ATEC Building’s gaming library notable part of flourishing video game community
Deep in the halls of the third floor of the Arts and Technology Building on campus is an archive of video games that students can play for fun and educational purposes called the gaming library.
The library contains over 300 video games, board games and over 15 consoles, including the ancient Atari 2600. It also contains rare and hard-to-find games such as E.T. and Superman 64.
Leighton Luckey, Arts & Technology graduate student, works at the gaming library and said the library makes sure that students get the things they need to check out. His job is to keep inventory and make suggestions for students.
Luckey said the library got its start out of the office of Monica Evans, gaming narrative professor, when she was lending games out to students who needed to play a game so they could discuss them in class.
Evans focuses her extensive research on narratives for games and other interactive systems.
She also works with members of the video game industry with companies such as Gearbox Software, Pixeluxe Entertainment and iD Software.
Her work includes recruiting industry professionals who can provide students with internships and adjunct teaching opportunities.
Arts & Technology graduate student Peter Wonica also works at the gaming library and studies video game design.
“Working with video games is just like working with any other artistic medium: It’s stressful, it’s exhausting, but it’s always rewarding to see the wide range of emotions that you can spark through your work,” he said in an email.
However, Wonica said that instead of working in the gaming industry, he wants to someday work in the educational sector teaching game design to at-risk and marginalized youth.
Video games are an integral part of student life at the Computer Science LLC where computer science freshmen Sean Tucker, Eric Dilmore and Andrew Julian spend their free time gaming.
The three each have interest in working with video game programming using a variety of coding languages.
Tucker became interested in these languages at an early age and learned programming throughout high school, where he studied the Java and C++ languages.
Dilmore learned coding on his own using a Macbook and a program called AppleScript.
“I thought it was the coolest thing, to write a program and it’ll do something on your computer. All of a sudden you have Windows flying across the screen just because I can do it,” he said.
Julian, who also learned coding on his own, said that game programming is a creative outlet for him to entertain other people.
“(Games are) an art form; they can convey the same things that books and movies can except that they can actually interact with the user, and I feel that they can affect us on a deeper level,” he said.
Dilmore said that gaming has provided an outlet for less-popular media, such as classical music, to be shown to people who would not be exposed to it otherwise.
“Everybody plays video games at this point, or if they don’t play video games, one of their friends does,” he said.
As for the industry,Tucker hopes to someday work for Gearbox Entertainment while Dilmore and Julian have prospects in programming and creating video games as a hobby.
Tucker said that despite the common belief that video games can be a waste of time, they actually can be therapeutic.
“It’s kind of a way to get away from reality for a bit,” he said. “If you have something wrong going on in your life, everything just seems to be bad, you need a way to just feel happy for a bit and enjoy the time you’re playing them.”
This article originally appeared as “Gaming culture grows on campus” in the Feb. 24 print edition.