How TU Gaming became a community

Hint: it involves Super Smash Bros.

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Provided by TU Gaming Team

The team competing in their recent SCAC competition

TU Gaming started out pretty simply. A small group of Trinity students came together in 2008 to play games, relax and catch up with each other. Over the years, the club developed in order to accommodate its expanding community, but the philosophy at its core hasn’t changed.

This week, the club is playing “Pokémon Showdown.” Drew Bullinger, a junior computer science major, explained that, even on tournament nights, the atmosphere is pretty relaxed. Bullinger joined the club as a first-year after approaching them in the courtyard during the Student Involvement Fair.

“I remember there was the Student Involvement Fair. And I saw that there was a table set-up, and they had the gaming club there, and they had ‘Smash Bros.’ on a [Nintendo] Switch. So I played on one Joy-Con.”

Bullinger isn’t the only one who was enticed by “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.” Jackson Fraley is a sophomore majoring in computer science who joined the club exclusively to play Smash Bros.

“I played in high school, and we do the bi-weekly tournaments here,” Fraley said. “I just joined those. I hung out and I became friends with the people, and I did the other things too.”

Though tournaments are a large part of gaming with the club, he says that there’s also more to it.

“You wouldn’t really play if the competition aspect and playing a tournament wasn’t fun. But I think the main part that’s fun […] is that you’re able to play with people, and you’re able to get a bunch of games in,” Fraley said.

Those looking for games other than “Smash Bros.” might be happy to hear that the club hosts multiplayer game nights every other Friday at 5:30 in CSI, featuring “Among Us,” “Mario Kart” and the ever-present “Pokémon Showdown.” In addition, there’s a game called “Garfield Kart” that caught on among the members and now features regularly at game nights.

When asked about the structure of each meeting, Fraley said that, while the club has branched out recently,

“We’re trying to set up things that are a little more different, but I don’t think anything will ever really break from the structure of ‘meet, play game and then leave.’ It’s a gaming club, so you’re gonna play a game.” Fraley said.

Justin Bosco, a junior computer science major, named some other activities the group has done outside of tournaments.

“The general atmosphere is definitely casual,” Bullinger said. “It’s a lot of fun. I mean, it’s people meeting over a common hobby.”

Olivia Bowen, a sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major, elaborated on her experience with the Smash Bros. tournaments she regularly competes in.

“I think the part [of the tournament] that I enjoyed most is the side events. Because we have the competitive singles bracket, and we always have a fun side to it. Like one time we had ‘two people, one controller,’ so we have to share a controller. And those are always so fun because I feel like they’re definitely not serious at all. You can just go crazy,” Bowen said.

Bosco, who also regularly competes in tournaments, explained how the club helps to alleviate the pressure of competing in a tournament.

“Sometimes the tournaments can be a little like, ‘Okay, I gotta focus so I can try to make it a little bit further than last time.’ The side event is there just to have more fun with it and keep you from getting too frustrated with things,” Bosco said.

Bullinger reflected on some of the things he would like to see happen to the club in the future.

“Maybe it’s just because it’s a group of people on campus in gaming … but it’s mostly guys. And seeing that not be the case would be cool. We’re not like “we need girl gamers out here.” It’s like, there aren’t a whole lot, but we want that to be welcoming and open.”

TU Gaming meets every Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the Cube in CSI.