Gaming Club has an influx of members


Ashley Hall

Members of the Gaming Club, including President Tristen Tolbert and Co-Advisor Victoria Banks, gather in the Paulding campus Learning Commons to play board games and partake in pizza for a club event called Game Lounge. Members are taking their turns in “Betrayal at House on the Hill.”

Caleb Blaylock

Ashley Hall, Editor-in-Chief

Club activities have been scarce or suspended altogether since the height of COVID, but now, GHC clubs are regaining their footing. The Gaming Club has risen from a seemingly capped number of 30 members to 141 as of publication.

“We have definitely broken the stagnation,” Gaming Club President, Tristen Tolbert, said. “We are still growing.”

Multiple factors have led to the growth of the club, the main ingredient being determination.

“Ever since I became president, my No. 1 goal was to reach other campuses,” Tolbert said. “Over the summer… we were planning to really come back this semester and just have it be our best semester yet.”

The Gaming Club also has a new co-adviser, English Professor Victoria Banks. She has a background in game writing, interactive narrative design, ludology and even worked as a gaming journalist for some time. She works with IT Helpdesk Support Lilly Hayes to co-advise the club.

“I was definitely interested. I thought I could help students who also have this as a hobby or are interested in it as a career path,” Banks said.

“I’m very new and still learning, but I’m excited to help the Gaming Club students and offer what knowledge I can.”

Tolbert had the idea to expand the number of officers the Gaming Club has to properly accommodate the number of members. There are four vice presidents, one president and two co-advisers.

“Having more vice presidents and having people that are also equally passionate come together and put in the help… was a really big part of it,” Tolbert said.

He added that the Gaming Club Discord server has also “helped us hit that hidden market of online students.”

Monica Phillips, a GHC computer science major, is a fully online Gaming Club vice president that mostly interacts through the Discord server and Zoom meetings.

“The main reason I joined the Gaming Club is because I got an email about it…” Phillips said. She added that the club has a bigger presence on the Rome and Cartersville campuses where students linger after classes and congregate near the cafeterias and in the recreational rooms.

“I think Discord channels also are really inviting for students to kind of start, especially if they’re nervous about meeting new people…” Banks said, “…but it’s an easy way to become connected with each other, especially even if across campuses.”

“No matter what you do on campus, you’re not going to reach those fully-online students,” Tolbert said, “but now that we have this online aspect of the club, we can reach anybody.”

One other aspect that is helping the growth of the Gaming Club is that word is getting out that it is inclusive of all games, not just video games.

“There’s a common misconception, that I think we’re finally starting to break—that we are a video game club. We’re not. We’re a gaming club,” Tolbert said.

The club encourages members to participate in and provide all kinds of games, such as video games, tabletop games, board games and card games.

A few examples of the games the club members play are “Super Smash Bros.,” “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Risk” and “Splatoon.” The club also holds fully-online tabletop campaigns so online students have the chance to participate.

The Gaming Club holds many inclusive on-campus events for anyone to join. It holds tournaments for “Super Smash Bros.” and “Magic: The Gathering,” anime nights and gatherings that have been dubbed “Cheese Boards”.

“We get a bunch of pizza, we get a bunch of board games, video games, card games, tabletop sometimes… invite everybody we know…” Tolbert said. “We say it’s open to the campus; anybody can come. I don’t care if a bunch of professors rock up, cool. I know they know how to play ‘Uno.’”

The Gaming Club officers have plans for the future of the club and what it can provide. Banks wants to use her expertise to guide students to get professionally involved in the gaming industry.

“I’m hoping I can help students collaborate, network, enter competitions and develop their experience within game design so that they can be set up to succeed upon graduating and apply for internships and gaining those connections,” Banks said.

She recommends that students interact with game developers and writers at conventions and build an online portfolio of any gaming-related work they have done.

The Gaming Club has many more things to offer to any interested students.

“It’s more than just playing games and having other people to play games [with],” Tolbert said, “we’re really just trying to build a community at the college where people can come and really just enjoy being here.”

“It is welcoming to a wide range of people with interest in gaming, whether that’s as a hobbyist, or as competitive or in an industry,” Banks said.

Tolbert said that he would like to see the Gaming Club grow to 200 members by Christmas.

Anyone interested in joining can join the Discord server by scanning a QR code found on campus bulletin boards, or by contacting Lilly Hayes or Victoria Banks.