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

Leveling Up! – growing popularity causes gaming industry expansion

TR Campus’ Gamers United club allows students opportunities to play together with not only video games but phone, PC and board games too.Ross Ocampo/The Collegian
TR Campus’ Gamers United club allows students opportunities to play together with not only video games but phone, PC and board games too.

Ross Ocampo/The Collegian

By Gerrit McDonald, Matthew McConathy and Ross Ocampo

Gamers United president and TR student Jennifer Foy said she first got into gaming because of her cousins back in the ’80s, when people still played Atari and Nintendo.

TR Campus’ Gamers United club allows students opportunities to play together with not only video games but phone, PC and board games too.Ross Ocampo/The Collegian
TR Campus’ Gamers United club allows students opportunities to play together with not only video games but phone, PC and board games too.
Ross Ocampo/The Collegian

She has been playing ever since.

“You can be any age and a gamer — it doesn’t discriminate,” Foy said. “That’s the great thing about gaming.”

Foy’s experience is not uncommon to many gamers. Thirty percent are between the ages of 18 and 35 and have been playing for an average of 13 years, according to the Entertainment Software Association, which surveyed 4,000 American households.

In addition, Foy’s love of video games reflects a large and growing trend in America. The ESA estimates that 155 million Americans play video games.Timeline

According to the NPD Group/Retail tracking service, sales of those games totaled $15.4 billion in 2014 — overshadowing the sales of both movies, which grossed $10.4 billion, according to boxofficemojo.com, and music, which made $11.8 billion as reported by riaa.com.

Of the 4,000 interviewed by the ESA, 42 percent play video games three hours or more a week. Forty-seven percent believe video games provide more value for their money compared to watching DVDs, going to the movies or buying music.

While it has been known as a predominantly male industry, female gamers have been around for a long time, Foy said.

“Over time, it’s starting to become acceptable for girls to be gamers, but we still have a long way to go,” she said. “Many female game developers such as Zoe Quinn are still harassed and receive death threats from gamers. Hopefully, one day that will stop.”

Quinn’s treatment might be seen as a deterrent to women interested in joining the gaming community, but statistics from the ESA show that women still make up 44 percent of gamers.

Manuel Olivio, Gamers United member and TR student, said he’s been gaming for as long as he can remember.

“I’ve always been fascinated by computers, so I’m a computer nerd myself,” he said. “Gaming was more of an extension of that.”

Olivio was 5 years old when he got his first Nintendo and said everything he could do with this console enthralled him.

“I was used to playing games at the arcade where you had to pay money,” Olivio said. “When you got your first console, you had access to video games, and it was free, and I mean like, wow, that’s even better.”

Graphics have gotten to the point where everything seems so realistic, like watching a movie, Olivio said.

“Being a part of the original [Gamers United] crew, the goal of our club was to not focus on the stereotype of gamer,” he said. “We wanted to branch out because there’s so much more to gaming. There’s the art aspect, the writing and the music to it.”

When Gamers United goes to recruit, Olivio said it looks for more than video gamers, including people who play on their phones, PCs, cards or even board games.

“I can easily say that games are a major stress reliever,” he said. “Throughout the course of the day, with school, work, family, sometimes you just want to get away from it all. Gaming is an outlet that you can use to do that because not everyone goes to bars or does meditation or yoga to relieve stress.”

Olivio said gaming, more often than not, gets a negative impression and is frequently associated with sitting at home instead of being constructive.

“I see it [gaming] as being constructive due to the fact that it’s relieving stress for me,” Olivio said. “It makes me feel better so I can be more productive for school. It’s useful.”

Shane Odom, Gamers United member and TR student, mirrored Olivio’s feelings.

“When I was a kid, I had a rough childhood,” he said. “I turned to video games as a means to cope, and it’s been something I’ve done ever since. I was 3 years old when I got my first Nintendo, and that’s when it all started.”

Odom said games have affected his life for the better and make a good outlet for any problems he may be dealing with.

