The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Campus game clubs fulfill students’ desire to play


By Kenney Kost/ne news editor

Video games have worked their way into the mainstream over the last few decades, and a solid gaming community spans the TCC district.Computer science instructor Donald Cunningham started the Game Club and the certificate program on South Campus. The Gamers United club appeared on TR Campus, and students from all campuses share a desire to play.

For most, it is ingrained in them from early childhood. Some play with families to spend more time with each other. Others play for the competition and bragging rights associated with online gaming, and others play for the story and art of some of the more involved genres, such as role-playing titles like Elder Scrolls, Skyrim or sandbox titles such as the Grand Theft Auto series. Others play older titles on vintage systems for the nostalgia.

Donald Cunningham, who teaches video game design, is also one of the founders of the Game Club on South Campus.
Photos by David Reid/The Collegian

“I’ve been gaming since second grade,” said NE Campus student Ryan Phaning. “I remember watching my sister play Mario 3, and it intrigued me. The Nintendo 64 was my first console, and it introduced me to several game genres that I hadn’t been exposed to.”

Phaning still has the Nintendo 64 and recently borrowed a Super Nintendo from a friend to play some of the older titles he missed. He still plays the original Warcraft real-time strategy game as well and a few other, older PC titles.

“I remember playing games in the ’80s. I played games on Commodore 64 and Atari,” said Macario Romero, assistant professor of English on TR Campus. “My first real impactful experience with gaming was in some of the older text-based games. It was fun seeing how your decisions affected the outcome of the game. I think this stemmed from my interest in choose-your-own-adventure books when I was a kid.”

Ryan Long of TR Campus said he loves the freedom one gets with some of the sandbox titles out today.

“In a game like Grand Theft Auto, I can do basically whatever I want,” he said. “I can work toward completion of the game, do side missions or just simply drive my car around the city taking in all the sights and sounds in the game, including the hilarious social commentary found on the radio stations in game.”

The medium has become a way to push art forward and a more involved storytelling process, Romero said.

Gaming is an art form, he said. Beyond the technical aspect, games allow for an expression of ideas, thoughts and creativity that can’t be found in many other mediums.

“Take a game like Fable III,” he said. “The game asks the player to make ethical and moral choices that are mirrored in how the game later unfolds. These types of situations allow for interesting conversation about ethics and morality that are mirrored in our own lives, and I think that is one of the major aspects of art. It asks us to question and reevaluate our own lives, perspectives, beliefs and choices.”

Many gamers play a breadth of genres, but one of them tends to be their specialty. For NE Campus student Kodie Kaker, her specialty is Call of Duty online.

“I love the fast-paced action and competitive level that you get from playing against other humans that you can’t get from AI in single-player games,” Kaker said. “The AI can’t think and strategize like a human being can, and that is what makes the experience unique to me, that and getting to talk trash to my friends when I [own]them.”

While all these genres and titles are great, some of them are not meant for the younger audiences. That is where the Nintendo Wii comes in, NE student Matt West said.

“I’ve been playing since the Atari days,” he said. “I play everything as long as it’s good, but I have a family, and a lot of my game time goes in that direction now.”

West bought a Wii to play some of the kid-friendly titles with his daughter to spend more time together. It helps strengthen the father-daughter bond.

According to the constitution of the Gamers United club on TR Campus, the club provides an environment for TR students to share access to video games and discover opportunities in video game academic programs and careers.

Cunningham said the Game Club shares these sentiments.

“I just want to give people the opportunity to do what they love to do,” he said.

Cunningham said it was interesting to look at the industry from this point of view over the years and watch the medium transform from pinball and arcade games into the 3-D home console games that exist today.

“The enthusiasm is great,” he said. “I enjoy helping students work toward their goals, so gaming has taken a completely different feel for me over the years.”

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