Game Club Fosters Community
On a Friday night at 2 W. 13 St., intricate board game pieces lay scattered across classroom tables in room 1013. Board game boxes bearing names like Lost Cities, Arkham Horror, Neuroshima Hex! and Smallworld sat stacked neatly in a corner, while students stared at the table with rapt attention.
Twice a week for a year, New School students have come together to indulge in a game playing and free pizza.
Sequestered within a university that seems to lack community involvement or school spirit, the game club seems an exception to the rule. According to their website, the club was founded in 1898. It caters largely to Parsons students, but seeks involvement from other departments. The core members, many of whom study game design, use their meetings as a testing ground for class projects and theses.
Joseph Laquinte, the former chief technical officer of the game club, said that during meetings members explore all types of games, from video games to board games. “We come from an academic focus, even though we have events where people can come and play ‘Street Fighter,’” he said.
The academic focuses of members range from media studies to game design and interaction design.
“Pretty much everyone here is working on games in some capacity,” said Stephen Keating, the club’s librarian. “Being able to play these games affects whether or not we have a greater ability to design games.”
In addition to serving as a platform for students to share and critique their work, the game club maintains a library to lend out around 100 games. Shared by the club and the university’s design studio, the library operates out of a supply closet in 2 W. 13 St.
“We’re trying to expand the library, and if our funding doesn’t keep getting cut, we will probably be able to get more games.”
Before the creation of the library, Parsons’ design and technology department managed a minute collection of out-of-date games. Professors whose curricula included games were forced to order them at the start of the semester or purchase them independently.
“We don’t necessarily have every game in stock,” said Laquinte. “We focus mainly on picking up games that do something new in the game design industry, and games that either have a very innovative mechanic or games that teach game designers something new.”