Gamer Life – Daily Sundial

In front of the University Students’ Union CSUN Gymnasium is a dungeon of zombie invasions, life-and-death brawls, wizards casting magic spells, and adventures beyond your wildest imagination.

Students looking to improve their aim, test their combos on Donkey Kong, or look for materials on Genshin Impact head to the CSUN Game Room.

It has become a place where students can make friends while bonding over games and hobbies. A variety of anime plays on the projector. People study while others play billiards.

This underground lair serves as a cultural haven for the campus gaming community.

André Aliscad, like many student players, found his way to the games room last fall and has returned there almost daily since.

For Aliscad, the game room isn’t just a place to kill time – it’s a place where he can build friendships beyond just the love of games.

He is a huge fan of the Super Smash Bros. series. Aliscad’s love for this series was born in his youth.

He first played Super Smash Bros. 64 on the Nintendo 64 system at the age of 8. Aliscad found the crossover of many characters from various games appealing; Mario, Sonic, Pac-Man, Ryu and many other franchises have their main characters in this one game. The list of characters made him realize that he would be playing this game for years.

He played with his brother for hours and hours, and still does today. “I knew I was hooked when my brother beat my ass,” Aliscad said.

Having enjoyed the series since its first iteration on the Nintendo 64, released in 1999, Aliscad has followed the series for over a decade. The game room allows him to play Super Smash Bros. with other players.

Aliscad’s first experience with video games came while watching his brother play Killzone 2 on the PlayStation 2, and one day he was gifted the controller. Being “too chicken to pick up the sticks,” Aliscad just watched. One day, when his brother was gone, he decided to start it.

“Later I turned his PS2 on to 7 or 8 [years old] and tried to figure out how the controller works. I was able to get into a game with bots and barely knew how to walk, let alone aim and shoot,” Aliscad said.

His brother would eventually teach him how to play properly, and that experience sparked a passion that will stay with him forever.

“It started out as ‘I want to try, or try to be good at it,’ then it became, ‘Wow, this is probably something I’m going to be with for the rest of my life,'” Aliscad said.

He then lands on Final Fantasy VII, a Japanese role-playing game. Being a Pokémon fan, Aliscad knew he loved that genre, so Final Fantasy was an “instaclick” for him. To his surprise, Final Fantasy turned out to be even more extensive than Pokémon.

The gameplay was deeper, as were the messages. Final Fantasy VII was a “cultural reset” for Aliscad.

“The game takes on terrorism, wanting to fight the government that oppresses you, not to mention that the main character is extremely depressed – later you find out why…he actually has multiple personality disorder. And it’s so cool to think about it, just playing the game as a kid – it’s just a game where you attack enemies, but then you think about it as an adult and find that this game is really eye-opening,” Aliscad said.

RPGs quickly became Aliscad’s favorite game genre. Being able to really connect with the character is very important to him. When he can’t do that, he tends to stop playing.

“I love plugging into a character,” Aliscad said. “If I’m going to be in a fantasy world and I can change every aspect of who I am to match one of my fantasies, I will. That’s why customizing a character is so cool to me.

Aliscad enjoys a variety of games at home on various consoles. He also enjoys going to arcades as he greatly appreciates the culture and aesthetics they provide. Recently, he attended Round1 in Burbank. He often hangs out with friends and enjoys playing shooters the most.

Video games have become ingrained in Aliscad’s identity. He connects with new people and has made lifelong friends through video games. He finds games so important because they can bring people closer to each other and their ideas.

“I know for sure that when I have a kid, I’m going to play a lot of games that I love,” Aliscad said. “I want them to see that this medium is so broad that it can shape who you are; [it] can help you become a better person. Video games don’t rot [your brain] – if anything, they help you excel.

Jack C. Nugent