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College Gaming Essentials: The Tools You Need to Be the Chillest Dude on Your Floor, Brah September 30, 2009

Posted by Robert Balint in College Gaming, Copy+Paste Contributions, Copy+Paste Original, FPS.
Tags: , , , , ,

College! No parents!

College! No parents!

College is all about being social. Your number of phone contacts skyrockets, as does your Facebook friend count; routine activities such as eating, studying, and sleeping (high five!) are no longer done solo. Freshmen are terrified of being alone, even for five minutes—you start wondering, “What’s everyone else doing? I bet they’re doing something really fun. Why hasn’t anybody texted me? Does anyone like me?” And then the bitter tears start flowing…

But I digress. Roommates, shared bathrooms, dining halls, clubs, teams, and, of course, “sketchy” parties are just a few examples of how much collegiate life focuses on interpersonal activities. For a lot of gamers, the “I-word” in the previous sentence often triggers an asthma attack, followed by a quick speed-dial request for Mom to come pick up.

But it’s ok! Gaming thrives at centers of higher education all over the U.S. I mean, come on. What’s going to eat up all this newfound free time? Homework? Be serious. There are two main differences between gaming at home and gaming at college. The first, like I mentioned above, is sociality.

Let me make this clear: first player campaigns are awesome. I love following the storylines, watching the sweet cut scenes, and stretching out triumphantly as the credits whiz by after successfully trouncing the last boss. Maybe even a little celebratory dancing after Luigi’s Mansion (hey, that robot Bowser was fierce).

But sticking exclusively to the 1P option isn’t such a good idea in college. Try as you might, you can’t invite your party members from Final Fantasy VII to a football game or ask for notes on a missed lecture from Cortana. Nope, that takes interaction from real live people. So what to do? Kill two birds with one stone: get some guys (girls if they’re cool) together for some button mashing and bonding.

Multiplayer games are an excellent and commonplace entertainment choice in college. First person shooters such as Halo and Call of Duty can be found on just about any floor. I recommend hooking up a few consoles via your dorm’s Ethernet ports for some Valhalla action. No n00b combos though, you’ll get called out quick.

As for CoD, nothing brings you and your new buds together like some zombie killing. Working together to put down undead Nazis… Every headshot just warms your heart. Try to find the guy on your floor with the sweet hookup: big screen HD, speakers, the whole nine yards. If you establish yourself as a guy who knows his way around a battle rifle (called a “bee-ahh” here in Boston), you’ll always be welcome.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to get yourself such a high-priced setup; college ain’t cheap. As Paco Cox would say, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Also, sometimes it isn’t a good idea to have a ton of expensive electronics in your dorm room. You can’t be too careful. For these reasons, many college kids take a less expensive route without sacrificing any fun or quality game play.

The Nintendo 64 is like that guy Pai-Mei from the Kill Bill movies: old, venerable, and badass. It offers classic entertainment at an extremely attractive price level. On eBay, they’re going for about $50, and the seller usually throws in a couple controllers, an expansion pak for extra memory, and a game or two. So you can get an entire system for less than a single next-gen game? Now that’s an offer you can’t refuse. As far as games go, stick with the Golden Triumvirate.


3. Super Smash Bros: A game that needs no introduction. A multiplayer game with simple controls and a revolutionary design, this gem is perfect for late-to-all-night gaming sessions. Load it up and go crazy.

2. Goldeneye: The shooter to end all shooters. Solid graphics, great multiplayer maps, and a first-class selection of weapons (laser watches, Soviets, and the Golden Gun to name a few) make this one essential to dorm life. You’ll be cursing Oddjob and Xenia Onnatopp come finals week, but when your headshot causes your roommate’s slice of the screen to be enveloped in that unforgettable red mist, it’ll all be worth it.


1. Mario Kart: Awesomeness in a cartridge. This one’s got it all. Making the jump at Koopa Troopa Beach, knocking chumps off Rainbow Road, boosting across the river at DK’s Jungle Parkway… This one is just as fun at 12:30 in the morning with guys in another dorm who you barely know as it was back in the good ol’ days. When the blood gets going and races start getting decided by photo finish, the fun really starts. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as nailing the guy in front of you with a green shell precision shot to take first place. You gotta love it.

Sociality and affordability are the big things to remember when it comes to college gaming. So prop that door open, fire up your system of choice, and socialize while kickin’ ass.



1. Dillon - September 30, 2009

Robert!! this is GREAT.

2. conscienceking10 - November 26, 2009

I agree with Dillon.

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