Gamers for the greater good duke it out at Diamond Bar High School
By Stacey Wang, Correspondent
Posted: 03/22/2009 05:11:51 PM PDT
If "up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, select, start" means anything to you, Diamond Bar High has a club that might be of interest.
Memorizing special combinations for a video game is more important than some may think. To a group of Walnut Valley students, it helps them serve the greater good. A group of 65 DBHS students have embraced their hobby and created the Game And Music Experience Club for the the school's community of video game players. "It's pretty interesting because most of the clubs you see on campus are service-orientated for community hours. But this one, I think, was truly built out of joy - that these kids really love gaming and decided to create a club around it," Lynn Wan, GAME Club adviser, said.
And these gamers do more than rescue the princess from Bowser's Castle. GAME Club hosts a variety of entertaining events and fundraisers. At the end of the year, profits are donated to Child's Play, a charity to help improve the lives of hospitalized children. Child's Play has donated millions of dollars in toys, games, books and money to children's hospitals globally since 2003.
Staying true to their game component, GAME Club planned a tournament for March 18 in honor of the recently released game, "Street Fighter IV." However, the event has been pushed to a later date due to equipment problems.
A 10-day "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" attracted 120 participants, although the Street Fighter tournament was not expected to be as grand. Unphased, club members hope to host the tournament April 3, when they will showcase recent and popular video game releases. The club, with the intention of breaking down the gamer stereotype, has helped build unity among its diverse demographic.
"We try to foster a growing community of video gamers on campus, and we try to stay away from the stigma that people who play video games tend to have bad grades and are inept socially," Jonathan E. Chen, GAME Club president, said. Chen came up with the idea three years ago. The club provides a niche for people to feel included, he said. "I think what we did was use video games as a means to break down the social barrier that sort of existed in this academic environment," the 17-year-old high school senior added.
For GAME Club Event Manager Todd Schlickbernd, a senior, his experience with GAME Club has created a closeness with his classmates.
"This club - you join it for the club, for the members, for the games, for the events, for the experience, for the passion," he said. With most of the officers graduating this year, Schlickbernd and Chen hope that the club's legacy will continue with the next group. "Even if it is or isn't the end, it was something that we put a lot of work into and it proved to be a lot of fun for different people," Schlickbernd said.
PICTURE 1: From left: Diamond Bar High School Students Daniel Lan, 17, Ryan Gunawan, 15, Sean Sheen, 16, Glen Shannon, 16, Collin Knight, 14, Jacob Clemente, 14, and Grayson Hanes, 14, wait for the start of GAME (Game and Music Experience) Club's Street Fighter 4 Tournament, which was held at Diamond Bar High School's Gold Horseshoe Multipurpose room in Diamond Bar, Calif. Wednesday afternoon, March 18, 2009. (SGVN Correspondent Photo by Cheryl A. Guerrero)
PICTURE 2: From left: Justin Chen, 18, Todd Schlickbernd, 17, and Lynn Wann, have tried to connect the Play Station to several projectors and a television set before the start of GAME (Game and Music Experience) Club's Street Fighter 4 Tournament, which was held at Diamond Bar High School's Gold Horseshoe Multipurpose room in Diamond Bar, Calif. Wednesday afternoon, March 18, 2009. Schlickbernd will reschedule the tournament for next week. (SGVN Correspondent Photo by Cheryl A. Guerrero)