The world of online gaming has exploded in recent years, partly because of the pandemic. Tom Rockson and Jason Vance, co-advisers for the gaming club at Thomas Nelson Community College, are hoping to tap into that growth.
“Gaming is such a universal interest for our students,” Rockson said. “All people seem to love games. Students, especially, are very into video games, very into online massive multi-player games, Dungeons & Dragons, card games like Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon cards.”
According to the website statista.com, there are 1 billion online gamers worldwide, and that number is expected to grow to 1.3 billion within four years.
Rockson, Vance and a handful of students are working to make the College’s gaming community more popular. The club has been around for five or six years, said Rockson, but took a break after the spring semester. However, he said students came to him in late summer, asking for assistant in getting it back up and running. So far, it’s been slow going, but there is interest.
“We’re looking to get more membership,” Rockson said. “We need new members, and new things to do.”
The club has been having meetings every Friday, alternating between in-person and online gatherings. One week the meetings are from 3-5 p.m. on Zoom, and the following week they are from 2-4 in person in Diggs Hall Room 158. The meetings often consist of gaming sessions. There’s even a Dungeons & Dragons session with a dungeon master running a campaign for the club members.
In the past, Rockson said, there have been meetings with enough people to have multiple games going on simultaneously. And the group is open to all types of games: video games, card games, role-playing games (online and paper-and-pencil), even traditional board games.
Kadisia Archer, Student Activities director, is organizing a Super Smash Brothers online gaming challenge Nov. 17 from noon-3 p.m.
“We’re offering this as an opportunity for those who like to game, if they’re already in the club, or those who might not even be aware there’s a club,” Archer said.
In the past, the College has held in-person events, as well as arranging for gaming busses to make stops on campus.
“This is the first time we have done 100% virtually,” Archer said. “Students loved the other events. They love the gaming activities.”
Those interested in participating in the gaming challenge must have Nintendo Switch and Smash Brothers. Just watching the competition is an option, also. For more information on the event, go to https://tncc.edu/events/gaming-challenge-super-smash-brothers-tournament.
Rockson said the challenge seems like a natural fit for the gaming club.
“It’s a good idea to draw interest to the club,” he said. “We’re trying to keep (the club) alive and, hopefully, breathe more life into it.”