By Katy Shenk
Student Life Editor
Joining the host of Student Interest Groups on campus is the Washington College Association of Gamers, founded by sophomore Dominic Ryan C. Vince Cruz. Below, Cruz explains how the group began, what members can expect, and what they hope to contribute to campus.
The Elm: Why was the Washington College Association of Gamers started?
Dominic Ryan C. Vince Cruz: It started with a conversation. I remember I had simply been sitting around with some friends after some evening activity in Hodson, when the conversation turned to the lack of a gaming club on campus.
I personally remembered being somewhat reclusive my freshman year, and remiss there was not many places on campus where nerds like me could get together with other wacky people who loved things like anime and video games.
So, I mused, offhandedly and not all that seriously, how cool it would be to have a video game club on campus. And two of my friends actually got really excited by the prospect and said there should be one. So I decided to get some friends together, and see if it could be done.
I should also mention, the games we play will also be, as a practical matter, based off of what’s available collectively between us members. Between just the founders, myself, Hillary Hwang, and Sterling Boardley, we actually collectively own a fair number of games, but we’ll still have to see what’s available from any willing members who want to share, which at least is a little easier, since most of the initial members are people we know or are friends with.
The Elm: What kind of video games will be played?
DC: The type of video games played will probably be a case of “make-it-up-as-we-go” but I can probably say what some considerations will be.
In this respect, a lot of Nintendo’s content is usually good. “Smash Bros.,” “Mario Party,” “Mario Kart,” “Arms:” all the party games Nintendo tends to make that encourage that “couch co-op” a lot of modern lifestyle games tend to miss out on.
“Rocket League,” which I recently started trying out, is another example of a prime candidate for our sessions, being such an approachable game in terms of controls, and allowing for 4-player co-op local, a rarity in games outside of the Nintendo platform nowadays.
That said, I wanted to also find a way to incorporate single-player games in some fashion, just because there’s so much raucous beautiful content hidden in a lot single-player games that the average casual gamer might not get to see.
The Elm: How often do you plan to meet as a club?
DC: We are still a little early in planning, meaning we are working on setting this up. We generally want to meet for 2×2 hour sessions, we’re just not sure of the time or place yet, considering we need to apply for a room, and figure out where we can find the maximum number of monitors in one place.
The Elm: How will this group be different from the WC Interactive Gaming Society (WIGS) or the new E-Sports Club?
DC: WIGS actually doesn’t touch video games, despite similar nomenclature. They handle board games, tabletop, card games, Dungeons and Dragons, chess, and other forms of physical games.
Though these are games in some similar sense to video games, in terms of interaction and surrounding culture, it’s a bit like comparing UFC kick-boxing to NASCAR racing as sports.
As per the new E-Sports club, again, I would like to emphasize that we are making a more casual club meant to appeal to a wider audience, some of whom may know very little about gaming, and gaming subculture.
As a matter of pursuing this goal, and avoiding stepping on any toes, we will not pursue competition formally, though we may play for fun some similarly competitive games like ‘Smash Bros.’ and hold some informal tournaments.
The Elm: Do you have a group advisor?
DC: Yes, Professor Mook Lim, who will be at our first interest meeting whenever that is. He’s one of our astute economics professors, and a former gamer in his own right. Just ask him about PC gaming or arcades: he really knows his stuff.
The Elm: What will this SIG bring to the college?
DC: I hope it will bring some small sense of community to campus for people who have interest in this hobby we call gaming. I also hope it will bring some education about gaming culture.
We might try to weave unique events within our meetings. For one, besides just meeting up for the sake of gaming alone, we also wanted to try to explore gaming culture a little.
One recurring idea is holding watch-parties/viewings of video content related to the world of gaming. This could be anything from documentaries on gaming, to video-game based movies and TV shows like Netflix’s “Castlevania,” and “Red vs. Blue,” or any number great fan-based YouTube content.