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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College’s ultimate gamer

Mathew Boykins (left), and his friends enjoy a game of Tekken in City College's cafeteria in between classes. Photo by: Evan E. Duran || [email protected]

Many students complain about the size of their book bags. Imagine lugging a 14-inch TV around campus, a necessary evil if you plan to save the world from the comfort of your school’s café.

At City College, lurking in the depths of the café under the florescent lighting, the rotten orange-peel-toned walls scream loudly as the smell of pancakes and margarine circulate in the air. Student and competitive gamer Mathew Boykins, 20, sits with circular thin-rimmed glasses and outdated Nike training shoes, focused and ready to fight.

Boykins is perfecting his craft. Why else would he bear the silver 14-inch burden? If you’ve been to the City Café, especially in the morning, then chances are you’re familiar with the sounds of a low-budget karate movie echoing through the café.

“Kapow, whaah, don’t get God-punched, son,” rings though out the sleepy and groggy chambers of the café in the cold of 10 a.m.

No need to worry. These are Boykins’ war cries as he fights through another round of the video fighting game “Tekken.”

Although most would rather start their days with watered down coffee, stale doughnuts and the bore of a newspaper, Boykins knows the only way he can function is by starting his day with virtual martial arts and karate noises.

“Gamers start their day when the blood’s pumping,” Boykins says. “I’m awake and now I’m ready to play.” Boykins has been playing video games ever since he can remember and is aiming for a major in game design.

“I think I was born with a controller in my hand, ‘cause I been gamin’ forever,” Boykins says with a chuckle.

Boykins considers himself a competitive gamer, and as he spends his mornings in the café it’s like another early morning study session. Right?’

“He’s often talking about games I’ve never heard of,” says graphic communications professor Patrick Crandley, 30. “Ninja games, anime games–he often talks a lot about those.”

Boykins welcomes all gamers and non-gamers alike with open arms to join him and the league of gamers.

“Unless you’re a complete asshole, we’re not going to disown you,” says Boykins.
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Boykins religiously deploys his 14-inch TV and other gear for his daily virtual beatings. He loosely wraps a green blanket and sheet-less pillow around the TV to conceal noise.

He knows from experience how distracting video games can be. Students join together to overcome the stresses of college and relax for once by shooting and punching each other, virtually, of course.

What a way to relax.

“This is where childish behavior is encouraged, not disowned,” says Boykins.

Despite Boykins’ impressive gaming career, he is still learning through both victory and defeat.

Fellow gamer Rob Duncan, 24, focuses on his current match, stereo headphones glued to his ears as his black Giants baseball cap rests above his eyes.

The combination of silent and deadly, Duncan remembers the first time playing with Boykins.

“He never gave up. Resilient, persistent. That’s what makes a good sportsman, period,” Duncan says.

Students lunching in the café aren’t as impressed by the talents of Boykins and his peers.

“It’s college, it ain’t elementary,” says student Helina Ramirez, 18.

Although some may consider the group of loud and excited students in the back of the café to be “nerds” or “geeks,” Boykins and his league of gamers are making a statement.

“Most nerds and geeks control the system,” Boykins says. “If that’s the case, nerds rule the world, and I’m one of them.”

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