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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Game tourney raises awareness

Photo+By+Joseph+Serrata%2FThe+Collegian.+TR+students+and+MHMR+clients+congratulate+each+other+after+a+match+of+Super+Smash+Bros.+Ultimate+during+the+Gaming+for+a+Change+tournament+Oct.+4+on+TR+Campus.
October 9, 2019 | Juan Ibarra | editor-in-chief
Photo By Joseph Serrata/The Collegian. TR students and MHMR clients congratulate each other after a match of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate during the Gaming for a Change tournament Oct. 4 on TR Campus.
Photo By Joseph Serrata/The Collegian. TR students and MHMR clients congratulate each other after a match of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate during the Gaming for a Change tournament Oct. 4 on TR Campus.

Video games were used as a tool to create a welcoming community and bring TCC students and clients from My Health My Resources together to raise awareness about mental health during the Gaming for a Change tournament event Oct. 4 on TR Campus.

Games such as Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter and Mario Kart were available for students to play both competitively and non-competitively. The different games and the tournament-style setup replicates EVO, an annual video game championship event with a focus on fighting games, according to assistant professor of English Johansen Quijano.

“I’m a gamer, and I love tournaments,” Quijano said. “I’ve been to EVO, and I have always wanted to get something like that going in Texas.”

GameStop had previously sponsored the Gaming for a Change tournament, but they decided to drop out of that role this year, so a local retro video game store, RetroBution Games, stepped in to sponsor the event.

RetroBution Games had a history with Quijano. He helped the store out when they first opened up by trading in a lot of his old games to the store, which they would later use as stock.

“I guess whenever he [Quijano] met us, and we bought all of the games from him, he decided a new local games store could help,” co-owner of RetroBution Games Joshua Billingsley said. “He saw a good opportunity there for us to help out.”

RetroBution provided consoles and games as well as a variety of prizes for the winners of the tournament, such as plush Pokémon, figurines and video games.

“I’m really happy to be here,” co-owner of RetroBution Games Sarah Reiter said. “It’s important to have conversations about mental health and disabilities, and it’s a cool opportunity to meet people who are in the area.”

Billingsley said he appreciated the event for bringing awareness to things most people don’t think about every day.

“It doesn’t feel like anybody here is getting treated any differently just because of their disability,” Billingsley said.

Although the event was labeled as a tournament, the larger focus was on uniting students.

“When I was younger, we didn’t have these kinds of events, which would have been great,” Quijano said. “So that’s what I try to do, I try to give students today what I wish I would have had when I was younger.”

MHMR activity coordinator Melissa Shores said MHMR’s goal in events like Gaming for a Change is to bring communities together and erase any stigma about intellectual or developmental disabilities.

A number of people don’t know much about IDDs, and it scares them so they try to ignore people who have them, Shores said.

“They’re just like everybody else,” Shores said. “And they want the same thing you do. They want a life of love, understanding and caring.”

Mixing the communities of TCC and MHMR is a good step toward reducing any and all stigmas surrounding IDDs, Shores said.

“I find that when we bring our consumers out, they’re more open and engaging with people than when they’re just at the dayhab,” she said.

Shores mentioned the last time the MHMR community was at the Gaming for a Change event, their clients couldn’t stop talking about it because of how much fun they had.

“They made friends and were excited, and then they went back and told everyone about their new friends,” Shores said.

MHMR client Samantha Gomez said although the tournament is fun, the best part of the experience is meeting new people.

“This is my first time coming here, and I like meeting new friends,” Gomez said. “We came over here to have fun, make friends and mingle with everyone.”

TR student Francisco Ramirez was happy to meet people who share a common interest with him.

“It was a fun experience, and I’m glad I met these people,” Ramirez said. “I hope I play against them again in the future.”

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