By Allison Beatty
The ELAC Game Club has gone through many hardships such as being disbanded twice and splitting into cliques.
It began with a group of students looking for a relaxing way to spend their down time in the school lounge, playing games ranging from cards, board games, mobile games, and even console games like Smash 4. At this time it was not an official school club, but more of a casual social group.
Paul Pasos, one of the founding members of the Game Club along with his brother Fernando, says “I was getting stressed out from work, everyone was.” He got into it to relieve his stress of balancing his job and his school work, as did many others. He said for a time he would bring a little TV to school with him so he and other members could play video games on.
Although all they intended was to have fun and relax, they got many complaints about how loud they were being and what a mess they made in the lounge. This lead to the Associated Student Union, calling campus sheriffs on them a number of times.
Even when they wouldn’t be in the lounge, but in other areas around campus, ASU would send campus security to break them up. To the point where Pasos could recognize them by face and got pretty familiar with them.
This eventually escalated to the point where ASU actually put up rules in the lounge forbidding them to play games.
“People hurt themselves, people freak out…all we’re trying to do is take a load off. Is that a crime?” Pasos said.
After the second disbanding of the unofficial Game Club, many of them really started getting into card games such as Yu-gi-oh and Pokemon. Victor Garcia, one of the administrators of the Pokemon Club sub-group, got involved at this point.
Garcia says it was a really awkward start, he didn’t have many friends on campus and was looking for a way to meet people with similar interests. He met Pasos through the Yu-gi-oh card game, but couldn’t continue playing because it was too expensive to buy the cards necessary to have a strong deck.
Juan Nolasco then introduced him to the Pokemon card game, even going so far as to buy Garcia his very first starter deck as well as teach him the actual gameplay methods. Garcia, Nolasco and two others then decided to establish their own Pokemon Club, which has now been officially active for two weeks.
“It was a team effort.” Garcia said.
The club’s main focus is make friends in the community and create a sense of unity among ELAC gamers. Garcia says that none of them really expected to attract many people into their club, and that the focus was always on just enjoying themselves and making new friends.
Aside from casual card matched between members, the club also hosts competitive Pokemon tournaments and holds occasional raffles where participating students can win Pokemon and other game-related prizes.
GRaffle winners aren’t solely limited to winning game-themed prizes however. The last raffle they held gave out prizes from Netflix’s Stranger Things.