November the 19th saw a duo emerge to host a community night based around Among Us, a game of tasks, deception, and calling people out for being sus. OU’s Honor Student Association (HSA) teamed up with OU Esports Club to bring students together for a night of chill gaming in the free hidden role game. The event, showcased by OU Daily, included a giveaway of ten $10 Amazon gift cards to OU students. The club has had a history of hosting giveaways and free food at events, and this continues even into their online deployment.
In fact, the club is planning another event set for Wednesday, December 2nd at 7PM – 10PM CST. This event will also feature ten $10 giveaways and is a collaboration between the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion + Fit & Rec.
The event brought people new and familiar with gaming together, and even brought people to the increasingly-popular Discord platform. Dr. Julia C. Ehrhardt, a professor in the Honors College, had very little experience with video games coming into the event. To play games, Dr. Ehrhardt said she was limited to arcades and parlors, and so was accustomed to it mostly through that lens. Despite this, the professor loved the event. “I thought it was AMAZING.” Ehrhardt said of the night, “My notions about the community and gaming in general were blown out of the water.”
”I was astounded by how sophisticated the game was, how easy it was to learn, how warmly I was welcomed into the space, how many women were playing the game, how eager the other participants were to teach me about how the game worked and strategies for it, and how conscientious people were about how much time they had spent on the game and when they needed to stop playing to do homework or eat or go to work. I also appreciated how the gaming community spans generations of people and its diversity. I laughed out loud a lot when I was playing, and I haven't done that in a very very long time. I also didn't feel like I was keeping other people back. My notions about the community and gaming in general were blown out of the water.Julia C. Ehrhardt, Ph.D.Associate Professor of American Studies
On the note of diversity, it was heart-warming to hear that Dr. Ehrhardt had such a good experience. This is due to the negative perceptions gaming has in academia, and the experiences of professors with gamers on campus. In addition to the highly misogynistic and sexist nature of games and gamers in its early era, Ehrhardt recounted that “a lot of professors had animosity toward gamers and gaming right out of the gate–and a lot of those gamers did not do very well in school.” However, this was during the professor’s initial time teaching in 1998. Since then, we’ve seen the growth in popularity of gaming, and now many colleges have classes centered around video game topics. In terms of the community aspect, this event proves the progress made since the initial era of gaming.
As a club, this is a pivotal point to strive towards exemplified by this event: a healthy relationship with gaming, and the use of it as a tool for community, fun, and diversity. This is not to say that there are no more problems of race, gender, and class in gaming — the point is that this progress forward is possible, and that we as gamers should constantly be striving for improvement and cooperation in our spaces.