NOLAG and Games on Campus: Gaming groups you should check out at the university

ILLUSTRAION BY ALLAN LORDE

If you’re a self-identified hardcore gamer, someone with a casual interest in video games, or a student hoping to make new friends and learn about gaming, check out Network of Local Area Gamers or Games on Campus:

Games on Campus

Games on Campus has been holding regular meetings for five years, and currently meets every Friday evening after seven in the Science Students’ Association lounge, which is located in the Armes building.

“Everyone is allowed to attend and everyone is allowed to play. There are no costs involved for our regular meetings, but our tournaments will have an entrance fee so we can pay for venue bookings and award cash prizes to the winners,” explained Karel Kahula, who is in charge of managing the group’s website and email.

Annually, the group holds about six tournaments and events, including a charity tournament, with the next tournament scheduled for March 23. Games on Campus also has a presence at the Central Canadian Comic Convention, where it regularly hosts a kiosk.

The club’s events and tournaments use the Sony PlayStation 3, because “it’s the generally accepted tournament standard among players around the world,” explained Kahula. “Although at [ . . . ] regular meetings, attendees are encouraged to bring whatever platform they choose: PS3, Xbox 360, or even a laptop.”
At the weekly meetings, students can expect a casual atmosphere where they watch and play video games, or just chat with other members. According to Kahula, if enough people show up, a “simple for-fun tournament in a specific game for that week” is held.

“Individual members enjoy video games of all kinds but our group focuses mostly on fighting games. With that being said, we love fighting games of all ages and all kinds: 2D fighters, 3D fighters, brawlers, and really whatever else anyone decides to bring to a meeting,” stated Kahula.

Kahula specified the five most popular games played during meetings are: King of Fighters XIII, Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, SoulCalibur V, and Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition.

“The first video game I remember playing at all is Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. I think what attracted me to it is that it looked like a really cool cartoon. Once I got older, I started to appreciate the competitive aspect of fighters and I’ve made a lot of good friends through meeting people at Games on Campus,” shared Kahula.

Kahula invites everyone that loves fighters or has interest in learning about them to drop by for a Friday meeting and, “have a taste of what Winnipeg’s fighting game community is like.”

Network of Local Area Gamers (NOLAG)
Network of Local Area Gamers—more commonly known by its clever acronym NOLAG—hosts Local Area Network (LAN) parties or Retro Game Nights once a month on campus.

According to Trevor Lehmann, co-president and one of the founding members of NOLAG, the group meets once a month in the UMSU Council Chambers for an event.
The LAN parties are held every two to three months and can be attended for $5, which helps to cover costs such as routers, switches, and cables. Lehmann explained that participants bring their PC to the UMSU Council Chambers and game for 31 hours while enjoying complimentary coffee and discounted pizza.

NOLAG’s latest LAN Party started on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. and ended on Jan. 20 at 2 a.m.
During the months that don’t feature LAN parties, NOLAG hosts the Retro Game Nights, which are free to attend. During the Retro Game Nights, classic video games are played, which Lehmann defines as “anything before PlayStation 2.”

NOLAG events feature a variety of video games, and lots of conversations that include stories about past events, as well as discussions of old memories playing video games.
“We like to have a diversity of games so that no one comes in and straight up dominates the event. We play as a social activity and rarely host tournaments of any sort aside from the occasional charity event. For our LAN parties, we focus on first-person shooters, real-time strategy, turn-based strategy, and role-playing games, but we always try to expose members to a new game that they haven’t tried before,” explained Lehmann.

“For Retro Game Nights, the event is centered [on] the celebration of games and the memories associated with video games. Attendees play together, reminisce, and just generally have a great time.”

Lehmann shared the game that got him interested in video games was Super Mario Bros. 3; “the moment I saw the game, I was entranced and have loved gaming ever since.”

Lehmann would like everyone to know that “as a group, NOLAG is supportive of all gamers, regardless of experience or preference of games. Gamer, as a term, applies to pretty much everyone. My dad, who enjoys FreeCell and Dune 2000, is a gamer. A grandmother that plays Dutch Blitz like a blood sport is a gamer. Gaming is now and has been for quite some time a pastime shared by a far larger section of people than we sometimes like to think.”

“With this in mind, I think that exposing people to new and exciting forms of gameplay is important so I encourage people to get in touch with our group or myself – if they feel like being introduced or exposed to something new in gaming, please feel free to contact us.”

Regardless of what level of gamer you are, Lehmann advises that you “plan time for other things and then delegate time for games; not the other way around.”

Lehmann shared that since he was in Grade 11, he abided by a personal rule of only gaming on Fridays and Saturdays (excluding summers), because he knew that once he started playing he liked to play for at least an hour or two to get his fix.

“I love gaming as much as anyone else, but I feel that knowing yourself and knowing what works for you in terms of staying motivated and avoiding procrastination is important to avoid spending ‘too much’ time playing games.”

To get in touch with NOLAG, send an e-mail to nolaguofm@gmail.com. Games on Campus can be reached at goc@chipdamage.com.