Central Gaming Initiative takes gaming to a whole new level

Daisy Perez, Staff Writer

Boxes of donuts, scattered bags of chips and soda cans cover the tables as other gamers order pizza to prepare for the long night at the Local Area Network (LAN) party. Dozens of people bring in their own consoles or PCs, and their games to connect with other players. The events are fairly free-range, participants can play by themselves or with others and can use a projector or their own laptops to display the games.

These LAN parties are hosted by Central Gaming Initiative (CGI) which is a club where video game players of all types can come together. Though the club also has weekly meetings for students to attend.

“The weekly meetings are a way for us to discuss new games, trends, interesting interviews with people [in the gaming industry] and Esports,” Hayden Fisher, an Information Technology and Administrative Management (ITAM) major and the president of (CGI), said adjusting his red, plaid jacket. “The LAN events are free for anyone that is interested, they go all night and last until morning.”

According to Omar Freemire, a senior aviation management major and vice president of the club, the club started in 2011 but it broke away from its original sister club.

“There was too much going on in a club that big,” Freemire said. They were doing “both video gaming and tabletop, like Monopoly, and eventually there was a divide and CGI became its own thing.”

Fisher believes that the club is important because it provides a safe space for all gamers to come in and meet other people. This is helpful since according to Fisher, some gamers are introverted and need an outlet to meet other gamers.

Freemire laughed, “The term gamer has almost a stigma on it, and out club has the means to represent gamers in a good light. We’re not all people who stay in our mothers’ basement for 12 hours at a time binge-eating Doritos and drinking Mountain Dew.”

Lacey Adams, a junior French major and the secretary of CGI, said, “We’ve been sponsored before by Red Bull and Monster,” she said proudly as she adjusted her glasses. “I try to get different clubs to work with us and I also do a lot of social media.”

The club and its officers also have plans to do more with the club as the year continues to introduce members to different aspects of the video game industry.

“One of the things I’d like to do in the spring is organize a trip to a local game developer, one of the biggest developers in the nation, we want to help get gamers get a connection to the gaming industry and show them options,” Freemire said. “You don’t just have to be a game developer, there’s also the accountants, marketing, human resource and communications; all these things that go into gaming.”

CGI fluctuates between 20 to 50 active members, and it holds weekly meetings in Dean Hall 107 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. There are 3 LAN events (per quarter) that start 5 p.m. Friday until noon Saturday, and they are open to everyone. They are held in Wendell Hill Hall B in the auxiliary room.