Players get their old-school game on

When one thinks of technology and computing, ping pong, chess and Rock’em Sock’em Robots are not the first things that come to mind, yet at the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Game Night Sept. 19 in Centennial Hall’s basement, the club brought gaming technology back to these basics.

Hosting its second annual Game Night, ACM set out to pay tribute to a simpler era of gaming. “The driving force of technology is games. We are celebrating the roots of gaming,” Andrew Chiusano, treasurer of ACM, said.

That meant bringing the Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots out of retirement, dusting off a few classic gaming units, including Atari and Nintendo 64, and setting up tables for pool, ping pong and chess. Many of the games were supplied through fundraising efforts or donations from ACM members, according to Chiusano.

The nostalgia of the event seemed to attract a few old school gamers, who saw the night as a chance to have fun with some of their favorite childhood games. When asked why he came out to game night, Bobby Olivier, freshman journalism major, said, “I’m a fan of Dig Dug, an ’80’s arcade game. I played it when I was younger.”

The night proved to be a success in providing students with the opportunity to play classic games, such as Atari, that are no longer made available to the public in malls or game stores as modern systems such as the Nintendo Wii or Playstation 3 have assumed their spots on the shelves over the year as technology has progressed.

While the stores may be carrying the newer games, that doesn’t necessarily mean those games are better. As attendance at the classic style game night proved, some old school games still have a spot in the hearts of gamers. Steven Cook, junior computer science major, who thought it would be fun to come out and play games, said, “Some old games are better than the new.” He agreed that the game night was a good opportunity to play old games that are rare.

However, one cannot dismiss that without new technology, old gaming may be even that much more difficult to enjoy. One only had to glance around the room to see that many of the old games were dependent on their modern counterparts. Many of the old style gaming consoles at game night, such as Atari, actually relied on modern systems to be enjoyed. Clustered around a new Mac laptop but using an Atari joystick, gamers enjoyed the 1980s game called “Millipede” by way of an Atari system that was plugged into the computer.

For others, game night was a chance to socialize with students who share their same interests. Cook attended an ACM meeting earlier this year and, as a prospective member, thought he would come out to mingle with the members. When asked if he was likely to join the club after the night, he nodded and said, “Yea.”

Happy with the turnout for the event, Chiusano said the group is likely to hold the old school game night again next year. As for the rest of the year, plans are in form to host game events using modern consoles and big screen projectors, as well as educational workshops about programming languages and Web sites.

ACM has only been an active club on the campus under this name since last year. It was formerly called the Computer Science club. According to Chiusano, the club, which is currently about 40 members strong, is always open to new members.

Anyone interested in becoming a member can e-mail the club at and be put on the mailing list to be notified of upcoming events, or attend an ACM meeting, which is held every Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Holman 252.