Story and photos by Alex Lawrence.
APRIL 20, 2016: Video games, video games, video games! That’s all kids are talking about. But what if there was a place where you could play video games for hours at a time, not get into any trouble, or even have to sneak around to do it? What about at school? At Woodridge, there’s a room where scholars can play all the games they want until 6pm!
As I walked into the video game club for the first-time, excitement, drama, and smiling faces filled the room. I was told that the main game the scholars in the club play is called “Minecraft”. I’ve heard of it, had even seen books at the book fair about the game, but never played. I found out that Minecraft is a kind of game where you learn all about survival. Scholars spend hours creating impressive structures out of this concept similar to building blocks or playing with Lego-like figures that allow for even greater creativity with much less effort.
I tried the game for the first time and it was actually pretty cool. I had to work hard to survive the monsters in the game and build weapons to destroy them. I asked 5th grader Diamond Thompson all about this game and why she’s so addicted, “I just love the thrill it brings! Minecraft is like no other game out there today because it allows for total creativity!”
Players are placed in locations without any materials. The game requires 100% thinking and problem solving. There are
several scenes of mountains, jungles, you name it, but when the sun goes down, everyone has to step their game up because monsters appear, and it’s SURVIVAL MODE from that point on.
During my visit with the video game club, I discovered just how addictive this game really can become from the level of noise in the room. Loud screams, laughter, conversations, and cheers continued for the duration of my time spent in the club. Everyone in the room was in their own zone like “virtual world” gathering materials and building tools to better help them.
I had an opportunity to interview the club’s sponsor, Mark Novak, who is our school’s technology support specialist. He said he started this after school club to give students an opportunity to have a space where they could get together and have some fun. “At first it was only going to be about learning to code,” said Mr. Novak, “and getting familiar with Microsoft systems, but it turned out to be so much more!”
The first thirty minutes of the club is dedicated to homework before anyone is allowed on the computers. Afterwards, when work is completed, Novak says, “Begin,” and the fun takes place.
“Anyone in grades 3rd through 8th are welcomed to join,” expressed Mr. Novak. Braylon Wims, 5th grade, said he looks forward to Tuesdays because it’s club day. “It’s a place where you can play video games, chill out, have a good time, and spend time with friends without being stressed out from 4 to 6pm.”
With over twenty members, all boys and only two girls, this is the most popular place to be after school and one club that will be around for a long time.
Alex Lawrence is a 5th grade scholar at Friendship Woodridge Academy.