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Video games build community in residence halls

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Video games build community in residence halls

Some students said they see more positive effects from video games than negative.

Some students said they see more positive effects from video games than negative.

Photo by via Pixabay

Some students said they see more positive effects from video games than negative.

Photo by via Pixabay

Photo by via Pixabay

Some students said they see more positive effects from video games than negative.

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Part of the college experience involves making connections in a new community, and some students across campus find a common union in video games.

For Alex Cope, a freshman in the College of Engineering, video games provide a bonding experience among members of his floor. Cope’s floor regularly keeps an Xbox in the common room, which he said residents mostly use to play Super Smash Bros. or Madden.

As a Community Programming Council floor representative, Cope came up with the idea for Straz to put on a Super Smash Bros. tournament. He helped organize the event, which took place Saturday.

“The design of the tournament (was) to … create floor camaraderie,” Cope said.

Nine students competed in the tournament. The winner, Stephen Fuglsang, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, will receive pizza and Insomnia Cookies for his floor.

Sophie Estes, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, has also found ways to connect with her roommate through video games. The two regularly play Fortnite together.

Fortnite, an online shooter game, came out last year and rapidly rose in popularity. The free game’s most popular mode is the online battle royale, where players can compete against friends and strangers online in a last-man standing competition.

“We started playing over the summer,” Estes said. “She lives in the city and I live in a suburb, and it’s kind of hard to get to her because of the traffic and everything, and like our conflicting schedules. When we (were) free, we’d go online and we’d play together, which was pretty fun. I guess that was like, a fun way to talk to her and … be doing something together in a way.”

Estes’ and her roommate’s tradition continued into the school year. The roommates play together in their dorm in Carpenter as a study break or as an activity on the weekends.

Vincent Marchese, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, has also found online video games — Fortnite in particular — to be a positive way to interact with friends that live far away.

Marchese currently lives in Carpenter and continues to play video games with friends when he has time, but he said his freshman year in Abbotsford was when he really noticed the bonding aspect of gaming, mainly because he had more free time and was making more new connections.

“Video games have been, you know, one of the biggest, I feel like, community builders in dorms,” Marchese said. “Specifically, on my floor (last year) I met a lot of really cool people through video games.”

Marchese said that the games he plays with friends most often are Fortnite, NBA 2K and other multiplayer games.

While gaming sometimes brings up societal controversies about causing addiction, wasting time and even inciting violence, Marchese said he has noticed the benefits of video games more than their pitfalls. As a college student, Marchese said video games offer both a break from busy schedules and an opportunity to connect with friends.

“I feel like it’s a good escape, I guess, from like, you know, the problems of real life and school,” Marchese said. “And I think in a way … it can be more helpful than hurtful. I know a lot of people are, I guess addicted to video games, but I think that it can help things like mental health … (because) it’s a good break from academic stuff.”

Estes also said she finds video games to be a good stress reliever. She said she has personally not noticed a lot of video gaming in the dorms, as she lives on an all-girls floor and video games seem to have a smaller female fan base.

“I just think it’s so funny that every time I’m online, I get the ‘Are you a girl? This is my first time playing with a girl,’” Estes said. “It’s funny because I know there’s a lot of girls that do play, but not as many, like as to people actually seeing them all the time in game, you know? It’s definitely a growing community now for girls to play video games … I just kind of wish it was less stigmatized I guess. It’s getting better.”

Regardless of gender, year in school or location on campus, video games, for many, offer the opportunity to form positive connections with peers.

 

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