Video games club unites hobby, leisure and community


Illustration by Elie Flanagan

Sienna Axe, A&E Reporter

Whitman’s video game club provides a space for students to kick back, relax and game at their own speed.

Best known by the greater Whitman community for their biweekly Super Smash Bros. tournament called Whitty Retort, the club also hosts weekly game nights at club leader Andrew Yeon’s house, where attendees can either play as a group or go solo at one of many individual computer or TV monitors.

“People just come on over if they have the free time,” Yeon said. “If you’re seeking an alternative kind of relaxation… because, I mean, it’s Friday. You can make the most of it however you want, but if you would prefer to play games that night, then I have the space available for them. I have a bunch of TVs that they can use, and I have some games.”

Yeon joined the club his first year, and was pleasantly surprised despite some hesitations.

“I was a little skeptical about it because I didn’t know what it entailed,” Yeon said. “It’s such a broad term, you know? Like, what does it mean to be in a video game club? Like, do mobile games count as video games? You just don’t quite know.” 

“So, I suppose what ended up happening was, I was like, ‘I signed up for a bunch of clubs, but this one seems the most promising to me,’ even if it was a little sketchy,” he added. “And you know what? I just really liked the people there. I guess that’s why I decided to stick around, and that’s why I decided to take the reigns for the club … it was just a nice community.”

First-year Jordan “Jordy” Bluett joined the club as a way of bringing a lifelong hobby to college.

“Video games has always been my main major hobby; I’ve been saving up with my own money and buying my own games since I was a kid, so carrying that forward into my life at Whitman with a community who celebrates the hobby is very nice, and I’ve made some good friends along the way,” Bluett said.

Senior Walter Tunnell Wilson also joined to continue a hobby, and has formed friendships through the club over the past four years.

“As I attended more and more, it became less about the games and more about the people who were playing the games,” Tunnell Wilson said. “I think that is the most beautiful part of video games, and the Whitman club is no exception: the power to bring so many different people together over one common thing.”

“Common interest in video games, or anything for that matter, is not a requirement for having close friends, but it sure has helped me make some of the most valued friends I have on this campus,” he added.

Many club members were very eager to welcome new members, regardless of prior experience.

“Anyone can play video games… there’s enough variety out there that anyone can get into the medium and enjoy what they want to enjoy, like what they want to like and just get what they want out of it,” Bluett said. “You can go as far — or not-so-far — as you want with it.”

Yeon believes that the most important factor in a person’s enjoyment of a club is how compatible they are with the people in it.

“Usually what people go off of for joining these clubs … is what the website tells them, or a 30-second conversation that they have with someone at the club fair, which I think is totally not indicative of what some of these clubs or organizations are about,” Yeon said. “I’d say, if possible, try to find someone who’s a member, and just talk to them for a little. Get to know them, and if you feel like you can talk with this person for more than an hour, and have a conversation with them without the context of school involved, then I think you should try coming to a meeting.”

“I think that’s just one of the biggest fears I had, is just, ‘I don’t know any of these people, and it might be really awkward, and I might end up making up an excuse to leave,’” he added. “But as long as you know that you find this person enjoyable, then I’d say just go for it.”

Tunnell Wilson said that anyone interested in the club should contact Yeon — and that membership can be easier than one might think.

“If somebody is scared their interests will not be reflected in the games we play; they merely have to contact Andrew Yeon, the very approachable and accommodating head of video game club, and he will make sure all needs are met,” Tunnell Wilson said. “Club meeting times, tournament times and online play times can be adjusted in time and location to accommodate most folks, I feel, and even allows dedicated membership from the comfort of your bed.”

To get involved in video game club, contact Andrew Yeon at [email protected].