Video games have swept across the globe as a favorite past time over the last 30 to 40 years. They started out as a simple distraction for kids and niche audiences. Today they are a multibillion dollar industry rivaling Hollywood and the music industry, boasting gamers of all ages, backgrounds and demographics. As the medium has expanded, people from across the world who might otherwise might have nothing to do with one another have created friendships and communities, all through their shared love of the medium. Communities of gamers exist across the world, the nation and even right here at Iowa State University.
Game Renegades is Iowa State’s resident gaming community. It is a microcosm right here on campus of what is seen around the world. While the Game Developer’s Club maintains more of a focus on developing games, Game Renegades is the only club dedicated to connecting Iowa State University students through their shared love of playing games.
According to Game Renegades PR Officer Keegan Ferreter, “Game Renegades started 10 years ago as a club designed to help bring gamers together on Iowa State campus.”
The gaming industry never sleeps, there are always new games coming out for people’s enjoyment. Because of this, Ferreter says the club is always busy.
“Club meetings involve having discussions about club activities and hosting LAN parties where people can bring their systems and we game on weekends on campus. We also host events throughout the year such as themed LANS (Halloween/spooky LAN, Red vs. Blue, Civilization V, etc.) and our big open LAN tournament at the end of the year. We got 220+ people there last year,” Ferreter said.
Ferreter described how the club wants everyone to feel welcome because there’s a place for everyone to find their niche. According to Ferreter, gamers have broad tastes and that Game Renegades is supposed to be a place for people to share their interests with others.
“The goal of the club is simply to provide an outlet and space for people to come, meet and play with other gamers on campus. Whether you are super competitive or really casual, chances are, someone, if not a group of people, are interested in the same thing!”
Ferreter explained that the mission of Game Renegades to connect gamers on campus has been as successful as it has for one primary reason.
“The big pull for us is that people love gaming competitively. In the same room or online, they like playing with their friends. We host many platforms to help them succeed in that.”
Across the world, cooperative and competitive gaming is on the rise. Ferreter’s enthusiasm for the competitive scene in the club is reflected in his statements on the rising E-sports phenomena throughout the country and around the world. He’s glad that the fans in Game Renegades are a small part of the scene on campus.
“E-sports is now getting some actual recognition and professional organizations like the NBA and the NFL are seeing this opportunity now. The League of Legends World Finals had 334 million views over 4 weeks and 14 million people watched the final match! In perspective, the NBA 7 game series only got 30 million! Lots of amazing things are happening and though they aren’t where they could be, gaming wouldn’t be anywhere it is today without its fans.”
Because of the competitive and cooperative gaming scene in the club, Ferreter expressed how the future of Game Renegades looks bright.
“We are entirely club driven. Our members change every year and with the release of new games every year, club interest changes yearly which keeps it fresh and interesting! Our members help share ideas with us and as a result, we are able to give back and make cool things happen! Currently, we are showing an impressive 710 people on our Facebook, 250+ emails on our emailing lists and that keeps going up!”
With video games only growing in popularity and daily use, it appears that for the ISU gaming community, Game Renegades isn’t going anywhere any time soon.