Role-playing games, commonly referred to as RPGs, have given gamers a chance to create their own destiny and in some cases, design their own environment.
WWU Minecraft Club, an official Associated Students club, began at the end of winter quarter 2011 and has grown consistently. With 57 members of all ages, it is one of the bigger clubs on campus.
Minecraft, by Mojang, was released in 2009, and a full version of the PC game was released last November. It has continued to gain popularity over the past few months and a version for Xbox 360 and Kinect was released in March.
Minecraft is known as a “sandbox” game. Players can build environments and structures out of blocks. Anything a player can imagine, they can virtually create in Minecraft.
The club meets weekly from 7 to 8 p.m. on Mondays in Academic West 203, said club president and Western senior Tucker Siemens.
Although the club only meets for an hour each week, many members interactively play Minecraft for several hours per week. He said the average is about five to 10 hours, with some players investing much more time and some not at all. Time commitment varies from player to player, he said. In fact, the club meetings usually don’t include gameplay, but rather give members a chance to talk openly and connect. He usually shares a weekly video, he said.
Club vice president Luke McCann said he plays Minecraft three to eight hours per week on average.
“It’s a lot of fun — I like getting to be creative because it’s hard for me to express myself visually,” he said. “But with Minecraft, I can.”
Siemmens said although the club has more than 50 official members, about 20 people participate in club activities on a regular basis.
McCann said about 12 to 17 people come to club meetings, and more people participate in gameplay throughout the week. Although these are mostly Western students, some are not.
So far the club has had one event, a LAN party. LAN parties involve every player bringing their own computer and playing against or with each other on a shared server. The LAN party was held in a computer lab with about 12 people, McCann said.
Western senior and club member Alyshia Bentley said the LAN party was a fun experience, and she enjoys the club because the game allows people to be creative and the server is free.
“It was pretty fun,” she said. “We had a survival game where you had to kill everyone else and the last person standing wins.”
Siemmens said he doesn’t spend as much time playing as other club members, even though he enjoys the game. He said he spends five to 10 hours a week on server maintenance and other club president responsibilities.
The game is time consuming, but for good reason. It allows players to create anything that comes to mind, McCann said.
“It’s a giant, open world. You can build absolutely anything you desire,” McCann said.
He said he has created blimps, giant statues and structures to use to hide from the zombies that come out at night.
But they plan to host events in the future, Siemmens said. He said they might do a BBQ in the spring at some point.
Siemmens said students who wish to participate in the club email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.