Gaming for all

By Rory McCarty

By Rory McCarty

Senior Reporter

While taking classes, working and trying to maintain a social life, every student needs to take time to unwind. Many students turn to gaming, which includes video games, collectible card games and tabletop games. These games provide ways for gamers to relax, and communities of people that play them have sprung up at Oakland University.

What most people think of when they hear the word “gaming” is video games, and there’s no more central place for it on campus than the Bumpers Game Room in the basement of the Oakland Center.

“I just play them when I’m bored, and I get bored a lot,” said Jomar Mabborang, a freshman business major. Mabborang said he plays action games like “God of War II” to take the edge off his school day.

Mike Gazdik, a freshman economics major, said he plays games like “Starcraft” and “Halo 3” for the social aspect and the online multiplayer modes. With online multiplayer, relaxation tends to be overshadowed by competition. “It’s very stressing sometimes,” Gazdik said.

“World of Warcraft,” the incredibly popular multiplayer online game, has a thriving community of its own. Some are more devout than others.

“Out of school, I play like a maniac. If I’m not in school and not working, that’s what I’m doing,” said Jason Kilgore, senior Japanese/English major.

But even though he plays so much, “WoW” is still primarily social for him, as he plays online with his friends and co-workers. “If my friends stopped playing, then I would stop playing,” he said.

Kilgore said he’s seen people lose jobs and girlfriends over games. But all of the gamers seem to agree that the danger only exists if you let game playing get out of control.

“Video game addiction is like cigarette smoking; it’s ok as long as you don’t get cancer,” Gazdik said.

Another group of gamers play collectible card games like “Magic: The Gathering.”

Collectible Card Games involve two or more people playing against each other with decks they’ve made from card sets sold at hobby shops. The rules for CCGs can be simple or intense, depending on the skill level of the players.

Michelle Nefcy, a senior psychology major, has been playing “Magic” since she was 13 and continues to play with a group in the basement of the OC. She said that interested players are welcome to come by and learn the game. “Even if it’s someone new, we say, ‘Yeah, come and play, come and watch.’ That’s how we get most of our people.”

Finally, tabletop games like “Dungeons & Dragons” represent gaming in its oldest form. The Gaming Guild at OU plays “Dungeons & Dragons” weekly, in addition to many other kinds of games, tabletop or otherwise.

“Anything you can think that you want to play, if you can get enough people together, we’ll do it,” said Karl Morey, computer science grad student and member of the Gaming Guild. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see someone bring in jacks one day.”

In contrast to video games, tabletop gaming is strictly a social activity, as conversing with the other players is necessary to playing.

“I know a lot of people who, if they never got into these games, would not have much of a social life. I’ve never met anyone who was worse for the wear because of gaming,” said Mike Conn, president of the Gaming Guild.

The Gaming Guild holds gaming night every Friday from 3-11 p.m., and rents out Bumpers Game Room for open video game play from 5-11 p.m.