Game On — How gamers freely interact during COVID-19

By Tony DiRubbo ’24, Media and Communication

By Tony DiRubbo ’24, Media and Communication

One of the hardest things for St. John Fisher to try and maintain for students attending school in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extracurricular activities. While some varsity sport teams have been able to resume practices with heavy restrictions, many clubs and groups have been regulated to only meeting on Zoom if their numbers are not small. However, there is one group on and off campus which hasn’t had to make drastic changes during this pandemic: The Fisher Gaming Club.

Nicholas Bilfano is one of the leaders of the Fisher Gaming Club and he was ecstatic that the club would be able to continue operating under the COVID-19 restrictions. “This is a question that for us has probably the most minimal of impact, because of the pandemic, we easily transitioned from an in-person format with our events to moving everything online,” Bilfano said. “The eBoard decided to do this because as Gaming club there are so many online games that we can play, and it just makes more sense for us to be online with the way things are.”

Video games in the 21st century have made great leaps and bounds in terms of online multiplayer. A person in the United States can play with their friend studying abroad in Italy or decide to play with a random group of people from anywhere and everywhere. The Fisher Gaming Club has been using this technology to their advantage, using a social media platform known as Discord to communicate, a platform which was made by video game lovers with an emphasis on communication between members on a private, community-run, server.

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The club also has its fair share of formal events. Often advertised on FisherSync, most Saturdays involve group members playing a plethora of different video games, ranging from relaxing on some cooperative games, to playing some competitive League of Legends and other e-sports titles, where the best players in the club compete against other gaming clubs from other colleges and universities.

Cross-platform technological advancements have also helped the Fisher Gaming Club members interact. Cross-platform allows for gamers to play video games together no matter the console they choose to play on, whereas 10 years ago gamers would have to all be on the same console. In the beginning of the semester the Fisher Gaming Club had an event where they played Minecraft together. 10 years ago, Minecraft could only be played multiplayer on pc (personal computer) to pc. However, in September you could join the Gaming-Club event on your smartphone, tablet, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, or pc.

Many students bring their gaming console and tv to their dorm room. However, not everyone brings the same console from home. Ryan English and Keegan Reyome play Call of Duty Warzone together during their spare time, Keegan plays on PS4 while Ryan plays on Xbox, when asked about cross-platform developments Ryan said he was “All for it” and Keegan exclaimed how it was “Awesome!” Brandon Nicosia also plays with Ryan and Keegan and enjoys that he can play with his track teammates in a competitive setting that does not “exert a ton of stamina.” After completing their tasks during a day, they all look forward to playing together in an environment where they know they are all following the COVID-19 guidelines that St. John Fisher set forth.

When asked about new members, Bilfano went on to mention how “this year we have seen the largest amount of new members join up since my freshman year, with about 20 people joining the club from involvement fest to today.” If you want to join the Fisher Gaming Club, they are always wanting to have even more new members, be sure to check out their page on FisherSync.

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