“In high school and middle school, I was kind of an outcast, so I didn’t hang out with anybody. I was quiet and kept to myself,” Odom said. “When I got here [TCC], I came across Gamers United at Club Crawl, and I joined it. Ever since, I’ve had a great college experience.”

The ESA reported 56 percent of frequent gamers use the medium to build social bonds, spending at least six and a half hours a week playing online with others and five hours a week playing with people in person.

Dylan Robinson, a South student and Gamers United member, said he has been playing since 1998, beginning with Super Mario 64 on Nintendo.

“I’ve been to Gamers United a couple of times, and I’m still trying to get to know everyone,” he said. “Usually, I like to go to tournaments in different cities and meet the people there who come for a specific game. When you’re around people with common interests, it’s easy to make bonds and share ideas.”

According to the ESA, the statistics don’t only apply to friends. Gamers also feel that playing helps them bond with family (21 percent), parents (16 percent) and spouses (15 percent).

With the release of Halo 5, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Star Wars Battlefront and Fallout 4, this holiday season is expected to be significant not only for Gamers United members but the gaming community as a whole.

Both Odom and Olivio will contribute a fraction to the industry with both planning to buy Fallout 4, which currently costs $59.99.

“I’ve had Fallout 4 on pre-order for forever,” Odom said. “I pretty much can’t wait.”

With the holidays on the horizon, it’s clear that 155 million Americans will be doing more than exchanging gifts. They’ll be exchanging controllers as well.

 

Game Reviews

Halo 5
The fifth installment to the Halo series, Halo 5: Guardians (343 Industries) keeps new and returning fans satisfied with the best multiplayer experience in the franchise. But it leaves players empty-handed with a lackluster campaign that is hard to follow and convoluted.
The multiplayer returns to classic gameplay mechanics missing from Halo 4 as well as adding new game modes such as the new Warzone mode, which creates refreshing dynamic gameplay.
Halo 5: Guardians is available for Xbox One, and while the campaign has received mixed reviews, the core gameplay and multiplayer experience have received critical acclaim.
Score: 7.5/10

 

FALLOUT 4
Fallout 4 is set 210 years after World War III when natural resource shortages lead to nuclear holocaust. The story follows the player’s character as he or she embarks on a quest to find a missing son in a post-apocalyptic retro-futuristic wasteland.
The gameplay itself is centered on choice from where one explores and what interactions one undertakes in this open-world, open-choice role-playing game. The game also features multiple levels of customization that extends to the player’s character, weapons, armor and settlements.
Score: 9/10

 

RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a third-person shooter developed by Crystal Dynamics for Xbox One. The game plot is set one year after the events in the 2013 Tomb Raider game. Lara Croft is set to investigate a fabled tomb, and a company called Trinity has covered up events.
The game uses stealth techniques and goes on the offensive. There’s no set level of the game in times of stages. Users can go forward or backward. It’s a great game for users to explore open-world exploration graphics in the game and strategic game playing.
Score: 7/10

 

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT
Star Wars Battlefront is a first- and third-person-shooter based in the universe of the Star Wars franchise developed by EA as a reboot to the original Battlefront series.
With Battlefront able to hold matches with 40 different players, players can be a part of famous Star Wars scenes such as the Battle of Hoth seen in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, where players can join the Rebel Alliance to defend the secret Echo Base or the Galactic Empire to siege rebels with AT-AT walkers.
Star Wars Battlefront is available for all systems and has received mixed reviews despite capturing the essence of Star Wars accurately.
Score: 6/10

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Call of Duty: Black Ops III is a futuristic military shooter with an emphasis on harnessing advanced technology. The player is tasked with saving the world from a cybernetic threat in the campaign or simply killing as many opponents as possible in multiplayer.
The multiplayer, however, is where the game truly shines from the four-player cooperative campaign to the fully fleshed out zombies and multiplayer experience that the franchise thrives on.
Score: 7/10
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