OP/ED: Regaining Your Game: Videogame Club Looking For Some Respect

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With the end of one semester and the start of the next, there are casualties during the turnover period. The changing of faculty, students changing colleges or graduating, the televisions in Vic Café that were working at the before winter break but now no longer turn on for some reason.

But the true victim of the turnover period is one of the most sacred institutions to a college, the clubs.

Clubs act as a way for students to meet others and form the vital connections that will get them through the year. Mercy college has many clubs, yet it has problems with turnover rates and sustaining those clubs.

All clubs form when a group of friends shares a common interest, with the club dissipating when the friends graduate from college. This makes it hard for the college to advertise a club since it never knows which clubs are even going to exist at the start of the year.

In order to truly have a club that would have a high rate of turnout, while also being able to sustain itself, the club needs to be broad enough to interest students.

The college does have that type of club, “The Mercy College Videogame Club,” however Student Life has done little to promote it.

Anthony Felip Suarez, a junior computer science major, was the vice president for the club for several semesters before stepping down and is familiar with how the club functions.

“Its less of a meet and more of a social event. It’s a good place to meet people,” said Suarez.

Unlike most clubs that aim to do charity work or bring Greek life to a commuter college, the video game club focuses more so on being a place where people who share a common interest. It’s the type of club people remember, the kind that makes people feel invested in the college’s inhabitants.

“Bread,” a music tech major and a sophomore who insists on being called by his nickname, is a club member who went from being a casual visitor to being its treasury secretary. He is also familiar with how these events usually go.

“Every Friday we bring in consoles and talk about video games while we play them. We mostly just fool around really. They aren’t that serious,” said Bread.

With a club that fosters community and brings happiness to its students, it would make sense for the college to support such a club’s activities.

However, that does not happen.

“We don’t mind. We are a pretty self-sufficient club, we bring all of our own equipment and everything” said Bread.

Unfortunately, the Mercy College Videogame Club has run into several problems over the years when it comes to operating at the college. Starting with simply trying to get a room to work out of.

“At first it wasn’t that bad, we would go set up in Victory café and everything would be fine. We would get a lot of “walk-ins” for the club. But then the TVs broke down and they blamed us. It was an HDMI port that was busted. No one knew why it happened. They told us to stop touching them. But it wasn’t our fault, all we did was plug consoles in. We didn’t break them,” said Suarez.

Several semesters ago, the TVs in victory café stopped working, leading to the scapegoating of the video game club for the damages. As a result, the club had to relocate to a separate room, twice, which damaged its presence. Furthermore, the college had scheduled events and seminars into the same rooms, forcing the video game club to delay starting or relocate.

“I didn’t mind being moved around until this semester,” said Suarez.

On top of room difficulties, the club has had issues with equipment. The former president used to supply game controllers for the club after he left that resource dried up.

“Remember when we used to have enough controllers? I sure do,” said Bread.

Games that could normally run between four to eight people have been reduced to two player experiences. Furthermore, the projector in the new room, 215 in Vic, has difficulties projecting sound and will cut out randomly during games. Some music will play when a game is running, but dialog can’t be heard. Entire fight matches had to be paused on one occasion due to the projector blacking out at random.

However, despite all the problems, the worst problem the club has faced is the lack of foot traffic. Its once large groups of rotating attendees have been reduced to a select few of die-hard and close friends.

Granted, the club agrees it shares some of the blame on that front.

“It was a very slow year, probably because we started later,” said Bread.

“I just hope we get more people next year,” said Suarez.

The club, between losing its president and having to cope with being moved around between rooms, had a delayed start of several weeks on top of being in a less than desirable room.

This situation was made further difficult when the college insisted on creating difficulties for the club when it did finally get itself sorted.

“We had posters printed and approved by the college, and they took them down rather quickly than normal. I know that because there are posters that have been up for months and haven’t been touched once,” said Bread when asked about advertising the club.

Furthermore, on top of preventing the club from advertising its existence, the colleges own Student Life had decided to run several events that would have been perfect opportunities for the video game club to partake in.

“At one point they tried doing a video game and pizza event. Another time they did a “Dave and Busters” trip,” Said Bread when reminiscing on past events that were set up on days that the club usually met on, adding that the Club was not involved in the event.

The club meets on Tuesdays and Fridays, these last two events were both held on Friday during the period of time the video game club would normally be operating under. Furthermore, these events weren’t set up by a newly formed club but were run directly by Student Life.

“It is weird,” said Suarez.

“It’s pretty disconcerting since it makes us feel like student life doesn’t care about us,” said Bread.

However, despite these issues, the club’s members still continue to meet as they usually do while hoping for a better year next semester.

“Will we exist past our current group?” commented Bread. “Only time will tell.”