No, it’s not the GMB again (phew), but it is a Friday, and we all know what that means: more society creeping. This time I was in the Science Museum for the first time in over a year, having a look at the Game exhibition and chatting to the people who know a bit more about it than I do. I’m not a gamer in the slightest. In fact, just about the only game I’ve heard about is the world-renowned Minecraft, but when mentioning it to the people around me to the expert gamers around me, I felt put to shame when they started talking about minecraft server hosting. As awesome as it sounds to be able to create your own server and decide how many people can join, it all just confirms to me how much I am not made for gaming. However, I am grateful to the Gamers Society introducing me to games I hadn’t played, well, ever, and telling me that, much like the Japanese Soc, it’s not all about what I think it’s all about. And what’s that? Role-playing games, Dungeons and Dragons, and people who talk mainly in game metaphors, whatever they are. There’s all these digital and online games they were talking about too, like Doom and Diablo II. Apparently, you can even buy add-ons to accentuate the game, from sites like d2 boost diablo… I am completely out of touch with these guys! Rest assured, all of my unfortunate prejudices were (mostly) dispelled. I mean, they’re still a bit nerdy. But they don’t mind me saying that.
I met the PRO of the society, Ivan, just before the Gamers got into the swing of things. Before that, I was swanning around the exhibition pretending to know something about gaming. Some of it was, as Ivan said, “kind of horrifying” (thought sports injuries were bad? Well, what about having a gaming injury? A series of photographs showed gamers with missing fingers, bloodshot eyes, and bruised skin. Try explaining that to the doctor). “It’s extremely interesting,” says Ivan. “And also really fun. This is my first time here and I just had a quick look around…” There’s plenty to see, from interesting surveys to interactive console-based games, and outside there’s even live Tetris where you are the controller (the lack of a mouse still didn’t make me any better at it, though). But what had Gamers to do with it all? “We’re playing some board games downstairs,” says Ivan, and that means it’s time to start snooping into what the Gamers society really does.
“Every Wednesday we have board games night so that’s where we get lots of people coming in, regulars, and lots of new faces.” Aside from board games they have RPGs in the room (that’s role-playing games to you and me), and “scheduled events like CCGs [Collectible Card Games]… and LARPS, which is Live Action Role Plays.” That sure is a lot of acronyms for one society. Ivan agrees that it’s “very nerdy stuff,” and says that they attract more gameboys than gamegirls (I went there). “20% would be the most amount of girls,” he says. “Generally regulars.” He doesn’t enlighten me on the subject of the Science Fiction society: “There’s a lot of stuff going on about it so I don’t know what’s really happening,” but he does tell me that plans to involve other societies in perhaps a less intimate manner are in the works. “We might ask DUCSS [DU Computer Science Society] to do a LAN party.” This is bad. What’s LAN again? “Local Area Networks.” Still nothing, although something of the ECDL course I was forced to take in Transition Year is coming back to me. “We’re all the same,” he says. “We all play games!”. I imagine that people at these LAN parties decide to play games similar to League of Legends, possibly using services from websites similar to unrankedlolaccounts.com so everyone can play ranked together.
And that was exactly what I was going to do, too. Well, when one is invited for a bit of Apples to Apples on a Friday night, one isn’t exactly going to refuse, are they? I haven’t had that much fun playing a game since Junior Monopoly circa 1999. Although it was a word association game with no fantasy lands in sight, I could hear something more hardcore going on behind me, involving wooden plates and dice, but I didn’t want to be too keen and jump in at the deep end. There was a bit of ‘what is that? What’s going on?’ happening before the next game was played, proving Ivan’s point that it’s not full of heavy gamers. The next game was called Werewolves and – lo and behold – I had actually played that one before, in a nod to my past life as a member of the Juggling Society. This time, instead of having detectives, there were lovers. If one was killed off during the game, the other took their own life. Things can get deep in Gamer World. And, surely it’s the only place in Trinity where you’ll hear: “That side over there is looking awfully suspicious…” followed by: “That sounds like something a WEREWOLF would say!” I was the second one to get killed off, even though I knew nobody at the table.
Guess that means that people really do hate journalists.
There was also a blackboard where people had scrawled the names of their favourite games. Whoever had chalked in Spyro on it knows where it’s at, as does the person who wrote Super Mario next to a little chalk moustache. Although, I don’t know why someone would write minesweeper up there. That was always the last resort on old Windows computers when you got fed up of solitaire. Besides that, the Game event taught me two things: one, that “it’s not all Dungeons and Dragons 24-7,” and two: that the pizza in the Science Gallery is pretty much delicious. As for the stigma, Ivan says: “it’d be great to get rid of it by having people come in to see what we do. It’s just chilling out most of the time, having a bit of craic.” For him, the best thing about the society is “the people,” as it is with almost any other society. “They’re very welcoming.” And they play games where you can kill people you don’t like. What’s not to love?
Want more on the Gamers Society? Check them out on Facebook and at http://trinitygamers.csc.tcdlife.ie/web/