves back up after the pandemic because before is when we were sort of getting momentum.”

As a community, KontrolOne also hosts events that anyone is welcome to join at any time. These events occur all throughout the year and in different parts of New Jersey. Everyone is encouraged to attend regardless of past gaming experience or any prior competitive gameplay or knowledge. 

“One event that we’ll talk about is our Tekken event. It was a Tekken tournament we had. It was at a mall in Freehold,” Aguilar said. “It was a virtual reality kind of place where you could play games so we collaborated with the store themselves, and within there, we would collect a small fee from people to have a little cash pool basically at the end for the winners at the tournament. I lost my first match but it was still a great time and it was a lot of fun.”

Overall, KontrolOne is a less competitive environment and is geared towards building community and sharing their love for gaming and esports. The games selected for events are meticulously curated to be inclusive and encourage learning. Some of the games played the most in KontrolOne are Super Smash Bros, Call of Duty, and fighting games such as Tekken and Street Fighter. The variety of games KontrolOne has to offer spans multiple decades.

“Obviously if you’re a real diehard, you can come and play but that’s not our main focus to be competitive with each other. It’s just a fun environment basically to play considering how a lot of gaming is online,” Aguilar said.

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