By JESSICA QU and ERIN HOLLOWAY

Editor: MICHELLE DANNER

 

When video games are paired with college students, the connotation tends to be negative. Parents and teachers worry students spend too much time playing video games rather than studying or interacting with their friends in real life. With the pressure of midterms (and the promise of Spring Break) looming, we wanted to do something different at UPP. Video games aren’t inherently evil; they can be inspirational, challenging and even facilitate friendships if handled in a balanced and positive way. Introducing our students to American video games is also be a great way to connect old students with new students and help everyone gain confidence in social situations, such as knowing what gamers are talking about after class. To this end, UPP collaborated with NCSU’s Anime Club and Video Game Development Club to host an American Video Game Expo on Friday, February 24th, from 5:30-8pm.

 

 

The easiest way to connect with new people is to find a common interest. Since a sizeable portion of UPP students play video games at least casually, we wanted to help bridge the cultural gap between them and American students through different video game stations throughout the New Mind Education office. Interns created and displayed posters explaining each of the games in English and Chinese, so UPP students could feel less shy and more prepared to play. The game list offered a range of interests, such as the multiplayer fighting games Super Smash Brothers (Melee and 4); Portal 2, a multiplayer puzzle game; 2K17, a multiplayer basketball game; Just Dance 3, a dancing simulation game; and Muscle March, a multiplayer comedy game. There was something for every student to try at the Expo! We’re very grateful for NCSU’s Anime Club for their support in lending some of the games and equipment needed for the event.

 

18 UPP student and 14 Americans attended the event, resulting in an even mixture of players that provided many opportunities for the students to mingle! Considering Super Smash Brothers’ popularity and relatively simple controls, it was the main attraction at the event, especially since one game could have up to 8 players! Anime Club and VGDC members helped teach UPP students how to play, which helped students mingle and practice English in an organic way. The room pulsed with commotion and excitement, especially when UPP students pulled off combos or narrowly recovered from a fall.

 

 

“I loved the Smash Bros Melee game,” Victor Zhenyu Fan said. “I’ve played similar games before in China.”

 

Just Dance 3 and Muscle March were also popular choices because these games were very active, requiring the players to move their arms and body to control the characters. Students had a great time because they were excited to try each new song or level.

 

“It’s very funny!” Jessie Jiexi Xiong said. “You must move so fast!”

 

2K17 and Portal 2 had a limited number of players, which better suited some of the quieter students. This helped make the event more inclusive to the variety of student temperaments and interests.

 

 

Students could also eat dinner at the event, thanks to eight  XL Ruckus pizzas, several family size bags of chips, crackers and cookies. With a range of topping choices, there was something for everyone, though the American students definitely had a bigger appetite!

 

“This is my first time to see this huge size of pizza,” Alivia Na Ren said. “And it is very tasty, and the flavors is very diverse.”

 

“It was a fun event for my club members too!” Tony Ngyuen, President of NCSU’s Anime Club, said. “It seemed like Sm4sh was the most popular game since it allowed 8 people to play at once. I wish we could do a tournament or something to encourage playing together. Thanks for inviting the anime club to collaborate with New Mind!”