Let it be said that gamer culture is alive and growing at CSU with the 100-person LAN event held in Ingersoll Hall last Saturday. For those not familiar with what a LAN is, it’s a gathering where people bring their own computers and compete in various games, in this case — League of Legends.
It’s a glorious gathering of blue-lit screens, team play and yelling and cheering for your team.
Even a year ago, it was hard to imagine a LAN of this scale all for one game. CSU has long since had a gaming club that set up LANs, but with the advent of the new League of Legends collegiate group at CSU, more than 270 people have joined the Facebook group since its beginnings in early September — and I’m proud to say that I joined this group and have actively participated in its growth.
The group is helping the slow evolution of “nerd” culture and it’s building a niche on the college campus while having a positive effect on the students.
The LAN itself was dotted with many players from countless cultures and tons of different skill levels. It not only encouraged people to meet new friends and play with them both online and in person, but it created an atmosphere of friendly competition and cooperation, which is rarely associated with online gaming.
It can be said that connecting with each other over the internet is normally an impersonal method characterized by “touch and go,” without really getting to meet or appreciate others. But I think that LANs like this are a solid step towards improving the online community.
It’s no mystery to most people that online gaming and many online interactions in general are often associated with the worst experiences. Racism, sexism and all of the assorted “isms” aren’t exactly uncommon occurrences. It’s easy to talk down to someone you’ll never have to see again.
Events like the LAN though really do bring back some hope in the online gaming community as you can see that even people who are often associated as being quiet, anti-social or just outright mean are just normal people who enjoy their hobbies and sharing those experiences with others.
It helps change the stereotypes that have so often followed gamers around like a shadow and make them seem unapproachable.
The CSU League of Legends group has also done an extraordinary amount to bring gamers together. Whether through the advertising on the plaza or the posters put up throughout campus, the group has turned PC gaming into something you sit in your room and do by yourself into a social event. It has opened up the possibility of hundreds of other players of the same age group and social status to play with every night.
There have been many surges of “nerd” culture in CSU. There were huge turnouts for Humans vs. Zombies several years ago, but it slowly died down. There have always been gaming clubs whether it is board games, console games or PC games. For the first time ever, though, we’re seeing a serious resurgence of a major gaming club at CSU.
While it may still only be 1 percent of the student population, it’s still a good start.
Despite all of the progress we’re seeing in the gaming scene though, I don’t see it becoming a regular tend in the US for quite some time. It’s not so uncommon in other countries for gaming to be a popular and social activity. Many eastern Asian countries have huge gaming communities.
In South Korea, many PC gamers are paid as much as some of our football players are and have the same celebrity status. As people are becoming more and more interested in the somewhat fantastical E-Sports, I think we’re going to see a positive trend in how “nerd” culture is perceived.