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A look into the dynamics of the Student Union’s always busy, never dull game room

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The Game Room inside the Student Union swirls with students during peak hours, filled with cheers for ping pong matches and petty arguments over video games. A few arcade games line the walls and big-screen TVs flash images of a supersized Mario. And, of course, no game room is complete without pool tables.

Kyle Voss, a biology major, sat at the gamers table and took gulps of orange soda in between questions. Occasionally a group of students would cheer and Voss eagerly looked around to identify the source of fun.

“I come here a lot, at least a couple times a week,” he said. “My friends and I always try to set up some kind of tournament, usually with whatever game is available.”

He echoed a common Game Room complaint: The room is too small and gets too crowded. For a school with close to 30,000 [flickr id="6975479495" thumbnail="small" overlay="false" size="original" group="" align="left"]students, the space does seem to be lacking. Nevertheless, students materialize throughout the day to take a break from lectures and work.

A group surrounding a ping pong table erupted with cheers and high-fives were exchanged and one student swiped at the air like a swordsman with his blue ping pong paddle, eviscerating an invisible enemy after he apparently scored a point.

Sophomore Monica Freer sat with some friends and watched others play pool.

Freer said that the company attracts her to the Game Room, rather than the actual games.

“I’m really not that interested in the games,” she said. “I just like hanging out with friends, watching others play. Some people get really into the games. It’s actually a lot of fun just to watch.”

Some students play with unmatched enthusiasm, and their zeal for the game was almost as entertaining as the game itself. At its busiest moments, it’s hard to find a place to sit in the Game Room, and the atmosphere of the place pulses with intensity.
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A group of gamers congregated at one table, huddled over their laptops, eyes transfixed on the glowing screens. Fingernails were bitten and a pile of candy wrappers and plastic bottles began to accumulate. Most were too entranced to field questions from a reporter, shooing away those not involved in the game at hand.

The room filled with laughter and banter. Two empty cans sat crushed nearby. At certain times, waves of students left the room, walking to class or back to their dorms.

They were soon replaced with another wave of students who had just gotten out of class or just arrived on campus. Despite this constant exchange of students, the laughter in the room seemed to never cease.

For those wishing to play away a dull moment, the Game Room offers several options. Nestled away in a corner of the Student Union, it gives a welcome reprieve during midterms or other stressful times.

After a while of inactivity, Voss stood up and stretched, picking up a billiard cue. “Want to play?” he asked.

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