When Robert Boon started playing desktop games as a boy, he never imagined that would take him on a path to the SEA Games.
His casual interest stepped up during National Service when he took up playing the mobile game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang to pass time.
He began gaming more seriously just before he started at NUS, and has competed in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Malaysia/Singapore thrice. The team came in first at the most recent competition in October 2019.
Robert, a Year 2 NUS Pharmaceutical Science student, is hoping that it culminates in a gold medal for him and his four teammates at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) being held in the Philippines.
Robert’s team will be competing in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang event. The aim of the multiplayer online battle arena game is to take control of the three paths connecting a team’s base with its opponents’ by fighting to reach and destroy the enemy’s base. The preliminary round for his event will be held on 5 Dec with the finals on 6 Dec.
Reflecting on his long journey from amateur to pro gamer, Robert shared, “One thing led to another and here I am representing Singapore in e-sports.”
His family members are his biggest supporters, cheering him on at competitions or watching his games live, but Robert has also credited NUS with helping him pursue both his education and his passion for gaming simultaneously.
“The upcoming SEA Games actually clashes with one of my exams, and my faculty is helping me to arrange another time and date to take the paper. Of course, my professors are understanding in the sense that they will let me miss classes for other competitions while offering any help if needed,” he said.
Including Robert’s team, Singapore has sent 20 competitors for e-sports, which was included in this year’s SEA Games after the successful lobbying of NUS alumnus Mr Tan Min-Liang, Founder and CEO of gaming devices company Razer.
It marks the first time that e-sports is featured at a multi-sport competition recognised by the International Olympic Committee. Razer will provide the software, hardware and services support for the e-sports events at Manila’s Filoil Flying V Centre.
Click here to read more about NUS students and alumni representing Singapore at the SEA Games.