By Andrew Street Social Media Editor
A close-knit group of gamers came together to create a place for people to share what they are passionate about — where hardcore and casual players alike can test their skills against one another: a place called the Competitive Gaming Club (CGC).
Before CGC came to the College, players relied on the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to hold occasional tournaments for the popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) “League of Legends.”
The infrequency of tournaments led current Vice President and senior accounting major Martin Faynor and current President and senior biology major Mitch Vaughn to form the Competitive Gaming Club in Fall 2014. However, their formation was not an easy task. Faynor said that they struggled with getting Student Government (SG) to officially recognize the club.
“We faced issues with the Student Government. They failed us probably three times over the course of a year,” Faynor said. According to Vaughn, this was due to the abundance of paperwork required during the submission process.
“They would turn us away for a minor error in paperwork and make us go through the process again,” Vaughn said.
After months of redoing paperwork and submitting their application, the club joined the College’s list of official organizations, Faynor said.
Many people may ask, “Why is this a club?” or “What are the members doing besides playing games?”
To this, Faynor has a simple answer.
“We are trying to build a community for TCNJ students to come play competitive games in a light and friendly atmosphere,” he said. The club aims to bring together students of all different demographics to share their love and passion for videogames, Faynor added.
To some, it may seem like simply playing a videogame, but there is a growing community at the College that has bonded over its love to compete in these games. The CGC’s competitions vary from games like “Dota 2” to “Super Smash Bros.,” and each tournament draws a crowd of passionate players looking to join in on the action.
Vaughn said there is something for everyone since the club puts great effort into listening to member suggestions and has formed numerous internal committees to organize specific events.
Freshman interactive multimedia and computer science double major Ryan Strenkowski recently stepped up and created the “Super Smash Bros. Melee” community, which plans and hosts all of those tournaments.
Certain tournaments, such as those for “League of Legends,” often take significant time and effort to organize, according to Vaughn. This is because of the effort needed to plan each event and ensure that they are properly supplied with equipment by students. In addition, the club’s partnership with Riot Games, the creators of “League of Legends,” allows them to make the prizes more worthwhile for students.
All of these moving parts seem to pay off in the end.
The impact of the club is evident in its tournament attendance, which averages between 40 and 50 students, according to senior interactive multimedia major Jon Sofo.
According to Sofo, the club’s next event, which is open to all skill levels, is a tournament for the competitive card game, “HearthStone,” on Saturday, March 5. Due to the club’s open nature, new members are allowed to drop in to compete or even just to get a feel for the club.
For those who have dedicated their time to creating CGC, the club has become a significant part of their college experience.
“(CGC) means a lot to me. I feel like it’s a bit of my legacy and I feel like I am going to come back and see that my time and effort went toward building a place for TCNJ gamers… to come to meet,” Vaughn said.
Like Vaughn, Faynor is proud of the club they have created together.
“In a way, it’s mine and Mitch’s baby,” he said. “We were the ones who got together in the beginning. It’s a labor of love and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but when events come out and everyone is having fun, it feels really great. It’s a very fulfilling feeling.”
They laugh together, play together and share their passions. The CGC was born out of its founding members’ love for games and their desire to share that love with others on campus.
Both Vaughn and Faynor are adamant that what they have created here will continue to grow and offer an environment for students at the College to play, be themselves and bond with fellow gamers.