Gamers are oftentimes seen as solitary and antisocial. Many people picture them alone in a basement pushing buttons on a controller for hours on end.
While this isn’t necessarily false, the Gamer’s Group of Virginia Tech is a club that tries to bring gamers together. Dedicated to video games and the people that play them, GGVT is the self-proclaimed official organization for video games on the Tech campus.
John-Charles Holmes, president of GGVT and a junior communication major, is without a doubt a gamer.
He isn’t solitary, antisocial or even the stereotypical gamer, but he sincerely believes it should be easier for gamers to find each other on campus.
Holmes recounted a story from his freshman year when he was playing “Costume Quest” alone in a dorm filled with non-gamers and Madden players.
This was a situation he solved by joining GGVT, which he described as a way for student gamers to come together, play games and have fun.
GGVT is staying true to the original vision for the club which was co-founded by Eric Olson, Nate Navasca and Alex Thomas.
“GGVT was meant to be a friendly hub for gamers — both at Tech and in the local area — to meet and play games together,” Thomas said. “Its other main function was to serve as a strong philanthropic club to help fund charity drives of local organizations and other clubs at VT.”
With general meetings typically held every other Sunday in Torgersen Hall room 1060, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with the club.
“We are a collective network for gamers around campus,” Holmes said. “What this means is that we try to offer a way for gamers to try and get in touch with each other.”
Last semester, GGVT held a “Super Smash Brothers” tournament with cash prizes. Although the number of people who attended wasn’t impressive on its own, the event demonstrated GGVT’s uniqueness.
Hosting a tournament can be an expensive proposition and the various televisions, game systems, controllers and the games themselves can be a problem for a club with limited supplies.
“As a club, we have only so many materials and we were really hoping that people could come help out,” Holmes said. “As noon rolled around, the Smash fanatics arrived with their TVs and their systems and people came with their special controllers ready to play some old-school Smash Brothers.”
Holmes called this one of the many do-it-yourself moments that are an essential part of the club’s success.
GGVT isn’t just about playing games with your friends, though; the club is also dedicated to enriching and interacting with the other organizations within the Tech community.
“We have lots of cooperation with other clubs,” Holmes said. “Last semester, we teamed up with a fraternity to hold a Madden tournament. We also held a cancer awareness Mario Kart race.”
GGVT’s current philanthropic efforts echo the events held by the original officers like Heroes of Honduras. The “Heroes of Newerth” tournament was one of GGVT’s first big events which featured 15 teams and raised over $200 for the Students Helping Honduras charity drive.
Although it’s easy to get distracted by the large tournaments and other events hosted by the group, the highlight of GGVT is the dedication of its members and their desire to play games with others from the Tech community.
“I can just get together and go to Torgersen on Sunday and play ‘Mario Kart 64’ for like four hours,” said Kyle Parker, event coordinator and sophomore computer science major. “Even though I’m terrible at that game, it’s still a lot of fun.”
This sentiment is shared by many of the club’s members. With a Facebook page that is constantly being updated by both the members and the GGVT officers, discussions about video games are
“There’s a lot of potential to help people meet new people and discover new games that they wouldn’t have otherwise come across,” Parker said.
Thomas expounded upon the opportunities that arise through the gamer community of GGVT, sharing his favorite memory.
“My favorite part of GGVT hands down is seeing someone meet another person with similar gaming hobbies and exchange numbers and aliases,” Thomas said.
Parker detailed his desire to help expand the communities surrounding games like “StarCraft,” “World of WarCraft” and “Diablo,” which prompted him to join GGVT as its event coordinator.
Members aren’t forced to play the latest game, or even a game that came out in the last decade; anything goes and what brings them all together is the fact that they are all gamers.
“I really like how everyone is encouraged to come out and get involved no matter what games they play even if it was one that none of us had ever played in our lives,” Parker said. “It was still a common bond that everyone likes video games.”
General meetings are simply a place for gamers to get together with their personal favorite games. These games range from cult-classic N64 titles to “League of Legends” and even “Rhythm Heaven Fever.”
At the end of the day, GGVT is quite literally all about its members.
“GGVT is nothing without its members,” Holmes said. “If you have a game that you love and you want to share with people because you don’t have anyone
else to play it with; bring a TV to the meeting and see what happens.”