Visitors stepping into City College’s Student Center last Thursday were transported to a different world. Loud cheers filled the main hall as young adults furiously mashed buttons on handheld controllers, their eyes affixed to large projector screens awash with color.
Members of the Games Club were warming up for the first video game tournament of the semester. The tournament was the first of three planned events where members, new and old, battle it out in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Tekken 7.
To the founders of the club, it’s all about bringing people together and creating a community.
“We’re trying to make this as close to a traditional college experience as possible,” says Leo Melton, vice president of the Games Club. “(It’s) a community, it’s their friends, their interests.”
That club is made up of students from diverse backgrounds, and it celebrates a wide variety of games that appeals to a broad range of students. Video games, board games, tabletop games, playing cards and even chess can all be found at club events.
“We always have chess, chess is really big,” says Neil A. Sonico, president and founder of the club.
Chess may be big, but it’s not nearly as big as the club itself. The group has nearly 200 members and is steadily growing.
As gamers in the Student Center vied for first place, the Games Club’s booth outside had a steady stream of students stopping by to sign up for the email list and to get details on the club’s events.
The size of the club even surprised Tara DuVernay, one of the faculty advisers who helps run the student organization.
“[It’s] very active and a lot bigger than I imagined,” says DuVernay, a City College math professor.
A self-described gamer, DuVernay has even donated some of her own board games to the club for members to enjoy. In fact, the entire club relies on member donations and operates without any cost to the campus.
The popularity and success of the club even drew the attention of City College President Michael Gutierrez, who stopped by to talk with Sonico and watch some of the tournament.
The impact of the Games Club on the campus community is widespread and helps students form a relationship with the campus beyond classes, according to the group’s leadership.
“The club is a good way to meet people on campus and see them semester after semester,” says DuVernay.
As Melton said, Games Club is a community built around celebrating its members’ shared interests, and it’s clear the club is in high demand.
The Games Club meets every Thursday at noon in TEC 102 and plans to hold a tournament each month, with the next on Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. in the Student Center.