Walking down the halls of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) building on a late Monday afternoon in September, you do not expect to hear much beside the typical shuffling of feet and professors lecturing to a group of tired students who very well might be regretting their decision to take a night course. But then you hear something familiar – a “yahoo!” coming out of an animated sounding Italian accent, followed by a cartoon-like, almost pop-y punching sound, a “pee-kay-fire!” coming from a different voice, followed by what sounds like something getting electrocuted.
You then hear what you think the sound of someone falling off a cliff would sound like, of course, jogging the memory of your children Saturday morning cartoon escapades. Instead of it being a frightful sound, it brings back happy thoughts and is followed by cheers coming out of the next room. As you enter the classroom, you see fifty to sixty chairs packed with students, ten of which are plunked in front of a small television screen with Super Smash Brothers Melee playing off of a Nintendo Gamecube as mixed sounds come from those gathered around the game.
The rest of the room has seemed to transform into different groups; one, fixated on a game of Cards Against Humanity, another with portable gaming devices alike in their hands, huddled together into a large gathering, another focused on the strategy card game MAGIC, and a smaller group of about ten people in the last corner of their room on their laptops. The air of the space is friendly and light, but focused.
This is the scene at a weekly meeting at the Gaming Guild at SF State (GGSFSU).
“Honestly, I just want to help a group of people on campus connect with each other,” says Alicia Jun, president of GGSFSU. “It’s so easy to stay in your room and play games by yourself each week, but I hope that with having a weekly meeting can further increase the social aspect of gaming and hopefully create some awesome friendships through common interests.”
GGSFSU is simply a club created by who play games to connect with other people who like to play games. It was formed last semester by a group of student gamers looking to socialize and meet others who enjoy playing games of all sorts and have similar interests at SF State.
Treasurer Sierra Eaton explain how she got involved in video game clubs with another group at City College of San Francisco before transferring to SF State. “Joining the Gamer’s Gathering at CCSF changed my life, and I hope people coming here to the Gaming Guild can have that experience, too.”
The club’s predecessor, Crtl Alt Elite, never really gained traction on campus, unlike GGSFSU, which now has over three hundred members on its Facebook group page. It was also recently recognized by Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) as an official club on campus.
“There aren’t really any costs associated with the club,” says Eaton.
Because they do not officially have a school-provided allowance, everything at the meetings is brought in by the students. According to Florey, one week, one of the members said they would bring in their Gamecube and now it is a little tradition to play Super Smash Brothers every week since.
Word of mouth is this group’s ally in recruiting new members.
“I asked her what she was doing tonight and she said she was coming to this meeting and that I should come,” says Langston Hill, freshman, of his friend Isabelle Xiong. “I think it’s really cool.”
Many in the group seem to agree that it can be tough making friends with similar interests if you are into gaming. “If they weren’t here, they would be at home or in their dorm by themselves. Instead, we’re creating a community,” says Maddy Florey, vice president of the Gaming Guild.
GGSFSU meets once a week on Mondays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., a time that was voted on by the members, in Humanities 111 unless otherwise specified. All officers are volunteers and all time put into the club is purely them putting in the energy to make GGSFSU expand. Each meeting begins with a discussion led by the officers, asking members what they want to see in the future. Ideas are shared for future activities and events, but it is mainly just a freeform of ideas.
“The best way to get involved is to come and hang out,” says Jun. “We’ve always got room for people who wish to play a game or even introduce a new game!”
If you would like to find out more about GGSFSU or are thinking about joining the club, request to become a member on their Facebook page here, go and talk to them in person when they table on Mondays in Malcom X Plaza, or show up for a weekly meeting on Mondays.