Grizzly Gamers

Check out the Grizzly Gamers club Thursday/Friday on Brown days, in room E-5!

Brandon Ngo, Staff Writer

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The Grizzly Gamers club is on campus either Thursday or Friday on Brown Days. In room E-5, students come inside to meet up and socialize with others who enjoy playing games. Their mission statement is “To bring fellow gamers together in a group to socialize and to build friendships as well as support others in matters related to academics; we will also be discussing gaming culture, trends in games, and game developers.”

This may raise some skepticism. Gamers get used to pandering and people who don’t play games, looking from the outside in. An example being consumer products that capitalize on the label of “being made for gaming”. According to many news outlets in the past, violent video games potentially would cause real-world violence. (Games with controversies such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat etc.) In terms of history, the Video Game Industry has been around for two (going on three) generations. As such don’t have the deep rooted respect as ‘traditional media’. But despite this, video games have attracted a wide following… but, also people that simply don’t understand the a.) appeal of and  b.) context in which people play games. The club supervisor, Mr. Walton, assures us that the appeal of the club can be explained in two words. “Smash Brothers.”

Most people in the gaming club can be found towards the back, and for good reason. There are two retro setups of colorful CRT TV’s and Nintendo GameCubes (Which is a console I have fond memories of growing up with.) Students would circle around one screen to watch each other race split-screen in Mario Kart: Double Dash and another for testing out and discussing tactics and to challenge each other in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. If neither of these seem appealing and you’d rather play on a portable system, there was plenty of room to go around.

As for the mission statement, it seems to be that gamers should be able to enjoy their hobby with each other and shouldn’t have to suffer consequences for it. One of the largest issues, since it’s an immersive hobby, is that it’s difficult to prioritize. “We know – either through experience or through parents –  that work comes before play, so we make it a point that video games do not overshadow our desire to do well in school,” Mr. Walton explains, “I have several students that show up to finish homework or get help on assignments before they pick up a controller.”

There are some issues in the market that make gamers pay for more than what they get. Mr Walton looks into issues with loot boxes – virtual crates that you can purchase for a chance at specific items. Largely in mobile and multiplayer games, “Legitimized gambling through loot boxes (and lack of regulation from the government)​ that target younger audiences is also a huge red flag for the stability of the market. Gamers want to pay for quality – the problem becomes when random loot boxes have no guarantees about what is inside; forcing players to overpay for modifications unless they get lucky.”

Going back to the topic of immersion, an anticipated discussion is if virtual reality is going to advance any farther. “​Recent developments with VR systems (such as Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift) are very interesting components that can develop into full immersion systems; or decay into aficionado collector junk. (see: Virtual Boy, Sega 32X, Sega CD, Jaguar system, 3DO, etc.),”  said Mr. Walton. Affording the hardware for a gaming setup is already a challenge for some, so a full VR setup is definitely an investment. Justifiably, gamers want to know whether such an investment is worth it. But with full PC games being ported for play in the space of virtual reality (such as games by the publisher Bethesda) and pre-existing games being modded for VR support (), “It also begs the question of when reality and virtual reality meet and the division between the two-” Mr. Walton adds, “-and how to keep people from falling victim to addictive gaming cycles.”

Just like with every other year, new issues will inevitably come up in the topic of gaming; people’s opinions will change over time. An example being the release of the Nintendo Switch, a new gaming console with a growing library of games. Prior to the release, the marketing for the system was questionable. There were many concerns that the console would be underpowered, as it would have been a hybrid between a home entertainment and portable system, but fans already seem to be embracing it. Games that have already seen a Switch release include major titles like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.

2018 has the potential to be a great year for gaming. Whether in the club or not, it’ll be an interesting topic to keep tabs on and for us to enjoy.

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